Tuesday, November 2, 2010

UIS commissions musical work to celebrate its 40th anniversary

The University of Illinois Springfield Concert Band will premiere a new work, Song and Spirit by Professor William Davis, written expressly for the 40th Anniversary of Sangamon State University and the University of Illinois Springfield. The premiere will take place as part of the 40th Anniversary Showcase Concert on November 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Sangamon Auditorium. The composer will be present. This event is in conjunction with the Annual Alumni Awards Dinner.

Davis was commissioned by the University of Illinois Springfield to write a commemorative piece of art music for wind band which musically portrays the synergetic energies developed on our campus over the past forty years. Song and Spirit is a ten plus minute concert work composed in an arch form with a spirited march at the apex of the form. This march is intended to be extractable as a school song, and a contest was held last month on campus to pen lyrics for and give a title to this new song extracted from Song and Spirit! This project was organized by UIS Music faculty Todd Cranson and supported by many on the UIS campus.

UIS currently has one official school song, the UIS Fight Song – Look to the Stars, by Phillip Snow. Mr. Snow was a student at UIS at the time he composed the music and lyrics. The newly commissioned piece of music will be an exciting addition to the musical legacy of the UIS campus.

The 40th Anniversary Showcase Concert will also feature the UIS Chorus, directed by Melinda Pitt Kaye, and the Chamber Orchestra. A slide show set to live music from our campus’ past will open the second half of the program and culminate with the premiere of Song and Spirit. The first half of the program will feature other works by Davis, including a solo with band featuring Todd Cranson on tuba and the composer conducting, as well as compositions by Antonio Vivaldi, John Philip Sousa, and a set of holiday favorites!

For more information about Song and Spirit, the 40th Anniversary Showcase Concert contact UIS Music via their website, www.uis.edu/music, or call 217/206-6240. For more information about the Alumni Awards Dinner, contact the UIS Alumni Association via their website, www.uiaa.org/uis, or call 217/206-7395.


William Davis is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Georgia, having taught in UGA's Hugh Hodgson School of Music from 1981 to 2009. His teaching fields included music composition, theory, and bassoon, and he also served as Associate Director of the School from 2003 to 2009.

He earned Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees at the University of Kansas, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Eastman School of Music. His composition teachers have been John Pozdro, Samuel Adler, and Warren Benson, and he studied bassoon with Austin Ledwith and David Van Hoesen. His published compositions include works for soloists, chamber ensembles, chorus, and symphonic band. His orchestral works have been performed by the Toronto Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, and other orchestras. He has performed solos and chamber music in the United States, Europe, and South America, and he is featured as composer and performer on numerous commercial compact discs.

Prior to his service at the University of Georgia, he was an Army Band Officer, a bassoonist in the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra, and a faculty member at West Texas State University. He has served in several officer positions in the International Double Reed Society, as President of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, and as President of the Southeastern Composers League. In 2006 he received the Albert Christ-Janer Award for Creative Research from the University of Georgia.

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