ANUSHA SHUKLA — The eighth installment took place from Monday, March 4th to Saturday March 9th hosted by Denison’s Department of Music collaborating with Studio Art, Data Analytics, Creative Writing, Physics, Philosophy and the Denison Museum.
The festival, occuring every other year, was a week long and provided a series of eight concerts plus six more events that included artist talks, workshops and a seminar. For each concert, various composers submitted works to be performed by Denison students, faculty and the visiting ensembles. Those ensembles consisted of the Grammy award winning Third Coast Percussion, Denison’s ensemble-in-residence Ethel, the Columbus Symphony Quartet, the Chamber Music Connection and the Columbus International Children’s Choir.
The festival highlighted many of Denison’s ensembles starting with the Denison Wind Ensemble and the Symphony Orchestra.
The two groups performed on Thursday, March 7th at the Burke Recital Hall. The concert, second in the series, presented world premiere performances of works by various composers including Dr. Ching-chu Hu, Chair of Denison’s Department of Music and Kurt Ebsary, Denison Alumni Class of 2012.
“It’s a truly amazing thing.” said Dr. Chris David Westover, the director of the Denison Wind Ensemble. “I hope you guys know how lucky you are. I didn’t get to do this when I was a student.”
Accompanied by Ethel and members of Third Coast Percussion, the two ensembles performed works by eight different living composers, the importance of which was highlighted by Dr. Phillip Rudd, director of orchestra. He spoke about how amazing it was to “play music that had just been written” and to speak to the composers and get their input.
“We don’t normally get to do this when we have Beethoven, Mozart among the dead.” joked Rudd. He also highlighted the many firsts of the night and announced with pride that his student and assistant concertmaster of the DU Orchestra Clem Pearson ‘20, would be stepping away from his violin for the final piece to conduct the performance instead.
Concert number four, on Friday, March 8th featured the denison faculty along with the Denison Chamber Singers and the Denison Jazz Ensemble performing five original works including one by Adam Schoenberg, one of the Top 10 most performed living classical composers.
The Denison Chamber Singers had another performance on Tuesday March 12th that included the two songs they performed for the festival.
“I think it was really exciting because I don’t think there have been too many jazz pieces in the festival.” said Maren Clark, a sophomore communication and creative writing double major and a trombonist for the Jazz Ensemble.
“It was slightly different from the music that we normally play; we normally play classic, older songs, standard jazz tunes. It was definitely still jazz though,” Clark said.
About the Tutti festival as a whole, she added, “The amount of really impressive artists that are all on campus at once is amazing. It was so cool to get to be with that many people who are professionally accomplished composer. it was a great way to connect Denison students who are pursuing music to the industry.”
Concert five was a unique one, backed by the Denison Beck Lecture series, titled “Words and Music.”
Actor Michael Lockwood Crouch and Ethel performed stories by Denison students, accompanied by music based on those stories by six composers that included students Clem Pearson ’20 and Jaden Richeson ’20.
The festival was closed out by Third Coast Percussion on Saturday, March 9th.
They presented world premiere performances of Nature, Industry Ritual by Timothy Page, written for the Third Coast Percussion’s Emerging Composer Partnership program, The Newness of It All by Ching-chu Hu and Cache-cache by HyeKyung Lee.
“We are thrilled to have Third Coast Percussion as one of our two featured ensembles. Their amazing artistry is on display throughout the festival, not only with performing on concerts from the submitted works, but also showcasing their Third Coast Percussion Emerging Partnership program to TUTTI on their Saturday evening concert.” said Dr. Hu.
The Tutti festival highlights the exemplary features of Denison’s liberal arts. It has continued to grow, encompassing all art and beyond and shall return again but next time in the new Eisner Centre of Performing Arts.