Fred Sturm

Tag: Fred Sturm

Lawrence University Jazz Composer’s Work Featured in Scottish National Jazz Orchestra Tour

APPLETON, WIS. — One of the latest compositions of Lawrence University Professor Fred Sturm’s most recent jazz writing project will be featured in a week-long concert tour of Scotland by legendary vibraphonist Gary Burton beginning Sept. 10.


Sturm, director of jazz studies and improvisational music at Lawrence, was part of a team of internationally renowned jazz composers and arrangers, who worked on the music for the tour “The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra Presents the Music of Wayne Shorter featuring Gary Burton.” Through a commission by SNJO leader Tommy Smith, Sturm arranged the Shorter composition “Yes and No” for the concert program.

“Shorter is our greatest living jazz composer, and ‘Yes and No’ epitomizes his work from the 1960s,” said Sturm. “The SNJO granted me free rein to reconstitute the piece in my own voice.”

Burton, considered by many the world’s premier jazz vibraphonist, will perform arrangements of nine works by celebrated jazz composer/saxophonist Shorter during a five-city concert tour beginning in St. Andrews. Other performances are scheduled in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and Gordonstoun.

This is Sturm’s third collaboration with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, which has previously performed the Sturm-arranged concert programs “Bodacious Cowboys: Three Decades of Steely Dan” in 2008 and “Tango Nuevo: The Music of Astor Piazzolla” this past May.

Rolling Stones Classics Get Jazz Treatment in Lawrence University Concert

APPLETON, WIS. — Mick Jagger and Keith Richards may finally get that “satisfaction” they famously sought in song.

The music of the iconic rock band Rolling Stones gets a jazz makeover when Lawrence University presents the U.S. premiere of “The Rolling Stones Project,” a collection of 12 Stones’ classics arranged for large jazz ensemble by New York saxophonist Tim Ries and Los Angeles arranger Matt Harris.

The Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble and Lawrence Jazz Band, under the direction of Fred Sturm and Patty Darling, respectively, present “STONE AGE: Music of the Rolling Stones” March 12 and 13 at 8 p.m. in Stansbury Theatre. The concert is free, but due to limited seating, tickets are required and are available through the Lawrence box office, 920-832-6749.

“This program is going to be played all over the world in the next few years, and we’re thrilled to launch it here in the states,” said Sturm, director of jazz and improvisational music at Lawrence.

The concert will include such Jagger-Richards classics as “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “Paint It Black,” “Ruby Tuesday,” and “Wild Horses,” among others.

“We won’t be imitating the Stones’ recordings like a ‘cover’ band would,” said Sturm. “Instead, we’ve re-casted them with fresh harmonies, unique rhythms and the power and colorful shadings of an 18-piece jazz ensemble. But fans of the Stones will still be able to recognize the tunes.”

The concert owes its genesis to Ries, a composer and saxophonist who played in the Rolling Stones’ horn section on their “No Security” tour in 1999. In a bout of experimentation, Ries decided to add a jazz arrangement to several Stones’ songs, resulting in the 2005 album “The Rolling Stones Project: Music Of The Rolling Stones.” A second follow-up disc, “Stones World,” was released last October.

Sturm and Ries crossed paths in 2003 after Sturm was named the recipient of the prestigious 2003 ASCAP/IAJE Commission in Honor of Quincy Jones. For the premiere of his work “Abstract Image” in New York City, Sturm assembled an all-star ensemble of jazz luminaries, including Ries, who appeared as the featured saxophonist.

Fast forward to 2008 when Ries collaborated with Sturm’s long-time friend and Eastman School of Music classmate, composer/arranger Matt Harris. Harris expanded Ries’ Rolling Stones projects into 12 orchestrations for large jazz ensemble. Ries first performed the Harris arrangements last October with Denmark’s Kluvers Big Band, one of Europe’s top professional jazz ensembles.

In preparing for the concert, Sturm and Darling exposed their students to recordings of the original Rolling Stones renditions, the Ries and Danish versions as well as treatments that were recorded by artists ranging from soul singers Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin, pop star Britney Spears and jazz great Oscar Peterson.

“Performing and arranging classic and contemporary pop music is an important focus of the Lawrence jazz department,” said Darling. “Our students need the tools and vocabulary to explore the music of their own time. We’re examining process very closely, articulating how jazz players and composers can reconstitute any piece of music in their own voice.”

“Jazz musicians have been fascinated with standard tunes going back to Tin Pan Alley and the American Popular Songbook of the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s,” Sturm added. “Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and other jazz greats have recorded their own treatments of the ‘New Standards’ in contemporary pop music. In that same creative spirit, we’ll be putting our own interpretive stamp upon these great Rolling Stones hits.”

Jazz Director, Spanish Professor Cited by Lawrence University for Teaching Excellence

Fred Sturm was honored a second time for his teaching prowess and assistant professor of Spanish Rosa Tapia was recognized for her classroom contributions as a junior faculty member Sunday, June 12 at Lawrence University’s 156th commencement.

