Marottolo’s art-inspired compositions performed by student musicians, singers


On Friday, May 4, senior David Marottolo presented several pieces he had composed over the period of the entire year to the student body. His inspiration came from visual art designed by the students in the advanced art classes at KO, such as Portfolio Prep.

“The piece was titled ‘Pictures at a KO Exhibition,’ and it was based on the artwork of my classmates, created during our junior year. Each movement was based on a separate piece of artwork, and the entire work was written for combined choir, wind ensemble, and orchestra” David said.

David drew inspiration from each piece of art he focused on, his reactions to the artwork and the emotions or themes they could evoke in a casual observer. “Ultimately my goal was to create music that both reflected on and complemented the original piece,” David said.

Those whose art was chosen were Olivia Rossi, Alicia Henry, Mackenzie Goldschlager, Hannah Bash, and Nicole Galik. Mr. Baker and Mr. Chiarappa conducted the final performance.

The orchestra and chorus took part in the performance of the piece. Photo by Ali Meizels ’19.

According to history and creative arts teacher David Baker, it was incredible to see someone combine all of the school’s arts programs, including band, orchestra, choir and other choral groups.

“It was very fun to perform live because we had never seen the pictures that we were playing about so seeing them really pulled the song together,” senior double bass player, Ryan Goss said.

Senior art student Olivia Rossi was glad to provide inspiration for the music. “I’m happy he liked my drawing of the book transforming as it was one of my more simple pieces; I just used sharpie and thought of the idea as I went,” Olivia said. “He first picked my art piece as inspiration a long time ago and when I heard the composition was gonna be performed on May fourth I was really excited to finally hear it”.

“I thought David’s piece was an incredible undertaking for all musical groups,” Mr. Baker said. “I thought it was great that he was both the composer and the orchestrator, which is not the case very often.”

Senior violist Anthony Melody agreed with Mr. Baker. “I was really impressed by about how hard David Marottolo worked on the piece for a whole year for string instruments, wind instruments, and vocalists,” Anthony said. “I had a great time performing it and being a part of his personal creation.”

“[David] composed so much music and had to put all the pieces together, so it must’ve been a daunting and time consuming project,” Mr. Baker said.

Orchestra director Richard Chiarappa agreed with Mr. Baker. “This proved to be a wonderful learning experience for David,” he said. “A performance is always the end of a process, in this case, the artistic process, and that process is where the work really is. David had to answer many musical questions in composing a piece of music while attempting to represent a piece of visual art via musical sounds. Should it be fast, should it be slow, should it be a clarinet or a violin, should it be major or minor? This just scratches the surface of what David tried to accomplish at his young age, and he did very well.”

It was a daunting process indeed for David. He said that he began working on the piece during his junior year and continued through the summer and this school year.

Mr. Baker said he was proud of the musical groups for learning the new music so quickly. Band director Todd Millen was also impressed with his musicians’ ability to learn the music under a time constraint. “We only got the piece two weeks before we had to perform it; therefore, we only rehearsed the piece three times, but for the short amount of time that we had, I think everything turned out really well,” he said. “I just wish we, as individual music groups, had more time to work on it.”

Due to several factors, the students were unable to perform all of the movements David composed. “Unfortunately, it was difficult to schedule many group rehearsals, and this combined with a delay in getting out the music to each group meant we could only present several of the movements,” David said.

Ryan was impressed with the performance. “I think the orchestra, choir and band all did exceptionally well working with a challenging piece in a such a short amount of time. The constant changes in style and rhythm made these songs challenging,” Ryan said.

David Marottolo said his main goal was to make the music sound like it would be playing in the background at an art gallery. The intensity of the pieces increased and decreased depending on the piece that was playing. His accompanying piece for “Walking in the Rain” was especially appreciated by the students in the audience. “The applause that came at the end of the performance was real genuine applause, not the polite kind; the students understand how hard David worked, he’s just on another level” Millen said.

Sophomore Julia Kanaan was very impressed with his work. “I thought it was amazing that he put so much time and effort into something like this, and I definitely think it was beautiful music.”

Senior Ben Tauber agreed. “I thought it was really awesome that he took the concept from a piece that he really loved and then brought the idea to Kingswood and involved pieces of art done by students to inspire him to make his own music, which was extremely beautiful,” he said.

Ryan was happy to be part of this noteworthy performance. “The assembly was very powerful; I think everyone appreciated that,” he said.