Professor’s Composition Wins Award Nomination

Inspiration surrounds Joe L. Alexander.

It can come from a bird call, a waterfall, or a walk in the park. In the case of Alexander’s latest creation, “Arkansas Vignettes,” the Mississippi Women’s University music professor discovered all of these pieces during walks in Arkansas state parks and then turned that inspiration into a piece of classical music that shares his outdoor experiences. with the others.

Joe Alexander

“Nature played a big part in shaping the vignettes,” said Alexander, who started walking the parks in fall 2020. “Several of the rooms have bird calls and one has a waterfall. The title of each vignette refers to a state park or national park in Arkansas.”

The Mississippi Institute of Arts and Humanities (MIAL) recently recognized “Arkansas Vignettes” for nomination in the Classical Music Composition category. The nomination is the first for Alexandre.

Alexander said he tried to use the songs of birds he heard on his walks as melodies. There are four or five birdsong in the room. He said he then applied typical compositional techniques to expand and expand the movements.

Alexander began composing “Arkansas Vignettes” in February 2021, around the same time he became interested in the cries of birds he heard on his walks. The Bantam Winds trio performed “Arkansas Vignettes” virtually for its premiere at the Festival Internacional de Música de Campina Grande on July 8, 2021.

Alexander said he met two of the Bantam Winds members, oboist Kristin Leitterman and horn teacher Juli Buxbaum, at W’s Music by Women Festival. In 2020, clarinetist Erin Cameron joined the faculty at Arkansas State University and the trio was formed.

Alexander said he sent the individual moves to the members of Bantam Winds as he completed them, and then the band read them. He said the trio members only made articulation/dynamic suggestions afterward.

Alexander said he researched each of the parks he visited and tried to figure out what the “main thing” was for each. He said he tried to create melodies that would be fun to play and listen to.

“Every time I create a piece, I consider it a game,” Alexander said. “I change the game for each play because I don’t want to ‘replay’ the same game over and over again. I’m not reinventing the wheel, but everyone is different. I consider who plays (level) and what audience the group will play.

Thomas Richardson, a Columbus native and graduate of The W’s MFA creative writing program, earned his first MIAL nomination in the poetry category for his book “How to Read: Poems.”

Winners will be announced June 11 at the annual awards banquet at the Mississippi Museum of Arts in Jackson.

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