Tag: Conservatory of Music

Students Earn Top Honors in State Music Competitions

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Cameron Pieper ’15

Lawrence University student musicians captured top honors in a pair of recent state music competitions.

Pianists Cameron Pieper and Elizabeth Vaughan earned first- and second-place honors, respectively, in the Wisconsin National Federation of Music Club competition, which is conducted via submitted audio recording.

Pieper, a senior from Fond du Lac, received a first-place prize of $1,000. His winning recording included Bach’s “Prelude and Fugue in G major Book 1,” Beethoven’s “Piano Sonata op. 110 in A-flat Major I, Moderato cantabile molto espressivo” Chopin’s “Scherzo no. 1 in B minor op. 20,” Rzewski’s “Piano Piece no. 4,” and Franz Liszt’s “Transcendental Etude no. 10 in F minor.”

As the state champion, he will represent Wisconsin in the National Federation of Music Club national competition later this spring. It was the second-winning performance this year for Pieper, who was awarded first place honors last month in the Schubert Club’s Carlson Student Scholarship Competition in St. Paul, Minn.

Vaughan, a senior from Highland Park, Ill., received $750 for her runner-up recording.

The competition is part of the Wisconsin Federation of Music Clubs’ mission to promote music and dance through arts advocacy, student festivals, competitions and scholarships.

Pieper and Vaughan both study in the piano studio of Professor Catherine Kautsky.

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Erec VonSeggern ’17

Erec VonSeggern, a sophomore from Idyllwild, Calif., won the Wisconsin State Flute Festival held in Madison. He was awarded a first-place prize of $350. It was the third straight year a Lawrence student has won the state flute festival competition.

For his 15-minute finals performance, VonSeggern played Georges Hüe’s “Fantaisie Pour Flûte et Piano, ” “Night Music for Solo Flute, 1. Night Music I”  by Vanraj Bhatia and Otar Gordeli’s “Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, Op. 8.”

Senior Heather Jost, a senior from Pewaukee, also qualified for the finals and earned third-place honors.

The Wisconsin Flute Festival is a one-day educational event for flute players and flute enthusiasts of all ages and abilities.

VonSeggern and Jost are students in the flute studio of Assistant Professor Erin Lesser.

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.

Lawrence Jazz Series welcomes pianist, composer Jon Cowherd for April 17 concert

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Jon Cowherd and his band — percussionist Brian Blade, guitarist Steve Cardenas and bassist Tony Scherr — perform in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel Friday, 17.

Pianist, composer, arranger and producer Jon Cowherd and his band The Mercy Project showcase music from his album “Mercy” in a Lawrence University Jazz Series concert Friday, April 17 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.

Released in 2013, “Mercy” is Cowherd’s first album released under his own name. Completely fan-funded, “Mercy” showcases Cowherd’s distinctive compositional style.

“Jon Cowherd is one of the most expressive and sensible jazz piano artist I have ever heard,” said Jose Encarnacion, instructor of jazz studies at Lawrence. “His beautiful melodies, profound harmonies and lyricism will easily connect you with his musical stories. I love his Mercy Project and am looking forward for his next musical production. This should be a concert that the Lawrence community can’t miss.”

Cowherd is best known for his participation in the Fellowship Band, which he co-founded with celebrated percussionist Brian Blade. The two met as students at Loyola University in New Orleans, where Cowherd studied French horn with jazz great Ellis Marsalis. Since its inception in 1998, the Fellowship Band has toured widely and garnered critical acclaim for its stylistic synergy of jazz, blues, gospel and folk.

A much sought-after collaborator, Cowherd has worked with such notable artists as Cassandra Wilson, Lizz Wright, Kellylee Evans, Roseanne Cash and Iggy Pop, all of whom he cites as influences on “Mercy.”

Joining Cowherd on stage will be Blade, guitarist Steve Cardenas and bassist Tony Scherr.

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.

New Lawrence opera director makes debut with Copland’s “The Tender Land”

American composer Aaron Copland‘s classic folk opera “The Tender Land” comes to the stage of Stansbury Theatre Feb. 19-22 in a collaborative production of Lawrence University’s theatre, music and opera studies programs.

