Category: Conservatory

Conductor David Becker Leads Lawrence Symphony Orchestra Final Time Saturday May 26

Professor of Music David Becker works his baton for the last time as conductor of the 102-member Lawrence Symphony Orchestra at its concert Saturday, May 26 at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.  The concert is free and open to the public.

Becker, who has served as director of orchestral studies at Lawrence since 2005, is retiring at the end of the current academic year.

Director of Orchestral Studies David Becker

“The time has arrived in my life for my personal and professional journeys to head in a new direction,” said Becker, who is in his second stint at conductor of the orchestra, having spent four years at Lawrence early in his career in the mid-1970s. “The distinguished faculty, administration, cherished friends and exceptional students have all made my tenure at Lawrence a most cherished highlight in my professional career.”

Becker says each time he’s taken the stage with the orchestra over the past seven years has been a career highlight for him.

“Whatever repertoire we’re doing at the moment, to me is the pinnacle and the high point, so this next concert is the pinnacle and the high point. I don’t live very much in the past. They are all very important memories, but I’m totally absorbed right now in this group and this repertoire and what we can share together. So the pinnacle for me is to share this concert with these students. It’s going to be a tremendously emotional time. I have a suspicion that I’m going to see a number of these students in the future in various places.”

Becker, recipient of Lawrence’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at the college’s 2010 commencement, plans to dedicate his post-Lawrence time to guest conducting, workshops and clinics around the country, including leading the NAfME All-International Honors Orchestra in the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in June.

Saturday evening’s concert program will feature works by Debussy, Paulus and Tchaikovsky. Senior Daniel O’Connor, organ, the co-winner of the LSO 2011-12 Student Concerto Competition, will be the concert’s guest artist.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook.

Community Invited to “Louis XIV’s Versailles” for an Evening of Baroque Dance

The Lawrence Baroque Ensemble hosts “An Evening of Baroque Dance: Louis XIV Masque Ball” Friday, May 18 in the Warch Campus Center.

Members of the Lawrence and Fox Valley communities are invited to participate as dancers or as spectators in an “interactive performance” designed to transport everyone back to the splendor of King Louis XIV’s Versailles. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. with hor d’oeuvres followed by a formal masque ball at 7 p.m.

Lawrence President Jill Beck and Visiting Professor of Dance Rebecca Salzer will provide instruction in two large-group French Baroque dances. No dance or music experience is necessary to participate. Etiquette tips on how to show proper reverence in the presence of a king also will also offered.

The evening will include a performance of a choreographed minuet and Lawrence music historian Sara Ceballos will provide historical context throughout the evening on the power of music at Louis’ court and the empowering effect of concealing one’s identity at a masquerade.

The Lawrence Baroque Ensemble, along with members of the Lawrence trumpet and oboe studios, will provide music throughout the evening, creating an authentic grand ball atmosphere. Complimentary masks will be provided.

The evening will culminate with the audience’s performance of the dances taught by Beck and Salzer.

Space is limited and reservations are requested online. Complete and submit the RSVP form. (Clicking “attend” will not register you.) Formal attire is requested and low-heeled shoes are recommended.

The Lawrence Baroque Ensemble was founded in 2010 by four students as part of the economics course “Entrepreneurship in the Arts & Society.” Its goal is to study, rehearse and perform baroque music that enriches students’ liberal arts experience, inspires passion for period-instrument performance, preserves tradition and celebrates individual creativity. Lawrence Baroque connects audiences to history through unique concert experiences.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook.

Lawrence University Musicians Shine in State Piano Competition

Lawrence University sophomore Thomas Lee earned first-place honors at the recent 2012 Wisconsin Music Teachers Association’s annual Badger Collegiate Piano Competition conducted at UW-Marathon County in Wausau.

Thomas Lee '14

A double-degree candidate from Chicago, Ill., majoring in  piano performance with an emphasis in pedagogy, Lee received $200 for his winning performance, which included five works: J.S. Bach’s “Prelude and Fugue 18 in G-sharp Minor”; Beethoven’s “Piano Sonata op. 31 no. 3”; Liszt’s “Sposalizio”; and Nikolai Medtner’s “Fairy Tale op. 8 no. 1”; and “Primavera op. 39 no. 3.”

