Tag: Jazz

Lizz Wright, Storms/Nocturnes headline Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Lizz Wright and the immersive trio Storms/Nocturnes headline Lawrence University’s 37th annual salute to all things jazz.

Lizz Wright outdoors leaning on a fence
Singer Lizz Wright opens this year’s Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend with a performance Friday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. (Photo by Jesse Kitt.)

Wright opens the two-concert weekend Friday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. while Storms/Nocturnes shares the stage with Lawrence’s own 18-member jazz ensemble Saturday, Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. to close the Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend. Both concerts are in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

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

Wright, who NPR describes as “a sophisticated straddler of down-home blues, jazz, gospel, folk, southern pop and confessional singer-songwriter traditions,” will feature her latest studio album “Grace,” which was released in September. The album is an unadulterated reflection of Wright’s sense of place and belonging that’s deeply woven into the cultural fabric of America.

An invitation to openly contemplate our humanity, “Grace” is Wright’s proclamation to unearth our fundamental kindness and generosity. She uses it as vocal rite of passage, tracing the landscape between her native central and south Georgia and the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, N.C., where she currently makes her home.

“Grace” showcases the warm and weathered colors of Wright’s voice. Leaning into curated classics and contemporary covers, she pierces form with gentle and unfettered individuality.Album colver for Lizz Wright's "Grace"

“Lizz Wright is one of the most captivating vocalists in the jazz world today” said Patty Darling, director of the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble and instructor of music. “With her powerful voice, she blends elements of gospel, blues, jazz, folk and pop music to create songs that inspire and connect her audiences.”

Storms/Nocturnes, a trio of international jazz giants — British saxophone legend Tim Garland, world-leading vibraphone virtuoso Joe Locke and Grammy Award-nominee pianist Geoffrey Keezer — create a unique three-way dialogue of captivating, immersive music. Melding their distinct styles and backgrounds, they create music that can be spacious or immensely complex, delicate but almost orchestral in depth. They collectively find their way into a new mood or feel before the listener realizes they have left the old one.

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Lizz Wright is one of the most captivating vocalists in the jazz world today.”
— Patty Darling, director of the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble
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Garland was voted “Musician of the Year” in 2006 by the Cross-Parliamentary Jazz Society. He has received commissions from the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Westminster Abbey Choir, as well as numerous small and large jazz-based ensembles.

He earned a 2009 Grammy Award for helping create “The New Crystal Silence,” which celebrated the long partnership between jazz legends Chick Corea and Gary Burton.

Locke, a vibraphonist renowned for stunning physical power and broad emotional range, has topped music polls and won multiple awards, including Earshot Golden Ear Awards for “Concert of the Year” and 2016 “Mallet Player of the Year” from the Jazz Journalists Association.

Jazz trio Storms/Nocturnes
Storms/Nocturnes — pianist Geoffrey Keezer, saxophonist Tim Garland and vibraphonist Tim Locke — perform Saturday, Nov. 4 at 7:30 as part of Fred Sturm Jezz Celebration Weekend. They’ll be joined by the Lawrence University Jezz Ensemble.

London’s Royal Academy of Music appointed Locke Visiting International Vibraphone Consultant in 2008 and last year he was honored by his hometown of Rochester, N.Y., with induction into the city’s Music Hall of Fame.

Keezer, an Eau Claire native and two-time Grammy Award nominee, began playing jazz clubs as a teenager and was touring the country in his 20s with such jazz luminaries as Joshua Redman and Benny Golson.

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They are incredible performers and composers who are so tight in their bonds with each other. Their musical energy, passion and communication must be experienced.”
— Patty Darling on Storms/Nocturnes
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His intellectually abstract lyricism woven over exotically complex rhythms and harmonies makes him one of the most sought-after artists on the modern jazz scene.

Keezer has performed on projects ranging from solo to duo to quartet, from bandleader to big band, from post-bop jazz to electronica to global fusion. His 2009 CD “Áurea” earned a Best Latin Jazz album Grammy nomination. He teamed with Garland and Locke on the album “Via” in 2011 while he released his latest solo piano disk, “Heart of the Piano” in 2013.

Darling is excited about having LUJE join the talented trio on stage.

“They are incredible performers and composers who are so tight in their bonds with each other,” said Darling. “Their musical energy, passion and communication must be experienced. It will be a huge thrill for our students to perform with them.”

In addition to the two evening concerts, Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend features a series of free performances and clinics by Lawrence combos, big bands, jazz faculty and high school bands, with more than 700 high school and middle school students participating throughout the day on Saturday. A complete schedule can be found here.

Lawrence’s annual Jazz Celebration Weekend was renamed two years ago in honor of long-time music professor Fred Sturm, its founder and mentor who passed away in 2014.

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

Delfeayo Marsalis Quintet closes Lawrence University 2016-17 Jazz Series

One of the world’s pre-eminent trombone players closes Lawrence University’s 2016-17 Jazz Series.

A photo of saxophonist Delfeayo MarsalisThe Delfeayo Marsalis Quintet takes the stage of the Lawrence Memorial Chapel Saturday, May 13 at 8 p.m.

Tickets for the Delfeayo Marsalis Quintet, at $25-30 for adults, $20-25 for seniors, $18-20 for students, are available online through the Lawrence Box Office or by calling 920-832-6749.