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Junior Mitchell Kasprzyk (left) portrays the drifter Top and senior Stephanie Popik portrays Laurie Moss in Lawrence’s production of Aaron Copland’s “The Tender Land.” Photo by Nathan B. Lawrence

Curtain times for performances Feb. 19-20-21 are 7:30 p.m. with a Sunday, Feb. 22 matinee at 3 p.m. Tickets, at $15 for adults and $8 for seniors and students, are available through the Lawrence University Box Office, 920-832-6749. The three-act performance runs approximately two hours with no intermission.

Well known for its soaring melodies, “The Tender Land” brings the Depression-era American Midwest to life. With Copland’s music and a libretto written by his romantic partner Erik Johns under the pseudonym Horace Everett, the story explores themes of the stranger among us and the stranger within. Under Copland’s sweeping, yet intimate score, characters dance between their own inner and outer worlds.

The story is told through the eyes of Laurie Moss, the eldest daughter of a Dust Bowl-era 1930s farming family, who feels unconnected to both her family and community. The arrival of two drifters turns Laurie’s thoughts to the freedom of the road and its possibilities. Smitten with one drifter, she plans to leave home with him, only to have him depart without her. Laurie soon realizes it was the dream of abandoning the farm and starting life on her own terms with which she was really in love, not the drifter.

The production is the Lawrence debut of award-winning opera director Copeland Woodruff, who was appointed the college’s first director of opera studies last spring. He joined the faculty in September. In November, Woodruff earned first-place honors in the prestigious National Opera Association’s Best Opera Production Competition for the fifth time in the past eight years. He was recognized for his 2014 production of Mozart’s “Così fan tutte” with University of Memphis Opera.

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Copeland Woodruff

Working with his team of set, lighting and costume designers, Woodruff said of the production “we’ve tried to create a world that allows a framework of the Midwestern farm, but leaves room for magical realism.”

The set incorporates the use of a large, opaque, translucent quilt, which serves as a surface for projections. Other elements of the set are skeletal/suggestive that function in different ways, including as projection surfaces.

“The use of the set and projections to create an interior life for the characters will help support the feelings of freedom that live nascent in Laurie: moments when she is alone, when she is feeling connected, and the final moments before her departure from this community.”

The opera will be performed with a split cast, with seniors Graycie Gardner and Stephanie Popik sharing the roles of Laurie Moss.  Seniors Kirsten O’Donnell and Melina Jaharis sing the role of Ma Moss, while junior Charlie Aldrich and 2010 Lawrence graduate Justin Berkowitz portray drifter Martin, Laurie’s love interest.

Dirk Durossette served as the production’s scenic designer. Barry Steele designed the lighting and projection while Karin Kopischke was the show’s costume designer.

The orchestra will be led by guest conductor Katherine Kilburn with music direction by associate professor of music Bonnie Koestner.

Prior to each performance, several area agencies who deal with marginalized and disenfranchised members of the Appleton and Lawrence communities will staff tables in the lobby of the Music-Drama Center to interacting with audience member as a way of setting a tone of how the stranger among us is perceived.

Following each performance, there will be a talk-back sessions led by representatives of Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities with the audience to facilitate discussions on moving from an “us-them” paradigm to a more inclusive “us” mentality.

“We hope to open up Lawrence’s doors to community members who well may have never been on our campus,” said Woodruff.

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.

 

Lawrence Celebrates the Life of Jazz Studies Director and Professor of Music Fred Sturm Nov. 15

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Grammy Award winner Bobby McFerrin (left) was just one of the many jazz icons Fred Sturm collaborated with during his illustrious career.

A memorial service celebrating the life and honoring the career of Fred Sturm, Kimberly-Clark Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies and Improvisational Music at Lawrence University, will be held Saturday, Nov. 15  at 10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. A reception will be held in the Warch Campus Center following the service. Both events are open to the public.

The service also will be webcast via livestream.

Sturm died Aug. 24 at his home in De Pere at the age of 63 following a long and courageous battle with cancer.

A nationally recognized jazz educator and an award-winning composer, Sturm spent 26 years as a member of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music faculty spanning two different teaching stints (1977-91; 2002-14). In between, he taught at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., where he was the chair of the jazz studies and contemporary media department.

A 1973 Lawrence graduate, Sturm was a beloved mentor to hundreds, if not thousands, of aspiring musicians. The student ensembles he directed were recognized with nine Downbeat awards, widely considered among the highest music honors in the field of jazz education. Downbeat honored Sturm himself with its Jazz Education Achievement Award in 2010.

