On Thursday, Brunswick’s Frontier Café held a concert featuring compositions by students from Bowdoin, Bates, Colby and the University of Southern Maine.

This was the twelfth such performance since the concert series began two years ago.
Bowdoin student Aleph Cervo ’14 was approached by Vineet Shende, associate professor of music and chair of the music department, who asked Cervo to assemble a group to perform an original piece.

Cervo chose a composition he had written for a previous competition called “In Three.” 

“I was trying to expand my harmonic language a little bit. I wanted to write something that was accessible to a lay audience—someone who wasn’t musically endowed,” said Cervo. “But at the same time, I was trying to emulate classical music while making the harmonic language my own.”
The title of the composition alludes to his theme.

“It’s a four and a half minute piece but within there you have three main sections. It’s for a trio—piano, cello and violin. The time signature is in three-four time. Especially the first section you feel is a waltz,” he said.

Cervo plays vibraphone, mallet percussion and piano. The trio now consists of Dan Lesser ’14 on cello, Yowon Yoon ’14 on piano and Nickolas Telenson ’14 on violin.

“It’s cool playing a piece a fellow student has written and be able to rehearse it with him there and talk about why he did certain things the way he did and what effect he’s going for,” said Lesser.

The fact that Cervo is not a string player has made the musicians’ input particularly important to the overall performance.

“It’s been a learning experience for him, too. He’s not a string player, so some of the parts he’s written we have suggestions on, things he might change,” said Lesser. “It’s been a cool back-and-forth experience.” 

Playing off-campus has been another facet of the experience, as such opportunities aren’t frequent.

“Nick and I play gigs. We did a wedding a month or so ago. I play at some churches sometimes in the area,” said Lesser. “But it’s not often that I play a piece by a Maine composer, or someone I know personally.”