A member of the iconic Marsalis family — father Ellis and brothers Branford, Wynton and Jason—Delfeayo has carved his own space in the jazz world as a trombonist extraordinaire, producer and composer.

Hailed as “one of the best, most imaginative and musical trombonists of his generation” by the San Francisco Examiner, Marsalis has toured internationally with renowned bandleaders Art Blakey, Abdulla Ibrahim, Elvin Jones, Slide Hampton and Max Roach as well as leading his own groups.

Tim Albright, assistant professor of music at Lawrence who teaches trombone, says one word comes to mind whenever he listens to Delfeayo Marsalis: tasty.

“Each line is just right, every note is where it should be,” said Albright. “His sense of style and timing are vibrant and spot on. In Delfeayo’s warm sound and excellent lines you can hear a nod to the masters such as J.J. Johnson and Curtis Fuller and a look to the future. I can’t wait to have him here at Lawrence.”

Marsalis released his debut album as a leader in 1992, the Bible inspired “Pontius Pilate’s Decision” while 2014’s “The Last Southern Gentlemen” showcases his technical expertise and reveals his frequent touches of humor, such as his playful rendition of “Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?”

Last fall, in response to one of the country’s most unusual presidential elections, Marsalis and his big band —the Uptown Jazz Orchestra — released their debut album, “America Great Again!,” a collection of American music spanning African roots to the streets of Marsalis’ hometown of New Orleans.

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“Each line is just right, every note is where it should be. His sense of style and timing are vibrant and spot on.
— Tim Albright, assistant professor of music
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José Encarnación, director of Lawrence’s jazz studies program, calls himself “a profound admirer of the entire Marsalis family.”

“Having the master trombone player, Delfeayo Marsalis, close our Jazz Series for this year will be an honor,” said Encarnación. “I’m confident Delfeayo will provide his audience an extraordinary musical experience with his remarkable technique and fresh, innovative imagination. This is a concert not to be missed.”

A photo of Delfeayo MarsalisA prolific producer, Marsalis has overseen nearly 100 albums, beginning with is father’s “Syndrome” album in 1983 when he was only 17 years old. Additionally, he has produced albums for his brothers Branford and Wynton, Harry Connick, Jr, Spike Lee, Terence Blanchard, Lincoln Center Jazz and many other artists.

His family’s contributions to American music earned Delfeayo, his father and three brothers the nation’s highest jazz honor – a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award in 2011. It was the first group award the NEA Jazz Masters had ever given.

He will be joined on stage by saxophonist Khari Allen Lee, pianist Victor Atkins, bass player Erick Wheeler and drummer Adonis Rose.

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

 

Senior Sam Genualdi wins national DownBeat award for original composition

The hits just keep coming for Sam Genualdi.

Head shot of student Sam Genualdi
Sam Genualdi ’17

The Lawrence University senior, who was awarded a $30,000 Watson Fellowship last month, can add 2017 DownBeat Student Music Awards (SMA) competition winner to his resume.

Genualdi has received the “Outstanding Original Composition” award in the undergraduate category for his large ensemble composition “Treelight” in the jazz magazine’s 40th annual competition.

Announced in DownBeat’s June edition, the SMAs are considered among the highest music honors in the field of jazz education. They are presented in 13 categories in five separate divisions: junior high, high school, performing high school, undergraduate college and graduate college.

The composition award is all the more impressive given Genualdi’s own admission.

“I didn’t really get into notated music, written down on the page, until I came to Lawrence,” said Genualdi, a student-designed contemporary improvisation major from Evanston, Ill. “I arrived not knowing how to read music very well, but once I was here, I voraciously tried to absorb as much information as I could to make myself the best musician I could be.”

Patty Darling, instructor of music who directs the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble and teaches jazz composition and arranging, offered Genualdi a commission last year to write  a large ensemble piece for the college’s annual Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend. He spent nine months working on the five-minute piece.

“It’s not your standard big-band music,” Genualdi says of “Treelight.” “It draws on influences from hip-hop, contemporary wind ensemble music and a lot of more spread out harmony. I had one central motif that I drew upon to create the whole thing. I took this short melodic idea and flipped it on its head a whole bunch of different ways to spin it out into the whole piece.”

When he started the “Treelight project, “sorting material” was the initial step in the process.

“I had tons of ideas, way too many melodic fragments and thoughts, and just pages of different stuff, recordings on my phone, different little things that I was thinking about using,” Genualdi explained. “Most of that came from just improvising. I’d sit my phone on the piano, record, and then just start playing. I’d listen back and pick things out. I ended up distilling it to this one idea and I wanted to see how many different ways I could change it.”

Darling said all of Genualdi’s compositions reflect “his exceptional talent as an improviser and as a diverse musician.”

“Sam develops simple motifs into beautiful, extended phrases and integrates many musical influences into compositions that are unique and compelling,” said Darling, a 1985 Lawrence graduate who won a DownBeat award herself in 1984 for best jazz arrangement.

“He’s such a well-rounded musician: a composer, a performer, an improviser and a scholar,” Darling added. “Sam is always open to new experiences and learning more. No matter what paths he chooses, I’m confident he will always be creating beautiful and meaningful music.”

Photo of Sam Genualdi playing his guitarGenualdi plays guitar on “Treelight,” which was recorded last fall by the Lawrence Jazz Ensemble under Darling’s direction. He calls it “the best thing I’ve written that has seen the light of day.”

