Arthur Houle
Arthur Houle, a Colorado Mesa University music professor and director of keyboard studies.


CMU piano professor publishes original composition with national music organization

An original piano composition by Arthur Houle, a Colorado Mesa University music professor and director of keyboard studies, has received prestigious recognition by the National Federation of Music Clubs, one of the country's largest professional music organizations. The Federation is dedicated to fostering musical talent through its annual Festivals Program, which enrolls about 117,000 students every year.

Houle’s composition, “Buckaroo Blues,” will be included in the Federation’s 2016-2020 Festival Bulletin. Students attending the Federation’s Festivals Program select repertory from the official Festival Bulletin.  

“Buckaroo Blues” is one of 14 "Moderately Difficult Class 2" pieces from which piano students can choose when performing in the Federation's Festivals Program.

Having a piece selected for the bulletin is a significant honor, Houle said.

“I'm thrilled,” he said. “Getting listed in the NFMC bulletin means that literally thousands of piano students will scope out this composition.”

“Buckaroo Blues” was recently published by Abundant Silence, a fledgling non-profit music organization founded by Luke Rackers. Rackers works tirelessly, Houle said, to promote high quality 21st century music and musicians by publishing new works and hosting unique venues such as the annual Festival for Creative Pianists, which Houle founded in 2001. On June 10, Houle played “Buckaroo Blues” at this year’s Festival for Creative Pianists in Denver.

“The festival judges and I jammed on the tune,” Houle said. “So festival participants got to see how they can be free with my pieces.”

“Buckaroo Blues” is dedicated to a former student, Jason Buckalew, whose last name conjured up the image of a buckaroo, or cowboy, who embraces cowboy life with a carefree nonchalance borne of experience, contentment and unassuming confidence.

Houle said he thinks students will enjoy it.

‘‘‘Buckaroo Blues,’ like all my ‘Cowboy Jazz’ pieces, is a fun and sophisticated (yet accessible) work that has broad appeal,” he said. “I encourage pianists to be creative and take liberties with the music.Students and their teachers find this refreshing, since they generally feel constrained to play other repertory note-for-note, without any deviation from the printed score.”


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