“Composition is such a weird profession,” Dr. Frank Felice, associate professor of composition, electronic music and music theory at Butler University, says. Felice has composed everything from string quartets to music for bassoon and stereo recorded medium. This coming Sunday, however, the Butler University Chorale, under the leadership of Eric Stark, will be performing Felice’s Bitterroot Homecoming.
In talking about new compositions, Felice says, “Indianapolis, for new music, is much better than people think. But new music isn’t always something that is palatable to people — little kids love it up until someone tells them it’s odd, or weird. You play Mozart and they sing along and think it’s great. Then put both forearms down on the keyboard, and they think WOW!” As to composing here in Indy: “I, as a composer, have to know my community, and tie in to it. In one way or another, you do that as a musician anyway. But I have to know what they want in new music, and what they need to learn from it. And in the end, you have to be yourself as a musician. What do I have of me that I can offer to my community?”
Felice continues: “You do offer a piece of yourself whenever you go out there.” For this concert he offers us a more personal work. Felice describes himself as a product of the west, and Bitterroot Homecoming ties in to that notion. The work is about a river in western Montana, where Felice hails from.
In addition to Felice’s piece, Sunday’s concert will also include works of Beethoven, Vaughn Williams and Walton. This concert will feature the Butler Symphony Orchestra, and University Choir. Hear them at 3pm, on April 15, at Clowes Memorial Hall. Admission is free.