For one incandescent week, the TUTTI Festival brought composers, performers, artists and appreciative audiences together in a creative surge that rippled across the campus.
It began last summer with an international call for new musical scores, sent by Ching-chu Hu, professor of music and TUTTI festival coordinator. “TUTTI is a great way for students to hear what is being made now by living composers,” Hu explains.
Hundreds of entries poured in for TUTTI 2015, at least 200 of which were targeted to be performed by Denison’s Vail Ensemble-in-Residence, ETHEL. One by one, the members of that string quartet narrowed their choices to seven pieces. “It was a rigorous process,” Hu recalls, “but they listened to every single thing that was submitted.” He and other fine arts faculty did a lot of listening, too, selecting music for seven unique concerts that highlighted the talents of student performers and ensembles, as well as visiting artists.
“It’s great to see the liberal arts in action in places like the TUTTI festival, where Denisonians & guests from so many different fields can come together & create something new.”
Although TUTTI, which arises from the Italian and musical phrase for “all,” was conceived primarily a music festival, it has mushroomed to include the creative potential of artistic collaboration across genres. In 2015, the event unfolded into a much broader interdisciplinary engagement with studio art, theatre, dance and poetry.
The first evening, performance artist Miwa Matreyek’s extraordinary work with projections and silhouettes was followed by a poetry reading by Professor David Baker, whose piece, “Scavenger Loop,” inspired an original composition by the River Song Quintet.
“David Baker and the River Song Quintet created an immersive experience where the music lent extra emotion and substance to Baker’s words, which were mellifluous and thoughtful in and of themselves,” says McLane Sellars ’16. “The music helped the audience to enter into the world of the poetry and explore its subtle affective nuances.”