Student Recital: Tyler Nanstad

Tyler Nanstad performed his senior recital this past Saturday in Lawrence University’s Harper Hall. Photos by Alana Melvin.

Tyler Nanstad performed his senior recital on Saturday, January 29, joined by fellow fourth-years Alison Gauvreau and Melanie Shefchik, as well as the percussion ensemble Kinkaviwo. The program consisted of four songs, all with varying styles. 

Nanstad’s first piece was a duet with Gauvreau on flute. They played Cafe 1930, the second movement of Histoire de Tango by Astor Piazzola. During his recital, Nanstad stated that “Piazzola was going through various time periods of tango in this work, and this one was specifically where it was finding itself in less of a dance environment and more as like a style of art music, which is why it’s so slow.” The piece was a peaceful introduction for the recital, and Nanstad stated he chose the piece partly in order to create variety for the program in terms of mood and intensity.  

The second piece, Northern Lights, by Eric Ewazen, was chosen about two years ago by Nanstad as a result of looking up popular marimba repertoire. “I kind of worked on it off and on for awhile [. . .] but didn’t really start working on it in earnest until a year ago,” he said. The song, meant to evoke the Northern Lights, “is like a lot of marimba rep” with a chorale and many sixteenth notes.  

Nanstad’s longest piece incorporated Shefchik on saxophone. The song, entitled Petrified Spaces by James Romig, was “low intensity,” according to Nanstad, and highly meditative. The song was “very long and very peaceful” and he invited the audience to be reflective during the listening experience. The piece included many long tones and he joked that, “If you’re sitting there thinking ‘when is he going to go on to a new scene,’ you’ve already lost.” 

Tyler Nanstad performed his senior recital this past Saturday in Lawrence University’s Harper Hall. Photos by Alana Melvin.

The final selection was Agbekor, with dancers Mindara Krueger-Olson and Aaron Montreal. The piece is a war dance, with each dancer representing an army for the purposes of the recital. The piece was performed by many members of the West African drumming and dancing ensemble Kinkaviwo, which Nanstad is the student director. Over the summer, he studied Ewe drumming with Nani Agbeli, which enhanced his experience as a leader in the ensemble. Nanstad met with Agbeli for three-hour lessons over Zoom every day for the month of July. He described this experience as incredibly meaningful. During the recital, Nanstad and the ensemble performed and incorporated five variations of the eighteen that he learned over the summer. 

Nanstad described the experience of collaborating with close friends as “super fun,” and said that there’s a “point in the music making process where we know each other and how each other thinks so well” which creates “cool moments nonverbally.” According to Nanstad, they found “a rhythm together that was really, really cool in terms of playing into each other’s sound.” He described the importance of being on the same wavelength as collaborators, as well as the joy in working with someone comfortable to be around.  

Nanstad’s recital is available to watch on Lawrence University’s livestream page.