Constitution Day Concert Celebration Features CU Composition Prize Winner

September 15, 2008

A prize-winning composition by a University of Colorado at Boulder student that seeks to reflect in music what our Founding Fathers were feeling when they gathered to write the Constitution will be performed in a concert in celebration of Constitution Day, Sept. 17.

"Novus Ordo Seclorum" (New Order for the Ages), by Hunter Ewen, a master's degree student in composition, will be featured in the Pendulum New Music Concert Series on Wednesday, Sept. 17, at 7:30 p.m. The concert, which opens with "Fanfare" by Daniel Kellogg, commissioned and performed by the CU Horn Choir, will be held in Grusin Music Hall. The event is free and open to the public, with a reception following.

Ewen's piece won the Constitution Day composition competition co-sponsored by the College of Music and the CU-Boulder Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement.

When composing the piece, Ewen set out to capture the ethos of the political culture at the time of the Philadelphia convention. On Sept. 17, 1787, 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention adopted the Constitution of the United States of America. The Constitution officially took effect on March 4, 1789.

"There are several unusual elements in this composition, all of which reinforce the sense of community, as well as the idea of stepping off a ledge and diving headfirst into the unknown," said Ewen, who composed the piece for a multimedia presentation including musicians, dramatic readings and music generated and notated by a computer.

"Their uncertainties about the future of the country translate into our uncertainties about what's going to happen next, musically," said Ewen. "Their sense of community becomes our sense of community, their fearlessness becomes our fearlessness."

Each year the Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement undertakes a project to commemorate the Constitution. Activities from previous years include an art competition, debates, and online quizzes.

"We try to keep it lively and sponsor an activity that will capture people's imaginations," said Peter Simons, director of the Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement.

For information about the Sept. 17 performance call the College of Music Concerts Box Office at 303-492-8008. For more information about the College of Music visit www.colorado.edu/music. Information on the Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement is available at www.colorado.edu/iece.

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