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Monday, June 24, 2024

UF to host Society of Composers Inc. National Conference beginning Thursday

Four years ago, professor of music Dr. Paul Richards started the Florida Contemporary Music Festival. After the festival debut, he planned on holding the festival every other year until students urged him to do it annually.

"‘Fine,’" Richards said, recalling the moment he agreed. "‘But you’ve gotta help.’"

Beginning Thursday, UF will host the Society of Composers Inc. (SCI) 50th Anniversary National Conference, which has significantly grown in size since last year.

Last year, there were two composers visiting, and this year there are 86.

The conference will last three days, with four concerts per day. The concerts will be held at the University Auditorium, the Music Building and the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The conference will conclude Nov. 14 with a closing gala concert titled "Music of Our Time" at 7:30 p.m. at the Phillips Center.

The free event will include internationally recognized award-winning composer, pianist and Indiana University Jacobs School of Music professor Don Freund. Other performers will include the Red Clay Saxophone Quartet, pianist Dan Koppelman, pianist Mary Hellmann and musicians from soundSCAPE, a new music festival in Italy.

"It’s a composers conference, which in some ways is like other academic conferences. There are specialists from around the country that are coming to share their work with each other," Richards said. "Unlike academic conferences this might be interesting to non-academics."

In every concert there will be various kinds of music and different instrument groups, with some involving electronics.

The conference attracts composers and musicians from all over the country to perform along with local UF students and faculty.

"This is largely the cutting edge of music, these are people who are experimenting with the possibilities of sound," Richards said. "The performers are world class."

Ismael Sandoval, a 22-year-old UF music education and music composition fifth-year student, volunteered to be a part of the conference this year.

As a guest relations volunteer, he will be getting his hands on anything he can, from sound to parking.

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Sandoval is excited to be a part of the event for the first time. For him, the conference is something he can personally learn from.

"I’m looking forward to not only listening to what music is being composed all around the country but it being right here in my own backyard," Sandoval said.

He estimates that most of UF’s music school will be in attendance because of the fact that they specifically shut it down for the event’s concerts.

"There are a lot of different composers around the country even the world that are doing pretty cool things and given the chance, I think that people would really find them exciting or enjoyable," he said.

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