Category: Conservatory

Social activism explored in Lawrence opera production of “Hydrogen Jukebox”

With the help of the combined talents of vanguard composer Philip Glass and iconic beat poet Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence University’s opera studies program explores four decades of social activism in four performances of “Hydrogen Jukebox.”

The production will be staged Feb. 16-18 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 19 at 3 p.m. in Stansbury Theatre of the Music-Drama Center. Tickets for the general public, at $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office. The opera is free to members of the Lawrence community with an ID.

A photo of Lawrence University students in the university's opera production "Hydrogen Jukebox".A talk back with members of the cast, production team and Lawrence faculty will follow the Friday (2/17) and Saturday (2/18) performances.

The opera grew out of a 1988 chance meeting between Glass and Ginsberg at a New York City bookstore. A piano piece composed by Glass to accompany a Ginsberg reading of the anti-war poem “Wichita Vortex Sutra” at Broadway’s Schubert Theater evolved into a full-length piece that became “Hydrogen Jukebox.” The name came from a verse in Ginsberg’s 1955 poem “Howl.”

The opera’s first public performance was on May 26, 1990 at the Spoleto Music Festival in Charleston, S.C.

According to Glass, the idea behind “Hydrogen Jukebox” was to create a portrait of America covering the 1950s through the late 1980s by incorporating the personal poems of Ginsberg that examined a variety of social issues, from the anti-war movement and the sexual revolution to Eastern philosophy and environmental issues.

Copeland Woodruff, director of opera studies at Lawrence, who is directing the production, said he selected the work in part to expose students to social activism in the country during the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.

“The primary impetus of choosing an opera at an academic institution, especially an undergraduate one, is to serve the population of students you currently have,” said Woodruff, whose 2016 production of “The Beggar’s Opera” earned first-place honors in the National Opera Association’s Division 6 best opera production competition. “With the prevalent social unrest at universities and colleges last year, it seemed a responsible thing to do. I did not, however, anticipate falling so completely in love with Philip Glass and Allen Ginsberg.”

A photo of Lawrence University students performing in the university's opera production "Hydrogen Jukebox."The production features a cast of six singers and an actor. It incorporates a considerable among amount of video projection content, which is used in a variety of roles throughout the performance, including environmental and expressive of characters and thoughts.

“The cast, designers and I looked at the poetry and Glass’ and Ginsberg’s fascination and dedication to Eastern thought,” said Woodruff, “and we crafted an evening that is a journey from loss and back on the path of regaining oneself and one’s purpose.

“Highlights along the road include experimentation with consciousness to reconnect; opening oneself to help others, but having only harsh words and doubt to convey; looking into the past and finding the growth potential instead of being marred in past wrongs and shortcomings; and seeing things clearly and dispassionately, so that we may be most helpful to others and ourselves.”

Andrew Mast, Kimberly Clark Professor of Music and director of bands, conductors the music ensemble for the production. Bonnie Koestner, associate professor of music, is the production’s music director and Reed Woodhouse, a senior vocal coach at Juilliard, is visiting guest artist and a vocal coach for the production.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence Artist Series welcomes Elias String Quartet

The internationally acclaimed London-based Elias String Quartet brings its reputation for performing with “exuberance and fire” to the Lawrence Memorial Chapel Friday, Feb. 3 in the second concert of Lawrence University’s 2016-17 Artist Series.

Tickets, at $25-30 for adults, $20-25 for seniors, $18-20 for students, are available online through the Lawrence Box Office or by calling 920-832-6749.A photo of London-based Elias String Quartet sitting on the couch.

Hailed as one of the leading ensembles of their generation, Elias will feature Beethoven’s “String Quartet in F minor, Op. 95,” Kurtág’s “Moments musicaux for string quartet, Op. 44” and Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in A minor, Op. 13” in its Lawrence performance.

