Students in the spring 2015 course “How to Write a Song,” offered by the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Creative Writing and the Department of Music, will present original songs at a concert on April 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Frist Campus Center Theater on the Princeton campus. The 26 students will perform selected new work completed over the past semester. The concert is free and open to the public.
Led by Pulitzer-prize winning poet Paul Muldoon, this enormously popular course required students to write new music throughout the semester inspired by a broad range of varying emotions. Each week the students, all with varying levels of literary and musical backgrounds, split into different groupings of two to three participants and wrote lyrics and composed tunes on an assigned emotional topic, such as remorse, joy, despair, or desire. At each class, the students performed their pieces for Muldoon and their classmates, who then provided critiques.
The class welcomed a range of professional musicians as guest artists throughout the semester, including Matt Berninger, front man for the indie rock band The National, and internationally acclaimed singer and songwriter Paul Simon. Simon spent three hours with the students, listening to and critiquing the songs the teams had created that week before offering a public talk during his visit on March 3.
“It’s been a delight spending the past semester with these students,” notes Muldoon. “They have demonstrated amazing creativity and dedication in bringing new work to class each week, and have offered incredibly insightful comments on one another’s work. At some level, I could step away and this group of artists could continue making exciting new work.”
Students who wrote the works to be presented and who will perform them are Korleki Akiti ’15, Charles Baker ’17, Matthew Barouch ’16, Angelo Campus ’16, Arjun Dube ’15, Bryan Jacobowitz ’15, Jason Kim ’17, Ofer Kimchi ’16, Sydney King ’17, David Li ’15, Stephanie C. Liu ’15, Julia Peiperl ’17, Christian Perry ’16, Nandita Rao ’17, Elizabeth Romanzi ’18, Brandon Sixto ’17, Keelan Smithers ’17, Christopher Snider ’17, Pamela Soffer ’15, Benjamin Tien ’15, Natalie Tung ’18, Taylor Tutrone ’15, Bobby Ullman ’15, Keji Xu ’15, Yolanda Yeh ’15, and Deanna Zhu ’15.
Muldoon is the Howard G.B. Clark ’21 University Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Creative Writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts, and Chair of the Fund for Irish Studies. He has been described by the The Times Literary Supplement as “the most significant English-language poet born since the Second World War” and has published numerous volumes of poetry, among them The Annals of Chile (1994), for which he won the T.S. Eliot Prize, and Moy Sand and Gravel (2002) for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the Griffin Poetry Prize. He is a recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in England and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In March 2014 he received the Freedom of the City of London at Guildhall in recognition of his outstanding contribution to poetry. Since 2007 he has served as the Poetry Editor at The New Yorker. Muldoon has written songs with Warren Zevon and is a member of the Princeton-based band Wayside Shrines, whose most recent album is The Word on the Street.