Music Theory and Composition
When Mitch McCarthy, 21, hears holiday music this Christmas, he’ll be taking it in with a whole new perspective. This past summer the senior from Bristol, CT, who is majoring in music theory and composition, had a unique opportunity to travel to the Czech Republic with Associate Professor of Music Ken Lampl to work on the musical arrangements for a recently-released Christmas album by singer Katrina Swift.
Professor Lampl describes the album, titled “Christmas Cheer,” as “really old-school. I did not want it to have a contemporary sound.” The album features traditional songs such as “Little Drummer Boy,” “White Christmas,” “Silver Bells,” and several other holiday favorites. Professor Lampl says he selected Mitch to work with him on the project, “because he’s got the most amazing work ethic. He’s a fast learner, and I knew he would work as hard as was needed to get the project right. This album was a big deal with a lot of money going into it. ”
Of Professor Lampl, Mitch says, “He has pushed me to do great things and not settle for the accepted or expected standard. In overseeing all of my activity in the Music Department, he recognized my work ethic and drive, as well as my meticulous methodology, and decided to bring me onboard.”
Professor Lampl and Mitch put in two months of preparatory work, compiling almost 3,000 pages of notes before traveling to the Czech Republic for a week in July. Even during the flight and while they were in Europe they continued to work and revise the musical arrangements.
Mitch explains that there were several obstacles facing them in the studio, most notably that members of the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra of Zlín, with which they were working, did not speak English and neither Mitch or Professor Lampl speak Czech. They found somewhat of a common ground in German. The recording sessions took place in Dolni Bojanovice, a studio located in a picturesque wine village.
Mitch found the experience of working on his first album very gratifying. “It’s the first real professional experience I’ve had, and it showed the possibilities for a successful career in music.”
At the end of the 2009 spring semester Mitch was recognized as “most outstanding junior” at the Music Department’s awards dinner. He plays for several music ensembles within the music department and has performed in several solo and dual recitals. He has also scored a number of films for students in the Hofstra Film Club. Mitch also organized Hofstra’s first "reading orchestra," comprised of around 50 students who come together just to play new music.