Tuning into the Mind of a Student Composer

Interview with Kevin Woeste, Composer and Assistant Sound Designer for Mother Earth's Gallery of Broken Things, written by Theatre 200 Marketing Practicum student Julie Whapham.

Mother Earth’s Gallery of Broken Things is now open through Sunday, May 2, 2021.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to compose a song? The rise and fall of piano arpeggios, the cadence of drums, the smooth tone of cellos--in the Climate Change Theatre project, student composer Kevin Woeste makes it all look easy. He builds soundscapes out of the silence that swirl together all of these pieces until they embody ideas as huge as the ocean.

Kevin WoesteWhen talking to Woeste about how he starts such a process, I learned where it all begins. “This process has been like nothing I’ve ever composed for before. I start by looking at the script, seeing what it’s talking about, and figuring out what sounds the audience could hear to recognize what’s happening in the scene. I find what stands out and think about what other music has an association with this setting/character and try to emulate it with chords, rhythm, and tempo.” Intrigued, I pressed further for how Woeste gets inspiration to put chords, rhythms, and tempo into a soundscape. To my surprise, he answered with “I have found myself turning to a variety of movie soundtracks. They provide a pretty good roadmap of music that can be used in the background and at moments of emotional intensity can be brought to the foreground. Like when trying to capture an ocean, I thought about elements in Finding Nemo. If you listen, the flow of the melody seems to wash over you like waves in the ocean.”

When you go see Climate Change Theatre Project April 29-May 2, see if you too feel swept away by the waves of music created. You’ll see the stellar collaborative efforts of Woeste, sound designer, Jason Sebasian, and the whole production team in action. The production takes place outside the Center for Performing Arts and is entirely free. Reserve your free ticket now to be a part of this unique theatrical experience here. 

For more information about free ticketing, please visit Miami University’s Box Office HERE. This is a free event but it will be ticketed to maintain safe capacity and social distancing. For more information please visit the MU Theatre website HERE.

If you go:

Mother Earth’s Gallery of Broken Things: Miami University Theatre’s Climate Change Theatre Action, Directed by Ann Elizabeth Armstrong

April 29, 30 & May 1, 2, 7:30 p.m., Center for Performing Arts Plaza
Rain Dates: May 2 & 3

Short Performances: mothernature.jpg

“Failed Experiment” by Vitor Jatoba

“The Butterfly that Persisted” by Lana I. Nasser

“Blood on the Leaves” by Madeline Sayet

“About that Chocolate Bar” by Joan Lipkin

“The Blue Puzzle” by Clare Duffy

“When they Twinkle” by Tyler Creech

“Brackendale” by Elaine Avila  

“Letter to the Ocean” by Caridad Svich

“It begins with Me” by Chantal Bilodeau

The team designing the production experience includes: students Tyler Creech (scene design); Kelsi Moore, Lily Rose, Annie Watson, Qiuyang Xiong (dramaturgs); Emily Stowers (assistant choreographer); Kevin Woeste (composer and sound designer); Jenna Wrona (lighting design); Taylor Yaeck (costume designer); Miami University faculty and staff members Gion DeFrancesco (production manager and designer); Ashley Goos (choreographer) Meggan Peters (costume) Curtis Mortimore (lighting/technical direction); and guest artists Jaclyn Schott (director) and Jason Sebasian (sound design).