Special Guest Speaker for Five Towns College’s Graduate Analysis Course

A few weeks ago I was a special guest speaker for Five Towns College’s Graduate Analysis Course. I am from Long Island and some of my first and most inspiring memories happened on that campus when I was growing up. I presented about my work creating my dissertation “Aaron Cassidy’s Second String Quartet: Resilient Structures, Indeterminate Localities, and Performance Practice.” The class was extremely well-prepared regarding my research about Cassidy’s beautiful music, so we were able to move to a more conversational Q & A format.

I loved being in a situation with musicians including current public school music teachers, where we could talk frankly, safely, and thoughtfully about contemporary music. I thought the class had great, specific questions that reflected how they had delved into my research and thought about how it reflected on the needs of their practices. One of my favorite questions came from a very special member of the class, the man who, in the late 1990s, was the high school age assistant teacher that started me on viola (who apparently now runs that whole summer music program!). He was very curious about what would happen when performing Cassidy’s work with an ergonomic viola. I though it would be interesting to perform Cassidy’s work with one of them, especially because there is precedent in his other works where the individual performers’ reach, breath, and/or energy allows the range of the work to shift.