Iowa School of Music 2021-22 Magazine

University of Iowa School of Music 2021-2022 Magazine

“No college orchestra has ever performed the entire five movements of this piece before, and the orchestra did a beautiful job,” says Brunet. Although the engraving process has taken longer than expected, everyone agrees that the quality work is worth the wait. The result is a score and parts that Watkins will be able to rent to other orchestras with confidence. “To have the School of Music offer this help to me is priceless,” she describes. “Their work legitimizes my process. It creates consistency, and it’s very professionally done. Music is prayer for me. I write it to bless those who allow it to come into their lives. I’ve had a place I wanted to be in with my music and my career, and, somehow, little by little, it has happened.”

Alex Arellano, a Master of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting student, signed on to assist with the engraving work. The goal was not only to create a clear, precise performing edition, but also give students valuable and paid professional experience along the way. Dr. Nathan Platte, a musicology faculty member, reviewed the work, along with Mark Rheaume, a PhD in Music Composition student, who joined the project as a second editor to bring a different perspective to the process. As Buehner describes, the process of music engraving is much more involved than simply typing a traditional text document. It involves bringing together several layers of information, standardizing notation, and eliminating uncertainties. The goal is to create a formatted score and parts that are easy to read and perform.

“We wanted to provide an infrastructure she might have gotten from a publisher,” explains Buehner, “but provide that without causing her to lose agency over her work like she could by working with a publisher. We want to make sure she retains her copyright so that, when her music is used, it stays with her. She gets to decide how and when it’s used.” Not only did Watkins approve every correction to the score and parts, but she also got to interact with the Symphony Orchestra during rehearsals for Five Movements of Color. Students had the opportunity to ask questions about the music, and she could listen to the piece as it was performed to provide feedback. The University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Five Movements of Color took place on Oct. 20, 2021, at the Voxman Music Building.


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