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High school orchestra debuts student composition

Published: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 7:54 a.m. CST
Caption
(Provided photo)
Sycamore High School senior Casey Bunge (center) takes a bow at the Sycamore High School Orchestra concert where one of his own compositions received its first public performance.

SYCAMORE – The Sycamore High School Symphony Orchestra recently premiered a piece composed by SHS senior Casey Bunge.

“Au Printempts,” French for “In The Springtime,” received its debut at the orchestra's spring concert.

“Musical composition has always been a passion of mine,” Bunge said. “I’ve been writing intensely since freshman year, and ‘Au Printemps’ is the best of many pieces I’ve written for personal enjoyment. At one point I figured I may as well present it to my orchestra conductor, Mr. Tonaki, for suggestions or comments. Much to my surprise, he offered to have the orchestra play it.”

"'Au Printemps' represents Casey Bunge's brilliance as an artist," orchestra conductor Ken Tonaki said. "It shows Casey’s ability to combine years of disciplined listening to great composers with his own creativity. He has written a piece that is unique and embodies his own personal spirit. It was an honor to collaborate and perform his piece."

In the fourth grade, Bunge's music teacher encouraged him to write simple songs for the recorder that the rest of the class would play, he said, sparking his love of composition. To date, he has spent more than 4,000 hours composing music and has written pieces for string and full orchestras, as well as dozens of contemporary songs.

Most of the notes for “Au Printemps” were written in four days; the version that the orchestra played was finished a few days later.

“As the title suggests, the piece is meant to illustrate springtime, spring being a time of rebirth or renewal," Bunge said. "The piece was written around the idea that regardless of one’s circumstances, there’s always hope, because at some point, at some indeterminate time in the future, there can always come an occurrence or happening that inspires a rebirth or renewal in the appreciation of love, life, or the world at large."

Bunge was overwhelmed and awed as he listened to his peers perform his piece live and in public for the very first time.

“The experience was unreal, and one I won’t soon forget,” he said.

Bunge played trombone in the high school band, jazz band, and symphonic band and orchestra. He is learning piano, and also dabbles in flute, trumpet, and baritone. He plans to teach himself violin this summer. In the fall, he has committed to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he plans to study mathematics and physics, with a minor in music theory and composition.

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