ST. PETERSBURG — Composer Nick White will put out a big swath of his music for all to hear this weekend at the Studio@620. The program includes the premiere of his setting for soprano, viola and bass of Jack Kerouac's poem Long Dead's Longevity.
"With this program I wanted to cover all of my personal bases,'' White said last week over an afternoon tea at the Kahwa coffee shop. "I've always had a strong belief that you need to know and learn the rules before you can break them. So a couple of the pieces are very traditional and sort of neoromantic, while the majority of the program is more modern and tonally experimental.''
White, 22, is a graduate of the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School. He's part of a group of alumni of the arts magnet that have been putting on shows at the studio the past few years, and this summer it's his turn.
The program includes 12 works, ranging from a duet for soprano sax and violin White wrote at 16 to the Kerouac song cycle ("A bear . . . probably the most modern thing on the program,'' the composer said) to Jazz Variations on a Theme by Johannes Brahms.
White went on from PCCA to study composition at the New England Conservatory for two years. Then he spent a year in Russia at the Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory in St. Petersburg, where one of his teachers was Sergei Slonimsky, an important composer as well as nephew of Nicolas Slonimsky, the great writer responsible for Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians.
In homage to his time in the other St. Petersburg, White titled this weekend's program Bosikom, Russian for barefoot, which also suggests his idea that classical music shouldn't be treated with too much reverence.
He has brought together a lot of good musicians to play his music, including Florida Orchestra bassist Jim Petrecca, viola player Michael McClelland from the Sarasota Orchestra, soprano Dawne Eubanks and baritone Lothar Bergeest. Cellist Grace Juliano will play the Twin "Yorke'' Sketches, which White calls "one of my favorite pieces that I've written.'' Pianist Cory Hall will play Four Miniatures.
White, who has a job on the stage crew at American Stage, said that someday "to make money,'' he would love to get into writing music for film. Secrets Anonymous, a short film written and directed by Ben Verhulst, with a score for violin, clarinet and piano by White, will be shown during the program.
John Fleming can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8716. He blogs at Critics Circle at blogs.tampabay.com/arts.