The title was inspired by family vacations and backpacking trips in the woods and mountains out west when he was young.

“There isn’t an English word for the way beams of light pass through the trees in a forest,” said Genualdi. “There are words in Japanese for this shoot of light coming down but not an equivalent English word. I was poking around and found something that suggested ‘tree light’ might be the closest, but that’s not an actual word. It’s not defined in the dictionary.”

Beyond a combination of shock and excitement, Genualdi said when he learned of his DownBeat award, his mind immediately drifted back to his freshman year and his experiences playing in the jazz ensemble under the late Fred Sturm, Lawrence’s long-time director of jazz studies who died of cancer in 2014.

“I know wherever Fred is, he’s proud, and that makes me very happy, too. I don’t really care much about name recognition, but it will be really cool to see my name next to Patty’s and Fred’s and all my peers over the years who have won Downbeat awards.”

On May 19, Genualdi will release his album “Looking Through the Glass,” through his website. The album is a songwriting project featuring jazz saxophonist and composer Tim Berne and experimental percussionist Jon Mueller.

This is the third straight year a Lawrence student has won a DownBeat original composition award. Tim Carrigg, a 2016 Lawrence graduate, won back-to-back honors in 2015 and 2016.

As one of Sturm’s former composition students, Darling points to the high bar he set as part of the reason for the recent string of successes.

“I’m thrilled our jazz composers are doing well. Fred always expected a lot from his composition students,” said Darling, who has taught in the Lawrence jazz department since 2007. “Fred was always incredibly supportive, dedicated and positive so it’s very important to me that we continue to uphold his traditions.”

Since DownBeat launched its Student Music Awards competition in 1978, Lawrence students and ensembles have won a total of 28 SMAs, including eight in the past seven years.

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

 

2017-18 Lawrence Performing Arts Series features renowned classical, jazz musicians

More than a dozen world-class artists will grace the stage of the Lawrence Memorial Chapel during Lawrence University’s 2017-18 Performing Arts Series.

Subscriptions for both the Artist and Jazz series are on sale now. Subscribers may choose from either series for a “Favorite 4” package, with discounts available to senior citizens and students. Single-concert tickets go on sale Sept. 18. For more information, contact the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749 or boxoffice@lawrence.edu.

The Artist Series     

• Jonathan Biss, piano, Friday, Oct. 6, 8 p.m.

A head shot of pianist Jonathan Biss
Pianist Jonathan Biss. Photo by Benjamin Ealovega.

Since making his New York City recital debut as a 20-year old in 2000, Biss has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and many other of the world’s leading orchestras.

He performs regularly as a guest soloist throughout Europe and in 2002 became first American to be named the BBC’s “New Generation Artist.”

Biss is currently in his second year of the “Beethoven/5” project, in which he will premiere five new piano concertos, each inspired by one of Beethoven’s. He opened the project in 2016 with “The Blind Banister” by Timo Andre, which was a finalist for Pulitzer Prize in Music. Later this year he will debut Sally Beamish’s concerto with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

• Sasha Cooke, mezzo soprano, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, 8 p.m.

A head shot of singer Sasha Cooke
Mezzo soprano Sasha Cooke

A 2011 Grammy Award-winner for her electrifying performance as Kitty Oppenhemier in the Metropolitan Opera premiere of “Doctor Atomic,” Cooke has been racking up acclaim and honors since graduating from Rice University and the Juilliard School, where she made her professional debut.

Hailed by the New York Times as “a luminous standout,” Cooke specializes in contemporary opera and is renowned for her work with the music of Gustav Mahler, which she has performed to robust praise on four continents.

A much-in-demand singer, Cooke has performed with nearly 30 orchestras around the world from New York to New Zealand and from San Francisco to Shanghai.

She released her debut solo album “If you love for beauty” with the Colburn Orchestra in 2012, one of six albums in her discography. Her latest, “Liszt: The Complete Songs, Vol 4” was released in 20

• Colin Currie, percussion, Friday, March 30, 2018, 8 p.m.

A photo of percussionist Colin Currie.
Percussionist Colin Currie

A champion of new music at the highest level, Currie has been called “the world’s finest and most daring percussionist” by British magazine The Spectator. A graduate of England’s Royal Academy of Music, Currie performs regularly with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors.

Known as an adventurous soloist with an unmatched commitment to creating new music, Currie was recognized by the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2000 with its Young Artist Award and in 2015 with its prestigious Instrumentalist Award.

Professor of Music Dane Richeson, who teaches percussion in the Lawrence conservatory, said Currie “ranks right there with the top contemporary percussionists in the world.”

“Colin has inspired many new compositions that have led the way in breaking new ground for the percussive arts, bringing whole new audiences and appreciation to the art form,” said Richeson. “We’re all grateful for his musical mastery.”

Currie’s 13-album discography includes 2016’s “Dawn to Dust” with the Utah Symphony.

• Joshua Roman, cello, with JACK Quartet, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 8 p.m.

A photo of cellist Joshua Roman.
Cellist Joshua Roman

The 33-year old Roman has earned an international reputation for his wide-ranging repertoire, artistic leadership and versatility. Beyond being a celebrated performer, he is recognized as an accomplished composer and curator.

