Project 21 just finished its third concert and is preparing for the last concert of the semester. There will be an additional four concerts presented next semester.
Project 21: Music for the 21st Century is a student-run organization where student composers of all majors get the opportunity to showcase pieces of music that they’ve written.
Project 21 hosts four free concerts per semester and presents a variety of musical genres like chamber music, music theater, film scoring, and choral pieces.
“I like to tell people that if they don’t like a piece, just wait for the next one because they’re always new and they’re always different,” said Dr. Edward Knight, composer-in-residence and director of music composition.
Project 21 collaborates across disciplines of OCU throughout the year. Composers will collaborate with five student choreographers and dancers to perform a show to their original music in January. Most recently, the music of two student composers was featured in TheatreOCU’s production of The Crucible.
“We really allow the composers to have their own voice and write all styles of music,” Knight said. “We often have musical theater majors who double major in composition and only want to write music theater, but I tell them if you want to work, and everyone does, it’s good to know how to write everything. We try to expose the students to different styles and give them a chance to do everything.”
Concerts are typically an hour long and feature eight to 12 pieces of music, all written by students.
“I feel like other composition programs don’t get the same opportunities that we do here because we can have anything we write be performed,” said Craig Ford, composition and education freshman.
“Other universities go through a long process to have their pieces chosen, but we are all student organized, meaning Dr. Knight doesn’t have complete say. It’s really a positive experience for us, and I feel it’s important to have our music read by live musicians.”
The next concert will be at 8 p.m. Dec. 2 in the Medium Rehearsal Hall in Wanda L. Bass Music Center. Admission is free to the public.
“Everyone is welcome,” Knight said. “Music by your peers is the most current music you’re going to hear, and if you don’t like anything in the concert, then you probably just don’t like music.”
Next semester’s Project 21 schedule can be found at project21composers.com/concerts.