Lawrence accounted for six of the eight students entered in the WMTA competition, with junior Julian Delfino, a double degree candidate from Irvine, Calif., with majors in piano performance and English, earning honorable mention honors.

Also representing Lawrence were freshman Seth King-Gengler, Waukesha, sophomores Daniel Kuzuhara, Madison, and Catherine Smith, Greenville, N.C., and junior Alex Hurlburt, Wausau.

All six students study in the piano studio of Associate Professor of Music Anthony Padilla.

The WMTA Badger Collegiate Piano Competition is open to college students under the age of 28. Participants must perform from memory a solo recital program of 20-30 minutes in length with works representing contrasting styles from three of five historical periods: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Impressionistic, Contemporary.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook.

Panamanian Pianist Danilo Pérez Closes Lawrence University 2011-12 Jazz Series

Grammy Award-winning pianist and composer Danilo Pérez joins the Lawrence faculty jazz trio Friday, May 11 at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel for the final concert of the 2011-2012 Jazz Series.

Tickets, at $22-20 for adults, $19-17 for seniors, and $17-15 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office in the Music-Drama Center, or by calling 920-832-6749.

The Panama-born Pérez began playing piano at age three as a student of his father, Danilo Sr., and later studied classical music at the National Conservatory in Panama. After moving to the United States, he completed a degree in jazz composition at Boston’s  renowned Berklee College of Music. While at Berklee, Pérez began performing with jazz heavyweights Jon Hendricks, Terence Blanchard, Claudio Roditi and Paquito D’Rivera. In the late 1980s, Pérez became the youngest member of Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nations Orchestra. Today, in addition to his own trio, Pérez also performs as part of the Grammy Award-winning Wayne Shorter Quartet.

Danilo Pérez / Photo by Dragan Tasic

Pérez’ discography includes 15 albums, including 1998’s “Central Avenue” and 2010’s “Providencia,” both of which earned him Grammy Award nominations for best jazz album. He garnered two Grammy nominations for 2000’s “Motherland,” which was named that year’s best jazz album by the Boston Music Awards.  The New York Times praised his 1996 album “PanaMonk,” a tribute to both Thelonious Monk and his Panamanian heritage, as “a masterpiece of jazz synthesis.”

“Danilo’s music has the capacity to connect your soul with the unique sonorities of the universe in perfect harmony. It is just beautiful,” said José Encarnacion, instructor of jazz and improvisational music and jazz performance coordinator at Lawrence.

Encarnacion, a saxophonist, along with Dane Richeson, percussion and Mark Urness, bass will join Perez on stage as the Lawrence Faculty Trio.

Based in Boston, Pérez serves as artistic director of the Panama Jazz Festival, artistic advisor of the innovative Mellon Jazz Up Close series at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center and artistic director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook.

Lawrence Student Organist Wins Regional Competition

Lawrence University senior Alexis VanZalen earned first-place honors at the recent Young Artists Organ regional competition conducted at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minn.

Alexis VanZalen '13

The biennial regional competition is co-sponsored by the Twin Cities Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and the Schubert Club of St. Paul.

This was the second straight time a Lawrence student has won the organ competition. Daniel O’Connor earned first-place honors when it was last held in 2010.

VanZalen, a double degree candidate majoring in organ performance and history from Holland, Mich., received $2,000 for her winning performance. Her 25-minute audition included J.S. Bach’s “Prelude and Fugue in G Major, BWV 541,” French composer Jehan Alain’s ” Variations sur un thème Theme de Clément Jannequin,” Basil Harwood’s  “Allegro appassionato, from Organ Sonata No. 1 in C# minor, Op. 5” and Benjamin Britten’s “Hymn of St. Columba.”

In 2011, VanZalen earned second-place honors in the Wisconsin National Federation of Music Clubs’ Biennial Student/Collegiate Competition.  She is a student of university organist Kathrine Handford.

The Young Artists Organ competition was open to organists under the age of 24 who reside in or attend school in the 10-state region that includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, eastern Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Founded in 1896, the American Guild of Organists is an educational and service organization that strives to advance organ and choral music, elevate the status of church musicians and maintain standards of artistic excellence among organists and choral conductors.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

Lawrence Student Pianist, Wind Quintet to Perform on Wisconsin Public Radio

Six Lawrence University students will reprise their winning performances from the recent Neale-Silva Young Artists’ Competition on Sunday, April 29 at 12:30 pm in a special recital at the Wisconsin Union Theater on the UW-Madison campus. The recital will be broadcast statewide by Wisconsin Public Radio on the Classical Music Network ad can be heard locally at 89.3 FM or online.

