Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Recap: 'Noles Perform at Carnegie Hall

The Florida State University College of Music is proud to report that on Tuesday, May 3, 2022, graduate performance ensemble Project Synthesis performed in Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall in New York City. Project Synthesis is made up of two duos: the MacLean-Cheng duo with Hannah MacLean (violin) and Iris Cheng (piano) and Duo Ferula with Blake Adams (saxophone) and Kelli Ray (clarinet).

Project Synthesis explores a diversity of soundscapes through a unique array of timbres and musical styles. The program featured works written, commissioned, and arranged within the last century, including works by Meara O'Reilly, Jacob de Bandolim, Gabriela Ortiz, Shawn Okpebholo, David Biedenbender, and George Enescu. These modern compositional voices embrace a multiplicity of styles, creating new sound worlds where popular, jazz, indigenous, and classical music converge. Project Synthesis also performed an original work by FSU’s own Kyle Brown titled Etherea for Mixed Ensemble.

Following the performance, several ensemble members shared their thoughts on the experience:

Kelli Ray:

"Performing on such a renowned stage as Carnegie Hall was a true honor. I will never forget the feeling of being mesmerized by the hall’s beauty, which paled in comparison only to the experience of playing our first notes on that stage. The preparation leading to the performance included organizing community outreach engagements, creating promotional material, and rehearsing many hours. Meeting and working with so many outstanding people throughout that process was a joyous experience that really allowed me to savor the moments onstage. Duo Ferula collaborated with many composers to commission new works for the clarinet and saxophone idiom, which was one of our main goals upon entering this endeavor.

I am tremendously thankful to the College of Music for providing us with this opportunity. I gained valuable insight into the business, marketing, and entrepreneurial areas that constitute a performance of this nature, and I plan to implement this knowledge in my future musical activities. I hope to work with my talented colleagues Blake Adams, Hannah MacLean, Iris Cheng, and Kyle Brown again in the near future!"

Hannah MacLean:

"The opportunity to perform in Carnegie Hall was a transformational experience for us as young musicians. Iris Cheng and I have played together as a violin-piano duo since our undergraduate degrees. As a duo, we have been coached and mentored by incredible musicians, including Dr. Shannon Thomas and Dr. Heidi Louise Williams. This Carnegie Hall performance was a culmination of all of these years of studies and dedication. The acoustics at Weill Recital Hall allowed us to hear each musical nuance more clearly, pushing us to explore new sound colours. The audience that joined us included family and friends from across the country as well as residents of New York City. We were honoured that so many came to hear us! It was a delight to share works by Shawn E. Okpebholo, David Baker, and George Enescu. Working closely with Duo Ferula and Kyle W. Brown on his newly commissioned work was a rewarding collaborative project.

Through this experience we gained entrepreneurial skills, such as writing a press release, interviewing for WFSU, and increasing our online presence through our website and on Instagram @chengmacleanduo. Other community engagement included school visits and performing for donors at the FSU Honors Convocation. We are so grateful to Florida State University for this life-changing experience!"

Iris Cheng:

"Performing at Carnegie Hall was a memorable bookend to the performance aspect of my graduate studies. It was a joy collaborating as a duo with violinist Hannah MacLean as well as with clarinetist Kelli Ray, saxophonist Blake Adams, and composer Kyle W. Brown. As an avid chamber musician and new music enthusiast, I was grateful for the opportunity to showcase the music of Shawn Okpebholo, David Baker, George Enescu, and Kyle W. Brown in a historied and beautiful space. Submitting a proposal for the FSU Carnegie Hall Entrepreneurship Competition also encouraged me to think more deeply on how I might engage and enrich the communities I find myself in, whether that be in Tallahassee, Panama City, or New York."


For additional photos from this performance, be sure to check out the photo gallery on our Facebook page (/musicFSU).