Sturm, director of jazz and improvisational music, was presented Lawrence’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, given annually to a faculty member for outstanding performance in the teaching process, including the quest to ensure students reach their full development as individuals, human beings and future leaders of society.

Tapia was cited with the Young Teacher Award in recognition of demonstrated excellence in the classroom and the promise of continued growth.

Sturm, who received Lawrence’s Young Teacher Award in 1983, is one of only five faculty members to earn both teaching honors. Last month, he was appointed to the Kimberly-Clark Professorship in Music.

A 1973 Lawrence graduate who directed the college’s first student-designed jazz ensemble as a 19-year-old sophomore, Sturm returned to his alma mater in 1977 as a member of the conservatory of music faculty. He left in 1991 to teach at his other alma mater, the Eastman School of Music in New York, where he earned a master’s degree in music composition in 1984, then returned to Lawrence in 2002.

Sturm’s jazz compositions and arrangements have been performed by Bobby McFerrin, Wynton Marsalis and Clark Terry, among others, and have been issued on numerous record labels, including Concord Jazz, RCA and Warner Brothers Records. He earned a Grammy Award nomination in 1988 and was named the 2003 recipient of the prestigious ASCAP/IAJE Commission In Honor of Quincy Jones, a prize granted annually to one established jazz composer of international prominence.

“Your jazz ensembles have received national recognition for outstanding performance from Downbeat magazine and your jazz composition and arranging students, following in their mentor’s footsteps, are also national award winners,” Lawrence President Jill Beck told Sturm in presenting his award. “Your own compositions and arrangements are acclaimed worldwide. For these accomplishments and your enduring dedication to jazz education at Lawrence and worldwide, we are pleased to honor you.”

Tapia joined the Lawrence Spanish department in 2002 with research interests in Spanish Peninsular and Latin American literature as well as the use of technology applications in foreign language education. Before coming to Lawrence, Tapia taught in the Spanish department at Penn State University, earning that institution’s outstanding teaching award for graduate students, one of only five given university-wide.

In honoring her, Beck said Tapia had “won the hearts and minds” of many students.

“Students say you inspired them to do their best work in your class. They recognize and applaud the high standards you set and express enthusiastic appreciation for the effort you expend to help them reach those goals,” said Beck. “Your colleagues, too, express gratitude for your willingness to share teaching strategies, especially those related to uses of instructional technology in the classroom.”

A native of Ubeda, Spain, Tapia earned a bachelor’s degree in English at the Universidad de Granada, a master’s degree in Spanish at the University of Delaware and her Ph.D. in Spanish at Penn State University.

Lawrence University Art Historian, American History Scholar and Jazz Director Named to Endowed Professorships

Lawrence University President Jill Beck announced the appointment of Carol Lawton, Jerald Podair and Fred Sturm to endowed professorships Thursday (5/26) at the college’s annual honors convocation.

Lawton, professor of art history, was named to the Ottilia Buerger Professorship in Classical Studies. Podair, associate professor of history, was named to the Robert S. French Professorship in American Studies. Sturm, professor of music, was named to the Kimberly-Clark Professorship in Music.

Appointments to endowed professorships recognize academic distinction through teaching excellence and scholarly achievement. Lawrence currently has 47 endowed chairs.

Lawton, a specialist in ancient Greek sculpture, joined the Lawrence art department in 1980 and serves as curator of Lawrence’s Ottilia Buerger Collection of ancient and Byzantine coins. She has made research trips to Greece each of the past 25 years. Working with the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, she is studying Greek and Roman votive reliefs excavated from the Athenian Agora, the center of civic activity of ancient Athens.

She has received research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the J. Paul Getty Trust and is the author of the 1995 book “Attic Document Reliefs of the Classical and Hellenistic Periods” (Oxford University Press).

In 2004, Lawton was recognized with Lawrence’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, becoming the only faculty member to earn all three of the college’s major teaching awards. She was the recipient of the college’s Young Teacher Award in 1982 and the Freshman Studies Teaching Award in 1998. She earned her Ph.D. in art history from Princeton University.

The Buerger professorship was established in 2002 by a bequest from the estate of Ottilia Buerger, a 1938 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Lawrence with a degree in Latin. A native of Mayville, Buerger taught Latin and English for several years at high schools in Goodman, Wautoma and Beaver Dam.

Combining a life-long interest in history, classics and numismatics, Buerger began coin collecting as a hobby in the 1950s and wound up assembling a world-renowned collection of ancient Greek and Roman coins. Buerger’s collection of 352 coins was donated to Lawrence after her death in 2001 and is used extensively today as a teaching and research resource for students and faculty studying the ancient world.

Podair joined the Lawrence faculty in 1998. A one-time Wall Street lawyer, he turned his attention to 20th-century American history in the early 1990s, focusing his research interests on urban history and racial and ethnic relations. He was recognized in 1998 with the Allan Nevin Prize from the Society of American Historians, which honored him for the single most outstanding dissertation in American history that year. It was published as the book “The Strike That Changed New York” in 2003 by Yale University Press.

