World Premiere Concert with Brian McWhorter April 25 at University of Scranton

Apr 20, 2015

Oregon based composer, conductor, trumpeter and performance artist Brian McWhorter will be featured as the composer for the University of Scranton’s 32nd annual World Premiere Composition Series Concert on Saturday, April 25. The concert will be held in the Houlihan McLean Center at 7:30 p.m. and will feature the University of Scranton Concert Choir and Concert Band. The concert is free of charge and open to the public.

McWhorter, a graduate of The Juilliard School and The University of Oregon, will conduct the world premiere of two works composed specifically for the concert band and concert choir at the university - “Genesis 1: (a) musician(’)s take on creation” for concert band, and “Mutiny” for five part chorus, piano and guest conductor.

“Genesis 1,” for concert band and narrator, is a tongue-in-cheek telling of the story of the creation of music. The narration imagines what might have been created during each of the 6 days – from elemental components of music (the first three days) to the culture of music making (the following 3 days). To tell the story musically, Genesis 1 employs compositional techniques closely associated with experimental music and not often encountered in music for bands: aleatory, extended techniques, improvisation, indeterminacy, theatrical elements, serialism and pastiche.

“Mutiny” is a piece that explores the interplay between theatrical script as music, musical notation as theater – and the explicit/implicit roles and expectations of the chorus and conductor. It may or may not be relevant, but throughout the compositional process, the composer was thinking a great deal about the inimitable Jerry Lewis.

The World Premiere Composition Series at The University of Scranton was established in 1984 and has made significant contributions to the wind and choral repertoires. The series has also hosted acclaimed composers such as Vaclav Nelhybel, Robert Starer, Wycliffe Gordon, Lawrence Wolfe, Victor Goines, Ted Nash, and even provided the now internationally renowned composer Robert Kapilow with his very first commission.

McWhorter is an associate professor of music at the University of Oregon, and has also taught at The Manhattan School of Music, Princeton University and Louisiana State University. While living in New York City, McWhorter’s performing career gravitated toward contemporary classical and improvised music. He worked with many of the United States’ best-known modern music ensembles including Third Angle, Sequitur, Ensemble Sospeso, counter(induction, Ne(x)tworks, Tilt Brass, Elliott Sharp’s Orchestra Carbon, Continuum and Meridian Arts Ensemble. As co-artistic director of Beta Collide, a new music group whose debut album was described as one of the top classical albums of 2010 by the Willamette Week, he is engaged in some of the most diverse projects of his career.

Hailed as a “terrific trumpeter” for his solo work by The New York Times, he also worked extensively with brass chamber groups including the Oregon Brass Quintet, Extension Ensemble, Manhattan Brass Quintet and the American Brass Quintet. As a member of the brass and percussion sextet Meridian Arts Ensemble from 2001-2010, McWhorter performed, commissioned and recorded some of the most demanding and progressive music ever written for brass. Meridian’s album “Timbrando” – a collection of Latin American contemporary works – was a profiled selection on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

McWhorter studied music composition for dance with Pia Gilbert and for film with Edward Bilous while at The Juilliard School. His film credits include the 1929 silent “Ed’s Coed,” Bluedot Production’s “Capoeira: Fly Away Beetle,” Eleanor Antin’s “The Man Without a World” and Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis.” He has worked with choreographers such as Gillmer Duran, CoCo Loupe, Shannon Mockli and Emma Cotter. He has also written for musical groups such as the Eugene Ballet Company, Alaska Dance Theatre, Pink Baby Monster, Clogs, LoadBang, Ne(x)tworks, The Ant’s Elbow and the Machine Project @ the Hammer Museum.

McWhorter is the music director for Orchestra Next, a training orchestra in residence with the Eugene Ballet Company with which he conducts several productions a year. He has conducted ensembles from the All-Star Brass to Third Angle, a new music ensemble based in Portland. He was the composer and conductor for the nationally broadcast 2014 IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships Opening Ceremonies, a piece for which he was featured in a focus article in The New York Times, and he served as guest conductor for the Anchorage Symphony’s production of “The Nutcracker” for the 2014-15 season.  McWhorter’s lone foray into the world of sculpture – The Extract-o-Rama – became the subject of a new documentary called “I Live for Art” [BlueDot Productions].

For more information, contact Cheryl Y. Boga, director of Performance Music at the University of Scranton by calling (570) 941-7624, emailing, or visiting

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