School of Music Grads Headline Alumni Composers Concert

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On Thursday, March 6th at 7:30 pm, the New Music Miami Festival will host the “Welcome Back! FIU Alumni Composers Concert” at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Art Museum. The FIU NODUS Ensemble will perform music written entirely by the following FIU School of Music alumni composers:

  • David Mendoza ‘08, “Remembrance and Ghosts of Fukushima”
  • Jeff Herriott ’99, “At the Whim of the Current”
  • Pablo Chin ’06, “Retrato del Gran Pajaro Feo”
  • Federico Bonacossa ‘13, “Anoesis for Solo Piano”
  • Juan Pablo Carreño ‘05, “Ciudad Vacia”

These composers are not participating because they have to, but because they want to. The concert will “[forge] a strong sense of new music community around FIU. It is an opportunity to learn about what other colleagues are doing in their professional careers, and to share our work with the current students and faculty,” says Pablo Chin. As a concert that strives to pay homage to some of the College’s most successful graduates, it “also represents a valuable recognition to our current work, and thus it is an important motivation to keep creating music.”

The talented group share not only an alma mater, but a deep and abiding respect for that institution. It is a hallmark of FIU that many alumni have a strong connection with their faculty members, one that does not diminish over time, and these graduates are no different. Jeff Herriott vividly remembers an incident in 1998, when he traveled to Toronto with School of Music Director Dr. Orlando Garcia (then Herriott’s composition teacher). Herriott’s performance went “terribly,” as he recalls, and after a day of sitting despondently in his hotel room, Dr. Garcia took him out to get a drink, acting not just as a teacher, but as friend, encouraging a student in need of support. Although “Dr. Garcia has a reputation for being tough and demanding as a teacher, and he is and was,” Herriott recalls, “I’ll never forget how helpful he was for me that occasion.”

Asked for a piece of advice to for current music students, David Mendoza stresses the importance of taking advantage of the great opportunities here at FIU, such as music technology classes, while urging composers and writers to question themselves, but to trust their instincts, as “great composers are true to themselves.” Federico Bonacossa would probably agree, since, according to him, the most valuable aspect of his FIU degree was the “exposure to current artists and their music. In two years I attended dozens of diverse concerts and met several great composers, and this has had a huge impact in my own music.”

Herriott adds that students should remember to place emphasis on the learning process, since, “if you focus on getting a grade, you may or may not get that grade, but chances are pretty good that you won’t learn as much as you could.  If you focus on learning as much as you could, you’ll probably get a good grade.”

There will be a composer’s forum on Friday, March 7th, 2014 at 12:00 pm in WPAC 150, where composers from the concert will be in attendance. The event is free to attend, and visitors can park in the Gold Parking Garage across the street from the Wertheim Performing Arts Center. For more information about the event, please contact To learn more about the School of Music, follow them on Facebook, and visit CARTANews to learn more about CARTA Alumni.








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