University of South Florida

College of The Arts

University of South Florida

Professor Eunmi Ko Presents a Concert of New Music by USF Music Alumnus Tyler Kline at the Tampa Museum of Art

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

USF assistant professor of piano Eunmi Ko presents a midday concert of new music by USF music alumnus and composer Tyler Kline at the Tampa Museum of Art on April 7.

The concert, Orchard: Fifty Musical Impressions on Fruit, brings USF music students and other guest pianists together to perform and record all 50 pieces of Kline’s Orchard for the first time.

“This museum concert will be all 50 of them, and I don’t know the next time it will be all 50 of them again,” said Kline.

The concert is the first of what Ko hopes will be a long-lasting collaboration between the Tampa Museum of Art and the talented musical community of the USF College of The Arts. The event is free and open to the public, and it brings attention to a meaningful collaboration between a USF composer and USF musicians.

Orchard is a collection of short pieces for solo piano that was developed as a consortium, meaning that project commissioners provided funding and input toward the creation of the work. Ko, a pianist committed to the performance of new music, commissioned six of Orchard’s 50 pieces. In all, 27 supporters participated in the consortium.

Ko saw the project as a chance to work with Kline and get her students involved. Her students premiered Orchard in March of 2018.

“It was very new to them and they hadn’t really played inside the piano plucking and muting and playing harmonics,” said Ko. “They are so part of this and they are so excited about this.”

Project supporters such as Ko were able to commission a short piece of Orchard based on their choice of fruit, the project’s central focus being on fruit and the land from which it comes. The collection of 50 works was written with no regard to piece order, therefore the piece can be performed in any order the performer sees fit.

“One pianist has the liberty to change the experience for the audience depending on which order in which the pieces go,” said Kline. “The idea that all of these pianists are coming up with their own ways of presenting this piece is really exciting for me because its ways that I can’t even imagine. It’s out of my hands. It’s exciting for me.”

As an extensive composition composed of numerous small, etude-like pieces, Orchard also encourages musicians to choose selections from the work to perform in concert, thereby adding to the sense of limitless performance variations.

Through Orchard, Kline taps into the agrarian roots of his home state of Kentucky. He comes from a small town where the landscape and local economy centered on farming. He incorporates inspiration from the writings of Kentucky poet, novelist, and environmentalist Wendell Berry. Through this composition centered on agricultural themes, he pays tribute to his ancestors, many of whom were farmers.

While April 7 marks the first performance of the piece in its entirety, Ko has already performed selections around the world. Ko has performed selections from Orchard at recital lectures in the United States, Greece, Italy, and Taiwan. In February, she went to the regional College Music Society conference in Orlando to disseminate the piece with USF piano student Jescelyn Wijaya.

Orchard has been an important addition to Ko’s piano pedagogy. Since the individual pieces are so short, they provide an accessible way for piano students to be introduced to new music. Some pieces of Orchard use extended techniques, unconventional performance techniques such as plucking or muting the strings of a grand piano. This introduction to extended techniques expands student’s performance abilities in an approachable format.

“If you’ve never muted a piano before, played that technique, well here’s an opportunity to do it for a minute in a different context,” said Kline.

Kline will discuss this and more at a joint recital with the USF piano and composition studios on April 4. He will talk about the unique process of conducting a large music composition consortium as opposed to more conventional commission, which relies on significant support from a single party.

Orchard: Fifty Musical Impressions on Fruit will be held at the Tampa Museum of Art on Sunday, April 7 at 1:00 p.m.

The concert will include performances by Ko, Kline, and USF alumni Megasari Elisabet Honggokusuma, Sarah Abigail del Monte, and Adnieszka Zick. Also included are performances by current USF piano students Jescelyn Wijaya and Brandon Baltodano, and Orchard commissioners Ann DuHamel, Mijung An, and Grace Huang.

The event is generously supported by The Music Gallery in Clearwater.

For more event information, visit the event page on the Tampa Museum of Art website.