Music students present thesis projects in composition, cultural musicology

James Parakilas, James L. Moody, Jr. Family Professor of Performing Arts at Bates.

Pianist James Parakilas, James L. Moody, Jr. Family Professor of Performing Arts, is among performers at a concert of student compositions. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Bates showcases the senior thesis projects of music majors in a two-part event, titled Celebrating Thesis: Cultural Musicology and Music Composition Presentations From the Class of 2014, starting at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 10.

The first part of the program consists of thesis presentations by students in cultural musicology, taking place in Commons 221-222, 136 Central Ave.

At 7:30 p.m., student composers present their music in performance by artists including the renowned Momenta Quartet in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall, 75 Russell St. (The Momenta Quartet also performs the previous evening.)

NOTE TO READERS: The May at Bates printed listing of college events incorrectly indicated that admission to the cultural musicology event is free. In fact, admission is $15.

Admission to the cultural musicology panel is $15 and includes a buffet dinner and admission to the evening concert. Tickets are available at

Admission to the concert is free, but tickets are required, available at A reception concludes the night. For more information, please contact or 207-786-6163.

The cultural musicology students presenting theses include:

  • Easton Morang of Winthrop, Maine, who explores the networks of social media in today’s music;
  • Benjamin Vanasse of Lancaster, Pa., whose honors thesis examines digital sampling in hip hop production in relation to intellectual property issues;
  • and Julia Hanlon of Cambridge, Mass., whose ethnomusicology thesis looks at Jai Uttal, leader of an American movement dedicated to the practice of a type of devotional chant from India.
Dedicated to living composers, the Momenta Quartet performs on May 8.

The Momenta Quartet is among performers in Saturday’s presentation of student-composed music. (John Gurrin)

Hanlon is a student of Associate Professor of Music Gina Fatone, and Morang and Vanasse are students of Associate Professor of Music Dale Chapman.

Student composers presenting thesis work in the evening concert include:

  • Bo Ra Kim of Seoul, Korea, with “La TempĂȘte,” a piece that depicts a turbulent time of life, with many challenges and uncertainties;
  • Will Green of New Canaan, Conn., whose “For Film” reflects film soundtrack music, with each movement named for a prominent film director;
  • Catherine Strauch of Exeter, Maine, whose thesis incorporates original music and combines her music major and education minor in a project with middle school students;
  • and Brendan Davidson of Plymouth, Mass. Performed by the Momenta Quartet and pianist James Parakilas, James L. Moody, Jr. Family Professor of Performing Arts, Davidson’s four-movement work “Frostfire” incorporates techniques used by video game composers.

Kim and Green are students of Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Scott Ordway. Strauch and Davidson are students of Alice Swanson Esty Professor of Music William Matthews.

One Response to “Music students present thesis projects in composition, cultural musicology”

  1. Scott King says:

    As Bates’ first music major (and thus the person who wrote the first music thesis in 1975), I’m pleased to see these students’ efforts highlighted. How things have changed since the music department resided in the basement of Pettigrew with the Gannett Room as our major rehearsal space.

    Congratulations to all of you!

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