A product of Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music in England, the quartet has evolved from student group to professional ensemble, earning raves for its artistic excellence after bursting on the scene in 1998. Since then, they have performed around the world, collaborating with many of the best musicians in the world’s most revered venues.

In 2015, the quartet — violinists Sara Bitlloch and Donald Grant, violist Martin Saving and cellist Marie Bitlloch, Sara’s sister — finished its ground-breaking Beethoven Project, which saw it record and perform the composer’s complete set of works for string quartet.

In its review of a recent performance, The Sunday Times of London raved “The players are individually brilliant, but their interplay is profound” while the Philadelphia Inquiring called their playing “intoxicating.”

Passionate about playing new music, Elias has premiered works by contemporary composers Sally Beamish and Colin Matthews of the UK, Matthew Hindson from Australia and American Timo Andres. In addition to the Beethoven project, their discography includes Mendelssohn and Britten as well as an album of French harp music and Schumann and Dvorak piano quintets with Jonathan Biss.

Remaining performers on this year’s Artist Series line-up include Mnozil Brass, March 29,  and Roomful of Teeth, April 7.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence’s Great Midwest Trivia Contest offers 52nd test of cerebral fitness

 It seems a no brainer that Ridley Tankersley would eventually hold the exalted title of Trivia Headmaster of Lawrence University’s ultimate test of cerebral fitness.

A photo of Lawrence University Trivia Headmaster Ridley Tankersley.
Senior Ridley Tankersley will oversee the 52nd edition of Lawrence’s Great Midwest Trivia Contest.

Heck, he almost was named a trivia master before he was even a Lawrence student.

As 2017’s Trivia Headmaster, Tankersley, a senior studio art major from Phoenix, Ariz., will oversee 50 straight hours of outrageous competition all in the name of fun during the 52nd edition of Lawrence University’s Great Midwest Trivia Contest.

Older than the Super Bowl and liberally sprinkled with questions that make explaining the Higgs Boson look easy, the Lawrence trivia contest is the nation’s longest-running salute to all things obscure.

The contest returns in all its inconsequential glory Friday, Jan. 27 at its customary 10:00.37 p.m. start time and runs until midnight Sunday. The contest, just as it has for the past 11 years, will be webcast worldwide from the control room of wlfmradio.

Nearly 400 questions will be asked over the course of the contest, with hundreds, if not thousands of trivia addicts playing for on-campus and off-campus teams, calling in answers to the WLFM studios. Last year, 86 teams battled it out for the off-campus title, which was won by Hobgoblins of Little Minds, a team based in North Carolina. Among on-campus combatants, David and the Bucky’s Batallion Diabolically Antagonizing Tortured Brood-Makers, Basically Building Batteries, Bungee Jumping Blindfolded, Bizarrely Bludgeoning Bells and Definitely Ascending toward Brilliance By Dastardly Battling Together outlasted 18 challengers for its second straight title.

Tankersley, who went from playing as a freshman to serving as a trivia master the past two contests, tried to pull a fast one in 2012. As a visiting prospective student, Tankersley conspired with a current student to apply as a trivia master.

“We thought it would be funny if we both auditioned to be trivia masters,” said Tankersley, who was a member of the winning on-campus team his freshman year. “I pretended to be a Lawrence student. My visit roommate gave me a fake Lawrence ID number and his room number. I went through the whole process, including an interview. I heard I came close to being picked. I think people were quite surprised when they realized I was back in Arizona finishing high school.”

As he gets ready to settle in to the big chair for the weekend, Tankersley hopes to remind players of the contest’s credo: Trivia is meant to be entertainment and should be perceived solely in that light.

“I’ve seen the focus put on competitiveness, not the enjoyment of playing and I want to see it go back to that,” said Tankersley, who figures he’ll only manage to sneak in eight hours of sleep during the course of the 50-hour contest. “I want it to be on the front of everyone’s mind that people are playing because it’s fun and trivia masters are doing what they do because it’s fun.”

