Dr. Marilyn Shrude and Dr. John Sampen

Dr. Marilyn Shrude (left) and Dr. John Sampen rehearse Shrude’s composition “Lacrimosa.”

Shrude premieres new work in Orlando

There was deep meaning and emotion behind the music when Dr. Marilyn Shrude’s “Lacrimosa” premiered July 29 at the national convention of Sigma Alpha Iota, the professional fraternity for women musicians.

When she was commissioned three years ago to write the piece for the triennial event, Shrude began composing a lively, fast work. But unexpected events changed the mood dramatically. “I was in residence at the Moscow Conservatory in April 2006 and was working on the piece,” she recalled. “I received word that two of our BGSU graduates had been killed in a plane crash in Indiana. Needless to say, this was a tremendous shock. Robert Samels was a composition student of mine—an incredibly talented musician.

“I made an instant decision to recast the piece into something that was much more somber and introspective. The title, ‘Lacrimosa,’ is Latin for tears and weeping. It reflects the many moods that such an event might evoke,” she said.

Fittingly, Shrude and her husband, Dr. John Sampen, both Distinguished Artist/Research Professors in the College of Musical Arts, performed Shrude’s 10-minute piece for piano and saxophone following the fraternity’s memorial service for past presidents of the organization.

To be eligible to perform at the SAI convention, musicians must be members of the organization, which Sampen was not. BGSU’s student chapter of SAI solved the problem by inducting him as a national arts associate. “It’s a nice honor for him, and one he certainly deserves,” Shrude said of her husband. An internationally known, award-winning classical saxophone specialist with a doctorate from Northwestern University, Sampen is coordinator of woodwinds in the music performance studies department.

Along with being commissioned to write pieces for the SAI convention, Shrude and fellow composer James Cohn also judged the triennial Inter-American Music Award Competition. The winning composition was performed by the Dallas Brass.

“Lacrimosa” will be published by C.F. Peters music publishers as part of the Sigma Alpha Iota Inter-American Music Awards Publication Series. “C.F. Peters is very distinguished and one of the oldest publishing houses in the United States, so I’m especially pleased to have them publish my work,” Shrude said.

She has written for piano and saxophone before, including “Renewing the Myth,” which in 2002 was the required piece for the 150 participants at the Third International Adolphe Sax Concours in Belgium.

Shrude has been on BGSU’s music faculty since 1977 and is chair of the musicology/composition/theory department. The founder and past director of the University’s MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music, she co-directs the annual New Music and Art Festival.

She has received many awards and honors for her compositions, including the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in 2000, the MTNA Composer of the Year Award in 2001 and the 2003 Hofstra Arts Festival Award. Her works have been recorded for a number of labels and published by the American Composers Alliance, Editions Henry Lemoine of Paris, Neue Musik Verlag of Berlin, Southern Music and Thomas House.

July 31, 2006