Tag: classical music

eighth blackbird opens Lawrence’s 2015-16 Artist Series

The Grammy Award-winning eighth blackbird unleashes its provocative and mind-changing style Friday, Oct. 2 in the opening concert of Lawrence University’s four-part 2015-16 Artist Series.

The performance begins at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. Tickets, at $25-30 for adults, $20-25 for seniors and $18-20 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.Eighth-Blackbird_newsblog

The Chicago-based sextet — Matthew Duvall, percussion; Nathalie Joachim, flutes; Lisa Kaplan, piano; Yvonne Lam, violin & viola; Michael Maccaferri, clarinets; and Nicholas Photinos, cello — has won over audiences with its kinetic style that combines rock band energy with string quartet finesse and storefront theater audacity.

“Eighth blackbird brings a level of engagement to their performances that is singular and remarkable,” said David Bell, associate professor of music at Lawrence who teaches clarinet. “I can’t think of another ensemble that brings more to the stage, or offers more to their audience. Regardless of the kind of music you gravitate toward, hearing eighth blackbird will make you want more of whatever they might be doing that night, which is probably going to be completely different the next time you hear them.”

The ensemble’s discography includes 13 recordings, including three that have been recognized with Grammy Awards: “strange imaginary animals,” 2008, Best Chamber Music Performance and Classical Producer of the Year (Judith Sherman); “Lonely Motel: Music from Slide,” 2011, Best Small Ensemble Performance; “Meanwhile,” 2012, Best Small Ensemble Performance and Contemporary Classical Composition (Stephen Hartke).

“Eighth blackbird brings a level of engagement to their performances that is singular and remarkable. I can’t think of another ensemble that brings more to the stage, or offers more to their audience.”
– David Bell

In his review for New York City’s WQXR of the ensemble’s latest project, “Filament,” released this September, Daniel Stephen Johnson said “As meticulous as their programming may be, on concert or on recordings, it is seldom as intensely focused as it is on their latest album.”

Founded in 1996 at, the group derived its name from the eighth stanza of Wallace Stevens’ 1917 poem, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” All former students at the Oberlin Conservatory, they hold Ensemble-in-Residence positions at the University of Chicago and the University of Richmond.

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” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. 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.

 

Michael Mizrahi and NOW Ensemble release third album, “Dreamfall”

NOW Ensemble, an eclectic chamber ensemble co-founded by Lawrence University Professor of Music and pianist Michael Mizrahi, released its latest album, “Dreamfall,” May 27 on New Amsterdam Records.

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NOW Ensemble features electric guitarist Mark Dancigers, flutist Alexandra Sopp, bassist Logan Coale, clarinetist Sara Budde and pianist Michael Mizrahi.

The ensemble’s third full-length album in the past 10 years, “Dreamfall” explores vibrant new sonic possibilities while featuring several new commissioned works by some of today’s leading young composers, including Andrea Mazzariello, Scott Smallwood and John Supko.

Mizrahi launched NOW Ensemble in 2004 with a vision of creating new chamber music for the 21st century. With its unique instrumentation — flute, clarinet, electric guitar, double bass and piano — the ensemble provides a fresh sound and a new perspective to the classical tradition, reflecting the musical influences and diverse backgrounds of its members.

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 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and 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.

Mozart Music: LU Students get rare opportunity to study composer’s hand-written score

Thanks to the thoughtfulness of a Lawrence University alumnus, music history and music composition students recently had the rare privilege of viewing an autograph leaf — a hand-written page — of a Wolfgang Mozart score.

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A 1773 two-sided autograph leaf from the fourth movement of Mozart’s “Serenata,” K. 185 offered students a rare glimpse into the hallmarks of his writing style.

Over the course of four days, more than 60 students visited the Seeley G. Mudd Library to see the autograph and hear presentations by Assistant Professor Jill Thomas, director of technical services and Associate Professor Antoinette Powell, music librarian.

Loaned to the college by a 2010 Lawrence graduate who wished to remain anonymous, the autograph provided intriguing insights both into the historical context of the piece and Mozart’s composing style.

The single, two-sided autograph leaf is from the fourth movement of Mozart’s “Serenata,” K. 185 and includes the final 10 measures of the Menuetto on one side and the first 16 measures of the Trio on the other. It was written in Austria in 1773, when Mozart was just 17, to mark the college graduation of a family friend.

