Composition for Band by PSU Music Major Melanie Donahue

August 14th, 2007 by Adam

composerMelanie Donahue of Littleton, a Plymouth State University senior music major, has had an original composition for band published by Alfred Publishing Company, one of the world’s largest publishers of written music.

compositionEire was premiered by the Plymouth State Symphonic Band at their spring 2006 concert and is reported to be the only piece by a female composer in the Alfred band catalog.

“Melanie’s composition is very tuneful, and it draws upon the popularity of Celtic music worldwide,” said Professor Gary Corcoran, director of bands at Plymouth State. “J. W. Pepper and Son, one of the largest sheet music distributors in the U. S., has included Eire on its Editors’ Choice promotional recordings, which almost guarantees that the piece will reach a much wider audience than it might have otherwise. Melanie’s music reflects an intuitive craftsmanship. She has a wonderful opportunity at this time continue to develop her craft to the highest level possible.”

Donahue began composing during her junior year of high school. She was accepted at Plymouth State and found herself drawn to composition classes. Those classes offered significant opportunity to work one-to-one with Dr. Jonathan Santore, professor of music theory and composition and chair of the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at PSU.

quartet photo quartet photoSantore, himself an award-winning composer, “could tell that the finished product would be something special. … it ‘works’ for band—that verb covers a wide range of issues that confront any director selecting a composition for performance by an ensemble. I think this is the beginning of a notable compositional career,” Santore said.

Eire began as a class assignment and was written specifically for band, but the melody which became the theme for the work was in Donahue’s head for two years. A second theme is composed in Irish jig style. Donahue says it is “celebratory—perhaps like St. Patrick’s day—and reflective of another aspect of Irish culture.” The piece is currently online at www.alfred-music.com.

Composition requires more than technical skill—the process involves research, in this case about Irish music, the immigrant experience, and family history. The novice composer likes to walk along the ocean, and kept hearing the central theme of the work in her head as she did so.

”I am so fortunate that Dr. Santore gave me the opportunity to write this piece and to have it performed,” said Donahue. “Speaking with noted composer and publisher Robert Sheldon at Alfred was a wonderful experience.”

Sheldon says Donahue is a very talented writer and predicts that she will have great success. “An acceptance into our catalogue means that her work was selected over hundreds of other pieces that were not accepted, including many by previously published and successful composers. Eire is a delightful composition that will be very playable by bands across the country.”

In the News

Example Image

Three local high schools to compete in 31st season of ‘Granite State Challenge’ on NHPTV

Monitor staff Monday, November 24, 2014 (Published in print: Tuesday, November 25, 2014) Some of the smartest students in the state are gearing up to compete in the 31st season of the Granite State Challenge on New Hampshire Public Television. Students from 16 high schools will participate in the televised competition, including teams from Concord […]

Example Image

Plymouth State students, alumni provide Thanksgiving meals

By DAN SEUFERT Union Leader Correspondent Andy McDonnell, an alumni of Plymouth State University and the Phi Beta Upsilon fraternity, works with Rev. Preston Fuller of the Tilton-Northfield United Methodist Church, who checks off a donations list on his clipboard. (DAN SEUFERT/Union Leader Correspondent) PLYMOUTH — Thanksgiving meals came early to hundreds of low-income and elderly […]

Example Image

Knowledge is power

PLYMOUTH––All that glitters is not gold, and everything you read on the Internet is not true. Finding reliable, factual reference information in today’s high technology world is not easy, but Plymouth State University’s Lamson Library and Learning Commons is showing Rivendell Academy students the best way to ferret out what’s fact from fiction. Twenty-seven juniors […]