Hot Off The Press! stuns audiences



Violinists and cello players performing during Hot Off The Press! which took place March 6 at Terry Concert Hall.

Gabriela Lovera, Editor-in-Chief

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —  On March 6, senior composition major Daniel Farrell, along with JU alumnus Anne McKennon, JU professor Jianjun He , and local composer Piotr Szewczyk starred in Hot Off The Press!, an orchestra ensemble of new music aimed at recognizing the Delius Composition Award winners and composition professors.

The Delius Composition Award is both a recognition and a commission to write an orchestral piece for the College of Fine Arts’ orchestra.

JU alumnus McKennon was the 2016 recipient. As a result, she was commissioned by the JU orchestra to develop a composition.

According to McKennon, her piece, entitled “Emergence”, had no particular source of inspiration.

“It took approximately a year and a half,” wrote McKennon in an online interview. “Emergence has no specific inspiration. I wrote the piece as a result of the 2016 Delius Composition Award.”

McKennon faced several challenges while developing her piece; among these being a lack of familiarity in composing for string instruments.

‘ Emergence’ is only my second large ensemble piece,” said McKennon.  “That made the process seem very large and daunting. Also, as a flute player, I am much more familiar with winds than strings.”

Daniel Farrell, on the other hand, premiered “Fiat Lux,” an exploratory epic composition which translates directly into “Let There Be Light”, also known as JU’s motto. This piece is particularly dear to Farrell since he named it after the school’s motto.

The music developed in this piece not only symbolizes Farrell’s farewell to JU but also strived to evoke the process of creation within the universe.

Rehearsals for Hot Off The Press! began in early February. For Farrell, putting on the show was particularly challenging due to the limited amount of rehearsal time.

“The biggest challenge was the complete unfamiliarity with the pieces because they were new,” wrote Farrell in an online interview.

After graduating JU, Farrell hopes to attend New York University and get a Masters in Music Composition & Theory in Film and Media Scoring.

For McKennon, Farrell’s recognition was well deserved.

“Daniel Farrell was a classmate of mine,” wrote McKennon in an online interview. “I was pleased to see him win the Delius Award in 2017 and I was eager to play his piece well.”

In the end, Hot Off The Press! not only recognized the accomplishments of talented JU composers but also introduced the audience to a new form of music.

McKennon believes that the music world and all forms of art are changing. As a musician, she believes that it is her duty to reflect this change.

“My hope is to captivate my audience,” said McKennon. “Each person is encouraged to have their own individual experience and emotional response; if my work generates emotion, any emotion at all, I have done my job.”