By Tyrah Burris
For the Diamondback

Award-winning composer Clarice Assad premiered her original piece World of Change accompanied by pianist Lara Downes and percussionist Britton-René Collins at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts School on Sunday, April 10.

The concert was originally set to take place in 2020 and focus on the effects of climate change. However, once the pandemic began not only was the performance rescheduled, but it also evolved to reflect the new post-pandemic world.

“The idea of change took on a whole new meaning because we went through this pandemic and suddenly we’ve all changed, our world has changed,” said Richard Scerbo, the artistic planning program director for music at The Clarice.

The colorful lighting along with the small audience and venue created an intimate atmosphere between the performers and audience.

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One audience member was Rizwan Jagani, a friend of Assad who is familiar with Assad’s different music styles.

He came to support Assad’s original composed piece but stayed the whole time after hearing Downes on the piano.

“I was absolutely mesmerized by how it came to be,” Jagani said. “Also Lara’s piano playing, I came for one thing and stayed for the rest of it and I absolutely enjoyed all of it.”

Bringing this concert to the University of Maryland campus provided a space for creative artists like Downes and Assad to spread their message about change to the different students at The Clarice, according to Scerbo.

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“It’s an opportunity for us to really provide the platform space for [the perfomers] to do that … it’s important to the artistic community that’s here,” he said.

The motivation behind the piece was to bring awareness about how humans jeopardize our own ability to live on earth, according to Assad.

“That feeling of entitlement that we are on the top of the food chain and the fact that we are so preoccupied with ourselves more than with the environment …we actually jeopardize our ability to live here,” she said.