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UCO Composer-In-Residence Creates 'Snapshot' of Presidential Inauguration Through Song

Samuel Magrill

April 4, 2012

Media Contact:  Tiffany Wilson, University Relations Staff Writer, University of Central Oklahoma, (405) 974-2121,


Energetic, rhythmic, joyful, liberated – these words describe the picture University of Central Oklahoma Composer-in-Residence Samuel Magrill paints with notes and instruments when he creates a new piece.

“It’s a number of different landscapes – different characters – coming together in classical form. Each of my songs is a sonic snapshot of a particular instance in time,” Magrill said while introducing his latest piece celebrating the inauguration of Central’s 20th president, Don Betz, Ph.D.

The piece will be performed for the first time as a part of the university’s Inauguration Week festivities at an invitation-only concert honoring President Betz and his wife, Susanne, on April 17. The Inauguration Ceremony is April 20.           

Magrill’s piece is called “BVP Trio” for bassoon, viola and piano – the composition’s cardinal instruments.

Though the piece has a simple name, Magrill’s inauguration anthem is full of symbolism that points to the new era the university is entering under Betz’s leadership.

“I wrote an innovative composition for an innovative presidency,” Magrill said.

To point, he noted the composition is a departure from traditional piano trios comprised of piano, violin and cello and that the anthem’s innovative style illustrates Central’s mission to “help students learn by providing transformative experiences.”

“Just as the piece is transformed by a new combination of instruments, the university will be transformed by this new leadership,” Magrill said.

Another element, the piece’s global tone, is symbolic of the upcoming inauguration.

From touches of Russia’s Igor Stravinsky and Hungary’s Béla Bartók to hints of Indian folk music, the anthem is a blend of eastern and western tradition.

“The global blending illustrates admiration for Dr. Betz and his international knowledge,” Magrill said, referencing Betz’s work with the United Nations on Middle East issues.

In his 24 years as a professor at Central, the upcoming inauguration is one of many transitions Magrill has experienced. Students he taught as freshman in music theory are becoming his peers. Four presidents, a university name change and the development of a School of Music from what was the Department of Music are just a few of the notable shifts Magrill has witnessed.

Many years from now, perhaps when there are new presidents in Central’s history books, Magrill hopes the “BVP Trio” will serve as a “sonic snapshot,” commemorating a culture of learning, leading and serving at Central.

The university will celebrate the inauguration of President Betz with a week of activities April 16-20 reflecting Central’s six tenets of transformative learning - Discipline Knowledge, Leadership, Problem Solving (Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities), Service Learning and Civic Engagement, Global and Cultural Competencies, and Health and Wellness.

Many events, including the Inauguration Ceremony at 2 p.m., April 20 in Hamilton Field House, are free and open to the public.  A ticket is required for the ceremony, and ticket holders will be seated on a first-come basis, as space in Hamilton Field House is limited.  Tickets can be picked up in person from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the information desk inside the main entrance on the east side of the Nigh University Center.

For more information about President Betz’s inauguration, including a list of events, visit


Editor's Note: Download art for publication with this release at

Cutline: University of Central Oklahoma composer-in-residence Samuel Magrill practices his composition “BVP Trio,” the anthem he created in celebration of the upcoming inauguration of the university’s 20th president, Don Betz, Ph.D.