As artistic director of Seattle’s TownMusic, Roman has showcased his own eclectic musical influences and chamber music favorites while also promoting newly commissioned works. His cultural leadership utilizes digital platforms to harness new audiences, including YouTube for his “Everyday Bach” project, in which he performs Bach’s cello suites in gorgeous settings around the world.

A photo of the musical quartet JACK Quartet
JACK Quartet

He’ll be joined by the JACK Quartet — violinists Christopher Otto and Ari Streisfeld, violinist John Pickford Richards and cellist Kevin McFarland. Founded in 2007 and based in New York City, the quartet was called “superheroes of the new music world” by the Boston Globe.

Their performances at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center were met with critical acclaim and their commitment to new music has earned them the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming and New Music USA’s Trailblazer Award.

The Jazz Series

• Lizz Wright, vocalist, Friday, November 3, 7:30 p.m.

A headshot of singer LIzz Wright
Singer Lizz Wright. Photo by Jesse Kitt.

The charismatic, honey-voiced Wright opens Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend. A native of Georgia who makes her home now in North Carolina, Wright’s musical baptism began in church. Her early gospel roots have since been fused with jazz, blues, folk and R&B, earning comparisons to Norah Jones.

She has drawn critical raves since her debut album, “Salt,” zoomed to the top of the contemporary jazz charts in 2003.  Through her three following discs, Wright has demonstrated her innovative interpretation skills and established herself as popular song stylist.

• Storms/Nocturnes with the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble, Saturday, Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m.

A photo of the trio Storms/Nocturnes
Storms/Nocturnes

Combine British saxophone legend Tim Garland, world-class vibraphone virtuoso Joe Locke and recent Grammy nominee pianist Geoffrey Keezer and you have a chamber jazz trio with few peers. The extraordinary combination serves as the bookend to Lizz Wright for Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend.

As Storms/Nocturnes, the three artists combine their distinctive talents and diverse backgrounds to create captivating music that can be spacious or immensely complex one moment and delicate the next. No less an authority than jazz legend Chick Corea has said “This trio truly sizzles with virtuosity and creativity.”

After collaborating on a pair of successful releases, “Storms/Nocturnes” in 2002 and “Rising Tide” in 2003, the trio members spent seven years working on individual projects and with other bands before reuniting in 2010 to release the 10-track disc “VIA” the following year. The reunion revived one of the most timeless intercontinental jazz collaborations in the world today.

• Joe Lovano Classic Quartet, Friday, February 2, 2018, 8 p.m.

A photo of saxophonist Joe Lovano
Saxophonist Joe Lavano

For more than 20 years, Lovano has enjoyed an international reputation as one of the world’s premiere tenor saxophonists. Allmusic critic Chris Kelsey has described him as “”the tenor titan for our times.”

A 2000 Grammy Award winner, Lovano more recently was recognized by DownBeat magazine and the Jazz Journalists Association as 2014’s tenor saxophonist of the year.

José Encarnación, director of jazz studies at Lawrence who met Lovano at the Heineken Jazz Festival in the late 1990s, calls him “one of my favorite saxophone players ever.

“Joe’s unique voice on the saxophone, or any other instrument he plays, is so full of expression and freedom,” said Encarnación. “He possesses that innate ability in his playing to convey the sense of fresh spontaneity that has always characterized the music’s greatest improvisers.”

• Vijay Iyer Sextet, Friday, May 11, 2018, 8 p.m.

A photo of pianist Vijay Iyer
Pianist Vijay Iyer

A three-time recipient (2012, ’15, ’16) of DownBeat magazine’s “Artist of the Year” honor, Iyer unprecedentedly added Pianist of the Year, Jazz Album of the Year, Jazz Group of the Year and Rising Star Composer honors in the 2012 Downbeat International Critics Poll.

It’s little wonder the The New York Times wrote “There’s probably no frame wide enough to encompass the creative output of the pianist Vijay Iyer.”

The recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 2013, Iyer has expanded his acclaimed piano trio to a sextet by adding renowned horn players Graham Haynes, Steve Lehman and Mark Shim.

In 2014, Iyer began a permanent appointment as the Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts in Harvard University’s music department.

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

 

 

 

Bridging Cultural Gaps: Senior Sam Genualdi will travel the globe in search of musical collaborations as Watson Fellow

Music has always been a part of Sam Genualdi’s DNA.

A Head shot of Lawrence University student Sam Genualdi
Sam Genualdi ’17

He grew up as a serial instrumentalist, working his way through a litany of recommendations from his parents — violin, piano, percussion, double bass — but it wasn’t until he taught himself to play the guitar at the age of 15 that he found his sweet spot.

“When I picked up the guitar, it felt like something on my terms,” said Genualdi, a senior at Lawrence University from Evanston, Ill. “I felt like I was rebelling against my parents through the electric guitar.”

As his musical interests evolved, he discovered collaborating with other musicians was vital to his creative process. Later this year, Genualdi will embark on a year-long musical “binge” to feed his creative hunger that will take him around the world to engage in collaborations with musicians he’s never met.

Genualdi, a student-designed contemporary improvisation major at Lawrence, has been named one of 40 national recipients of a $30,000 Watson Fellowship for a wanderjahr of independent travel and exploration. Beginning in August, Genualdi will spend 12 months visiting Scotland, Peru, Indonesia, India and Japan.