“With the Mozart autograph we were able to briefly become a contemporary of Mozart,” said Assistant Professor of Music Asha Srinivasan, who took students from her Techniques of the Contemporary Composer class to one of the presentations. “We are all composers, so we put ourselves in that time period and thought about how and where Mozart composed that work. It was enlightening and awe-inspiring.”

According to Powell, at the time the piece was written, “Americans were wearing hats made out of raccoons and dumping tea into Boston Harbor, while in Salzburg, people were wearing elegant clothes and listening to Mozart in a refined setting.”

Comparing the autograph to a published edition, students were able to see that the hallmarks of Mozart’s writing style – working quickly, composing pieces in his head before committing them to paper – were already present, even at such a young age.

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Music librarian Antoinette Powell conducted a series of presentations for students on a hand-written 1773 score by Mozart that was on loan to Lawrence.

“It was so exciting to see Mozart’s original serenade and minuet,” said Annie Mercado, a freshman from Des Plaines, Ill., who participated in a presentation as part of Instructor Ann Boeckman’s music theory class. “It’s not every day that even conservatory students get to be in the presence of musical history that changed the way we look at music today.”

Cosette Bardawil, a freshman from Brookline, Mass., also a member of Boeckman’s class, found the informative background presentation  helped bring the centuries-old autograph to life.

“I especially enjoyed the forensics section about the different types of paper, the way that each paper was made and how that helped to identify the era of Mozart’s compositions,” said Bardawil.

Since students in Lawrence’s composition department are required to write music by hand, Srinivasan said the autograph presented “a wonderful opportunity to trace the practice of composition by seeing a renowned composer’s actual handwriting from that era.

“Seeing the quality and nature of the strokes of musical notation brought to life the human hand and mind behind this work in a way that published printed music simply cannot do,” said Srinivasan. “Many of my students really appreciated seeing the back of the autograph, the more ‘messy’ side that the librarians revealed by taking it out of the original casing. As composers, a lot of our work might be initially messy, too, so that was just very visceral for us all.”

The autograph’s owner first approached Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music, about displaying it in the conservatory, but security concerns nixed that idea. As an alternative, it was decided library staff would invite classes at appointed times for presentations in the Mudd’s Milwaukee-Downer Room so students could compare the autograph to a modern published score.

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 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and 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.

Acclaimed Setzer, Finckel, Han Piano Trio Opens Lawrence’s 2014-15 Artist Series

Violinist Philip Setzer, cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han open Lawrence University’s 2014-15 Artist Series Friday, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. in Memorial Chapel with a program of favorite piano trios.

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Violinist Philip Setzer, pianist Wu Han and cellist David Finckel have been hailed collectively as the “standard bearer” of the piano trio repertoire.

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

Internationally acclaimed, the “Han-Setzer-Finckel triumvirate” has been described by Edward Reichel of Reichel Recommends as the “standard bearer” of the piano trio repertoire. Setzer and Finckel, founding members of the celebrated Emerson String Quartet, have performed together for nearly 40 years.

As a professional and personal duo — they are husband and wife — Han and Finckel have performed to unanimous critical praise throughout the United States as well as in Canada, Mexico, the Far East and Europe. They were honored as Musical America’s 2012 Musicians of the Year, which cited the “boldness, imagination and collaborative intimacy of their work.”

Samantha George, associate professor of music at Lawrence and a former student of Finckel’s and Setzer’s, said she is looking forward to hearing “such accomplished instrumentalists and chamber musicians live in concert instead of on a recording.

“I am excited that my Lawrence students will have a chance to work with these great artists in a chamber music master class and attend the trio’s performance,” said George.

Prior to their Friday evening concert performance, the trio will conduct a master class at 4:30 p.m. in Harper Hall.

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David Finckel, Wu Han and Philip Setzer.

Setzer, Finckel and Han will perform three contrasting standards of the piano trio repertoire for their concert: Piano Trio in G major, Op. 1 No. 2 by Ludwig von Beethoven; Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 67 by Dmitri Shostakovich; and Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 66 by Felix Mendelssohn.

The trio records regularly on Han and Finckel’s innovated label, AristLed. All 16 ArtistLed productions, including the trio’s recording of Dvořák’s Piano Trios, have earned with critical acclaim.

Han and Finckel are currently serving their third term as artistic directors of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. They are the founders and artist directors of Music@Menlo, a chamber music festival and institute in Silicon Valley.

