Society of Composers: Modern Classical Music Concerts

February 22, 2018

First SCI national conference in Tacoma;
Free, public concerts;
Thurs., March 1–Sat., March 3

TACOMA, Wash. – Fifty-seven composers of modern classical music are coming from around the country to Tacoma—and you are invited to join them to hear their highly imaginative and eclectic new works.

Eight public concerts, free and open to all, will form part of the 2018 Society of Composers, Inc. National Conference, hosted at University of Puget Sound, March 1–3, by the college’s School of Music. The concerts will feature the dynamic ensemble Heartland Marimba Quartet and eight Puget Sound musical groups, including the Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Adelphian Concert Choir, and Dorian Singers.

Critically acclaimed composers Joel Puckett and Jake Runestad will be leading a panel discussion, and each will join the audience as one of their major works is performed. Puckett is a music chair at Peabody Conservatory, Johns Hopkins University, whose opera Black Sox will premiere in March 2019. Runestad is the Minneapolis-based creator of the groundbreaking Dreams of the Fallen and a recipient of the 2017 McKnight Fellowship.

The public concerts over three days at the Society of Composers Inc. (SCI) conference will include four world premieres: three by student winners of the SCI Student Commission Competition, and a concerto for marimba quartet and wind ensemble by Paul Alan Price-Brenner. There also will be a musical celebration of the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth.

“This is a great opportunity to take the pulse of modern classical music,” said Rob Hutchinson, professor of music theory and composition at Puget Sound. “There will be atonal pieces, aleatoric pieces, electro-acoustic pieces with real-time interactive computer processing, pieces incorporating the sound and aesthetic of popular music, as well as neo-tonal and neo-romantic music.”

Keith Ward, director of the School of Music, said visitors will be treated to a musical feast, from the traditionally lyrical to progressive works. “The SCI conference is a three-day celebration of the creative spirit, an event that promises to be both memorable and indelible.”

The free public concerts will all be in Schneebeck Concert Hall, near the corner of Union Avenue and N. 14th Street on campus. Tickets are not required. Most of the works are by SCI members, in a program including:

Thursday, March 1
7:30 p.m.  Heartland Marimba Quartet: SCI student winners’ premieres

Friday, March 2
10 a.m.  Chamber Music 1
2 p.m.  Electro-Acoustic Music
7:30 p.m.  Symphony Orchestra: SCI works and Leonard Bernstein celebration

Saturday, March 3
10 a.m.  Chamber Music 2
 2 p.m.  Choral and Vocal Concert: including a work by Jake Runestad
 3:30 p.m.  Chamber Music 3
 7:30 p.m.  Wind Ensemble: Price-Brenner world premiere and Joel Puckett adagio

The University of Puget Sound School of Music residencies of guest composers Joel Puckett and Jake Runestad are supported by the Norton Clapp Visiting Artist Endowment.

The Society of Composers, Inc. is a professional society concerned with the fellowship, collaboration, career goals, and objectives of new and contemporary music composers and those interested in topics related to composition. Founded in 1965, it today has about 1,500 members from the United States, Canada, and overseas.

For directions and a map of the University of Puget Sound campus:
For accessibility information please contact or 253.879.3931, or visit

Photos on page: From top: Heartland Marimba Quartet; Joel Puckett; Jake Runestad

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