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April 25, 2014
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU premieres new Maslanka work

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - A new musical composition titled "Out of This World" will premiere at tonight's "The Music of David Maslanka" Kaleidoscope Arts Festival Concert in Swope Music Hall.

The concert is at 7:30 p.m.

David Maslanka is a respected American freelance composer who has been on campus this week as an artist-in-residence offering a number of lectures and masterclasses. He has primarily worked with the SRU Saxophone Quartet, SRU Chamber Singers, SRU Wind Ensemble and the SRU Percussion Ensemble, which will all perform as part of the concert.

His talks have included how he tackles the compositional process.

Maslanka, a native of New Bedford, Mass., also spent time working with and rehearsing with Jason Kush, assistant professor of music, Nanette Kaplan Solomon, professor of music, and Paige Riggs, music instructor on the newly commissioned work.

"This week we have been tweaking the piece as well as making certain the first performance of the piece is exactly as he has thought it to be," Kush said. "This is a huge career milestone for me - to have commissioned this piece by David Maslanka, premiere it on the SRU campus with my colleagues, and to have him come to our campus and work closely with approximately 100 of our music majors."

Maslanka writes for a variety of music genres, including choir, wind ensemble, chamber music and symphony orchestra.

He has published nearly 100 pieces, including nine symphonies. His works have been performed across the U.S., as well as in Europe, Australia, Canada and Japan.

After earning his bachelor of music at Oberlin Conservatory, he went on to earn master of music and doctor of philosophy degrees from Michigan State University. He has studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and served more than 20 years as member of the Kingsborough Community College and City University of New York faculty. He has also been a faculty member at Sarah Lawrence College.

Maslanka has received residence fellowships at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H., and has been funded by grants from the University of Connecticut Research Foundation, the American Music Center, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music, the State University of New York Research Foundation and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

He earned the National Endowment for the Arts Composer Award three times, and in 1999, was awarded the National Symphony Orchestra regional composer-in-residence award. Since 1980, Maslanka has served as a guest composer for more than 100 universities, music festivals and conferences

A number of his works for winds and percussion have become established pieces in band repertoire. Among these are "A Child's Garden of Dreams," "Rollo Takes a Walk" and numerous concertos featuring a wide variety of solo instruments, including euphonium, flute, piano, marimba, alto saxophone and trombone. His works for percussion instruments include "Montana Music: Three Dances for Percussion," "Variations of 'Lost Love,'" "My Lady White," "Arcadia II: Concerto for Marimba and Percussion Ensemble" and "Crown of Thorns."

He has composed a complete Mass for full choir, soprano and baritone soli, with accompaniment by full symphonic band.

The suggested admission is $5 for the general public; $3, SRU students.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.