Read more about Prof. Sturm’s amazing career at Lawrence.

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.

 

 

New York Chamber Ensemble Opens New Lawrence Community Concert Series at Riverview Gardens

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Michael Mizrahi

The first of a series of concerts designed to being bring classical chamber music to non-traditional venues and populations will be performed Tuesday, Oct. 14 at Riverview Gardens Community Center, 1101 S. Oneida Street, Appleton.

The concert will feature members of Decoda, a New York City-based chamber ensemble comprised of virtuoso musicians, entrepreneurs and passionate advocates for the arts. The concert, at 5:30 p.m., is free and open to the public.

The concert is part of Lawrence University’s new “Music for All: Connecting Musicians and Community” project.” In July, Lawrence received a $16,700 Arts and Culture grant from unrestricted funds within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region to launch the program.

Lawrence Conservatory of Music faculty members Michael Mizrahi, piano, and Erin Lesser, flute, are directing the program. Both are members of Decoda, which was recently named an affiliate ensemble of Carnegie Hall.

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Erin Lesser

Decoda members also will spend five days at Lawrence as artists-in-residence working with faculty and students in a series of interactive performance workshops.

In addition to Riverview Gardens, Lawrence is partnering with the Fox Valley Warming Shelter, the Freedom Center Food Pantry and Jefferson Elementary School “Music for All: Connecting Musicians and Community” project.

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.

 

Kenny Garrett Quintet Closes Lawrence University 2013-14 Jazz Series

Grammy Award-winning alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett returns to the Lawrence University stage with his jazz quintet for an encore performance — 14 years after his Appleton debut — Friday May 2 at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel in the final concert of the 2013-14 Lawrence Jazz Series.

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Kenny Garrett closes Lawrence’s Jazz Series May 2, 14 years after first appearing on the Memorial Chapel stage.

Tickets, at $22-24 for adults, $20-22 for seniors and $17-19 for students, are available at the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749 or boxoffice@lawrence.edu.

Garrett, who got his start as a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1978, has emerged as the preeminent alto saxophonist of his generation.  Renowned for his talents as a soloist as well as his compositions as a bandleader, Garrett visits Lawrence in the midst of an international tour and in the wake of another Grammy nomination for his recent album “Pushing the World Away.”

Lawrence faculty saxophonist Jose Encarnacion says Garrett ranks along side jazz giants Charlie Parker and Julian “Cannonball” Adderely as “one of the most important alto saxophone voices in jazz music.”

“Kenny Garrett is one of my heroes and biggest inspiration,” said Encarnacion. “He is one of the most important alto saxophone players in the history of jazz. His solos are in perfect harmony with the universe.”

Praised by AllMusic.com for writing jazz compositions with “that mercurial something,” Garrett is known for his distinctive sound, simultaneously vigorous and melodic. He has worked with a laundry list of jazz legends such as Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Art Blakey and Woody Shaw.

Garrett will be joined on the Chapel stage by his accomplished bandmates: bassist Corcoran Holt; drummer McClenty Hunter; pianist Vernell Brown and percussionist Rudy Bird.

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.

 

Flutist Leo Sussman Qualifies for National Woodwinds Competition

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Leo Sussman ’15

Lawrence University junior Leo Sussman has qualified for the 2014 National Society of Arts and Letters national performing arts competition for woodwinds (flute, oboe, clarinet) after winning the recent (March 15) three-state regional competition in Champaign, Ill.

A flute performance and physics major from San Francisco, Calif., Sussman earned top honors among 14 finalists from Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa at the regional competition, earning $1,000 for his winning performance. He advances to the NSAL’s national competition May 13-17 at the West Virginia Cultural Center in Charleston, W.V., where he’ll compete for a $10,000 first-place prize.

In winning the regional competition, Sussman performed “Landscape with Birds” by Peteris Vasks, “Ballade” by Frank Martin and “Sonata for Solo Flute in A minor” by CPE Bach. He studies in the flute studio of music professor Erin Lesser.

Lawrence senior Heather Jost, a flute performance and anthropology major from Pewaukee, also qualified as a finalist for the NSAL’s regional competition.

The National Society of Arts and Letters is an organization dedicated to helping promising young artists through competitions, financial assistance, master classes, and career introductions. Each year the NSAL sponsors a competition for one specific medium rotating among the visual arts, performing arts and literature. This year marked the first time the performing arts competition featured woodwind players.

