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The College of Arts Sciences

Ensembles premiere work from undergraduate composers

By: Spencer DeRoos,  A&S Communications
Sun, 02/04/2018

Two undergraduate music students are having their pieces performed by major Cornell ensembles this semester.

Chris Worden ‘19 had his arrangement of Cole Porter’s All of You performed by the Cornell Jazz Ensemble on Feb. 11. This was the first time that Worden, a music major, had one of his pieces performed in a concert, although he has had compositions performed by other students in classes.

When Worden learned that his piece was selected to perform, “I wanted to revise it more,” he said. “But of course I was also excited — I hadn’t expected the piece to get a real performance outside of the band’s rehearsal read-throughs.”

Worden has been composing music since he began writing songs for voice and guitar in middle school. “Playing instruments, singing, and listening to music have been a central part of my life since elementary school,” he said. “I started out writing songs with my guitar, and eventually learned some recording and electronic production techniques that led me to a lot of collaborative work. The music I’ve listened to and performed has always pushed me to try writing in new styles and settings.” After graduating from Cornell he plans to pursue a PhD in music theory.

Thomas Rachman ‘20 will have his piece Passages premiered by the Symphony Orchestra on March 11. The concert will take place at 3 pm in Bailey Hall.

“The piece’s selection means a tremendous amount to me because I can share my work with a large audience and hear it performed by an awesome group of musicians,” Rachman said.

A sophomore biology major pursuing minors in math and music, Rachman has been composing music since seventh grade. “I started on violin when I was 5, and always loved to improvise, so eventually I tried writing down those improvisations.” Although he aims to go into academic research in computational biology, he wants to continue composing, as well.