When University of Minnesota graduate music student Jeremy Wagner began work on his composition for world-renowned violinist Irvine Arditti , he did not go easy on him.
“[Arditti] can do the impossible,” said the student composer. “I didn’t want to give him something that was too simple.”
Wagner is one of four University of Minnesota graduate students composing a piece that will be played Friday by the violin virtuoso.
The students, working with music professors, have each written a piece for Arditti, whom they have admired from a young age.
The students worked with music professor James Dillon on the compositions, which vary from four minutes to 12 minutes in length. The music was sent to Arditti last month.
Dillon came to the University from London approximately three years ago after working as a composer there. The students credited him with convincing Arditti to come to the University.
“I phoned him up,” Dillon said. Getting Arditti to agree to play wasn’t too hard for Dillon — he and the violinist have known each other for 25 years.
The students and Dillon learned late this summer that Arditti was coming to campus and have been working on their pieces since before then.
Graduate student Colin Holter already had a piece in mind, but it was written for viola so he had to adapt it for Arditti to play.
“You’ve got to seize the opportunity,” Holter said.
Dillon said he notices “a lot of untapped potential” at the University’s music school.
Friday’s performance could serve as inspiration to current music students, he said.
“I’m hoping it’s something that will rub off,” Dillon said.
The graduate students were unanimous in their enthusiasm for the show, and for what they hope other students get out of it.
“Part of what it is is just realizing there are these possibilities,” said student composer Mike Duffy . “Just to be excited about music is the most wonderful thing.”
Arditti’s Friday performance of the students’ compositions is the first in a series of appearances on campus. In a Sunday concert, Arditti will play with pianist and visiting University professor Noriko Kawai .
The violinist will hold a public class Monday afternoon before returning to the United Kingdom.
Money for Arditti’s fees came from the University’s Collaborative Arts Program , the School of Music and the Institute for Global Studies , Dillon said.
Dillon said he hopes to see more composer-performer collaborations, especially with student involvement, in the future.
“This is only the beginning,” he said.
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