CLUTCH new music concert series features six UT student composers

Rajya Atluri

Growing up in Tatarstan, Russia, composition graduate student Adèle Faizullina remembers reading poems by Musa Dzhalil’ as a child. Now, halfway across the world, these poems have a new meaning. 

“I am Tatar, and we have our own culture, traditions and customs, and Musa Dzhalil’ is our national poet,” Faizullina said. “I know a lot about his life, and he’s one of my favorite poets. His life and his poems inspired me to write this piece.” 

Faizullina is a member of the new music program Collective Labors of the UT Composition Hub, or CLUTCH, which offers undergraduate and graduate student composers the opportunity to showcase their music within the UT community. On Oct. 3, Faizullina, along with five other music composition students, will have their original music performed at the Music Building and Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. 

Music associate professor Yevgeniy Sharlat took over the previous music composition series, Wet Ink, and renamed it CLUTCH in 2009. One of the first improvements he made was assembling a group of students to serve on a committee that manages the entire program. He was also able to improve attendance at the concerts.

“For the larger UT community, it’s the perfect chance to experience some of the best contemporary music of the young generation,” Sharlat said. 

Christopher Prosser, composition graduate student and coordinator of CLUTCH, said he thinks the program has several aspects that are important in the development of a young composer. 

“It gives composers the experience of working with performers, of finding performers to perform their music, which is something they will absolutely have to do once they finish school,” Prosser said. 

The concert will open with composition graduate student Thomas Yee’s piece about sublimation, one movement of his larger work called “Triple Point.” 

“[‘Triple Point’] is a reference to the three states of water essentially, and the different forms that water can take,” Yee said. “Sublimation is a really amazing phenomenon in nature in which water in solid form, or ice, goes directly to vapor without becoming water first, so that’s basically what you’re hearing depicted.” 

Yee said that although he deeply respects classical music, he feels it’s important to support new music as well.

“Within UT, it’s really important that we foster the voices of student composers and hear what they have to say, not just because they might be the up-and-coming composers of tomorrow, but because these composers will have a lot of messages to communicate that will specifically resonate with the UT community,” Yee said. 

The last performance of the night will be Faizullina’s work, “Two Songs on Musa Dzhalil’,” featuring harp, cello and vocals. Faizullina, who majored in voice and composition as an undergraduate student, will also be singing in Tatar, her native language, for her piece. 

“I love to sing. I can express my feelings and it’s a big joy for me,” Faizullina said. 

After Faizullina’s performance, audience members will have a chance to interact with the composers at a reception, an opportunity not always available at other performances. 

“Imagine if you go to an exciting performance and then the lights go on and you just leave. You were very, very excited by what you saw and you would love to talk to the creators of that show, but they are somewhere in the green room and you can’t have access to them,” Sharlat said. “Here, you go out and you see the actual composers of the music you just heard.” 

Name: CLUTCH Concert Series

When: Oct.3 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Music Building and Recital Hall in the Recital Studio

Admission: Free