“I plan to spend my Watson year in five countries steeped in unfamiliar musical traditions,” said Genualdi, Lawrence’s 72nd Watson Fellow since the program’s inception in 1969. “Music can be a powerful tool to bridge cultural gaps. I hope to co-create music that makes this evident. I want to engage in musical collaborations that push against the boundaries of existing genres.

“I have always thrived on collaboration,” added Genualdi, who has had plenty of opportunities as a member of numerous groups and ensembles at Lawrence, including the small jazz combos, the improvisation group IGLU, Gamelan Cahaya Asri and the Sambistas Brazilian drumming group, among others. “While I’ve done a fair amount of solitary work as a musician, the experiences that most excite me are those that involve interacting with other people.”

At each of his global destinations, Genualdi plans to meet musicians he hopes to work with by attending concerts and jam sessions. He will approach local musicians as a student to develop relationships and more effectively absorb the culture.

Sam is infinitely curious about sonic possibilities and how improvisation and collaboration can create
musical worlds yet unimagined.”

— Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music

“Taking lessons will give me the opportunity to interact with these musicians on a personal level, accumulate skills and expand my musical vocabulary,” said Genuldi. “I may learn a new instrument to gain perspective, but mainly I intend to communicate musically through my primary voice, the guitar.”

In Scotland, Genualdi will focus on the country’s rich history of stringed instruments, including guitar. In Peru, he will work with within Afro-Peruvian music traditions which combine African, European and native influences.

“Afro-Peruvian music along with the salsa and flamenco traditions prevalent in Lima involve unique forms of improvisation,” said Genualdi. “My background in jazz will help me find common repertoire to play with locals because of the relatively recent surge in the fusion of jazz and local traditions.”

January will find Genualdi in Bali where he looks to expand his experience with Indonesian music, which has been limited to his work with Gamelan Cahaya Asr. The following three months will take him to India, where traditions of improvisation in Hindustani music run deep. Much of his time there will focus on working with several highly regarded sitarists.

The final three months of his travels will be spent in Tokyo’s vibrant musical community with its improvised and experimental music scene. Genualdi calls the enthusiasm in Japan for fringe musical projects “inspiring.”

A photo of Lawrence University student Sam Genualdi playing his guitar.
When it comes to instruments, the guitar serves as Sam Genualdi’s “voice” of choice.

Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music and Lawrence’s campus liaison to the Watson Foundation, calls Genualdi “an explorer of sound.”

“Sam is infinitely curious about sonic possibilities and how improvisation and collaboration can create musical worlds yet unimagined,” said Pertl, himself a Watson Fellow in 1986 as a Lawrence senior. “He has been pushing the boundaries of improvisation during his time at Lawrence and now will have an opportunity to explore his passion across the globe. I can’t wait to see what new musical concoctions will emerge from his grand adventure.”

Genualdi says the Watson experience will deepen his relationship to music and profoundly affect every aspect of his life moving forward.

“The musical experiences I’ll have in each country is sure to be different, but each will help   bring into focus a larger picture of the human experience. Music is an important part of lives across the globe and I am intensely inspired by discovering these connections.”

Genualdi was selected for the Watson Fellowship from among 149 finalists nominated by 40 leading liberal arts colleges. This year’s 49th class of Watson Fellows hail from 21 states and six countries and will collectively visit 67 countries.

More than 2,700 students have been awarded Watson Fellowships, providing opportunities to test their aspirations, abilities and perseverance through a personal project that is cultivated on an international scale. Watson Fellows have gone on to become international leaders in their fields including CEOs of major corporations, college presidents, MacArthur grant recipients, Pulitzer Prize winners, diplomats, artists, lawyers, doctors, faculty, journalists, and many renowned researchers and innovators.

The fellowship was established by the children of Thomas J. Watson, Sr., the founder of International Business Machines Corp., and his wife, Jeannette, to honor their parents’ long-standing interest in education and world affairs.

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

Lawrence welcomes Gerald Clayton Trio with guest artist Dayna Stephens for Jazz Series concert

Virtuoso jazz pianist Gerald Clayton brings his hard-swinging, melodic style along with an impressive pedigree to the Lawrence Memorial Chapel Friday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. for the third concert of Lawrence University’s 2016-17 Jazz Series.

Tickets for the Gerald Clayton Trio and special guest Dayna Stephens, at $25-30 for adults, $20-25 for seniors, $18-20 for students are available online through the Lawrence Box Office or by calling 920-832-6749.

A photo of Gerald Clayton sitting in front of a grand piano.One of the leaders of the new generation of young jazz musicians, Gerald Clayton learned his craft playing with his legendary father, composer, arranger, conductor bassist extraordinaire John Clayton, and his uncle Jeff Clayton, noted alto saxophonist and multi-reed instrumentalist, in the Clayton Brothers combo.

Beyond the family influences, Gerald has been a much in-demand sideman, playing and recording with the likes of Diana Krall, Ambrose Akinmusire, Roy Hargrove and Terry Lyne Carrington. National Public Radio called Clayton “a warm and graceful player, with plenty of personal nuance” while DownBeat magazine has hailed him for his “nuanced touch, precise articulation and the way he constructs a narrative for his solos.”

A four-time Grammy Award nominee, Gerald formed his own trio in 2008 with drummer Justin Brown and bassist Joe Sanders.