He served as a consulting scholar for the recent Joe McCarthy exhibition at the Outagamie County Museum and worked with documentary filmmaker Richard Broadman as a historical consultant on a film chronicling the history of Black-Jewish relations in modern New York City. He earned his doctorate at Princeton University.

The French Professorship was established in 2001 by a gift from William Zuendt in honor of his former high school counselor and long-time friend, Robert French, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Lawrence in 1948 with a self-designed major in American studies. The professorship is intended to embrace a broad array of subjects, including history, literature, political thought and artistic expression, in examining America’s past.

French, a devoted student and collector of items relating to Abraham Lincoln and his legacy, helped establish the Lincoln Reading Room in Lawrence’s Seeley G. Mudd Library. He donated a collection of more than 1,500 items related to Lincoln, among them books, artwork and published speeches.

Sturm, director of jazz and improvisational music, is in his second stint as a faculty member in the Lawrence conservatory of music. A 1973 Lawrence graduate, he first directed jazz studies here from 1977-91, then returned in 2002 after spending 11 years as professor and chair of jazz studies and contemporary media at the Eastman School of Music in New York.

An award-winning composer, his jazz compositions and arrangements have been performed by Bobby McFerrin, Wynton Marsalis and Clark Terry, among others, and have been issued by numerous record labels, including Concord Jazz, RCA and Warner Brothers Records. Sturm received a Grammy Award nomination in 1988 and was named the 2003 recipient of the ASCAP/IAJE Commission In Honor of Quincy Jones, a prize granted annually to one established jazz composer of international prominence.

He concurrently serves as principal guest conductor of the Hessischer Rundfunk (German Public Radio for the State of Hessen) Big Band in Frankfurt, Germany and as visiting conductor of professional jazz ensembles and radio orchestras in Europe. During his nearly 30-year university teaching career, Sturm’s jazz ensembles have been cited by Downbeat Magazine as the finest in the United States and Canada eight times. He earned a master’s degree in music composition from Eastman School of Music.

The Kimberly-Clark Foundation established the Kimberly-Clark Professorship in Music in 1995 in recognition and support of the cultural contributions Lawrence makes to the quality of life in the community.

Lawrence University’s Jazz Studies Director Wins International Composition Commission

Lawrence University music professor Fred Sturm has been named the recipient of the 2003 ASCAP/IAJE Commission In Honor of Quincy Jones for Established Jazz Composers of International Prominence.

The commission, widely considered the world’s most prestigious jazz composition award for established composers, is presented by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in cooperation with the International Association of Jazz Educators.

Sturm, the director of jazz studies and improvisational music at Lawrence, will write a new composition in the coming months and conduct its premiere performed by an all-star ensemble of jazz musicians next January at the 2004 IAJE Conference in New York City. The commission prize includes a cash award of $7,500.

“The ASCAP/IAJE commission comes with no strings attached,” said Sturm. “It’s basically anything goes. It will be created completely from scratch, but I’m hoping to write something that is very cutting edge.”

In addition to his ASCAP jazz commission, Sturm was recently selected to work on a pair of upcoming recording projects.

In September, he travels to Frankfurt, Germany, where he will serve as arranger/conductor for the recording of “Bodacious Cowboys: 3 Decades of Steely Dan,” a tribute to one of rock music’s most creative and enduring ensembles. Sturm will conduct the Hessischer Rundfunk (Public Radio for the State of Hessen) Jazz Band for the project. Next March, the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble will perform the same program in a campus concert.

Sturm also will serve as arranger/conductor for the 2004 BMG/Arista Records release of Brazilian pianist, singer and composer Eliane Elias. In addition to arranging all the works on the Elias project, Sturm will travel to London in November to conduct the London Symphony in a recording of the CD’s orchestral components.

“Any of these three projects alone would be cause for celebration,” Sturm said. “Put all three together and you have a combination of sheer exhilaration and terror. If I had the luxury of spreading these projects out over a period of a couple of years, that would be heaven, but when the phone rings and you’re asked to contribute, you say ‘YES!’

“Opportunities like this don’t always come along and you may only be asked once, so you have to take advantage of them when they present themselves. The coming months are going to be extremely busy, but equally exciting and rewarding.”

A 1998 Grammy Award nominee, Sturm directed the Lawrence jazz studies program from 1977-91 and served as professor and chair of jazz studies and contemporary media at the Eastman School of Music in New York from 1991-2002, directing the internationally acclaimed Eastman Jazz Ensemble, conducting the 70-piece Eastman Studio Orchestra and coordinating the Eastman jazz composition and arranging program. A 1973 Lawrence graduate, he returned to the Lawrence conservatory faculty in the fall of 2002.

In Sturm’s 25-year university teaching career, Downbeat Magazine has cited his ensembles as the finest in the United States and Canada eight times.