Professor commissions famed composition

Under the direction of Ng Tian Hui, the Mount Holyoke College Symphony Orchestra recently presented the world premiere of “Invitation to Die-In,” a piece Tian had commissioned to remember Trayvon Martin, the black teenager who was shot and killed in Florida in 2012.

Composed by Nkeiru Okoye with librettist David Cote, “Invitation to Die-In” features a deliberately haunting and dissonant orchestral accompaniment along with intermittent arm-slapping and feet-stamping by the orchestra.  

The story of the piece and a video of the premiere was featured on the public radio station WFMT in Chicago, Ill.  

Tian, who has received numerous accolades for his work, including the 2015 American Prize in Orchestral Programming, is the director of orchestra and assistant professor of music – conducting at Mount Holyoke.