The trio will be joined for the Lawrence concert by tenor saxophonist Dayna Stephens, a former student of trumpeter Terence Blanchard, saxophonist Wayne Shorter and pianist Herbie Hancock at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

Jose Encarnación, director of the jazz studies program at Lawrence, calls Gerald Clayton “one of my favorite voices in improvised music.”

“Gerald’s musical stories are always honest, fresh and natural. He is the kind of artist that is always exploring and innovating,” said Encarnación. “It will be an honor to have him perform as part of our Jazz Series.”

Clayton’s discography includes his 2010 debut, “Two Shades,” for which he earned a Grammy Award nomination for best improvised jazz solo for his arrangement of Cole Porter’s “All of You.” His most recent releases 2012’s “Bond: The Paris Sessions” and 2013’s “Life Forum” both earned Clayton Grammy Award nominations for best jazz instrumental album.

The Delfeayo Marsalis Quintet closes Lawrence’s Jazz Series on May 13.

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

Lawrence Jazz Series welcomes guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel

Trailblazing guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel and his New Quartet band close out Lawrence University’s 2015-16 Jazz Series Friday, May 13 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.

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Kurt Rosenwinkel

During his 25-year career, Rosenwinkel, who lives in Berlin, Germany, has evolved the language of jazz in a way few other guitarists have since his arrival on the scene. He won the 1995 Composer’s Award from the National Endowment for the Arts and since has released 10 studio albums.

He also has been featured on more than 75 other albums, including hip-hop veteran Q-Tip’s “Renaissance” project. His extensive list of collaborations includes such dynamic peers as Brad Mehldau, Brian Blade, Joshua Redman and Chris Potter as well as jazz elders Joe Henderson, Paul Motian and Gary Burton.

“Kurt is both unique and very steeped in bebop tradition,” said Steve Peplin, who teaches jazz guitar at Lawrence. “His earlier work really shows how deeply rooted he is in the language of jazz. His compositions, on the other hand, are very modern, often informed by the new augmented-scale thing happening around the globe, but much more deep than just another harmonic concept Kurt reminds me of Lennie Tristano in the way he synthesizes the old and the new.

“His emphasis on tone and a light touch, combined with singing his lines in unison with his guitar creates a ghostly sonority not often heard in modern jazz guitar,” Peplin added.

Rosenwinkel says his music is about “the relationship that we each have with the universe at large and how we use our intuition to hear what it is telling us.”

His most recent album, 2012’s “Star of Jupiter,” which he says came to him in a dream, underscores that concept, transporting “listeners on a journey toward discovery, truth and ultimately peace.”

It features his New Quartet band — pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Justin Faulkner — a fiery group of rising stars and veterans-in-the-making.

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.

Mnozil Brass, Children of the Light Trio highlight Lawrence’s 2016-17 Performing Arts Series

World-renowned Mnozil Brass and the impeccable Children of the Light Trio headline a diversely talented array of artists Lawrence University’s 2016-17 Performing Arts Series.

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Mnozil Brass performs March 29, 2017.

Subscriptions for both the Artist and Jazz series are on sale now. 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. 16. For more information, contact the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749 or boxoffice@lawrence.edu.

All concerts are held in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

Mnozil Brass visits Lawrence March 29, 2017. Since it’s founding in 1992, the Austrian brass septet has established itself as one of the world’s premiere brass ensembles, captivating audiences with its blend of virtuosity and theatrical wit. With more than 130 performances a year, they have sold out concert halls around the world.

“I know this is an incredibly overused phrase, but the Mnozil Brass concert is an absolute ‘must-see’ event,” said Marty Erickson, an instructor of tuba and euphonium in the Lawrence conservatory. “They play everything from Bach to Zappa, from the classics to new movie music and it is all surrounded with choreographed theater and dance moves and a massive dose of humor.

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Children of the Light — Brian Blade, Danilo Perez and John Patitucci — will be the second concert of the Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend Nov. 5.

“Not only are they considered the finest brass ensemble of its kind in the world, they do it all seemingly effortlessly with great fun,” Erickson added. “Imagine hearing Debussy and then Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” or an opera excerpt followed by Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” While most of the members have classical-based backgrounds, they also are versatile in jazz, pop and more. They are a hoot!”

The members first met at the Vienna Conservatory as young brass musicians. In the ensuring years, they have embraced repertoire from classical and folk to jazz and pop, all executed with the same fearlessness and immense technical skill.

Not only are they considered the finest brass ensemble of its kind in the world, they do it all seemingly effortlessly with great fun.”
— Marty Erickson on Mnozil Brass

Children of the Light, featuring three members of the Wayne Shorter Quartet, performs Nov. 5 as part of the Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend.

The three multiple Grammy Award winners — keyboardist Danilo Perez, cellist John Patitucci and percussionist Brian Blade — celebrate Shorter’s old and new compositions. Their three-way conversations produce a collective improvisation, unfolding and constructing music like a rhythmic and smoldering chamber recital. As they apply their considerable individual talents to the trio, each member maintains his own distinct personality.

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Clarinetest David Shifrin, violinist Ani Kavafian and pianist Andre-Michel Schub open the Artist Series Oct. 7.

