recognition already has come to a pair of Moravian student composers:
Melissa Spangenberg ’03 and Jeremy Sawruk ’03.
wrote a choral piece, “True Light,” set to
a text from the Gospel of St. John, for the 2001 Vespers service.
For last year’s concert by student composers, she offered “Tehillim,” a
setting of two psalms in Hebrew for soprano and piano. Her own
recital in November featured a work for women’s chorus
with string accompaniment called “The Great Light.”
she will contribute to the 2002 Vespers service, this time
a wordless piece for flute ensemble based on a hymn from a collection
by the 16th-century Moravian community called the “Böhmische
Brüder” (Bohemian brethren). The original hymn is
by Cyriakus Spangenberg. “Believe it or not!” Melissa
says. Neither Cyriakus nor his father (also a composer) nor
Augustus Spangenberg, for whom a Moravian dorm is named, is
known to be
a relation to Melissa.
went to Bucks County Community College for a year, then to West
Chester University, before
deciding on Moravian.
she is majoring in music education and music composition,
teach middle school and compose on the side.
has been arranging hymns since she was 14. When she finds a text
she likes, “I
sit down at the piano and make up a tune,” she
says. “I just play what the piece says.”
piano solo piece by composer Jeremy Sawruk says “Gesundheit!” (literally). “When
you see the score, you’ll understand,” he
score looks—well, it looks like a sneeze.
(And there it is, above.)
traveled in October to Cambridge, England, to hear “Gesundheit” and
another of his solo piano works, “Obfuscation,” performed
in concert by the Anglia Contemporary and Experimental
Music Society at Anglia Polytechnic University.
a composition student of Lipkis, Jeremy works in
a notation software called
Sibelius, and his graphic scores come from “pushing the
limits of what Sibelius can do,” he says.
you can see, this music might baffle J. S. Bach. The few notes
sit on a staff, it’s not in 4/4 time, there are no sharps
or flats. Instead the graphic indicators for direction, force,
duration, and pitch areas (high,
low, central, extreme) give the performer a great deal of interpretive
performance can be radically different from the next,” Jeremy
major instrument is the trombone. His compositions include a
string quartet and pieces for guitar
duo, performed at last year’s spring concert.
before he left for England, he learned that a recording
contract was on its way from Groove-a-licious, a subsidiary
the Los Angeles-based
media conglomerate that includes Universal Studios. It’s
for sound-track music, which increasingly is written not
by “name” composers but
by contract musicians for whom a label or studio finds
a placement in a television or film vehicle.
Jeremy does not plan to sign it until he graduates.
In case the contract demands exclusivity, he does not
want to have
permission for his piece
to be performed on the last student-composer concert
of his college years.