The “Messages and Conversations” Faculty Artist Concert will be held March 6 in the University of Indianapolis’ Ruth Lilly Performance Hall. The concert will feature faculty performers and composers, including Doctor of Musical Arts and Adjunct Instructor at UIndy Meadow Bridgham as a composer.
According to Bridgham, the “Messages and Conversations” concert is their first performance since their DMA recital at Yale University. Bridgham said that they are looking forward to presenting their music again and that this concert is an ideal opportunity to do so.
Assistant Professor of Music at UIndy Eileen Mah was the one that came up with the theme for the “Messages and Conversations” concert, according to Mah. She said that while typically she would come up with a theme before selecting pieces to be played at the concert, it went the opposite way for “Messages and Conversations.”
“In this case, the pieces came first,” Mah said. “But I was able to find a theme in them, which is lovely. And it’s nice to approach concerts from both directions, because sometimes we don’t realize the themes that are there until afterward, and then we can bring those out.”
According to Mah, she realized that in almost all the pieces on the concert, the composers had in mind specific ideas directed at specific people—a granddaughter, a high school piano teacher now passed away, a best friend separated by the pandemic. In the case of the last piece on the program—a trio by Carl Maria von Weber—he wrote it for two musician friends with whom he had spent many evenings playing music and conversing through both words and music.
“… This trio is sort of like a musical representation of us getting together and having conversations both through words and through music,” Mah said.
According to Mah, this concert will showcase faculty composers and performers, as well as the broader ideas behind the concert. Mah said that part of the idea of the theme is that music is not only for the musicians, but can also have meaning to students and others attending the concert. She said that although students often attend concerts for the Lecture/Performance credit, it is wonderful when they are surprised and inspired to go to more concerts in the future for their own enjoyment rather than receiving the credit.
“There’s that idea of conversation and the human communication that happens through music …” Mah said. “When [the performers] were playing during the pandemic in an empty hall, they were just being recorded and streamed. They all said this felt so strange, and [they] had to bow because we were videotaping it. . . It was so weird to just come out and pretend that people were clapping and bowing. We need [an audience] in order for communication to happen. Sometimes we’re just shouting into the wind, but it really helps to have some kind of recipient there.”