Eric McElroy is an American pianist and composer who released his debut album, Tongues of Fire, in March 2023 on Somm Recordings. He wrote the songs to accompany poems from modern poets W.S. Merwin, Gregory Leadbetter, Grevel Lindop, Alice Oswald, and Robert Graves. The poems are sung by acclaimed English tenor James Gilchrist and McElroy performs on piano.
McElroy graduated from Washington State University and then continued his postgraduate education in Vienna and Oxford University.
In this episode, Washington State Magazine editor Larry Clark talks with McElroy about the new album, his creative process, poetry, walking, and his influences at WSU and beyond.
It’s sunrise somewhere on the Appalachian Trail. Ruth Boden is sitting on top of a mountain, playing her cello as she gazes out at a sea of trees. A hiker approaches. “So that’s what I’ve been hearing for the past six miles!” he calls out to her, grinning from ear to ear.
Boden is the cello professor at Washington State University and the founder of Music Outside Four Walls. She is challenging the received wisdom that classical music is played in tuxedos in concert halls with whisper-quiet audiences who’ve paid big bucks for a seat. So she backpacks, with cello, … » More …
Paul Henning ’98 didn’t set out to be a professional musician. “I swore up and down I wasn’t going to be a music major or study music—but then, look what I did!” he says.
He moved to Los Angeles where he made a lot of phone calls looking for work as a session player, orchestrator, or proofreader of musical scores—and ended up working with John Williams on the music for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Over the course of 60 years, John Williams has scored over 100 films and taken home five Oscars. All his scores, Henning says, start with Williams at the piano … » More …