Composer Randall Svane Performs for Open Door Concert Series

Photo by Samantha Sproviero

The Open Door Concert Series held its second concert of the season Wednesday night in the York Room, this time featuring the music of composer Randall Svane.

“It’s a very special evening — we are featuring Randall Svane. You are all in for a special treat,” Itay Goren, adjunct professor of music and the artistic director of the Open Door Concert Series, said before introducing the composer.

Receiving funding from the Frank and Lydia Bergen Foundation, the Open Door Concert Series was created in 2012 under the artistic direction of Goren. The series offers chamber music performed by professional musicians free of charge, answering what Goren would call a “need” for the availability of classical music on campus.

Other concerts have been varied and well-received, featuring performers such as Mario Prisuelos, traveling from Spain to stay on campus. Previous seasons have also featured the work of Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Claude Debussy and Johann Sebastian Bach. However, many of the composers, such as Svane, are living and able to attend the concert and speak to the audience about their work.

“Randy has written many different works for many different ensembles — he has orchestral pieces, and several choir pieces and chamber music so finally we came to the program we have here tonight,” Goren said. “It gives us an overview of his early years and what he’s been doing lately.”

Currently serving as the Montclair Kimberley Academy’s music director, Svane’s music has been featured in the New York Philharmonic, the Orchestra da Camera Fiorentina in Florence, the Munich Chamber Choir and many other notable venues. First becoming interested in composing while listening to classical music on long road trips with his father and later becoming more involved in high school, Svane was able to talk to the audience about his younger years and early attempts at composing.

“It got me thinking in a very disciplined way about how you write a piece of music that really has a shape to it that has something to say — something distinctive with a beginning, a middle and an end,” Svane said.

The concert presented four of Svane’s pieces. The first, “Cello Suite No. 2,” was performed by Richard Locker, a cellist from Manhattan. The second piece, “Piano Prelude No. 1,” was performed by Goren, who was later joined by Simon Maurer, a violinist who traveled from Pennsylvania to perform. The concert concluded with a performance of “Antiphons of the Angels” by Ramapo's female vocal ensemble, Skylark.        

“What really strikes me is that the structure is so good,” Goren said. “It stands — you all feel it and you all feel the music.” 

The next concert in the Open Door Concert Series, titled "Brahm’s Summer of 1876," will be held on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 7:00 p.m. in the York Room. The concert will feature the chamber music works of Goren, violinist Evelyn Estava and cellist Jeffery Shah.