A photo of Lawrence University headmaster dressing up as a Joker, surrounded by trivia masters holding up large playing cards.
A “deck full” of trivia masters will assist headmaster Ridley Tankersley (center) during this year’s 50-hour Great Midwest Trivia contest.

While technology has perhaps eroded some of the contest’s original, simple charm, its core spirit — a weird, yet at the same time weirdly logical experience —  remains untarnished.

“You’re in a room with waxing and waning numbers of other teammates, but you’re all there doing the same thing,” said Tankersley, whose dad played as the one-man team “Square Root of All Evil” from Arizona last year. “People take it seriously and it’s inspiring that they do, finding the fun in this weird thing.

“It’s really all about the community of playing,” he added. “It’s about spending time with your friends on the weekend, and maybe coming out of it with a bad prize. It’s all about the experience.”

 Appleton native Kim Stahl knows all about trivia’s “community of playing.” She began playing the trivia contest when she was in elementary school and started a team in sixth grade. Today, she and her best friend Heidi Delorey are co-ring leaders of a team that numbers around four dozen multiple-generation players from as many as 10 states who annually converge on her home — in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Stahl, who has approximately 35 years of notches in her trivia belt, and her merry band of “Hobgoblins,” have benefited from the contest’s switch from an over-the-air broadcast to its current webcast, allowing her to maintain a beloved, decades-old tradition.

“We just love playing. We love the contest. It’s a lot of fun and it makes for a wonderful reunion,” said Stahl, a 1991 graduate of Appleton West High School. “And we love the fact that all of these Lawrence students have kept it going all these years. It’s such a unique college tradition.”

Despite her long history with the contest, Stahl first cued the DJ to play “We are the Champions” in 2015, the contest’s 50th anniversary. They successfully defended their title last year and now are gunning for a coveted “threepeat.”

“We are firmly intending to hit the hat trick this year,” said Stahl, whose own personal trivia tradition involves filling her front yard with pink flamingos the weekend of the contest.  “After never expecting to win for the first 30-some years, that would be a crowning jewel.”

Following trivia tradition, Lawrence President Mark Burstein, will start the fun by asking the contest’s first question, which, also by tradition, is always the final — and virtually unanswerable 100-point “Super Garruda” — from the previous year’s contest.

For one of the few times in the contest’s history, last year’s Super Garruda was correctly answered by the Trivia Pirates…Aaarrrggh. They somehow managed to come up Earwigs Rule to the question: In 1964, a band pretended to play Beatles songs at a battle of the bands called the Letterman Show. What is written in the top right corner of the page that features the band in a KWSS DJ’s copy of the lead singer’s 1965 high school yearbook?

Here are a few “softballs” to help everyone get warmed up for this year’s contest.

  1. In 1988, students at the University College in Dublin broke a record by debating, for 503 hours and 45 minutes, what statement?
  2. At this toy themed amusement park in San Diego, what guards the entrance to the ride immediately south of the easternmost green roller coaster?
  1. The leader of a one-man comedy synth punk band also has a website dedicated to images of a certain household object. What is BigJerk’s lamp thinking?

(1. “Every Dog Should Have Its Day” 2. A 16-foot tall LEGO pharaoh  3. “I hate the zoo.”)

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence opera program recognized with national award — again

The hits just keep on coming for Lawrence University’s opera studies program.

For the second straight year, Lawrence has garnered national recognition. Its 2016 production of “The Beggar’s Opera,” which was performed last February at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, was awarded first-place honors in the 2015-16 National Opera Association’s (NOA) Division 6 Best Opera Production competition.

A photo of Lawrence University students in the university's opera production "The Beggar Opera."
Lawrence’s 2016 production of “The Beggar Opera” earned first-place honors in the National Opera Association’s Division 6 Best Opera Production competition.

Lawrence earned top honors against competitors with graduate student programs, some of which are previous winners in the category.

