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Music Major Simon Furze’s Movement Earns Place In Premiere Collaborative Student Concerto

Story By:
Paul Miller | Director of Strategic Communications and Community Relations
Simon Furze Concerto
Simon '24 is a Composition and Music Technology double major.

A Keene State music student’s composition is part of New Hampshire Concerto, Symphony New Hampshire’s (SNH) first collaborative commission with college composers selected from a statewide competition, which will premiere on April 20 at the Keefe Center for the Arts in Nashua.

Simon Furze ’24 is one of four Keene State students who wrote and submitted short excerpts – 60 to 90 seconds long – for full orchestra and had them workshopped and recorded by SNH last October. Simon’s work, Mountain, is one of four overall selected movements that comprise the finished concerto.

In all, 12 student composers submitted movements that were considered. The other chosen movements are Live Free or Die, by Wes Coffin, UNH; Flowing Summit, by Grace Chen, Dartmouth, and Where Life Intersects, by Tyler Nadeau, Plymouth State.

Roger Kalia, SNH music director, will direct the upcoming performance.

Simon received a $500 stipend to complete his excerpt, which had to exemplify or represent New Hampshire in theme, for the concerto. About his piece, Simon says, “It is an ode to Mount Monadnock. Ultimately, it is a composition that reflects the mountain’s towering beauty. Before writing, I spent a few weeks reflecting on the mountain and its characteristics. I thought about what it was like to climb a mountain; the steady start, the increased heartbeat, a dead stop to rest, and the continuing of the hike.

“I used these ‘stages’ to propel my writing process, and when I found myself stuck, I would ask, ‘Where am I on the mountain?’ Once I found my answer, it was easier to continue writing. Having connective tissue is essential to my writing process, and it gave me a clear vision of where the music needed to go.”

Simon is a music composition and music technology double major from Troy, New Hampshire.

“He is a strong student and an all-around great person,” said Heather Gilligan, professor of music at the College. “This is a wonderful accomplishment for him, and he’s so deserving. He wrote a terrific piece.”

Also on the program is another premiere commissioned by SNH before the COVID-19 pandemic, Extraordinary Motion: Concerto for Electric Harp by composer D. J. Sparr and poet/co-creator Janine Joseph. It was created with the talents of harpist Rosanna Moore in the composition process.

The performance ends with one of the most popular symphonic works of all time, Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, From the New World. It is inspired by the spirit of African American spirituals and Native-American music that the composer heard during his travels in America.

Get tickets for the one-night-only event at or call (603) 595-9156.

Symphony New Hampshire is dedicated to performing great music with an exceptional orchestra to enrich and delight diverse audiences, expand the arts community’s musical and humanitarian contributions, and provide learning opportunities with performances that spread beauty, empowerment, and goodwill.

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