Program curated by Pekka Kuusisto and Jesper Nordin
Musicians of the San Francisco Symphony
photos by Kristen Loken
Diabelli 200 by Dr. Anthony Brandt (co-founder and Artistic Director of the Houston-based contemporary music ensemble Musiqa)
Live Projections from EEG data by Badie Khaleghian
Research Team from the BRAIN Center and The University of Houston
Musicians: Yvonne Chen, Tyler Martin, Maiko Sasaki, Jacob Schafer, Max Geissler, and Craig Hauschildt; Molly Turner, conductor
photos by Melissa Taylor
By Clara Huang with The Colburn Conservatory
Full interview here
Tell us about your musical background, including how you got into conducting.
I grew up playing violin and piano. In high school, I gravitated towards composition. I was really drawn to improvisation and just making music up in the now. So I studied composition first and then I realized composition was kind of lonely and it wasn’t something that I wanted to pursue through a terminal academic degree. So later in my undergrad, I explored conducting. I was really lucky to be at a place where I could watch inspirational orchestra rehearsals led by Larry Rachleff at Rice.
For me, composing is having a core musical intention in your head and then writing it down and then getting it performed. But conducting is walking that road backwards and talking about how we perform works and how we rehearse and then taking a step back into what the composer thought. As a conductor, we take steps back into what a composer’s core musical intention was. So, they go hand in hand for me. They’re incredibly related. It always helps to be a composer that conducts their own works as well.
What do you hope to achieve with your music?
Perhaps it’s less about what music achieves than what it contains. Gustav Mahler once said, “A symphony must be like the world. It must contain everything.” It’s incredible how multidimensional music is. It expresses history, architecture, nature, story-telling, math, psychology, virtuosity, languages, and on and on. The purpose of my music-making is to tease out the specific corner of the cultural fabric that a given piece expresses and to bring that to the forefront of the audience’s experience.
16 April 2019 at Duncan Recital Hall; Houston, TX
Solo Pianist: Wesley Ducote
Rice Hear&Now Concert Series
Conducted by Molly Turner
Colburn Chamber Orchestra
1 December 2022
Zipper Concert Hall (Los Angeles, CA)
Audio: Jonathan Galle
musicians: Viola Chan (flute), Raina Arnett (violin) Lara Lewison (violin), Jay Julio (viola), Amanda Chi (cello), Gracie Francis (piano)
conducted by Molly Turner
organic prototypes by Zachary Detrick
Choreography by Todd Baker
Dancers: Aaron Choate, Ellexis Hatch, Eleni Loving
Musicians: Euijin Jung, Stella Perlic, Bowen Ha, Julian Gonzalez; Molly Turner, conductor
A bi-annual concert series where Rice composers create works inspired by current exhibitions at the Moody Center for the Arts.
Hosted generously by the the Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University
Featuring musical works in dialogue with Matthew Ritchie's "The Demon in the Diagram"
Photos from the concert in Fall 2018 (Nash Baker):
original percussion duo by Molly Turner written in fall 2017
performed at mercyhurst university in pennsylvania
By Sunny Liu with the Rice Thresher
Full interview here
When it comes to her own composition process, Turner said there are many parameters to balance.
“My process usually starts with a graphic score,” Turner said. “It’s like a really bad stick-figure drawing of what I want my music to be. There are so many parameters — you’re thinking about how fast it is, what instruments you want to use, the kind of harmonic language that you want to use. You have to transfer that sound in your head to what that instrument has to do to what it has to look like on notation. You have to put it in notation so that someone else can also play it.”
After graduation, Turner plans to attend graduate school for conducting.
“Something I became interested in starting sophomore year is conducting,” Turner said. “There’s no undergrad conducting major — it’s really only a master’s program. [Conductors] probably start even later than composers. The best conductors are old conductors, because they’ve seen a lot, and [conducting is] seeing something on paper and knowing how to bring that to life.”