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.

 

Lawrence Concert Choir, Cantala, Showcase Their Talents at Regional Choral Conference

More than 90 Lawrence University students will showcase their voices when the Lawrence Concert Choir and Cantala women’s choir perform at the 2014 American Choral Directors Association North Central Regional Conference March 19-20 in Des Moines, Iowa.  This is the second time since 2006 Concert Choir and Cantala both were selected to perform at the ACDA’s regional conference.

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Lawrence University Concert Choir with accompanist Tony Capparelli.

Each choir will be in the spotlight Thursday, March 20 at St. Ambrose Church, with the 45-member Cantala singing at 10:30 a.m. and the 48-member Concert Choir performing at 2 p.m. Both choirs sing under the direction of co-choir directors Phillip Swan and Stephen Sieck.

Choirs are invited to perform at ACDA regional and national conferences through a rigorous, blind-auditioned, peer-reviewed process based on submitted concert recordings from the last three years.

“It is unusual for two choirs from the same institution to be invited to perform at the same conference,” said Swan, who directed Cantala at the 2006 ACDA regional conference in Omaha, Neb., and the 2011 national conference in Chicago. “It’s gratifying to know that consistent quality continues to be evident in our choral program and is recognized by our peers. It’s especially exciting to know that although we have undertaken major changes in our program (a new conducting team and a new co-directing model), our vibrant, retooled choral program continues to be recognized for its quality and creativity.”

For Sieck, who joined the conservatory of music faculty in 2010, his first invitation to perform at this level was especially gratifying.

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Lawrence University Cantala women’s choir

“This shows that Lawrence has not just one outstanding choir, but an outstanding choral program,” said Sieck. “Having both advanced ensembles featured is a real celebration that our students sing at the highest level. I’m also excited because this shows that Lawrence’s co-directing model is not just innovative, but also effective. Phillip and I have each worked with each of these choirs over the past three years, so having them both selected is a great honor to the team-teaching approach we bring.”

The program for both choirs celebrates the spirit of worship in the Hindu, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant traditions, covering five centuries of music from 11 countries in nine languages. The performances will feature genres ranging from opera to children’s play-songs, from dance to prayer.

“Many schools have an outstanding mixed choir, which is usually considered the flagship ensemble in the choral department,” said Swan, who has worked with the Lawrence choral program since 2002. “But, to also have a nationally recognized women’s choir, with completely different personnel, that performs at the same musical level as the top mixed-voice ensemble, demonstrates depth of quality in our choral program. I feel extremely blessed to work with such talented students and am also thankful to work with colleagues who have a shared vision for teaching and inspiring these young adults to achieve their highest musical potential.”

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.

Lawrence Student Musicians Earn Top Honors at State Flute Competition

Lawrence University student musicians captured the top two places at the recent (3/8) 2014 Wisconsin Flute Festival Collegiate Competition hosted by UW-Oshkosh.

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Caitlynn Winkler ’15

Juniors Caitlynn Winkler, a flute performance and music education major from Sheboygan, and Sam Rolfe, a flute performance major from Boscobel, earned first- and second-place honors, respectively. They were among three finalists selected from an initial pool of nine entries. The competition is open to undergraduates enrolled in a Wisconsin college or university.

Each presented a 15-minute program in the finals. Winkler performed “Among Fireflies” by Elainie Lillios, “Image” by Eugene Bozza, and Movement III from Eldin Burton’s “Sonatina.”

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Sam Rolfe ’15

Rolfe performed “Cinq Incantacions pour Flute Seule” by Andre Jolivet, “Sonata for Flute and Piano in E Major” by Johann Sebastian Bach and the world premiere of “Clockwork Koan” a piece written by Lawrence senior Chris Harrity as part of the flute and composition studio flutist/composer collaboration project.

Winkler received $250 for her winning performance while Rolfe was awarded $100. Both study in the flute studio of Assistant Professor of Music Erin Lesser.

As part of the festival, senior Schuyler Thornton was selected to play a masterclass with guest artist Stephanie Mortimer. The Lawrence Flute Ensemble was one of three groups selected to open the day-long festival as part of a flute ensemble showcase, performing three works, including a new work by Lawrence Associate Professor of Music Joanne Metcalf.

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.