Texas-based composer William Linthicum-Blackhorse will serve as a composer-in-residence for the South Dakota State University School of Performing Arts Feb. 10-14.
While at SDSU, Linthicum-Blackhorse will speak to faculty, administrators and student groups in music, physics and engineering. His residency will culminate in the premiere of a new work for flute and wind ensemble, “Mnicakmun.” Creation of the piece has been supported by Brookings resident Louis Whitehead ’02.
Linthicum-Blackhorse’s road to becoming a recognized composer is an unusual one. He graduated with a degree in aerospace science from Baylor University and moved to Montana to start a career as a research physicist with the U.S. Forest Service. He then left Montana to pursue graduate studies in music at Texas Tech University, where he completed a doctorate in music composition in 2019.
SDSU associate professor Tammy Yonce heard Linthicum-Blackhorse’s compositions during a National Flute Association convention in Orlando, Florida, and subsequently programmed his music on one of her annual faculty recitals.
“It always amazes me to see how enthusiastic performers can get when hearing a piece of music that they can't help but want to perform themselves,” said Linthicum-Blackhorse.
“Mnicakmun is the Lakota-Sioux word that represents the sounds of water moving,” he said. “It is a piece that features the European Concert Flute in C performing with nuances reminiscent of the six-hole indigenous flute of the Lakota-Sioux people, my relatives and friends. Not only does the music take the listener on an aural journey through the different stages of water moving through nature, the audience also experiences live water sounds in a newly developed instrument I am calling the Mnicega Tanka, or great water instrument.”
The premiere will take place during an SDSU Wind Symphony Concert scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 under the direction of Jacob Wallace. The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the School of Performing Arts at 605-688-5187.