With a little more than a week to go, countless final preparations are being made in the lead-up to Northwestern University’s inauguration of President Michael H. Schill on June 2.
Musical components, for example, will play a significant role in the historic event.
Before the presidential party processes, members of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble will perform “Spring Fanfare,” which was commissioned by Northwestern and composed by Alex Mincek, assistant professor of composition and music technology at the Bienen School of Music.
“I usually write esoteric experimental kinds of music versus ceremonial music,” said Mincek. “So, it’s been a fun challenge to try and write something that can function in this manner.”
A short ceremonial tune or flourish, a fanfare is typically played on brass instruments. Even the untrained ear will recognize John Williams’ goosebump-inducing “Olympic Fanfare and Theme,” which has been heard during every Olympic Games since 1984.
Mallory Thompson ’79, ’80 MMus, the John W. Beattie Chair of Music and director of bands at Bienen, has provided input on Mincek’s score and will conduct the student brass ensemble in performance of the fanfare at Wilson Field in Ryan Fieldhouse.
“The Bienen School of Music is thrilled that many of our student musicians and faculty will be represented at the inauguration ceremony and related events,” said Bienen School Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery. “We are especially pleased to premiere ‘Spring Fanfare’ as a tribute to President Schill on this momentous occasion in Northwestern history.”
“Spring Fanfare” uses notes traditional to a bugle call harmonized with unexpected notes that create dissonance — and quite colorful resonance — that are absorbed or resolved through the form of the piece, Mincek explained.
In composing the piece, he said he wanted to honor the full breadth of the University.
“People at Northwestern are constantly breaking down barriers and looking for new ways to create and innovate,” he said. “This music is a great metaphor for that sense of exploration or pushing beyond what is familiar.”
Members of the Northwestern community are invited to livestream the ceremony, beginning at 10 a.m. Friday, June 2, from the official inauguration website.