From the AdaHub Community Magazine

Local composers find harmony
in unconventional approach to song craftings

While Victoria Davison and Rudy Lupinski first met in the late-1980s, it wasn't until 2005 that they started working together as composers. Both are musicians with their own distinct styles and personalities, but when they come together, their talents combine to create music using the best of each other's abilities.

Davison is originally from Ada, though she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in voice-teaching from Tulane University. She later went on to pursue a successful career in commercial real estate in the Washington, D.C. area. After she married her husband Denver Davison she returned to Ada and also returned to music. Her first choral anthem was debuted by the St. Luke's Episcopal Choir in 1999, and then in 2004 the East Central University Chorale premiered three more of her choral anthems.

Lupinski was born in Heidelberg, Germany, but he moved to Ada when he was about two years old. He received his Bachelor of Arts in instrumental music education from ECU and has since taught as an adjunct and full-time professor there, focusing on piano and music theory. He is the ECU staff accompanist and lends his talents to musicals, individuals and other performances around town.

When Davison and Lupinski decided to work together in 2005, they had no idea how fruitful their partnership would become, they said. They have since written 82 pieces and are the resident composers for the ECU Chorale and Singers under the direction of Steven Walker, whom they credit with much of their success due to his support and expertise.

Though they collaborate, they don't fit the classic image of two composers sitting at a piano hashing things out. Instead, technology IS a large part of their process, specifically music notation software like Finale.

Davison credits God as her major source of inspiration.

"For me it all starts with the Lord," Davison said. "I will get these melodies, then I will work at the computer at home and do all of the voicing. Sometimes I hear instruments with the choral parts, and I'll just write everything out."

Davison is the one who starts working from pure inspiration, just putting everything down that comes to her. After she is finished with her initial composition, she sends it to Lupinski. She said she usually leaves the accompaniment blank, and he has a chance to look at it and listen to it.

If he thinks there is potential in the composition, then they will get together at Davison's house and go over it measure by measure at the computer, Lupinski said. While Davison has the initial inspiration, Lupinski has the music theory background that helps finish the piece, making it compositionally sound.

"When she presents the music, she presents a wealth of material, and my job is to edit," Lupinski said.

It is more than just editing, though. The two individual composers said they bring their own strengths together, working as a team to create music that is better than either could compose on their own.

"When we first started out, he would ask 'Why did you do this?' And I would say 'Why not?'" Davison said. "Sometimes he will describe me to people as being unconventional, because I don't really think about what I'm doing. It just flows. When I'm creating the piece, it is total freedom. know if there is something that is going to be cliche or not going to work, then I also know he will fix it."

The two trust each other's abilities and instincts, and that trust allows them to create beautiful music together. While the majority of their music is sacred choral music, some is also for solo voice, some is unaccompanied, some with many different instruments and some pieces are even written for children. Their music is tonal, lyrical and melodic though composed in a variety of different choral styles. Lupinski is very careful to make sure that every piece sounds different and unique and always keeps the chord progressions fresh so their music has a sound distinct to them while also sounding original.

Of their extensive choral repertoire, all but six pieces have been performed by the ECU Chorale or Singers. Their music is also performed by various church choirs in the community as well. Their music is currently published by Santa Barbara Music Publishers.

For more information on upcoming publications or performances, visit their website davisonlupinski.com or follow them on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedln.


Written by Sunnie Dawn Smith
Photo by Angela Martin
Published December 2017

 

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The East Central University Chorale has won the 2016 Golden State Choral Trophy from the American International Choral Festival in Monterey, California.  We were honored that one of our pieces, "O Magnum Mysterium," was performed at the competition.