This year is one of celebration for the School of Music. As the school will celebrate its 125th anniversary, the Symphony Band will be playing a concert today at 8 p.m. at Hill Auditorium.
The concert will include the musical selections “Wiener Philharmoniker Fanfare,” “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,” “Trauermusik, WWV 73 (Trauersinfonie),” “Concerto for Piano and Winds” and “Bells for Stokowski.” If none of these names sound familiar another reason to attend the concert will be the premiere of recent Music graduate Roshanne Etezady’s “Anahita,” at the concert.
The piece is inspired by Anahita, the Zoroastrian goddess of the night, who is featured in a poem and murals that were painted on the ceiling of the Assembly Chamber of the State Capital Building in Albany, N.Y. by New England painter William Morris Hunt.
The murals were almost completely destroyed by water damage and subsequently covered. After visiting the murals, Etezady explained, “I found something particularly resonant in the fact that this huge work, one of the largest of the artist’s career, is slowly deteriorating over time, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. I was also drawn to the image of the Zoroastrian goddess Anahita, to the idea of a figure being beautiful and terrifying at the same time.”
As for how she conceived and composed her music, Etezady admitted that it’s not as glamorous a process. “I did most of my composing in front of my computer, in my pajamas. Seriously, that’s where most of the ‘magic’ happens for me,” she said.
Tonight’s premiere stirs a range of emotions in Etezady. “It’s thrilling, and I’m astounded, and part of me really gets cold feet and wants to go home and hide until it’s over,” she said. Nevertheless, she is excited for the premiere and to work with the Symphony Band’s conductor, Prof. Michael Haithcock, in addition to Prof. Michael Daugherty, the composer of “Bells for Stokowski,” and a prominent musical influence and former advisor to Etezady. As a young, successful and ever-aspiring composer, Etezady echoed the sentiments of artists across all realms of media in this observation: “When it comes down to it, all we want to do is make cool stuff.” Surely it is her “cool stuff” that will make tonight’s Symphony Band performance memorable.