Towering Sounds

December 16, 2016

photo of Peter Urquhart at carillon

When it comes to campus traditions, there are few more familiar than the songs that toll from the Thompson Hall tower every morning at 11. Listen for a moment and you might hear a familiar tune — the theme from “Harry Potter,” perhaps, or, during the holiday season, a Christmas carol. This week, though, you may want to listen a little more closely as you walk through campus. That’s because 10 new student and staff compositions will make a ringing debut on the carillon.

Peter Urquhart, associate professor of music, has been the UNH carilloneur since 2000. Earlier this year, Urquhart began seeking submissions for the university’s second carillon composition contest. It was a way to make the instrument part of UNH’s sesquicentennial celebrations, as well as a way to draw attention to it.

He received submissions from undergraduates, graduate students and even staff members. Urquhart’s Music Theory II class chose the top 10 submissions, and the winning compositions began chiming across campus on Dec. 9.

One of the winners is Nate Faro ’15 ’16G, whose composition is based partly on a piece he’s writing for the UNH Wind Symphony. The symphony references UNH songs like “The Alma Mater” and “The New Hampshire Hymn,” and Faro had written a part for orchestral bells that he eventually scrapped.

“I feel like I’ve made a bit of a mark on the university,” he says. “It’s a really nice feeling when you have your own composition played, especially when you hear it ringing across campus.”

edited from a story by Larry Clow

Read the full story in UNH Today.

Watch Video: Behind the Music

“Old Ben’s Farm” Premiere

October 5, 2016

The UNH Wind Symphony in the College of Liberal Arts debuted an original composition by Andrew Boysen, UNH professor of music, commissioned for UNH’s Sesquicentennial Celebration. “Old Ben’s Farm” premiered on Friday, September 30, 2016 in the Whittemore Center.

Watch video:

Read about the composition process for this piece.

New CD: 3 O’Clock Jazz Band

April 29, 2016

CD cover

The University of New Hampshire 3 O’Clock Jazz Band, a student ensemble, has released a CD called “A Time for Celebration.” It was recorded in the Paul Creative Arts Center on November 24, 2015 and was edited, produced and directed by assistant professor of music Nathan Jorgensen. Guest artists on the recording are professor emeritus of music Dave Seiler on alto sax and professor of music Robert Stibler on trumpet.

Among the CD’s eight tracks are two original compositions commissioned for the band in honor of Seiler, who led the jazz program at UNH for 43 years: “A Time of Celebration” by John Clayton and “Irreggaeular Blues” by John La Barbera. The compositions are the first two to be written for the “Dave Seiler Commissioning Project,” an initiative started by Jorgensen that annually commissions a big band composition by a leading composer to be performed by the 3 O’Clock Jazz Band. Other tracks on the CD include “I Thought About You,” “Blues for Itchy,” “My Man Benny,” “Early Light,” “Beautiful Love” and “One July Midnight.”

Contact the music department to purchase the CD.

Tribute CD to Arlene Kies Released

April 18, 2016

CD cover

The Department of Music has released a new two-CD set, “Wohin,” in tribute to Arlene Kies, who served the department for 20 years as a piano teacher and performer before succumbing to cancer earlier this year. Professor of music David Ripley sings bass-baritone with Kies on piano. The CDs feature works by Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Charles Ives. The CD’s cover art was produced by Antonietta Kies, Arlene’s daughter.

“The recordings mostly represent work that Arlene and I did together in a few days during the summer of 2007 and lay untouched since that time,” says Ripley. “It was the idea of her husband [music professor Chris Kies] that these be made available to the public at least in some limited way as a tribute to her. It is my privilege to know that these recordings honor her life and her work. I believe that in every song you will experience the love, talent, artistry and dedication that are the esteemed hallmarks of her life and work.”

Present and former students of Arlene Kies may receive a free copy of the two-CD set by contacting Chris Kies at Copies also may be purchased through the Music Department Office. Contact for more info.

UNH Chamber Singers Release New CD

April 15, 2016

CD cover

The University of New Hampshire Chamber Singers, with Professor William Kempster conducting, has released “Pourquoy non?”, a new CD that features the work of Morten Lauridsen, Clare MacLean, and Pierre de la Rue. The CD also includes first recordings of an original composition by Kempster, You May Bury Me in de Eas’, as well as a spiritual, Steal Away.

Contact the Department of Music for more information or to purchase the CD at

View the track list here.

Music Professor Publishes Book of Reviews on Classical Recordings

April 13, 2016

book cover

Associate professor of music Rob Haskins has been a critic for “The American Record Guide” since 1993. In his newest book, “Classical Listening: Two Decades of Reviews from ‘The American Record Guide,'” he collects hundreds of his reviews for the Guide into one volume. “Classical Listening” provides record collectors, students and scholars, and the general public a resource for understanding the trajectory of classical music recordings over the last two decades.

Haskins, both musicologist and performer, is the author of “John Cage” (2012). He has recorded two CDs for Mode Records, John Cage’s “Two2” with pianist Laurel Karlik Sheehan and Marc Chan’s “My Wounded Head 3.”

Learn more.

Dave Seiler to receive Lifetime Achievement Award from New Hampshire Band Directors Association

April 11, 2016

Dave Seiler

Professor Emeritus of Music Dave Seiler has been chosen to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Hampshire Band Directors Association (NHBDA). This award has only been given out twice before, once in 2006 and once in 2014. The award letter to Seiler reads, in part:  “It is the opinion of the NHBDA Executive Board that you are someone who fits the criteria for this award perfectly. You received the NHBDA Outstanding Band Director Award in 2007 and you have had a highly visible and successful career at UNH. Your professional work in New England is well known and is ongoing. Your name comes to mind whenever anyone speaks of jazz in New Hampshire.” Seiler will receive the award on July 8, 2016.

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