The College of Saint Mary Magdalen in Warner, N.H., recently welcomed Catholic composer and professor Dr. Kurt Poterack to campus for a lecture and musical interactions with students, the college reported.
Poterack, who teaches music and directs the choir at Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., delivered a lecture to Magdalen students titled How a Composer Writes Music: One Man's View. After the talk, students chanted some of Poterack's compositions.
According to Magdalen:
[Poterack's] lecture was part of a larger collegiate initiative that encourages Magdalen’s students to engage thoughtfully with contemporary culture, including contemporary art and music.
In his lecture, Dr. Poterack described his development as a composer, offering commentary on compositional methods and the state of western art music today. He played recordings of several of his compositions, including “Improvisation for Solo Flute,” “Three Hopkins Songs," and the “Gregorian Chant Suite for Organ." At his invitation, the students in attendance sang the chants that served as the basis of each piece in the Gregorian suite prior to playing the recordings.
Dr. Poterack answered questions from students and faculty, speaking to both larger musical and aesthetic questions as well as answering questions on particular compositions. Following the formal lecture, Dr. Poterack spent time discussing composition with a student composer and others interested in the “nuts and bolts” of making music.
In June, The Cardinal Newman Society sponsored Poterack and other Catholic academics to attend the Sacra Liturgia 2013 conference in Rome. This was part of the Newman Society's broader goal to help spur on liturgical renewal in Catholic higher education.
Prior to attending Sacra Liturgia, Catholic Education Daily published Poterack's essay "How to Have a Beautiful Sung Liturgy on a Catholic Campus." After returning from Rome, he wrote several other articles for Catholic Education Daily reflecting on his experiences at the conference and its import for Catholic colleges.
The Newman Society also sponsored Magdalen president Dr. George Harne to attend Sacra Liturgia 2013. Dr. Harne's essay "Why College Students Should Study Sacred Music" and other articles are also available at Catholic Education Daily.
The College of Saint Mary Magdalen and Christendom College are recommended in The Newman Guide for strong Catholic identity.
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