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Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - OU provost’s composition commissioned for CD
The CD “Attracting Opposites: New Music for Piano Trio” draws its title from a James Lentini composition that was commissioned for the album.
By Katie Williams, contributing writer

Dr. James Lentini’s latest composition, “Opposites Attract,” has been released on the Azica recording label, performed by the Rawlins Piano Trio.

The CD, “Attracting Opposites: New Music for Piano Trio,” draws its title from Dr. Lentini’s composition and is the fifth CD recorded by the Rawlins Piano Trio, an internationally acclaimed ensemble from the University of South Dakota.

An accomplished composer and guitarist, Dr. Lentini, who joined Oakland University in July as senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, built “Opposites Attract” around contrasting musical ideas and styles of composition.

“I’ve always been interested in the blending of music that is dissonant with music that is more harmonious,” Dr. Lentini said. “In ‘Opposites Attract,’ the harmonic language of the music shifts.”

The piece features two movements, entitled Alpha Meets Omega and Dance of the Yin-Yang. Dr. Lentini’s musical influences and interests, including tonal and non-tonal music, lyrical melodies, rhythmic vitality and blended characteristics of classical, jazz and other idioms, are present throughout.

“This CD is a celebration of contemporary music,” Dr. Lentini said. “It’s unique for a traditional ensemble, like the Rawlins Piano Trio, to perform the works of living composers on a commercial label.”

Distributed by Naxos, “Attracting Opposites” is available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.

As an educator, administrator and musician, Dr. Lentini cites the value of contrast in research, too.

“As a doctoral research university, Oakland celebrates the diverse forms research takes. Research can include the discovery of new knowledge and the creation of new things,” Dr. Lentini said. “OU benefits from fostering both because the best way to link our students to the real world is through the work that faculty members do beyond the classroom.”

Dr. Lentini’s works have previously been performed by solo artist William Kansengiser and recorded by ensembles including the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra, Bohuslau Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra, the St. Clair Trio and members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

He has earned numerous awards in the field, including first prize in the Choral Composition Contest at Bluffton College, the Andres Segovia International Composition Award, a Visiting Artist Residency Composition at the American Academy in Rome, and the ASCAP Standard Panel Award from 1991-2013. Dr. Lentini was also the recipient of the Career Achievement in the Field of Music from Wayne State University, where he earned his undergraduate degree and served as the chair of the music department.

Dr. Lentini will perform original works for the Oakland University community as part of the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance’s Thursday Arts After Work series on March 27.