The college’s first micro-opera production, “Expressions of Acceptance,” which was performed at the PAC in November 2015, tied for third place in the 2015-16 NOA’s Division 1 Best Opera Production competition.

“This is a win for all of Lawrence because opera is a huge, intricate event,” said Copeland Woodruff, who joined the college in the fall of 2014 as director of opera studies. “Opera incorporates all of the disciplines — singing, instrumental solo and ensemble, collaborative piano, theatre design and technical craft, acting, choreography, stage combat, research in history, literature, art, sociology, psychology and of course administrative assistance to make it all happen. We are so lucky to have such a supportive, collaborative environment at Lawrence that fosters this type of exploration.”

“Expressions of Acceptance” was a collaborative effort between Woodruff, Margaret Paek, director of Lawrence’s dance program and Matt Turner, director of the ensemble Improvisation Group of Lawrence University (IGLU) in conjunction with Lawrence’s student organization GLOW and Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities, Riverview Gardens and COTS. Through , 5-8 minute micro-operas, it examined issues and experiences that both bind people together as well as differentiate us. The pieces were perrformed in non-traditional places in the PAC, including stairwells, bathrooms and even an elevator.

“I am thrilled that our students’ talent is recognized and revered by our peers across the nation.”
      — Copeland Woodruff, director of opera studies

This was the second year in a row Lawrence was recognized nationally for its opera program. In 2015, Lawrence earned first-place honors in the undergraduate division of the Collegiate Opera Scenes competition at the joint national conventions of NOA and the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). Lawrence’s 2015 production of “The Tender Land” earned second-place honors the NOA’s Best Opera Production competition.

A photo of Lawrence University students in the university's micro-opera.
Lawrence’s micro-opera production “Expressions of Acceptance” earned third-place recognition the National Opera Association’s Division 1 Best Opera Production competition.

“These awards allow our students to garner a idea of where they stand among their peers,” said Woodruff, who will accept the awards in person in January at the 2017 NOA national convention in Santa Barbara, Calif.  “I’m so proud of the dedication, hard work and long hours everyone devoted to crafting these memorable, landmark experiences. I am thrilled that our students’ talent is recognized and revered by our peers across the nation.

“Being remote from other opera companies and schools with opera programs, it is important for our students to participate in these competitions so that they can compare themselves with the pool of artists who will be their competitors for and colleagues in graduate schools, summer opera training programs and their eventual career,” Woodruff added.

The production competitions are based on an anonymously submitted video of the production. Judges, who are industry and academic professionals, base their decisions on criteria that includes musicianship of both singers and instrumentalists; dramatic credibility and characterization; production concept, staging and execution; and overall quality of the production. The scenes competition is based upon live performance at the national conference.

The divisions are based upon the size and scope of an institution’s music and opera program, level of vocal training of the singers and production budget.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Two Lawrence students earn first-place honors at state singing competition

A Head shot of Lawrence University student Nick Fahrenkrug.
Nick Fahrenkrug ’20

Lawrence University’s Nick Fahrenkrug and Froya Olson earned first-place honors at the annual Wisconsin chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) competition held Nov. 4-5 at UW-Milwaukee.

Fahrenkrug, a freshman from Davenport, Iowa, won the men’s first-year college classical division, while Olson, a senior from Dawson, Minn., won the women’s fourth/fifth-year classical division. They both received $150 for their winning performances.

In the finals, Fahrenkrug sang Gabriel Faure’s “Lydia” and Franz Schubert’s “Du bist du Ruh.” Olson performed “La statue de bronze” by Erik Satie and “Song to the Moon” from Antonin Dvořák’s opera “Rusalka.”

Fahrenkrug is a student of music professor John Gates while Olson studies in the voice studio of Karen Leigh-Post.

Five other Lawrence singers placed in the competition.

