“This is the biggest project in my life ever,” says Levi Smucker.Smucker, a junior music major from Akron, PA, will be participating in this year’s Concerto Aria—an impressive feat for a Goshen College musician. However, Smucker is taking an unusual approach: he composed the song with which he competed. “I’ve been writing music since middle school,” says Smucker. “Lots of piano and piano/cello stuff, and it just took off from there.”
Smucker said that when you learn music and theory together, writing music comes naturally. Smucker adds that one Lent season, he gave up not writing one hymn a week. During that time, Smucker wrote 12 hymns.
Smucker talks about the creative process and says that for him it’s more of a mathematical process. “I wish I had more creativity,” he says. “I can take a small thing and expand it a lot, but there are people like Mozart who just have it all in their head. For me, it’s more like a crossword puzzle.”
Smucker’s piece is for a piano trio and orchestra. Ben Breckbill will be playing piano, Elspeth Stalter will be playing violin, and Smucker will be playing the cello.
The piece is a musical representation of the book of Job, and the trio expresses the voice of Job. Various other parts within the orchestra represesent other characters from the story, such as Job’s friends and God. When God appears to Job, Smucker says it’s a big deal and will be filled with trilling and percussion, and wants to convey the huge scale of God.
Jorge Muñiz, Smucker’s composition professor, played a big role in making writing such a piece possible. Smucker says, “I feel very privileged to have him here as an adjunct professor; he is an incredible composer and musician. He works with you through a method and helps make big things possible.”
Concerto Aria will take place in the Spring Semester. Of that performance, Smucker says, “I hope that the audience can get an impression of the wonder, power and drama of the text.”