A woodwind quintet — Kelsey Burk, oboe, a senior from Stacy, Minn.; Jake Fisher, bassoon, a senior from Lake Forest, Ill.; Kinsey Fournier, clarinet, a senior from Conway, Ark.; Sam Golter, flute, a senior from Springfield, Va.; and Emma Richart, French horn, a senior from Olympia, Wash. — will perform works by Alexander Scriabin and Franz Liszt. Cameron Pieper, piano, a sophomore from Fond du Lac, will play pieces by Vincent Persichetti and Elliott Carter.

Vocalist Rachel Holmes, who has completed her master’s degree in music at Colorado State University, and  cellist Chris Peck, a sophomore at UW-Madison, will join the Lawrence musicians as part of the winner’s recital.

Wisconsin Public Television will tape the concert for later broadcast on their Wisconsin Channel.

The Neale-Silva Young Artists’ Competition was established to recognize young Wisconsin performers of classical music who demonstrate an exceptionally high level of artistry.  It is supported by a grant from the estate of the late University of Wisconsin Madison professor Eduardo Neale-Silva, a classical music enthusiast who was born in Talca, Chile and came to the United States in 1925.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

 

Renowned Performers, Rising Stars Featured in 2012-13 Artist and Jazz Series

Three-time Tony Award nominee Kelli O’Hara and a dynamic doubleheader weekend of award-winning jazz vocalist Kurt Elling and the renowned Maria Schneider Orchestra are among the celebrated performers on the 2012-13 Lawrence University Performing Artist and Jazz Series.

Subscriptions for both series are on sale now and subscribers may choose from the Artist, Jazz, or “Favorite 4” concert packages, with discounts available to senior citizens and students. Single-concert tickets go on sale Sept. 17, 2012. Contact the Lawrence University Box Office at 920-832-6749 or visit the Lawrence Performing Arts page for more information.

Kelli O'Hara

After starring runs in the Tony Award-winning revival of “South Pacific,” “The Pajama Game” and “The Light in the Piazza,” O’Hara has established herself as one of Broadway’s great leading ladies.

Hailed as Broadway’s “golden girl” by the New York Times, O’Hara brings her soulful soprano voice to the Lawrence Memorial Chapel March 9, 2013 as part of the four-concert Lawrence Artist Series.

Artist Series Opens Oct. 27

Cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley open the Artist Series Oct. 27 in an eclectic collaboration that crisscrosses classical and pop music genres, showcasing their talents as collaborators and soloists.  Their program will feature works by Bach and Gabrielli, Radiohead and Arcade Fire, Piazzolla and Stravinsky.

A pair of April 2013 concerts rounds out the Artist Series schedule. The Jupiter String Quartet, winners of both the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, performs April 12, 2013 while the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet, hailed as “arguably the best ensemble of its kind in the world” by the Manchester Evening News, takes the Memorial Chapel stage April 26, 2013.

Formed in 2001, Boston-based Jupiter added winners of the Young Concert Artists International auditions to its resume in 2005. One of America’ most dynamic young string quartets, Jupiter performed the entire cycle of Beethoven string quartets — all 16 — last summer for the Aspen Music Festival.

Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet

The Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet — the first permanently established wind quintet in the Berlin Philharmonic’s long history of chamber music — has been dazzling audiences around the world since 1988 with an uncanny ability to unite five disparate sounds into a collective smoothness.

Redefining the sound of the classic wind quintet, the ensemble’s repertoire includes the full spectrum of the wind quintet literature as well as works for enlarged ensemble, among them the sextets of Janácek and Reinicke or the septets of Hindemith and Koechlin.

“The 100-year-old tradition of excellence continues with next year’s exceptional Artist Series line-up,” said Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music. “It is amazing to think that we can experience, right in our own Memorial Chapel, the same performers who are playing to sold-out houses in New York, Los Angeles or Berlin just the week before. These are musical opportunities not to be missed.”