A Head shot of Lawrence University student Froya Olson.
Froya Olson ’17

Senior Lizzie Burmeister, junior Claire LaLiberte and sophomore Alex Quackenbush each earned second-place honors in their respective divisions. Freshman Victor Montanez Cruz in the freshman men’s classical division and Cristina Sada Segovia in the music theater division both earned third-place honors.

Lawrence was represented by 26 singers, 15 of which reached the semifinals and seven who reached the finals. The competition drew nearly 400 singers from around the state.

The NATS competition features 28 separate divisions grouped by gender and level. Depending upon the category, competitors are required to sing two, three or four classical pieces from different time periods with at least one selection sung in a foreign language.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

 

Lawrence student pianists finish 1-2 in Green Bay Civic Symphony concerto competition

A Head shot of Lawrence University student Derrick Hahn.
Derrick Hahn ’17

Lawrence University pianists Derrick Hahn and Evan Newman earned first- and second-place honors, respectively, Nov. 12 in the Civic Symphony of Green Bay’s Miroslav Pansky Memorial Concerto Competition.

Hahn, a senior from Milwaukee, is the fourth Lawrence student since 2009 to win the Pansky competition. He played the first movement of Béla Bartók’s “Second Concerto” for the competition and received $500 for his winning performance. He will reprise his performance with the Civic Symphony as guest artist on Feb. 18, 2017 in a concert at the Meyer Theater.

This was Hahn’s second competition triumph this fall. Last month he won the piano division of the 2016 Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Wisconsin state competition.

Newman, a senior from Plymouth, Minn., received $250 for his second-place performance. He performed Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 1 for the competition. Newman earned honorable mention honors at the MTNA Wisconsin state competition.

Both are students in the piano studio of Associate Professor of Music Anthony Padilla.

Emmy Hauer, an Appleton home-schooled freshman who studies violin with Lawrence Associate Professor Samantha George through the Lawrence Academy of Music, placed second in the Pansky competition’s high school division.

The competition is open to voice, brass, woodwind and piano students from Northeast Wisconsin through the age of 21. It is named in honor of the late Miroslav Pansky, the long-time conductor of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra and founder of its youth orchestras.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Helping the Hungry: Lawrence Hosts “Music for Food” concerts to benefit St. Joseph’s Food Pantry

The Lawrence University Conservatory of Music is once again partnering with Music for Food, a national program for local hunger relief, to help combat hunger in the Fox Cities during the holiday season.A photo of Music of Food banner.

Three upcoming concerts, all in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel, will be dedicated to  benefiting the St. Joseph Food Program. Audience members are encouraged to make a charitable donation — monetary or a non-perishable food item. All monetary donations are tax deductible, with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to St. Joseph Food Program.

The Music for Food concerts are:

• Friday, Nov. 11, Lawrence Concert Choir, Cantala women’s choir, Viking Chorale, 8 p.m. Free. On the heels of the most divisive presidential election in memory, Lawrence’s nationally-recognized choirs present “Speaking Out.” The performance will explore vocal music’s ability to make a difference by bringing communities together to provoke change or to heal wounds. The program will feature songs that have toppled empires, roused nations to revolt, called us to account for our failures to live up to our dream and shown us our better selves.

• Saturday, Nov. 12, Lawrence Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band, 8 p.m. Free. Titled “On the Shoulders of Giants,” the concert honors both the wind ensemble’s world premiere of a work by the same name written by Lawrence graduate David Werfelmann as well as the caliber of the program’s other composers. The wind ensemble also will perform Gustav Holst’s masterpiece “Hammersmith.” The symphonic band program features works by composing giants in the genre — Norman Dello Joio, John Barnes Chance and Michael Daugherty.

• Tuesday, Nov. 15, Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, 8 p.m. Free. The 80-member orchestra will perform Johannes Brahms’ 1877 “Symphony No. 2” and Christopher Theofanidis’ 2003 “Rainbow Body.”

