Norris shows music talent through senior recital

Charles Norris

The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts hosted Charles Norris’ senior flute recital as part of the center’s connection to the Michael and Anne Greenwood School of Music.

This is one of the first student recitals to take place in the McKnight Center after it opened on Sept. 28.

Norris’ performance included pieces from Romanian composer George Enescu, John Manuel Pacheco, German Baroque composer Georg Telemann, Otar Taktakishvili, Jacob Thiede and a self-written piece by Norris. Norris was assisted by Pi-Ju Chiang on piano, Avery Jordan on violin and Dawson Leffingwell on percussion.

The recital was part of the fulfillment for Norris’ degree from the Greenwood School of Music and requires him to perform music composed in different eras. 

“The whole point of the recital, of the music I chose, was to have the beginning of music all the way to the modern era,” Norris said. “So, we have the Georg Philipp Telemann “Fantasia for Flute,” just a solo flute piece with no accompaniment and it’s from the Baroque era, it’s one of the earliest pieces for flute. And we end the concert with the electronic piece, which was written in 2012.”

The recital took place in the Recital Hall of the McKnight Center, a room fine-tuned to host smaller musical performances. Norris stood alongside a black grand piano on stage for much of the recital.

The piano was eventually replaced by a massive percussion set-up including a giant xylophone, bass drum and windchimes.This was used for Norris’ self-composition, “even the silence breaks with time.”

Norris said he composed this piece freshman year for a percussionist but decided to use it in his recital.

“The piece, it’s very idiomatic,” Norris said. “There’s a lot of free time, there’s no real pulse. There’s a lot of really harsh sections where it’s just noises out of nowhere and it’s supposed to emulate the fact that everything wears down, nothing is forever; even silence eventually wears down.”

The recital finished with Norris alone with just his flute and a computer set-up allowing him to play electronic tracks alongside his solo. The composer for this track, Jacob Thiede, was in attendance for the recital. Thiede said he had been working with Norris on performing the piece for over three months.

Wanita Norris, Charles’ mother, was in attendance for the recital. She said she remembers Charles learning the flute at an early age from his sister.

“It was about seven or eight, because she played it and she was teaching him.” said Wanita Norris.

During his time at Oklahoma State, Norris has been taught by Erin Murphy, a flautist  and assistant professor for the Greenwood School of Music. She said she is proud of Norris’ recital and how it was all executed. Murphy assisted Norris in selecting what pieces to perform.

“I like to give my students some ideas of repertoire pieces,” said Murphy. “I think the Taktakishvili is one that we kind of like mutually agreed on, same with Telemann’s “Fantasy.” Then with the other ones: his composition, which I thought it was a great showcase of some of the pieces that he has composed because he’s also into composing, and then the last piece, he totally found on his own and he brought it to me, and I was like ‘this sounds fantastic, let’s do it!’”

Norris said he is hoping to get into graduate school either at Julliard University of Southern California or Michigan State University after he graduates from Oklahoma State. He plans to study composing.