“When these three virtuosos come together, they bring layers of intricate melodies, rhythm and textures, which is explosive,” said José Encarnación, director of Lawrence’s jazz studies program. “Just as light naturally stimulates sights and makes things visible, so does this trio. They bring enlightenment and illumination to all their audiences.”

While Children of the Light is partially defined by the absence of Shorter, they add new influences, particularly of Latin and jazz, that are uniquely their own.

The Kavafian–Schub–Shifrin Trio opens the Artist Series Oct. 7. Friends for 25 years, violinist Ani Kavafian, pianist Andre-Michel Schub and clarinetist David Shifrin form a trio with palpable chemistry. Each is a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Kavafian is one of the most sought after chamber musicians in the country as well as a frequent soloist. Shifrin has appeared in critically acclaimed recitals across the country and is a frequent major orchestra soloist. As a piano recitalist, orchestra soloist and chamber musician, Schub has earned critic and audience acclaim since launching his career more than 30 years ago.

The trio’s programs include themes of dance, folk and French connections, highlighting a diverse range of 19th- and 20th-century works.

“Just as light naturally stimulates sights and makes things visible, so does this trio. They bring enlightenment and illumination to all their audiences.”
— José Encarnación on Children of Light Trio

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The internationally acclaimed Elias String Quartet graces the Lawrence Memorial Chapel stage Feb. 3.

The Elias String Quartet, internationally acclaimed as one of the leading ensembles of its generation, performs Feb. 3, 2017. Known for its intense and vibrant performances, the quartet has traveled the globe collaborating with some of the finest musicians and playing in the world’s great venues.

In 2015, the quartet completed their ground-breaking Beethoven Project, performing and recording the complete string quartets of Beethoven. The project was broadcast by BBC Radio 3 and performed in 11 major venues in the UK.

The quartet has been recognized with the 2010 BBC Music Magazine’s Newcomer of the Year Award and a 2013 Mentoring Scholarship from the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn.

Closing out the Artist Series, Roomful of Teeth makes a return visit April 7, 2017. The ensemble performed at Lawrence in 2014 as part of the college’s New Music Series.

Classically trained vocalists, RoT performs an eclectic repertoire commissioned specifically for the group, branching into everything from Tuvan throat singing, yodeling, Korean P’ansori and Hindustani music.

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The eclectic Roomful of Teeth makes its second appearance at Lawrence on April 7.

The New York Times has described their distinct style as “voices and percussion meshed to a colorful effect, the story propelled by a high-energy blend of stylistic influences including reggae, hip hop and rock.”

In March 2015, RoT performed the world premiere of “Drone Mass” by Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson, whose score for the film “The Theory of Everything” was nominated for an Academy Award.

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Singer Luciana Souza, with her bandmates Romero Lubambo and Cyro Baptista, open 2016’s Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend Nov. 4.

The Luciana Souza Trio opens the Jazz Series Nov. 4, kicking of the Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration weekend.

Grammy Award-winner Luciana Souza is one of jazz’s leading singers and interpreters. A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Souza’s work transcends traditional boundaries with a musical style rooted in jazz, winding through world music and incorporating an enlightened approach to new music.

Souza has been releasing acclaimed recordings since 2002, including six discs that earned Grammy nomination. She has performed and recorded with such high-profile artists as Herbie Hancock, Paul Simon, James Taylor and Bobby McFerrin as well as the New York Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

Joining Souza will be Brazilian jazz guitarist Romero Lubambo and Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista.

Gerald Clayton, one of the foremost pianists of his generation, performs Feb. 24, 2017. Schooled in hard-swinging, melodic jazz by his father, John Clayton, uncle Jeff Clayton and mentors Billy Childs and Kenny Barron, he also has collaborated with contemporary jazz innovators Ambrose Akinmusire and Kendrick Scott. In his long-standing trio with drummer Justin Brown and bassist Joe Sanders, Clayton blends those styles into a musical language all his own.

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Pianist Gerald Clayton, along with bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Justin Brown, performs Feb. 24.

A 2006 runner-up in the prestigious Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz Piano Competition, Clayton garnered Grammy nominations in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Delfeayo Marsalis, one of the top trombonists, composers and producers in jazz today, comes to campus May 13, 2017. In January 2011, Delfeayo and the Marsalis family — father Ellis and brothers Branford, Wynton and Jason — received the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award, the nation’s highest jazz honor.

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Trombonist extraordinaire closes the Jazz Series May 13, 2017.

Marsalis has toured internationally with Art Blakey, Slide Hampton and Max Roach as well as leading his own groups. In 2005 Marsalis released “Minions Dominion,” a tribute to legendary jazz drummer Elvin Jones followed by a reorchestrated verson of the classic Ellington suite “Sweet Thunder.”

Marsalis’ most recent album, “The Last Southern Gentlemen,” displays his technical expertise and frequent touches of humor, such as his playful rendition of “Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?”

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.

“World of Warcraft,” “South Park” soundtrack contributors visit campus for special events

Accomplished multimedia composer Jeff Kurtenacker makes a return visit to his alma mater and he’s bringing Grammy Award-nominated trumpet player Wayne Bergeron along. The two Los Angeles-based musicians will lend their respective talents to the Lawrence University community for a series of special events April 12-13, culminating with a big band concert.

