Nick Murphy Lights Up the Night with “Nokutan”

Nick Murphy Lights Up the Night with Nokutan

At the Annual Arts Day at Out-of-Door, many students will be showing off their musical talents, playing music by some of the world’s most renowned musicians. What you may not know is that the Upper and Middle School orchestra will also be performing an original piece created by one of ODA’s own students.

Nick Murphy has attended ODA since Pre-K, which is when he was first introduced to music. From those early days, Nick showed interest in music. Dr. Vasilaki, lower school music teacher, saw great potential in him as a musician when he was an elementary student. Nick plays the piano and the trumpet which he studied under the direction of ODA music teacher, Patrick Miller. Nick studied piano and music theory under Dr. Lisa Rosser.

“Dr. Vasilaki inspired me to write,” reflects Nick.

Knowing he might respond well to another musical challenge, Mrs. Nicole Young, upper school music teacher and orchestra director, asked Nick Murphy, only a freshman, if he would compose a piece of music for the Out-of-Door Orchestra performance at ODA’s annual Arts Day.

Nick accepted the challenge. On this year’s Arts Day, the ODA orchestra will be performing his piece “Nokutan,” a word meaning “night” in an ancient Japanese dialect.

To write the piece, Nick tried to find a picture of what he wanted people to imagine.

Using related terms, Nick used a computer search engine to find an image that he liked. He used this image and then composed the music to represent what he was seeing.

“I want the audience to feel like it is night, and they are walking in a Japanese garden,” Nick says.

Nick’s piece will be performed by both experienced and inexperienced musicians. Nick made a great effort to compose the piece to make it easier for all levels of students to play.

One of the challenges according to Nick has been that some of the more experienced musicians play too loud, and some too soft, if at all. Working to create a perfect balance of melodies and harmonies has been a demanding process.

“I tried to make it not challenging, but it is still challenging,”says Nick.

For Nick, writing music for instruments he doesn’t play was part of the challenge as a composer. “It may not be perfect, but I hope it will get as close to it as possible.”

The orchestra will perform Nick’s piece at 4:00 p.m. Saturday in the Black Box Theater during Arts Day.