The Front Row: Sarah McKoin

Oct 4, 2017

On this episode of The Front Row, we’re joined by Dr. Sarah McKoin, Texas Tech University Director of Bands, to learn more about what this year's band season will bring to the Lubbock community.

Give us an overview of the year of the bands.

This coming academic year is actually exciting. The wind ensemble got accepted to play at CBDNA (College Band Directors National Association) regional, which is at the University of Houston. So we will be doing that in March.

It’s a great honor. It’s the largest region in the country. Our symphonic band went a few years ago which was a huge honor for the band program to have the second group go. So we’re going and we were selected the top group and so we got our choice of when to play. As part of that, we’re taking the Mirasol Quartet with us on tour.

This concert is called “Celebrations and Remembrances.” Every composer on this concert has a specific anniversary or occasion that we want to celebrate.

Tell us about the concert.

We’re going to open with a piece by Shostakovich, “October,” it’s fitting, it’s October. It’s a transcription of Shostakovich’s only tone poem by Preston Mitchell, who is a Tech Alum. It sounds very much like Shostakovich, so there’s themes from the tenth symphony in it. Sounds like the fifth symphony. With a big finish.

And we’re going to do David Maslanka’s “Requiem,” he tragically passed away in August. There are pieces of his being done all over the country this year. So we are performing in his honor and memory.

Then we will do a harmony music, which is just a wind-octet version of Rossini’s “Italian in Algiers.” It’s a totally different sound than we’re used to hearing in an orchestra piece.

My graduate student is going to be conducting a piece called “Residences,” which is an atmospheric piece.

And then we’ll close with a salute to Leonard Bernstein and do the second movement of his “Jeremiah Symphony Profanation.”

How do you find this new music?

I think that our profession is very interested in new music and people know that leading programs can do this thing and they put time and energy into those performances. I think all over the country people are interested, it’s not just me and we tend to really respect and honor the composers who are writing today and I think the word is out that the best composers in the word are writing for us, which is exciting and it’s creating a viable, repertoire for our curriculum.