Randolph College Professors Release New Works

Music professors Emily Yap Chua and Randall Speer produce piano performance CD, choral works

Emily Yap Chua

Emily Yap ChuaA new CD featuring Randolph College Professor Emily Yap Chua was recently released by Centaur Records. Chua, an associate professor of music, collaborated with music professors from Virginia Tech and Sweet Briar College to produce A Piano Odyssey.

An active piano soloist and chamber musician, Chua has performed throughout the United States and abroad. At Randolph College, she coordinates the Guest Artist Series in addition to teaching.

The CD is a compilation of work by Kent Holliday, a professor at Virginia Tech and an award-winning composer. Chua performs with Sweet Briar’s Nicholas Ross, a piano soloist, chamber musician, and music professor. Holliday’s inspiration for several of the pieces on the CD came from his sojourns in Europe, South America, and the South Pacific.

“In his travels, he [Holliday] absorbs what he sees and experiences about the culture, the landscape, and the geography,” said Chua. “And he incorporates them in his writing.”

Chua views the CD as a vehicle for her to share her talent and help broaden Holliday’s audience. “The recording as a whole synthesizes the composer’s creative vision with our artistic interpretations, giving the listener an ‘odyssey’ through the music,” she said.

Randall Speer

Randall SpeerWhat began as a light hearted parody of two classmates is once again available as a choral work to a cappella groups who have the sense of humor to give it a try. National Music Publishers has re-issued Marian: A New Orleans Madrigal, originally composed by Randolph College Professor Randall Speer in 1989 while he was an undergraduate student at California State University in Fresno.

Marian is set as a battle between madrigal and blues styles. It was intended as a humorous portrayal of the stark personal and musical contrast exhibited between two of Speer’s classmates at the time.

Speer sent the choral work unsolicited to National Music Publishers.

“I figured well, what the heck, I’ll send it out,” Speer said. To his surprise, the company agreed to publish it.

A review in the American Choral Directors Association Choral Journal called Marian a “significant contribution to the choral repertoire.”

“I always thought that was rather funny considering the whole piece was a joke,” Speer said.

National Music Publishers notified Speer last year that they intended to publish a re-engraving of Marian. The company also agreed to publish a second choral work by Speer, a Czeck Christmas carol he wrote in 1991 titled Nesem vom Noviny. The work was recorded by the National Lutheran Choir and employs bell-like imitation and whistling.