Thirty Newtown High School student composers will be featured at the 4th annual NHS Composers’ Concert! This free concert will take place on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at 7:00PM in the NHS Cafetorium. The event will feature excellent student work from our school's music theory/composition and music technology programs. With projects ranging from classical-style chorales to electronic and video game music, the concert will demonstrate our young composers' abilities to merge technique and structure with personal expression. Acoustic pieces will be performed by the talented NHS New Music Ensemble.
Students in Mr. Lee's Music Technology classes rang in the New Year with fun, original ringtones and excellent final projects. Here are some great samples...
You'll notice the ringtones repeat a few times to give full impression of a ringing smartphone. Don't be surprised if you find yourself reaching to answer the phone!
Dillon Lozinak located sheet music for a particular segment of a video-game score. He then entered the pitches and rhythms into our software sequencer to produce an energetic and impeccable rendering of the music.
Jetson Ku sampled a short audio snippet which served as a springboard for original music. Drawing from the harmonies and emotions of the singer, Jetson created a rich blend of chordal and rhythmic accompaniment, giving the sampled voice a new musical context.
Students in Mr. Lee’s music technology classes have been producing creative work this semester! Check out some examples:
Sophomore Brian Buonocore skillfully manipulated the compositional elements of drone, ostinato, harmony, melody, and rhythm, crafting a fine example of program music. The music evokes a foreboding, distant volcano.
Freshman Quinn McAndrew merged original musical lines with sampled audio to create this catchy and polished remix song.
Sophomore Sasha Allen set traditional musical elements into a contemporary idiom with this high-energy and well-crafted selection.
Original works of twenty-nine Newtown High School composers were presented and celebrated at the school's 3rd annual Composers' Concert on April 20, 2016. The event was coordinated by music teacher Chris Lee, who was "delighted with the range of genre and breadth of expression demonstrated by this year's composers." The Newtown High School New Music Ensemble was on hand to offer sensitive performances of acoustic pieces, while numerous other works were "performed" by various software applications. Here is a sampling of the evening's treasures...
Students in Mr. Lee's Music Technology classes have been creating compelling original compositions throughout the first half of the school year. Check out some examples from the close of the fall semester...
In Jetson Ku's final project, Jetson paired a borrowed vocal track with accompanying music of his own creation, demonstrating the technical care and artistic vision necessary to compose a compatible and organic "back-up track."
In a joint final project by Thomas Jensen and John McCann, artistic collaboration resulted in an engaging musical work with detail, form, and texture.
Throughout the early months of school, students in Mr. Lee's Newtown High School music classes have been creating and talking about music in myriad ways. In Harmony and Composition I, students have sharpened their active listening skills, building a rich lexicon with which to explain the musical world around them. In AP Music Theory, our young composers have laid the groundwork for 4-part chorale writing, a pedagogical practice that dates back to Mozart and earlier. Meanwhile, as Jazz Improvisation students have developed their blues and scale vocabularies, Music Technology classes have employed a technique called "vertical layering" to create interactive video game scores. The musical universe is a diverse one indeed!
And here are snippets of video game scores from Music Technology 1 and 2. Each student used the pentatonic pitch collection and their sense of rhythm to create a multilayered fabric of musical texture, much like the looping soundtracks of blockbuster video games.
New music for Super Mario Brothers - Underworld (excerpt)
New music for Rayman Legends (excerpt)
New music for Super Mario Brothers - Overworld (excerpt)
The 2nd Annual Newtown High School Composers' Concert, held April 22, 2015, featured the work of 21 talented student composers. Compelling electronic compositions alternated with acoustic works performed live by the NHS New Music Ensemble, a select group of student musicians assembled for the event. Musical styles ranged from 18th-century chorales to ambient and beat-driven electronic music. Check out a few examples!
Joey Whelan - Excerpt from September is Calling (Senior Project)
[Richie Sadlon, soprano sax]
Judge Russell - Free Project (from Music Technology 3)
Greg Grasso - Chorale in G minor (from AP Music Theory)
Fall 2014 saw much creative output from Mr. Lee's Music Technology classes. Here's just a sampling:
In sophomore Clare McKinley's project, atmospheric textures and motoric synth lines combine to paint an otherworldly soundscape.
In freshman Ethan Aug's project, the gradual build-up of tightly constructed tracks sweeps us away with joyful tunes and a toe-tapping beat.
Sophomore Jack Riebe's project evokes a gripping scene with his inexorable bass notes, serious beat, and cascading scales.
Newtown High School teacher Chris Lee has been appointed the national College Board Advisor for AP Music Theory for the 2015-16 academic year. As such, he'll be sitting on the AP Music Theory Development Committee, a panel of eight professionals from secondary and higher education that drives course content and writes each year's AP Music Theory Exam. As College Board Advisor, Mr. Lee will also serve as a primary resource for AP teachers across the country, helping to maintain support materials and facilitating discussions on the Online Teacher Community.
Students in Mr. Lee's Music Technology classes have been learning the ins and outs of music production software while creating compellingly original pieces of music. In Music Technology III, students have been preparing for the film-scoring unit by composing short musical "cues," each depicting a unique still image selected by the student. In these two examples, rich cinematic scenes are evoked in works by sophomore Clare McKinley and senior Chris Daly, who scored their music to images of a destroyed planet and a moonlit forest, respectively.
Student Work and News
From our young composers, producers, and performers at NHS.