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 Director's Note: Autumn 2020 Quarter Notes

Submitted by Joanne De Pue on December 9, 2020 - 12:05pm

The composer John Luther Adams thrived in northern Alaska for decades, where the sun is barely visible on the horizon for four hours a day.  One January, he wrote, “It doesn’t matter how cold it is.  We’re moving toward the light.”  As we move out of 2020 and into 2021, our university and School of Music know we are moving toward the increasing light of the each day and the eventual release from the restrictions that have allowed us to proceed as safely as possible throughout most of 2020.

September 2020, on paper, was a flourishing term for the UW School of Music:  a larger entering class of students had enrolled, faculty enjoyed publication of new books and rehearsed for public concerts, we taught over 1500 students each week from majors across the university, and our students in music pursued their degrees with lessons, rehearsals, and classes.

Yet, of course everything was different from a usual Autumn:  the classes were taught online, the faculty concerts were livestreamed, and many lessons were taught online. The university itself had shifted almost entirely to online teaching, and the safety this provided has allowed the university to provide instruction continuously.  Elsewhere in this newsletter, you will read about the innovative ways that our ensemble directors created rehearsal protocols for students who selected in-person ensemble experience.  We have had garage choirs in covered, open-air parking areas, and have spread instrumentalists across the lobby of Meany Hall to allow safe distancing for instrumentalists. We look forward to welcoming back the students who have paused their coursework for a quarter or two.

The thirst to perform in person led everyone to adapt their usual methods to these new approaches, some of which are linked elsewhere in this newsletter.  At the same time, faculty have also expanded their performance and course repertories to include a greater diversity of female and BIPOC musicians, as you can see in several of the linked streamed performances.  This initiative will increase over the next two quarters and the coming years as we address the crucial need for far greater inclusiveness in populating the world of musical performance and study with composers and historical figures who have been overlooked for far too long, as you will read in future newsletters. 

There will still be months of public health caution that will open 2021, but the next year will gradually allow us and all artists to move back to in-person rehearsals, classes, and performances.  Our faculty, staff, and students have exceptionally adapted and worked at a high level through these past nine months, even though this has required unusual time and effort from faculty and students alike.   Although the season is still cold, our university and globe is moving toward the light that will begin to provide some relief. 

We have had some requests for seasonal music; below are a few suggestions of music that seem appropriate for a winter season, ranging from reflective to celebratory to energizing. 

—School of Music Director JoAnn Taricani 
December 2020

Music for a Winter Season

John Dowland (Renaissance):  Lute music by Paul O’Dette
Dowland - Complete Lute Galliards Works/Lachrimae + Presentation (Century's record. : Paul O'Dette) - YouTube

Anonymous (medieval):  "Lullay, Lullay: Als I lay on Yoolis Night," on the album "On Yoolis Night," by Anonymous 4
Carol: Lullay, lullay: Als I lay on Yoolis night - YouTube

Michael Praetorius (Renaissance):  Dances from Terpsichore, performed by the New London Consort
Michael Praetorius - Dances from Terspsichore (1612) - YouTube

Duke Ellington (20th century):  "Nutcracker," Overture  
Duke Ellingon - Overture - YouTube  

Melia Watras (contemporary UW composer):  "Winter aids no one," performed by Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir (UW cellist) 
Vetur öngum lánar lið for voice and cello — Melia Watras 

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