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Faculty Chamber Ensemble Performs Original Work in the Steampunk Aesthetic

Last fall, music professor Grant Harville and the Department of Music received a $18,957 grant from the ISU Office of Research toward the conception and performances of the original work Partita for Mixed Dectet “Steampunk.” The work was composed by Harville, and the Faculty Chamber Ensemble performed the original work at ISU in January.

Faculty Chamber Ensemble Performs Original Work in the Steampunk Aesthetic

Last fall, music professor Grant Harville and the Department of Music received a $18,957 grant from the ISU Office of Research toward the conception and performances of the original work Partita for Mixed Dectet “Steampunk.” The work was composed by Harville, and the Faculty Chamber Ensemble performed the original work at ISU in January.

Steampunk is a subgenre drawing inspiration from an unlikely pair, of the Victorian era and science fiction. The music is characterized by an influence of industrial machinery like steam engine trains and airships.

The project came as a result of a conversation between Harville and professor Shandra Helman, associate professor of Clarinet and Saxophone, and Woodwind Area Coordinator. Helman asked Harville to write a piece, and they discussed tastes and interests to determine a direction.

"I think it was the combination of Sherlock Holmes and H.P. Lovecraft that put us on steampunk," said Harville.

For the past few years, ISU faculty have been putting on a chamber series that aligned with members' passions or personal projects, which made it a perfect platform for the steampunk piece.  

Partita for Mixed Dectet “Steampunk” was performed by Julie Sorenson, piccolo, flute, alto flute, Shandra Helman, E-flat clarinet, clarinet, bass clarinet, BBb contrabass clarinet, George Adams, bassoon and contrabassoon, Michael Helman, horn, Hyeri Choi, violin, KC Chojnacki, viola, Eleanor Cox, cello, Don Colby, double bass, Thom Hasenpflug, percussion, Kori Bond, keyboards and Harville, conductor.

Part of the grant was to support off campus performances for the work, and the chamber ensemble performed at the National Association for Music Education Northwest Division Conference in Bellevue, Washington in February.

“The performance was a good fit in Washington, and was well-received,” Harville said.

Written by: Katie Damron, College of Arts and Letters intern

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