From blues and punk to rock and roll, Arthur White has at one point in his life played in nearly every kind of band, but now he believes he has finally found “the perfect gig.” As the director of MU’s Jazz Performance Studies program and Assistant Professor in the School of Music, White now handles all things jazz at MU.
“There’s nothing quite like the high of hearing one of your own pieces played,” MU Professor of Music W. Thomas McKenney admits, “but to me the most important thing is the active, creative process itself.” Having internalized his teacher’s advice that music must be a balance of emotion and intellect, and that if you have too much of either one “things get out of whack,” McKenney focuses on both levels. His goal is to assure that “structurally and formally, a piece is going to work.”
From sight-reading practice to concert performance, we trace a jazz composition to its final destination at the Missouri Theatre with former director Doug Leibinger and guest saxophonist Ron Dziubla.
Within the Romance Languages Department, Gallimore has been teaching French composition, French literature and drama, and Francophone studies. During the Winter 2008 semester, Gallimore served as a Taft Visiting Research Fellow in a seminar about racism in French and Francophone literature. “Your research gives you insight for teaching,” she says, as she develops a new course on Afro-Persian writers and a new graduate seminar on testimonial writing.
Research for composer Thomas McKenney often takes the shape of such activities as score studies. That is, before McKenney begins to write a piece, he examines what other composers have done. While research informs his creative process, helping to get the creative juices flowing, McKenney then strives to put aside the research and focus on what he wants to do with his own composition.
Johann Sebastian Bach was very much a tonal composer who wrote contrapuntal compositions, “which are linear in design with some vertical concepts as well.” For example, Bach would have the basses sing the melody at one point, and the altos later, creating a linear, contrapuntal design. Through such research into the work of other composers, McKenney seeks to understand how other composers have handled a certain idea, concept, or technique.
Miller discusses some of his original works in costume design, painting and music composition.