with Conor Hanick, Artist-in-Residence
Hanick, the Iva Dee Hiatt Visiting Artist and Lecturer in piano,
will be joined by three of his colleagues from New York City
for the Chamber Music Society Concert on Sunday, Dec. 11, at
4 p.m. in Sweeney Auditorium, Sage Hall. the concert is free
and open to the public.
The program, including music for
piano, clarinet, violin and cello, will feature works by composers
Bela Bartok, Charles Wourinen and Olivier Messiaen.
Hanick, of New York City, has
performed on the radio and concert halls throughout the United
States, Europe and Asia. He is also the host of Hammered!, a
radio show pn WNYC's streaming modern music station Q2, devoted
to contemporary piano music. Hanick will be joined in the concert
by Alicia Lee, clarinet; Michelle Ross, violin; and Jay Campbell,
Hanick recently responded to questions
for the Gate about his musical scholarship.
are the main objectives of your two-year residency at Smith?
What projects or goals might you focus on while here?
Conor Hanick: One
of the reasons I've enjoyed this first semester [at Smith]
so much, and in fact one of the central reasons I was drawn
to applying for this position, is the multi-facetedness
of the college. One of my goals with my students—in
addition, or course, to raising their technical proficiency
and musical understanding—is to enhance, integrate and
connect music with their other areas of study. Being at a college
like Smith is such a beautiful opportunity to discover and
enjoy the cross-polinization of the arts and humanities.
wonderful aspect of this position is the encouragement to bring
to Smith the projects, musicians and repertoire that I'm involved
with in New York. Sharing these with a new community of listeners
is extremely exciting for me and largely due to a group of
colleagues whose enthusiasm, accommodation and adventurousness
is difficult to surpass.
has led to your support and preference for performing and promoting
contemporary and new music? How does new music fulfill your
CH: I'm a junkie
for new sounds. There are few things more exciting to me than
hearing a piece of music for the first time, dissecting a score,
translating its language, discovering its secrets, creating
sounds that have literally never been heard before.
Taking it one degree further,
I can say that nurturing a love for contemporary music has
impacted my playing of "standard" repertoire more profoundly
than anything I've ever been taught. Once you experience a
piece that was literally just written and examine it for all
its novelty and peculiarity, you realize that every good piece
of music says something profoundly individual when considered
on its own terms. There is something vital and essential about
playing Milton Babbitt as if his music were written 300 years
ago and playing Ludwig van Beethoven's as if it were written
I also vehemently believe in the
deep human necessity of contemporary music in our modern, daily,
living, breathing, human lives. Whether we like it or not,
it is our life, it is the very reflection of that life, and
it's my strong conviction that there is an inherent aspect
of modern music that allows us to experience that world in
an endlessly revealing way.
might audience members be aware of or listen for in the upcoming
chamber music concert?
CH: These masterworks
by Olivier Messiaen, Bela Bartok, and Thomas Morley and Josquin
du Prez via Charles Wuorinen (Wuorinen has done arrangements
of two motets by the late Renaissance masters) are conversant
parts of a programatic whole. Each work "speaks" to the adjacent
compositions in a way that reframes and illuminates each. Olivier
Messiaen, whose 103rd birthday would have been the day before
our concert, wrote his Quartet For The End Of Time—the cornerstone
of the program—while imprisoned in a German labor camp, where
the work was written and premiered in 1941. The quartet is
quite simply one of the most powerful listening experiences