A 1999 Lawrence graduate and Green Bay native, Kurtenacker has made his mark in the video game industry. After graduating from Lawrence with a self-designed major in composition, Kurtenacker landed a job with Hans Zimmer at his company, Media Ventures/Remote Control, where he honed his craft of composing for media.Jeff-Kurtenacker_newsblog

After serving as choral arranger on “Warcraft 3” for Blizzard Entertainment, Kurtenacker worked on numerous other video game titles, among them “World of Warcraft,” “Pirates of the Burning Sea,” Dreamworks’ “Igor,”  and “American Idol.”

Kurtenacker joined Carbine Studios in 2008 as a sound designer and three years later moved into the role of lead composer. In addition to that role, he also serves as Carbine’s audio department manager. He composed, orchestrated and conducted a 75-piece orchestra in recording more than nine hours of music for Carbine’s “Wild Star.”

Bergeron has established himself as one of the most sought-after musicians in the world for studio sessions, film soundtracks, international touring, jazz concerts and clinics. He is especially in demand for film and television scores, having contributed to more than 350 TV and motion picture soundtracks. His many credits include “Frozen,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Monsters University,” “Despicable Me” “Marley & Me,” “The Simpson’s Movie,” “Dreamgirls,” “Mission Impossible 3” and “South Park.”

Wayne-Bergeron_newsblog_2After working behind the scenes for many years, Bergeron released his first solo effort, “You Call This a Living?,” which earned rave reviews as well as a Grammy Award nomination in 2004. His second disc, “Plays Well With Others” released in 2007, drew similar praise. His latest project is scheduled to be released later this year.

During their residency at Lawrence, Kurtenacker and Bergeron will participate in the following events, all of which are free and open to the public.

• Tuesday, April 12, 11:10 a.m. Bergeron and Kurtenacker will lead masterclasses in trumpet and composing, respectively, in Shattuck Hall 163 and Shattuck Hall 4.

• Tuesday, April 12, 7 p.m., Shattuck Hall 163. The pair will conduct a live recording session with the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra sight reading one of Kurtenacker’s orchestral soundtracks. The session will be recorded just as his music is at Warner Bros. in Los Angeles. Bergeron will play with the LSO for the recording.

• Tuesday, April 12, 8 p.m., Shattuck Hall 163. Bergeron and Kurenacker lead a discussion on “the business of music,” providing an insider’s look at the world of composing and performing for film, television and multimedia.

• Wednesday, April 13, 8 p.m., Lawrence Memorial Chapel. Bergeron headlines a concert with the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble and the new 19-member Lawrence Jazz Faculty Big Band. The program will feature jazz standards such as Billy Strayhorn’s “Take the A Train” as well as several selections Bergeron has personally selected from his library.

“We are so fortunate to get this opportunity to perform with Wayne Bergeron, who is really  one of the world’s most in-demand musicians,” said Patricia Darling, lecturer in music and director of the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble. “We’ll be playing some great big band charts. This is going to be a very exciting and rewarding concert for everyone.”

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.

Lawrence Jazz Series welcomes the Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet

Incorporating modern classical, vanguard pop and spoken word, composer and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire brings his unique brand of modern jazz to Lawrence University’s Jazz Series.

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Trumpet player Ambrose Akimusire

The Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet performs Friday, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. in Lawrence’s Memorial Chapel. Tickets, at $30/$25 for adults, $25/$20 for seniors and $20/$18 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Joining Akinmusire on stage will be pianist Sam Harris, bass player Harish Raghavan and drummer Justin Brown.

Winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2007, Akinmusire, 33, released his first album, “Prelude to Cora,” the following year. His second album, “The Heart Emerges Glistening,” released in 2011 on Blue Note Records, drew rave reviews. After being named Downbeat magazine’s Rising Star Jazz Artist of the Year in 2011 and Trumpet Player of the Year in 2012, Akinmusire moved to the forefront of progressive jazzmen, becoming one of the most buzzed-about artists of his generation.

“The first time I heard Ambrose, I was completely captivated, enchanted by his warm, huge, beautiful trumpet sound,” said Jose Encarnacion, director of Lawrence’s jazz studies program. “He speaks from the heart. His musical stories will take you places you have never imagined. This will be a musical experience not to be missed.”

His most recent album, 2014’s “The Imagined Savior Is Easier to Paint,” was compared to Mark Rothko paintings by NPR music critic Ann Powers, who described it as “large, filling every corner of the frame, yet calm, spacious, their colors connected in subtle gradations.”

On “The Imagined Savior,” Akinmusire flexed his composition talents, drawing inspiration from a local homeless man in his neighborhood, a 16 year-old imprisoned young woman and police brutality. He collaborated with numerous vocalists on the album, giving each an outline of the music and allowing them to create their own lyrics.

“He speaks from the heart. His musical stories will take you places you have never imagined.”
— Jose Encarnacion, director of LU’s jazz studies program

In the track “Rollcall for Those Absent,” a young girl reads the names of numerous African-American men and women killed by police.

Having a young voice read the names, according to Akinmusire, was “like the beginning of life talking about the end of life. I wanted to capture that.”

A native of Oakland, Calif., Akinmusire began playing the trumpet professionally while still in high school, touring Europe with the Five Elements band.  He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music and a master’s degree from the University of Southern California. Along the way, he studied with trumpet luminaries Terence Blanchard, the late Lew Soloff and the late master teacher Laurie Frink.

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.