Music

Irish duo to give listeners a taste of what’s coming to Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Even though Irish piper Cillian Vallely has performed before audiences of thousands around the world, he’ll still find time after a gig to sit in at a local jam session, or seisiun. The camaraderie of those spontaneous music gatherings have become a huge part of the propagating Irish music. “You can go all over the world and go into an Irish bar and find people playing this music. There’s a common repertoire,” said Vallely, who grew up in Northern Ireland. “A lot people are not taking it up to be a performer or a top player, they take it up because they like the company.” As a member of Lunasa, called “the hottest Irish acoustic group on the planet” by the Irish Times, he’s now at the pinnacle of Irish music, but he still likes to sit in. Vallely, on pipes and low whistle, and Lunasa bandmate Kevin Crawford, flute and whistle, will play a free show Friday May 12 at 7 p.m. at Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St., Bowling Green. The concert, sponsored by local Irish group Toraigh an Sonas, is a preview for the full quintet’s performance at the Black Swamp Arts Festival on Sept. 8. There was a time, Vallely said, when the music was dying out in Northern Ireland. Then in the 1960s folk revival brought it back to public attention. His parents were catalysts in helping bring the music back. Though avocational musicians, they founded Armagh Pipers Club in 1966, taught and went on tour. A few years later Cillian was born. “I grew up in this…

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Bill Mathis ready to move arts at BGSU into a new era as music dean

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News William Mathis takes charge as dean of the College of Musical Arts at a crucial time for arts education. Focusing on the traditional paths of performance and music education will not be enough for higher education music programs. “It’s a different arts and musical landscape then when I was coming up,” said Mathis, 56. While making sure students continue to achieve “technical and musical mastery,” the college needs to broaden its offerings. “We talk a lot about musical entrepreneurship, and I’ve been thinking about citizenship in the arts, arts advocacy and the connection to communities, and how the arts can impact the life of society in our local community,” he said. “The skills that requires are not part of a traditional music curriculum. How can we give that to them? I’ve been thinking about this a lot this year.” Music programs, and arts programs in general, need to prepare their student for a new entrepreneurial environment. “Twenty years from now the schools of music adapting to this will be around,” Mathis said. The fate of those sticking to the more traditional approach is less certain. Mathis wants BGSU to in the forefront of those that survive. Mathis stepped into the role of interim dean last July after Jeff Showell announced his retirement. After a national search, he was named dean in February. Mathis said he felt his administrative background made him a prime internal candidate for the permanent position. He’s served as chair of the Department of Performance Studies and as the college’s graduate coordinator. “I have a disposition that lends itself to this…


BGSU arts events through April 28

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS April 13 – The International Film Series continues with the Swedish film “Force Majeure,” directed by Ruben Östlund. An award winner at the Cannes Film Festival, the Toronto Film Festival, and other internationally recognized venues, the film deftly explores the emotional dimensions of the legal term “force majeure,” an unexpected event (such as a hurricane) that releases both parties from the obligations of a contract. In this story, the ski vacation of a seemingly ideal family takes a sudden turn when an avalanche approaches them as they are having a pleasant lunch at the lodge. The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater located in Hanna Hall. Free April 13 – Prout Readings conclude with B.F.A. student readings at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free April 13 – Bowling Green Opera Theater presents a variety of opera scenes. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free April 14 – The University Choral Society and Early Music Ensemble present Bach’s “St. John Passion.” The moving and sacred oratorio of Johann Sebastian Bach is a dramatic representation of the Passion as told in the Gospel of John for the Good Friday Vespers of 1724. Revel in the extravagant, expressive music of the season. The performance will begin at 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, East Wooster St., Bowling Green. Free April 14 – The Toledo Museum of Art and BGSU’s College of Musical Arts present EAR | EYE Listening and Looking: Contemporary Music and Art. The performance and discussion…