Setzer is professor of violin and chamber music and SUNY Sony Brook and regularly gives master classes throughout the United States and abroad.

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 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and 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.

Music For All: Grant Helps Lawrence Launch New Community Outreach Project

An Arts and Culture grant from unrestricted funds within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region will enable Lawrence University to launch a new program to bring classical chamber music to children and populations who ordinarily do not participate.

The $16,700 grant will support the “Music for All: Connecting Musicians and Community” project, which will be directed by Lawrence Conservatory of Music faculty members Michael Mizrahi and Erin Lesser.

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Michael Mizrahi, assistant professor of music

Working with three community partners — Riverview Gardens, the Fox Valley Warming Shelter and Appleton’s Jefferson Elementary School — Lawrence faculty and students will stage a series of classical music performances beginning this fall using interactive techniques to create deep, artistic connections in settings where such music is rarely heard.

The project will bring members of the New York City-based Decoda chamber music group to campus to help Lawrence students and faculty learn interactive performance methods, write scripts, create entry points into musical works and engage non-traditional audiences.

“I see this project as part of a musical renaissance in Appleton and beyond.”
    — Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music

“We believe communities are made stronger through positive interaction and shared experiences,” said Mizrahi, a pianist who joined the Lawrence faculty in 2009 and also a member of Decoda. “We also believe that music has the power to connect people, transcend social barriers and provide meaningful emotional experiences. This project will facilitate active participation, conversation, engaged learning and meaningful connections among classical musicians and non-traditional audiences.”

The three community partners were targeted for the project because they represent diverse populations, including young children, “at-risk” teens, people experiencing homelessness, adults in job training programs and community garden members.

Approximately 1,000 individuals from FVWS and RVG, along with 200 students from Jefferson Elementary School, will benefit from increased access to live musical performance and interactive learning with this project.

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Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music

Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music, sees the Music for All: Connecting Musicians and Community” initiative meshing perfectly with the conservatory’s core belief that music is for everyone and it can change lives in profound ways.

“This projects puts our philosophy into action so our students can figure out how best to give an audience entrance points into the music and then go out and actively engage the community in the wonder and beauty of the music,” said Pertl. “Music, and particularly classical music, should not be treated like some revered museum piece to be passively stared at through a dusty glass case. This project allows our faculty and students to find new ways to actively engage audiences from schools to warming shelters to concert halls in a meaningful, moving dialogue with the music. I see this project as part of a musical renaissance in Appleton and beyond.”

Approximately a dozen concerts are planned at the three partner sites during the 2014-15 academic year, most of which will be free and open to the public.

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 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Kronos Quartet, Percussionists Terri Lyne Carrington, Peter Erskine, Headline Lawrence University’s 2014-15 Performing Arts Series

Kronos Quartet flashes its revolutionary approach to string repertoire while a pair of drummers share their Grammy Award-winning rhythms as headliners on Lawrence University’s 2014-15 Performing Arts Series.

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The acclaimed Kronos Quartet — John Sherba, Sunny Yang, Hank Dutt and David Harrington — closes the Artist Series May 15, 2015.

Subscriptions for both the Artist and Jazz series are now on sale. Subscribers may choose from either series or a “Favorite 4” package, with discounts available to senior citizens and students. Single-concert tickets go on sale Sept. 17, 2014. For more information, contact the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749 or boxoffice@lawrence.edu. All concerts are held in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

“I couldn’t be more excited about next year’s Artist and Jazz Series,” said Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music. “Once again the very best in the world of classical and jazz musicians will be gracing the Memorial Chapel stage.  I invite everyone to come hear what promise to be thrilling performances.”

Founded in 1973 by violinist David Harrington, Kronos Quartet closes the four-concert Artist Series on a high note Friday, May 15, 2015, performing new works by some of the country’s most celebrated contemporary composers.

Kronos has led and continues to lead what surely must be the longest unending revolution by any ensemble ever in music history.”  — The Los Angeles Times

During a celebrated career spanning four decades, the Kronos Quartet—Harrington, John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola) and Sunny Yang (cello) — firmly has established itself as one the most influential groups of this generation.

With a discography totaling more than 50 recordings and 2.5 million in recording sales, Kronos has combined fearless exploration with an unwavering commitment to expand the range and context of the string quartet. Among the San Francisco-based quartet’s many honors are a 2004 Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance and 2003 Musicians of the Year honors from Musical America.