A photo of Lawrence University students playing flute in a concert.This marks the fourth year Lawrence has participated in the Music for Food program. Last year Lawrence concerts generated more than $1,350 and 75 pounds of donated food for St. Joe’s.

Music for Food is a musician-led initiative founded in 2010 by violist Kim Kashkashian in collaboration with the New England Conservatory. Concerts raise funds and awareness to combat  hunger, empowering musicians who use their artistry to further social justice. Now in its sixth season, Music for Food has provided more than 200,000 meals through donations made at certs on behalf of more than a dozen hunger-relief organizations.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence students win three divisions at state music competition

A photo of Music Teachers National Association seal.Lawrence University students captured three first-place honors at the recent 2016 Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Wisconsin state competition conducted at UW-Stevens Point.

Senior Derrick Hahn of Milwaukee extended Lawrence’s remarkable streak in the piano division with his winning performance, becoming the 16th Lawrence piano student in the past 17 years to win the annual Wisconsin MTNA competition.

A Head shot of Lawrence University student Derrick Hahn.
Derrick Hahn

Lawrence students swept the piano division. Senior Ming Hu of Changsha, China was named first alternate while sophomore Nick Suminski of Williamsburg, Mich., sophomore Mayan Essak of Shorewood, senior Evan Newman of Plymouth, Minn., and freshman Gabrielle Claus of Lancaster, Pa., all earned honorable mention recognition.

Flutist Bianca Pratte, a sophomore from Walnut Creek, Calif., won the woodwind competition, marking the second year in a row a Lawrence flutist won the MTNA woodwind division.

Trio Arcia — junior Ethan Valentin of Chicago, piano, junior Meghan Murphy of Wauwatosa, violin, and junior Mikaela Marget of Stillwater, Minn., cello, was named winner of the chamber music division.

Each of the three winners will advance to the East Central regional competition Jan. 14-15, 2017 at Central Michigan University. Regional winners advance to the MTNA national finals in March 2017 in Baltimore, Md.

Hahn, who studies in the studio of Anthony Padilla, played Rodion Shchedrin’s “Basso Ostinato” and Brahms’ first published work, the massive “First Sonata in C major” for his winning performance.

A photo of Lawrence University student Bianca Pratte playing flute.
Bianca Pratte

Pratte, a student in Erin Lesser’s flute studio and the 2015 winner of the Wisconsin Flute Festival’s Collegiate competition and the National Flute Association Collegiate Flute Choir competition, played Frank Martin’s “Ballade for flute and piano,” Robert Muczynski’s “Three Preludes for Solo Flute” and Jules Mouquet’s “La Flute de Pan” in the finals.

Arcia Trio’s winning program consisted of the second movement of Dvorak’s “Dumky” and the first movement of Beethoven “Ghost.”

The MTNA performance competitions recognize exceptionally talented young artists and their teachers in their pursuit of musical excellence.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Chamber trio opens Lawrence University’s 2016-17 Artist Series

The combined musical genius of violinist Ani Kavafian, pianist Anna Polonsky and clarinetist David Shifrin visit the Lawrence Memorial Chapel Friday, Oct. 7 at 8 p.m. to open Lawrence University’s 2016-17 Artists Series.

A photo of violinist Ani Kavafian.
Violinist Ani Kavafian

Tickets, at $25-30 for adults, $20-25 for seniors, $18-20 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Polonsky is a late substitute for originally scheduled pianist Andre-Michel Schub, who had to cancel his appearance due to a medical emergency.

Each performer is an individual award-winning artist while  Kavafian and Shifrin have performed with Schub as a trio since 2005. As an ensemble, they have performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra as well as in major national and international concert halls. While works by Mozart, Stravinsky and Poulenc are staples of their repertoire, the trio also features contemporary composers such as William Bolcom.

Catherine Kautsky, chair of the piano department at Lawrence’s conservatory of music hailed Kavafian and Shifrin as “an absolute master of their instrument.”

