Greetings from the Whitney Center for the Arts at Sheridan College.

When considering concert music to experience, many of us will gravitate to tried-and-true masters of tradition: for example the Beloved “B’s” of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. Today, I thought it might be fun to present a brief sampler of accessible and substantive newer concert works for you to explore and hopefully enjoy.

Since this article will be published in both hard copy and online formats, I decided to provide a way for you to directly experience all of these pieces. Thus, each piece will come with a set of easy search terms you can type into YouTube for hard copy readers as well as a clickable link for online readers. Here we go.

"Short Ride in a Fast Machine" by John Adams

YouTube Search: Short Ride Adams BBC

This exciting fanfare for orchestra was composed in 1986 by one of the central figures of the minimalist school of composition, John Adams.

"Blue Cathedral" by Jennifer Higdon

YouTube Search: Blue Cathedral Higdon NEC

Pulitzer Prize winning composer Jennifer Higdon crafted this amazing and evocative work for orchestra in 2000 for the Curtis Institute of Music. From the composer: “This is a story that commemorates living and passing through places of knowledge and of sharing and of that song called life.”

"Final Fantasy VII: One Winged Angel" by Nabuo Uematsu

YouTube Search: Final Fantasy Angel Danish

Contemporary composers are creating exciting new music for the medium of video games. Nabuo Uematsu is admired as a leading voice in this emerging school of media composition.

We are very fortunate to have an active group of composers on the music faculty at Sheridan College. I asked my colleagues to suggest one piece to share with you for our sampler.

"Alban Arthan (from Winter Solstice)" by Mark Elliot Bergman

YouTube search: Alban Arthan Bergman

Many of you know Mark from his work leading our string program. He has developed quite a body of work as a composer and offers his Alban Arthan premiered by the Virginia Virtuosi.

"Postcards from the Silk Road" by Christian Erickson

YouTube search: Postcards Silk Road Erickson

Chris is our Music Department Chair and leads our Music Technology program. "Postcards from the Silk Road" is a three-movement dance piece that draws upon middle-eastern musical gestures and is inspired by film music. A new collaboration, "Three Meditations," will premiere in Kinnison Hall at the Whitney Center for the Arts on April 23, at 7 p.m.

"The Lord's Prayer" by Eric Richards

YouTube Search: Lords Prayer Eric Richards

I wrote this piece as part of a composer residency at Winona State University. This short work is especially important to me as it allows for optimal expression of my Christian faith through my own personal musical language.

I hope you enjoyed this short sampler of new music exploration. Happy listening!

Eric Richards is director of Whitney Center for the Arts concert activities. 

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