The chamber music trio of cellist David Finckel, pianist Wu Han and violinist Phillip Setzer opens the Artist Series Friday, Oct. 17. Individually, each has enjoyed stellar musical careers. Finckel and Han, Musical America’s 2012 Musicians of the Year, have served as artistic directors of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 2004. Setzer, founding and current member of the acclaimed Emerson String Quartet, has appeared with leading symphony orchestras around the country, including the National Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Aspen Chamber Symphony, among others.

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Soprano Heidi Stober ’00 performs on the Artist Series March 13, 2015.

Soprano Heidi Stober returns to her alma mater for a Friday, March 13, 2015 Artist Series performance with the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra. A 2000 Lawrence graduate, Stober is currently principal artist at the Deutsche Oper Berlin after making her house debut in 2008 as Pamina in “The Magic Flute.”

The one bright spot to this production was the luminous Oscar of Heidi Stober. Vocally scintillating, brilliant but rich in color, Stober was simply magnificent.”
— Opera News

She also has sung Pamina for the Metropolitan Opera, Nannetta in “Falstaff” for the San Francisco Opera, Ada in the world premiere of Theodore Morrison’s “Oscar” for the Santa Fe Opera and Musetta in a new production of Puccini’s “La bohème” at the Houston Grand Opera.

Melding the energy of rock music with the precision and nuance of classical chamber works, Third Coast Percussion visits the Memorial Chapel on Saturday, April 11, 2015. Employing an impressive array of instruments, Third Coast Percussion explores and expands the extraordinary sonic possibilities of the percussion repertoire, delivering a unique audience experience. Founded in 2005, the quartet champions the music of John Cage, Steve Reich, George Crumb and others.

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Terri Lyne Carrington opens Jazz Celebration Weekend Nov. 7 with a tribute to her Grammy-winning album “The Mosaic Project.”

A pair of Grammy Award-winning drummers — Terri Lyne Carrington and Peter Erskine — kick off the Jazz Series, sharing the spotlight Nov. 7-8, respectively, for Lawrence’s 34th annual Jazz Celebration Weekend.

Carrington opens Jazz Celebration Weekend with a big-band tribute to her 2011 Grammy-Award winning album “The Mosaic Project.” She’ll be joined on stage by pianist Geri Allen, singer Lizz Wright and trumpeter Ingrid Jenson, who previously performed at Jazz Celebration Weekend in 2008.

Carrington honed her jazz chops during 20-plus years of touring with jazz greats Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Al Jarreau, Stan Getz, David Sanborn, Clark Terry, among others.

Erskine, who began playing drums at the age of four, has been at the forefront of world-class jazz ensembles for more than 40 years, starting with Stan Kenton’s band in 1972. He’s also played and recorded with Maynard Ferguson, Weather Report, the Brecker Brothers, the Yellowjackets, Chick Corea and a host of others.

His recording credits include an astonishing 500 albums with artists ranging from Diana Krall and Pat Metheny to Steely Dan and Joe Henderson as well as 10 solo albums. He’s been recognized 10 times in the jazz drummer category by Modern Drummer magazine’s annual Readers’ Poll.

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Robert Glasper performs on the Jazz Series Jan. 30, 2015.

Pianist Robert Glasper shares his unique brand of jazz/hip-hop/R&B in a Jazz Series concert Friday, January 30, 2015.

A native of Houston, his accessible melodies, tumultuous beats and bright lyricism has been compared to jazz icons Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea. He will be joined by his electric band — Chris Dave (drums), Derrick Hodge (electric bass) and Casey Benjamin (saxophone, vocoder).

Glasper’s 2012 disc, “Black Radio,” which blurred the lines of jazz, hip-hop, R&B and rock & roll, entered the Billboard jazz charts at number one.

Accomplished keyboardist/composer/arranger Jon Cowherd closes the Jazz Series Thursday, April 17, 2015 with a presentation of his “Mercy Project,” which he describes as “a personal milestone.”

While Cowherd’s instrumental work has been featured on albums spanning artists as diverse as Iggy Pop, Rosanne Cash, Marc Cohn and Victoria Williams, 2012’s “Mercy” is his first album under his name. “Mercy” is compelling evidence of Cowherd’s remarkable sensitivity, inventiveness and versatility as both composer and musician.

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 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.