While humanities professors are known to visit European cathedrals to better share their architectural and acoustical wonders with students, few have likely witnessed the performance of a piece of music they have composed in one. Macomb Professor Stuart Scott, however, is an exception.
“It was an honor,” says Scott, whose Requiem Brevis was performed by the Belfast Philharmonic Choir on Friday, Nov. 3, in St. Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast, Ireland, with Scott and his wife Cindy in the audience.
Scott’s Requiem, a musical composition that expresses the sadness of death, was commissioned in 2014 by the choral group Vanguard Voices. The invitation to have it performed at St. Anne’s by the Belfast Philharmonic came from the choir’s director, Stephen Doughty, shown here with Scott (right) in the Belfast Cathedral. Doughty had heard the piece, composed for an eight-faced sanctuary, on a choral directors’ networking site.
“St. Anne’s is a beautiful space, perfect for the eight-choir piece,” says Scott. “The acoustics allowed the piece to really resonate from place to place within the cathedral.”
A professor at Macomb for 30 years, Scott holds a bachelor’s degree in voice, a master’s in music performance and a doctorate of arts, all from Ball State University. One of the first professors at Macomb to embrace online learning, he appreciates the deeper dimension it can bring to art and architecture.
“I am always interested in discovering ways to bridge the gaps that exist between subject matter, knowledge acquisition and application. I think we all learn best by improving on our mistakes,” says Scott. “In my courses, students are encouraged to do this through a variety of strategically planned activities.”
Not surprisingly, Scott didn’t miss a lecture when he was in Ireland, providing his students with a literal distance learning experience as he toured that country and Germany as well. In addition to teaching humanities, Scott directs and performs with the College’s alumni ensemble. He has also directed Macomb’s other choral groups in the past, stepping down this year to make way for a newly created full-time choral activities director, a position for which he had lobbied. A successful freelance composer, Scott’s musical career forms a bridge of a different sort, between his perspective as a working artist and his students’ pursuit of their own creative self.
“Humanities is a broad-based subject that allows for creativity and the appreciation of creativity,” says Scott. “Through the analysis of creative works, the student is able to gain a better understanding of themselves in the wider context of various cultures.”