Patrick Long, D.M.A.
Associate Professor of Music
Music at Susquehanna is a Collaborative Affair
Our music department is unusual. We are a full-service music program with all the standard ensembles and musical opportunities, and yet we remain a close-knit and collaborative community. At many larger music schools, the various areas of study—such as theory, performance, composition and music education—tend to be segregated from each other, and this can limit possibilities for collaboration and growth.
Here, almost every faculty member in our department teaches in multiple areas. My area of specialization is music composition, but I also teach music history, theory and even a music education course. Meanwhile, we are constantly collaborating on various musical performances and research projects. We even collaborate across departments, in particular with the history, art and theatre departments. I believe that we are at the forefront of evolving a new and more holistic approach to the study of music at the collegiate level.
Our students are hungry to do everything they can. Many of them pursue double majors, play in a wide variety of ensembles, teach, compose and conduct. There is of course a limit to what any one person can do, but it’s inspiring to see our students push their limits. This freewheeling spirit has inspired me to broaden my musical life, too. At a larger college, I would be compelled to maintain a tight focus. I’d probably teach computer music exclusively, and that would eventually stunt my artistic growth. I prefer to compose for a wide variety of media and ensembles, and I also remain active as a classical and rock percussionist. A broad engagement with various musical and intellectual disciplines is essential for me.
My most exciting and memorable composition was performed in 2007 at Carnegie Hall to celebrate Susquehanna’s 150th anniversary. It’s a rare privilege to have a chance to write a large-scale piece for a full orchestra and choir, and the fact that the stage was full of my colleagues, friends and students made it an unforgettable night.
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