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Composer Michael Pariza offers a ride on “The Amazing Whimcycle.”

Mike Pariza is well known as a professor of food microbiology and toxicology and director of the UW Food Research Institute, and for his expertise on such subjects as conjugated linoleic acid in foods and feeds and the links between diet and cancer. Now “published composer” can be added to his list of accomplishments. His composition entitled “The Amazing Whimcycle” is in the final editing stages for publication by Pelican Music.

Pariza completed the first version of the composition while sitting in on an orchestration class taught by Steve Dembski, professor in the UW-Madison School of Music.

The title was an afterthought, he explained in an article on the UW-Washington County website. “I tried to imagine what the music might suggest if I were hearing it for the first time.” ?He noted that “my office overlooks the lakeshore bike path, so a sort of fantastic bike ride ?through one’s imagination popped out. The movements are named for some of the things I ?daydream about, but the audience is free to travel its own route.”

Here’s how Pariza describes the composition’s four movements:

  • Just a minute – you hop aboard the “bike” for an amazing journey
  • Riding an ellipse – what it might be like to sit on a comet and float in space
  • Critters in a puddle – watching protozoa through a microscope as they dance about in a drop of water
  • SETI – acronym for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Versions of The Amazing Whimcycle were read by UW-Madison student ensembles and performed in concert by the Moraine Symphonic Band at UW-Washington County under the direction of UW-Madison alum Dan Ackley. The composition was also performed at the Red Lodge Music Festival in Montana under the direction of Robert Levy, former band director at Lawrence University. After each performance Pariza revised the piece a bit. The published version will be performed by the Monroe (Wisconsin) City Band during its next concert season.

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