Afternoon Classics Special: A Live Performance By Dr. Nicholas Kenney On French Horn

Sep 24, 2018

Dr. Nicholas Kenney
Credit Lindsey Grojean/KRCU

During Fund Drive week, we like to liven up pledge central with different on-air pitching guests. During our Monday episode of Afternoon Classics, we received a visit from Dr. Nicholas Kenney, professor of applied horn and assistant director of bands at Southeast Missouri State University. We were happy to host a live performance and give our listeners a preview of Kenney’s talents for his upcoming recital, “A Sonic Journey,” on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Shuck Recital Hall on Southeast’s River Campus.

Performers will include Kenney himself on french horn, along with one of his mentors, Alan Mattingly, on french horn. Southeast’s own Dr. Barbara Lamont will accompany on piano. The unaccompanied piece Kenney performed today, Laudatio by Bernhard Krol, will not be performed at the recital.

Kenney said the 20th Century piece is a bit interesting.

“It was written in the sixties, and it’s built around these little half-step motifs,” said Kenney. “It’s sort of a lament, the whole piece. It’s even got a little gregorian chant in the middle.”

He said Laudatio is commonly the first quintessential piece for students to learn on french horn, and one of the first unaccompanied pieces he’d ever learned. Though it has a bit of everything, Kenney highlighted the melodic features of the piece.

“I’m always singing in my head,” said Kenney. “That’s what I really like about this piece. It’s got opportunities to really sing some melodic areas, and it makes playing by yourself a little less scary.”

When he was asked if his students are instructed to sing in lessons, Kenney said he does so every day.

“It’s all about what’s going on in the mind, audiating, and hearing the pitch before you play it,” said Kenney. “This piece- it starts on a D flat, and it’s got the D flat to a C. Just coming in on that D flat, it’s scary. But, if you can hear the pitch, [sings pitch] before you play it, there it is!”