Leaving the Safe Harbor: Musical, Social, and Ensemble Explorations Beyond the Known

By Cynthia Johnston Turner.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In 2005, the Cornell Wind Ensemble commissioned Costa Rican composer, Eddie Mora Bermudez to compose a three-movement work for saxophone quartet and wind ensemble. In 2007, we commissioned the same composer to write a concerto for violin and chamber winds. Both works fuse elements of traditional Costa Rican rhythms and timbres with western instrumentation and form, and succeed in ways different from what was originally imagined. The experience of working with Eddie Mora Bermudez and Costa Rican musicians broadened our musical experiences and exceeded our expectations. The two commissioning projects were part of a larger (and on-going) Costa Rica Project. In 2006 and 2008, the Cornell Wind Ensemble traveled to Costa Rica to perform, provide master classes for young Costa Rican musicians, and donate instruments. The Wind Ensemble has donated over 150 instruments to music schools around the country and plans for Costa Rica Project 2010 are underway. This paper will explore how and why the Costa Rica commissions came about, what the educational and performance outcomes were, the musical and social value of exploring music, performance, and service from a more global perspective, and possible designs for commissioning and touring projects in the future.

Keywords: Music, Social and Personal Transformation, Global Perspective, Service, Outreach, Engagement

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp.67-76. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.199MB).

Prof. Cynthia Johnston Turner

Director of Wind Ensembles, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Assistant Professor of Music, Music, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA

Cynthia Johnston Turner is an active conductor, festival adjudicator, and clinician, in the United States, Latin America, Europe, and Canada. Before joining the Cornell faculty in the fall of 2004, she taught at the University of Rochester, where she directed the Wind Symphony and served as Director of Music at Parkside High School, Dundas, Canada. Earlier in her career Cynthia taught middle school beginning instrumental music in Toronto and choral music in Switzerland. She currently serves as a faculty member with the summer Performing Arts Institute at Pennsylvannia’s Wyoming Seminary and as a guest conductor with the Syracuse Society of New Music and the Austrian Festival Orchestra in Salzburg. At The Eastman School of Music Cynthia was the recipient of the Eastman Graduate Teaching Award in conducting. She was nominated for the Canadian Prime Minister’s Leadership in Teaching Award and received the National Leadership in Education Award (Readers Digest Foundation), the Excellence in Education Award (Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation), and the Marion Drysdale Leadership Among Women Teachers Award (also from OSSTF). At Cornell, Cynthia is the Director of Wind Ensembles, overseeing the Wind Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Chamber Winds, and other chamber ensembles. She also serves as faculty advisor to CU Winds, a student-driven organization devoted to the promotion and performance of wind music.


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