KU News Release

April 19, 2010
Contact: Erin Curtis-Dierks, School of Music, (785) 864-9742

Pinckney Elementary students to perform work composed with KU doctoral student

More Information

LAWRENCE — Daniel Musselman, a doctoral student in music composition at the University of Kansas, soon will wrap up his work as a composer-in-residence at Pinckney Elementary School in Lawrence.

Musselman’s main project during his residency has been a poetry workshop for all fifth- and sixth-grade choir members at Pinckney. He coached students on writing song lyrics and helped conduct a lyrics competition. Musselman chose three poems from the workshop and set them to music. The final song cycle is titled “Music Is …”

The choirs will perform the work at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 29, at Pinckney Elementary School, 810 W. Sixth St. The concert will be conducted by Julie Alley, Pinckney’s music director, and is free and open to the public.

“I started the project by giving a short talk to the fifth- and sixth-grade students about what it means to be a composer and what I look for when writing vocal music,” said Musselman. “The students then participated in a poetry competition and I worked with Julie Alley to choose finalists. The poems presented some interesting and rewarding challenges, and I am thrilled with the way this initiative turned out. I helped Julie introduce my cycle to the choir just last week and I talked to the winning poets about how I interpreted and set their poetry to music.”

Student poems that comprise “Music Is ...” are “Everybody Should Love Music,” “Music Can Be” and “Like A River.” In addition, students will perform other songs at the concert, including “Everybody Loves Saturday Night” and “Peace Will Come.”

Alley said the music program this year explored the ways music, specifically singing and drumming, can bring about peace, joy and working together. With help from a grant from the Lawrence Schools Foundation and gifts from parents and friends, the fifth- and sixth-graders have been participating in an African-style drumming circle.

A native of Pennsylvania, Musselman creates music that combines lyricism, vitality and accessibility. He received a bachelor’s degree from Bob Jones University, Greenville, S.C., in spring 2002 and a master’s degree in composition from Westminster Choir College, Rider University, in spring 2004. At KU, he has studied with James Barnes, Forrest Pierce, Joel Phillips and Dwight Gustafson.

Musselman has written works include a chamber opera and pieces for chorus, instrumental ensembles and vocal and instrumental soloists. He received the 2008 Anthony Cius Outstanding Composer Award at KU, and his works have been featured on Kansas Public Radio. He has been commissioned by numerous soloists and ensembles, and his works have been performed in Europe, Asia and across the United States.

Aside from composing, Musselman is a conductor and accomplished pianist. He has instructed students at Interlochen Center for the Arts and founded a private piano studio, Brilliance Among Us.

Musselman lives in Lawrence with his wife, Malinda.

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