Alumni concert planned during Coe Homecoming celebration

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or

2013-10-10 14:53:06 - General

In conjunction with Coe’s 100th anniversary Homecoming celebration, eight Coe alumni are returning to campus for a concert celebrating the music and 90th birthday of American composer Ned Rorem. The concert will take place on Sunday, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. in Daehler-Kitchin Auditorium in Marquis Hall, with a reception to follow. The event is open to the public at no charge.

Coe alumni Abby Leusink Sheppard '04, Jason Vaske '05, Emily Wall '05, Luke Johnson '07 and Myles Nardinger '07 will be performing works they learned 10 years ago for the Coe Department of Music's 80th birthday celebration for Rorem. Other performers include Ai-Ze Wang '99, Steve Utzig '90 and Ellen Smith Noble '92. The former students will be joined by Coe Music Professors Brett Wolgast, Marc Falk and Margie Marrs, who will also perform in the program.

The recital, which includes representative works from each decade of Rorem's career, will open with "The Lordly Hudson" which received the Music Library Association's best published song of the year prize in 1948. That award plus the Gershwin Memorial Award for his orchestral work, "Overture in C," enabled Rorem to study in Paris. Originally intending to stay a year, he actually stayed for nine. Nadia Boulanger (most famous composition teacher of the 20th century) said that at age 24, Rorem was already "formed" as a musician and composer, and she could teach him nothing.

Rorem is one of the few composers of our time who has made his living primarily as a composer and author.  A prolific composer of songs, he has also written four symphonies, operas, chamber music and works for many solo instruments. His publications include more than 15 books and diaries, as well as countless articles and reviews.

For more information, call the Coe Music Department at 399-8521.