Jazz Celebration Weekend Kicks off Jazz Series

The Kurt Elling Quartet and the Maria Schneider Orchestra headline the Lawrence’s 32nd annual Jazz Celebration Weekend Nov. 2-3, respectively.

Kurt Elling

Elling, described as “the standout male vocalist of our time”‘ by the New York Times, performs with the Lawrence Jazz Ensemble. A nine-time Grammy Award nominee and 2009 Grammy winner for “Dedicated To You: Kurt Elling Sings The Music Of Coltrane And Hartman,” Elling has won the DownBeat Critics Poll Male Vocalist of the Year Award an astonishing 12 years (2000-2011) in a row. This will be Elling’s second appearance at Jazz Weekend, having previously performed in 2003.

An internationally renowned jazz composer and conductor, Schneider formed her 17-member orchestra in 1993. A weekly performer at Visiones in Greenwich Village early on, the orchestra has since become a staple at concert venues around the world, earning 2005’s “Large Jazz Ensemble of the Year”‘ award from the Jazz Journalists Association. Her orchestra’s albums “Concert in the Garden” and 2007’s “Sky Blue” earned Grammy Awards and were named “Jazz Album of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association and the Downbeat Critics Poll.

Maria Schneider

“I consider Maria Schneider the premier composer of music for the large jazz ensemble in the 21st century, and her Jazz Orchestra is among the finest big bands in the world today,” said Fred Sturm, director of jazz studies and improvisation music at Lawrence. “Her original works contain the most artistic renderings of melody, harmony, orchestration, and structure created by composers in all jazz-related genres over the past decade. Her scores and recordings have dramatically impacted the evolution of the jazz composition art form worldwide.”

The Bad Plus, a jazz trio born in 2000 that includes Wisconsin native Ethan Iverson on piano, brings its eclectic combination of avant-garde jazz with rock and pop influences to the Memorial Chapel Feb. 1, 2013. The band has recorded versions of songs by diverse artists ranging from Nirvana, Blondie and Pink Floyd to Neil Young, David Bowie and Black Sabbath. According to a Rolling Stone review of a Bad Plus performance, the band is “about as badass as highbrow gets.”

Vocalist Gretchen Parlato closes the four-concert Jazz Series May 10, 2013. A Los Angeles native, Parlato won the 2003 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition and two years later released her debut self-titled album to critical acclaim. Following the release of her second CD, 2011’s “The Lost and Found,” Parlato was named No. 1 Rising Star Female Vocalist in DownBeat Magazine’s Annual Critics Poll.

“Gretchen is one of the most unique, provocative, and hip singers on the scene today,” said Dane Richeson, professor of music in Lawrence’s jazz studies department. “She pulls together great musicians to work with her in her band and I promise hers will be a great concert.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

Lawrence Wind Ensemble Selected for 2013 National Band Directors Conference

The Lawrence University Wind Ensemble has been selected to perform at the 2013 National Conference of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Lawrence was one of only nine ensembles from around the country — and one of only two liberal arts colleges — chosen for the national convention.

Under the direction of conductor Andrew Mast, the 65-member wind ensemble will perform March 21, 2013.  Mast and the ensemble were previously invited to perform at the College Band Director’s regional conference in Omaha in 2008.

Mast said he was both “excited and humbled” by the selection.

“This is a huge honor for the ensemble, one that reflects the high performance standards of the students and faculty at Lawrence,” said Mast, director of the wind ensemble and symphonic band since 2004. “I was told the pool of ensembles that applied to perform was exceptionally large and robust this year, which makes me all the more proud to be part of such an exceptional group of artist musicians. I’m greatly looking forward to the opportunity to help showcase Lawrence musicians on yet another national stage.”

The selection to the 2013 national convention comes 20 years since the last time the wind ensemble performed at a national conference, 1993 in Columbus, Ohio, under the direction of Bob Levy.

Joining Lawrence as performers in Greensboro will be ensembles from Baylor University, the Cincinnati Conservatory, Louisiana State University, St. Olaf College, University of Kentucky, University of Maryland, University of South Carolina and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Selections for the 2013 national convention were based on submitted unedited audition tapes of live performances from all ensembles.

