Artist-in-Residence Concert with Composer Jocelyn Hagen – The Spectator
The Artist-in-Residence Concert takes place this Thursday, March 17 at the Haas Fine Arts Center with choral composer Jocelyn Hagen and all six choral groups: Concert Choir, Symphonic, Singing Statesmen, Novum Voce, the Treble choir and the Women’s Concert Chorale.
According to Hagen’s website, “she (Hagen) is a pioneer in the field of composition, pushing the expectations of musicians and audiences alike with large-scale multimedia works, electroacoustic music, dance, opera and publishing. ”
Additionally, the website said that in 2013 Jocelyn Hagen won the Young New Yorkers Chorus Composition Competition, in 2015 she won a Sage Award for “Best Overall Design” and in 2017 she was won the American Composition Prize, in the Opera/Musical Division.
Visiting Hagen gives students the opportunity to observe a modern composer up close.
The choral department works with the research offices and sponsored program to bring artists like Hagen to UW-Eau Claire.
“We receive sponsorship from the Offices of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP). We have funds that allow us to bring guest artists every year. We are fortunate to have funding from the University which allows us to bring in such well-known composers. said Watkins.
Two such students who work with Hagen are choir assistant, Hannah DeYoung of 4th year and concert choir president and student director, McKinley Uelman of 3rd year.
“As a choir assistant, I observe all things choir. Which includes our six sets,” DeYoung said.
From administrative work to mentoring fellow directors, DeYoung helps organize a gig.
“In the case of Hagen, there are a lot of logistics. Since she’s a big choir name, we need to make sure she feels accommodated,” DeYoung said.
DeYoung works closely with directors Frank Watkins, who conducts the Concert Choir and the Women’s Choir Chorale; Chris McGinley, director of The Singing Statesmen, Symphonic Choir and Novum Voce Choir; and Julie DeBoer, who conducts Treble Choir.
According to Uelman, “Jocelyn Hagen is a current composer and it shows a bunch of different music that has nothing to do with the Renaissance or the Baroque, it’s the music that’s happening now,” Uelman said. “It taught me what music has become now at that time.”
Uelman said being exposed to music composed by Hagen is so important.
“Especially with the opening of restrictions and just the pandemic of course still going on, it’s really touching to do music that she’s composed because Jocelyn Hagen puts so much emotion into her compositions and being able to sing those tracks is a truly touching experience,” Uelman said.
Watkins, director of choral studies, has worked in the choral department for eight years and teaches students about current composers.
Working with a living composer is often rare for a choral ensemble, Watkins said.
“I think (Hagen) represents a new voice in the choral world, being a living composer,” Watkins said. “Most of the time we study the music of dead and missing people, but in this case it’s by someone who is living and making music right now.”
Watkins said he wanted his students to leave the concert with insight.
“To better understand what it means to be a living composer,” he said. “More about the process of creating his music and his overall appreciation of the music that was composed today.”
The concert on Thursday, March 17 will take place in the Gantner Room of the Haas Fine Arts Center at 7:30 p.m.
Duton can be reached at [email protected].