Senior Showcase brings Electro-Acoustic Vibe

Marshall University’s Evan White performed his senior composition recital Monday night at Smith Music Hall, demonstrating his unique electronic style while integrating simple melodies.

White, from Chesapeake, Ohio, began his college career as a music education major but said he fell into the music composition program during his sophomore year.

“I got into music comp by accident really,” White said. “I started arranging stuff for the percussion ensemble. After I arranged one piece I just got addicted to and and switched my major after that.”

The senior recital is the first step in a two-part process to graduate with a degree in music composition and requires students to present at least a half hour of works they have written.

In White’s case, he not only composed the pieces, he performed all but one.

“I wanted to do stuff that I could play, so other than the clarinet piece, it all kind of sits in the realm of stuff that is feasible for me to play,” White said.

White said his interest in electronic style compositions also came about by chance.

“I originally wanted to do full ensemble pieces,” White said. “Then I went to a composers’ convention at Fairmont State and saw a guy playing stuff with electronics and tuba and it was crazy. I immediately ran on stage and was like, ‘how did you do that.’”

After dabbling in the electronic world and realizing what it could do to his music, White said he began to test the waters, eventually creating a theme to his works.

“Whenever I realized that you could do electro-acoustic stuff I really wanted to see how far I could push traditional instruments to sound different but still hold their same qualities, not in a way that it becomes warped but in a way that varies the sound,” White said.

Marshall clarinet student Scott Nibert performed one of White’s pieces Monday night and said he found White’s live electronics backbone different than anything else he’s ever played.

“It isn’t hard, but it’s just a really cool effect that takes place,” Nibert said. “This is the first piece I’ve played like this and I’ve been practicing it since September.”

White also composes pieces for Chesapeake High School’s marching band.

After graduation, White said he plans on continuing and expanding that relationship as well as searching for graduate school opportunities and playing in his own band.

Leah Cook can be contacted at [email protected].