World Premiere of “Dragonfly” by MCC’s Dr. Bill Withem Feb. 23
Mott Community College Associate Professor of Music, Dr. Bill Withem, will debut an original composition titled Dragonfly for flute, piano and mallet percussion Sunday, Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in downtown Flint. Admission is $10.
The piece was commissioned by the trio of Dr. Townes Miller, Associate Professor of Music at MCC on flute, Delaina Oberman, mallet percussion, and Dr. Carl Angelo, piano, both of Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU).
“It was written to feature the flute and percussion as soloists, so it's full of technically challenging sections and virtuosic passages,” said Withem. “Overall, the piece works on two levels, as a kind of retro-classical three-movement sonata, while also evoking the rapid flight and quick movement of the real-life dragonfly,” he added.
He went on to explain: “As a composer, it was fun to keep the instrumental colors constantly changing; the flutist switches from regular flute in the first movement to the lower alto flute in the second movement, while the percussionist plays marimba, vibraphone, and xylophone in the three movements respectively.”
The first movement is an active and colorful exploration of rhythm and harmony, with the flute hovering above constant pulsations from the marimba and piano, according to Withem. The second movement features a Japanese folk tune Akatonbo, which translates to Red Dragonfly. The third movement is lively and fast, showing off the soloists as they trade passages and chase each other's musical phrases.
A second performance of Dragonfly will be at Saginaw Valley State University Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall.
Withem premiered another piece in 2017 when his composition “Gradients” was performed by the Central Michigan University Symphony Orchestra in the Staples Family Concert Hall in the School of Music, on the CMU campus in Mt. Pleasant.
The Music Department at Mott Community College offers a comprehensive two-year collegiate music program designed to fulfill the freshman and sophomore requirements needed to transfer to four year colleges and universities. Unique to MCC among community colleges, the College has both a strong jazz studies and chamber ensemble program. Offering a broad musical curriculum from classical to jazz and commercial music, the music department serves a wide variety of students. Additionally, MCC music program has partnerships with both Saginaw Valley State University and the University of Michigan - Flint, enabling MCC music students to continue their studies at SVSU or UM-Flint in either music performance or music education. For more information about the Music Department at MCC call 810-762-0332 or visit email@example.com.
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