Vanderbilt University Orchestra to present Crescere Aude musical celebration

The Vanderbilt University Orchestra, conducted by Ernesto Estigarribia Mussi, will present a special musical celebration of the Vanderbilt Sesquicentennial on Saturday, February 10. The program, entitled Crescere Aude, features the world premiere of new works commissioned by the Vanderbilt chancellor for the occasion, composed by members of the Blair School of Music faculty.

Vanderbilt University Orchestra
The Vanderbilt University Orchestra will perform a program entitled Crescere Aude on Saturday, February 10.

The four movements of the Crescere Aude program were each written by a different Blair faculty composer. Molly Herron, Stan Link, Michael Alec Rose, and Michael Slayton all contributed commissioned pieces for the evening, which will be accented with readings by Major Jackson and Alice Randall between movements.

“During our Sesquicentennial year, thousands of words have been spoken about who Vanderbilt is, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. But music articulates these things in ways words cannot,” said Chancellor Daniel Diermeier. “The Office of the Chancellor is delighted to commission these original works by distinguished composers from our own university community, and I am personally looking forward to hearing these artists’ interpretations of what it means to ‘Dare to Grow.’”

The Crescere Aude performance fully exemplifies Blair School of Music’s commitment to creating engaging and immersive student experiences. “With this commission, the Chancellor has created a terrific opportunity for Blair students and faculty to collaborate closely with each other in the creation, preparation, and performance of significant new orchestral repertoire of the 21st century,” said Blair School of Music Dean Melissa Rose. “This provides invaluable training and experience for our undergraduate students who are preparing for careers in music.”

Vanderbilt University Orchestra conductor Ernesto Estigarribia Mussi, appointed to the Blair faculty in 2023, is excited to lead the debut performance of the featured works. “The best way to celebrate the excellence championed by Vanderbilt University for 150 years, is to hear this fabulous piece created by four fantastic composers, members of the Blair School of Music faculty, and performed by the Vanderbilt Orchestra,” said Mussi. “We are so thankful to the Chancellor’s office for the commission of this work of art and are eager to do its world premiere on campus.”

The Vanderbilt University Orchestra performance of Crescere Aude is Saturday, February 10, 8:00 p.m. in Ingram Hall. The event is free to attend with tickets required for admission. Tickets can be reserved at Following the performance, the chancellor invites guests to a reception with refreshments in the Ingram Hall lobby.

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About the composers:

Composer Molly Herron “thinks deeply about motion, energy, and the physics of sound” (NPR). Whether writing for baroque strings, flowerpots, or newly designed instruments, her work achieves “a wonderful consideration of counterpoint and sound in time” (Seen and Heard International). Recently released on New Amsterdam Records, the album Through Lines: New Music for Viola da Gamba is a collaboration with the viol consort Science Ficta. She is an assistant professor of composition and theory at Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music.

Stan Link is the associate professor of the composition, philosophy and analysis of music at Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music, where he teaches courses on music history, theory and analysis, interdisciplinary arts studies, and film. With a Bachelor of Music in Composition and Music History from the Oberlin Conservatory, and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Composition from Princeton University, his previous academic posts were at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, and at the University of Illinois. His work includes acoustic ensembles along with computer-generated and assisted music.

Michael Alec Rose is a composer in many genres. His opera Lolly Willowes was premiered in 2019, supported by Houston Arts Alliance. In 2022, A Million Alien Gospels had five sold-out performances by Ventana Ballet. Professor Rose’s Exchange Program between Vanderbilt University and the Royal Academy of Music continues to inspire many new works for London violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved, most recently in cooperation with institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum, Library of Congress, and Ashmolean Museum.

Michael K. Slayton has composed numerous works in a cross-section of musical genres, with specific emphasis on chamber music. His continuing dedication to the value of artistic exchange has afforded him opportunity to write for distinguished performers all over the world. Published by American Composers Edition, Inc. (BMI), his music is regularly programmed in the U.S. and abroad. A member of the Society of Composers, Inc., the College Music Society, and Broadcast Music, Inc., and president of the American Composer’s Alliance, Slayton continues to be an active participant in the national and international music community. He currently serves as professor and coordinator of composition and theory at Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music.

About the Vanderbilt University Orchestra:
One of Blair’s premier student ensembles, the University Orchestra focuses on the highest-quality performance of canonical classical 20th-century works, with additional repertoire drawn eclectically from a wide range of periods and styles. Students become immersed in the stylistic demands of individual composers and periods, while honing their skills as ensemble players.