Alarm Will Sound to perform “Ten Thousand Birds” in sculpture garden

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Area residents will have the opportunity to experience new music in a new way when acclaimed new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound gives a special performance of “Ten Thousand Birds,” a work commissioned from Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams. The performance will follow the cycle of a day, starting with bird songs heard in the morning, then afternoon, evening, night and returning to morning. The audience is encouraged to walk around to experience the music from multiple perspectives. The performance will begin at dusk (approximately 7 p.m.) April 21 in and around the sculpture gardens at the Toledo Museum of Art. The event is sponsored by Bowling Green State University’s MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music and the Toledo Museum of Art. Both Alarm Will Sound and John Luther Adams have appeared on BGSU’s annual New Music Festival at the College of Musical Arts. Alarm Will Sound is a 20-member band committed to innovative performances and recordings of today’s music. It has established a reputation for performing demanding music with energetic skill. Its performances have been described as “equal parts exuberance, nonchalance, and virtuosity” by the Financial Times of London and as “a triumph of ensemble playing” by the San Francisco Chronicle. The New York Times says that Alarm Will Sound is “one of the most vital and original ensembles on the American music scene.” The versatility of Alarm Will Sound allows it to take on music from a wide variety of styles. Its repertoire ranges from European to American works, from the arch-modernist to the pop-influenced. Alarm Will Sound has been associated since…


St. John Passion in its element as Good Friday offering

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Liturgy and drama are one in Bach’s St. John Passion. The theatrical elements – a narrator, dialogue, and the evocative underscoring for small orchestra—are undeniable. Yet the message and the story almost demand the setting of a church. Yes, it is presented in a concert hall, but that’s akin to a staged reading of a play as opposed to a fully staged production. The St. John Passion was fully in its element on Palm Sunday afternoon in Hope Lutheran Church in Toledo. The Passion, one of two that have come down to us from Bach, the other being the monumental St. Matthew, was presented by musicians from Bowling Green State University. The performance brought together the Early Music Ensemble, directed by Arne Spohr, the University Choral Society directed by Mark Munson, who also conducted the work, organist Michael Gartz, and voice faculty taking on the principal roles and solos. Munson said he’s been waiting for Easter to fall late enough in the semester to be able to prepare the Passion for presentation during Holy Week. So on Good Friday, April 14, the St. John Passion will be presented at 7 p.m. in First United Methodist Church in Bowling Green as the community commemoration of the day. The Passion was first performed in 1724, revised over time, though the final version reverted to much the same as it was originally performed. As presented in Bach’s time, a sermon would be preached between parts one and two. Those in attendance Sunday were advised not to applaud between the two movements. Spohr read several verses of the…


Beautiful singing takes precedence over competition in BGSU’s Conrad Art Song event

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Yes, the final round of the Conrad Art Song Competition at Bowling Green State University was, as the name makes clear, a competition. More than that it was a night of beautiful singing. That was the assessment of Kevin Bylsma, the coordinator of opera activities at the College of Musical Arts. The 18th annual competition featured 11 duos of vocalists and pianists in the undergraduate division and 12 duos in the graduate division. (The division is determined by the singer.) Honors go equally to the singer and the pianist. They must prepare a program of a half a dozen songs from different periods, including at least one selection from a living composer, with one song each in English, German, Italian and French. Regardless of the language, the 10 duos, five in each division, selected for the finals delivered emotion-packed performances, sometimes touching, sometimes coquettish, sometimes even funny. The power of drama was demonstrated in the first set by soprano Hannah Stroh with pianist Xiaohui Ma singing “He is Dead and Gone” in Russian. Even Russian wasn’t up to the task of expressing anguish, as Stroh leaned back against the piano, and began humming. The sound of her voice disembodied, as if emanating from the air itself. Then the song’s emotion swerved, ending with a demonic laugh. You didn’t need to speak Russian to be taken aback. A few hesitant claps were heard, then full blown applause. The decorum of the night – applause are usually reserved for the end of a duo’s performance – was disrupted, not to be regained. And Stroth had set…


BGSU arts events through April 18

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS April 7 – The Collegiate Chorale and University Women’s Chorus will perform at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Advance tickets are $3 for students and children and $7 for adults. All tickets are $10 the day of the performance. Tickets can be purchased at the box office in the Wolfe Center, by phone at 419-372-8171, or online at http://www.bgsu.edu/the-arts/. April 7 – The elsewhere theater season concludes with “Dying City,” written by Christopher Shin and directed by Tanner Lias. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre located in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Additional performances will be at 8 p.m. on April 8 and 9. Free April 8 – The Dr. Marjorie Conrad Art Song Competition will take place in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Preliminaries will begin at noon, with finals following at 8 p.m. Free April 8 – An opening reception for the MFA I Thesis Exhibition will begin at 7 p.m. in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman Galleries in the Fine Arts Center. Free Through April 18 – The MFA I Thesis Exhibition will be on display in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman Galleries in the Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free April 9 – The Sunday Matinee Series continues with the 1925 film “The Lost World,” directed by Harry G. Hoyt. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was not only the creator of Sherlock…