Pianists celebrate local composer
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This past Saturday, Nov. 18 the piano students of Dr. Steve Hodson performed works by local composer, Emmy Lou Diemer. Performed by Chelsie Sen, Jay Real, Siri Maier, Sergiy Tarasenko, Léal Makaroff, Rhea Williams, Carolyn Deal, and Dr. Hodson, the afternoon of piano music focused on two of Diemer’s books, Reaching Out, for Solo Piano, and Travels through Sound. Each pianist took turns playing all of the short pieces, working chronologically through the books.
Diemer’s music has a modern style and focuses on the overtones and sensory images that come from her unique methods. Some of her pieces have the performer hold down the piano strings with one hand, and play a melody with another, or use their fists to play the piece, such as in “Fist Dance.”
Diemer wanted to construct her music to be appealing to children and to break out of the tonal constructs that encapsulated much of the 19th century. Instead of simply using the center section of the piano, she chooses to use the upper and lower registers to create a wide variety of music. Her music captures the essence of the emotions and locations that may not be as well-represented in music of the past. The rhythmic style of the pieces is made unique through her use of different tempos and meter throughout the pieces.
Diemer was in attendance, and she enjoyed all of the pieces and the input of each student. She was able to describe the reasoning behind her writing, and sometimes give the story picture of the piece. She called the Saturday performance “one of the pleasantest afternoons of the year!”