The wind ensemble is the third major ensemble in the Lawrence Conservatory of Music chosen for a national conference performance in the past five years, joining Cantala women’s choir (2011) and the Lawrence Concert Choir (2009), both of which were invited to the American Choral Directors’ Association national convention in Chicago and Oklahoma City, respectively.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

 

Next Stop Carnegie Hall: Academy of Music Girl Choir Sings in National Program

Cantabile, the middle school component (grades 7-10) of the Lawrence Academy of Music Girl Choir program, will perform Sunday, April 15 at New York City’s Carnegie Hall as an invited participant in the 2012 National Children’s School Choir.

The 42-member choir will sing under the direction of Henry Leck, an icon in the children’s choir world, in Carnegie Hall’s main venue, the Isaac Stern Auditorium, in front of what is expected to be a sold-out audience.

The Lawrence Academy of Music Cantibile Girl Choir performs April 15 at Carnegie Hall in New York City..

“It is a deep honor for the Academy of Music Girl Choir to represent both Lawrence and the greater Fox Valley in this prestigious festival,” said Karen Bruno, LAM director and artistic coordinator of the Girl Choir program. “Our girls are excited about the opportunity to make new friends, work with acclaimed conductor Henry Leck, and to sing in Carnegie Hall.”

Cantibile was selected for the 2012 National Children’s School Choir concert via a competitive, national audition process.  They will be joined on Sunday by four other ensembles.

This is the third time Cantibile has been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall as part of the National Children’s School Choir following performances in 2001 and 2005.

Sunday’s concert, which also will include performances by the National Christian Schools Youth Choir, will include works by Mozart, Philip Stopford, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Darla Eshelman, Rene Clausen, Schütz, Haydn, Tom Fettke, Hastings, Craig Courtney, David Lantz III as well as traditional songs from Brazil and Ireland.

Members of Cantibile will chronicle their musical adventure to New York City in a special blog.  Follow their journey as they post daily updates.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

Chanticleer — “The Orchestra of Voices” — Performs April 13 at Lawrence Memorial Chapel

It will be a homecoming of sorts for Mike Axtell when the 12-member, all-male vocal ensemble Chanticleer takes the Lawrence Memorial Chapel stage Friday, April 13 at 8 p.m. for its 2011-12 Lawrence University Artist Series concert.

Tickets, at $30 for adults and seniors and $15 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office in the Music-Drama Center, 920-832-6749.

Mike Axtell '09

A 2009 Lawrence graduate, Axtell is in his second season with Chanticleer. The ensemble is widely known as “The Orchestra of Voices,” in part for a repertoire that spans 10 centuries, from Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony and Romantic art song to contemporary music, jazz, spirituals and world music.

Now in its 34th season, San Francisco-based Chanticleer has long earned critics’ praises. The New Yorker magazine has hailed the ensemble as “the world’s reigning male chorus.” Winners of four Grammy Awards, including two for their world-premiere recording of Sir John Tavener’s “Lamentations and Praises,” Chanticleer was named the “Ensemble of the Year” in 2008 by Musical America and became the first vocal ensemble ever inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame that same year.  

“We’re incredibly excited to have Chanticleer on campus,” said Stephen Sieck, co-director of choral studies at Lawrence. “They combine the tight-knit blend of a four- or five-voice ensemble like the Hilliard Ensemble or The King’s Singers with the vocal prowess and flexibility of a much larger ensemble. Their ability to switch from Renaissance to Broadway and everything in between is exceptional.

“As professional men’s vocal ensembles go, this is like having the Berlin Philharmonic come to the Lawrence Memorial Chapel,” Sieck added.

A bass-baritone, Axtell studied in the voice studio of Associate Professor Karen Leigh-Post while at Lawrence, where he earned a degree in B.M. degree in vocal performance and a B.A. degree in theatre. As a student, he sang in the concert choir and performed in numerous theater productions, including the role of the prince in Lawrence’s production of “Cinderella.”

Axtell is the second Lawrence graduate to perform with Chanticleer, joining former member Gabriel Lewis-O’Connor ’04.

Beyond an exhausting performance schedule, which includes more than 100 performances around the world during the 2011-12 season, Chanticleer is dedicated to music education and outreach. For more than 20 years, the ensemble has offered master classes, lecture recitals and residencies to high school and college students. During their visit to Lawrence, members of the ensemble will hold a master class and work with the concert choir.

Since Chanticleer made its debut in June, 1978, more than 100 men have sung in the ensemble.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.