““I remember Ani Kavafian from her days as a very young violinist in New York and have heard her since on numerous occasions,” said Kautsky. “She’s a consummately sensitive collaborative player. David Shifrin must be one of the two or three most famous clarinetists in the world these days.”

A photo of clarinetist David Shifrin.
Clarinetist David Shifrin

Lawrence violin professor Wen-Lei Gu, who studied with Kavafian’s sister in New York City, called the concert “a rare opportunity for music lovers in the Fox Valley area to experience a top notch, world-class performance.”

“When I was going to graduate school in New York City, I had the great pleasure of seeing the Kavafians perform as part of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society concert series,” said Gu. “Each time it was an incredibly moving and inspiring experience. The upcoming concert is going to be a real musical treat.”

Each artist enjoys notable solo careers and each holds teaching positions at prestigious institutions: Kavafian and Shifrin at Yale School of Music, Polonsky at Vassar College.

A native of Istanbul, Turkey, Kavafian launched her professional career as a winner of the 1973 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. Three years later she was the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant.

David Bell, who teaches clarinet in the Lawrence conservatory, called Shifrin “arguably the premiere clarinetist of his generation.”

“He has quite literally done it all — principal clarinet of a major symphony at age 23, a chamber musician of extraordinary skill throughout his career, a universally acclaimed concert soloist and recitalist and a fantastic career as one of the premiere teachers of his instrument,” said Bell. “He continues to perform at the highest level. For those of us who have gotten to know him a bit, he is an unfailingly humble, generous and warm human being. One of the really ‘good guys.’  It’s a privilege to have him coming to our campus and I hope many people will take advantage of the opportunity to attend his performance.”

A photo of pianist Anna Polonsky.
Pianist Anna Polonsky

Awarded an honorary professorship at China’s Central Conservatory in Beijing in 2007, Shifrin is one of only two wind players ever to win Avery Fisher Prize in the award’s 42-year history. Early in his career, Shifrin was a grand prize winner in both the Munich and the Geneva International Competitions and a recipient of a Solo Recitalists’ Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

A former student of renowned pianist Peter Serkin, Polonsky made her solo debut at the age of seven in Moscow, Russia. She has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia and is a frequent guest at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. She has collaborated with many of the world’s leading chamber music artists and ensembles, including David Shifrin, Yo-Yo Ma, Richard Goode, Guarneri and Shanghai quartets.

Other performers on this year’s Artist Series line-up include the Elias String Quartet, Feb. 3, 2017; Mnozil Brass, March 29, 2017; and Roomful of Teeth, April 7, 2017.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Tuvan acoustic quartet opens Lawrence’s 2016-17 World Music Series

A photo of Tuvan throat singing group "Huun Huur Tu."The traditional music and instruments from the Russian province of Tuva come to Lawrence University’s Stansbury Theatre Monday, Sept. 26 at 8 p.m as the acoustic quartet Huun Huur Tu opens the college’s 2016-17 World Music Series. Tickets, at $10 for adults, $5 for seniors/students, are available through the Lawrence University Box Office, 920-832-6947. Free to Lawrence faculty/students/staff.

The performance features musicians deeply rooted in the art of Tuvan music. Huun Huur Tu specializes in throat singing, a unique singing style that is popularly practiced throughout East and Central Asia, as well as in northern Canada and South Africa.

While throat singing is usually performed acappella, this program celebrates traditional Tuvan music with the addition of traditional instruments. The power of human voices form eerie overtones producing a meditative, evocative sound straight from the avant garde. Using traditional instruments such as the igil, Tuvan jaw harp and dünggür (shaman drum), and drawing subtly on 20th-century composers, Huun Huur Tu transforms ancient songs into complex acoustic compositions.

Founded in 1992, Huun Huur Tu has released 15 albums, including “Ancestors Call” and “Legend” in 2010.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.