Faculty Artist Series celebrates composers

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Bailey Wilson

The School of Music celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the Miracle Year 1919 on Feb. 8, with their show “Miracle Year: The 1919 Viola Sonatas.”

The event was a part of the faculty artist series played by pianist Michael Bunchman and violist Hsiaopei Lee, Ph.D. The two faculty members worked together to play three pieces from various composers of the era such as Rebecca Clarke, Ernest Bloch and Paul Hindemith.  

Bunchman is a performer with a B.A. of music in piano performance. He has performed all over the nation, collaborating with many major music groups such as the Las Cruces Symphony, Opera Saratoga, Opera Santa Barbara, the Aspen Music Festival and the Natchez Music Festival.  

“It was not an easy show,” Bunchman said. “It takes a lot of hard work, but if you are passionate about it, you can do it with dedication and discipline.”

Choosing the pieces was not an easy task for the School of Music.

“We debated on whether to do all three pieces, due to length and due to all three being from the same year, so the sounds are very similar,” Bunchman said.

Lee is an associate professor of viola at Southern Miss. She has performed all over the world in three different continents, having collaborated in cities such as Paris, New York and Taipei.  

She says to students who wish to perform on such caliber: “Practice every day. Do not just look at notes for notes. You want to know why the composer marked those things, so phrase those notes.”  

Lee has played all three of these pieces before, but she has never put all three of them together, claiming that doing so this year is important due to them now being 100 years old. She went on to say that playing pieces like this one are especially challenging due to the length.  

“I really liked this. I’m a huge fan of the last piece. I loved it and will definitely be attending more of these [shows] in these in the future,” freshman music education major and viola player Anna Suarez said.

The performance was well-received by the audience and received a standing ovation at its end.