Commissioning Melody Eötvös and performing "Light Form" for trumpet in C and piano



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This master’s report describes the process of commissioning, financing and premiering “Light Form” by Melody Eötvös. Within the scope of the project, my goals were threefold: first, to commission a woman composer as a form of “musical activism” (Locke & Barr, 1997, p. 5), second, to provide a clear understanding of the commissioning and consortium-building processes and third, to produce a detailed analysis of “Light Form” for consortium members readying the piece for performance. Although expanding the repertoire was not my primary aim, trumpeters can testify to a lack of works by women in our standard repertoire.

The recent trend in programming works by women composers highlights a notable cultural shift: a wide-scale reappraisal of the classical music canon. I challenge the assumption that the canon was selected objectively and that only the best works stood the test of time. What we consider the classical music canon is a relic of idealism and individualism. These 20th century intellectual movements celebrated the creative output of the “lone genius,” isolating him (most often male) from the historical and social contexts during which he worked and silencing voices, often female, that undermined this narrative. My discussion of feminist texts on the relationship of women to music and the creative act of composition ultimately demands that the work of women receives equal attention free from gendered discourse and the same rigorous critical analysis as that of males. This influenced my decision to premiere “Light Form” on my master’s recital first, followed by a performance on a Women in Music recital celebrating works by women composers.

Finally, “Light Form” is inspired by a woman artist (my great-aunt Margaret Singer), and both composer and consortium director are women. However, my pitch was to a consortium of both women and men, colleagues of mine from the past 15 years as a trumpet student. As a result, the piece will receive performances in venues across the country and endure based on its merit as a work of art (Held, 2019, phone interview).



Melody Eötvös, Woman composer, Consortium, Commission, New music, Light Form

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Master of Music


Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance

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Frederick Burrack