CAS Commissions Liberal Arts Anthem

Posted: April 28, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Carrie Secondo

Last year, the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) commissioned an orchestral composer to create an original piece of music for the college. Daniele Struppa, dean of CAS, had a vision–he wanted to commission a piece of music that would somehow tie together the humanities, the sciences, and the social sciences.

“I had been looking for an exemplar that embodies the values of the liberal arts–an original orchestral piece seemed a perfect way to do that,” says Struppa. Made possible by an anonymous donation to the college specifically for this purpose, the piece of music makes its debut on Sunday at the fourth annual Department of Music Scholarship Benefit Concert.

Titled Beyond Sight: Tone Poem after Plato for Orchestra, the 12-minute orchestral piece will be performed by the George Mason University Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Anthony Maiello, Music.

After consulting with several musicians, including Leonard Slatkin of the National Symphony Orchestra and John Corigliano, one of America’s leading composers, Struppa selected Dan Welcher to compose the work. Welcher, a composition professor at the University of Texas at Austin, has composed more than 70 works, and has received several grants and awards from national institutions.

Beyond Sight begins with a spoken introduction from Plato’s Republic: “How, in truth, would we live, if we were cut off from education….” While a college commissioning its own musical composition may be rare, Struppa hopes to use Beyond Sight often at CAS events. It will be used at the college convocations in May, and just may become the next Pomp and Circumstance.

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