Music

Piano festival connects the dots from Bowling Green to China to Italy

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News This tale of global cultural connections begins with a car ride. Thomas Rosenkranz was talking with his friend and fellow pianist Nathanael May, the founder of the SoundSCAPE festival in Maccagno, Italy. They like the town in the Lombardy region in northwest Italy bordering Switzerland. They trusted the people they worked with and the musical and housing facilities were good. SoundSCAPE, now 10 years old, had developed a reputation as a top festival for contemporary music, and they wondered if they could extend their stay by tagging on another, separate piano festival. So the Maccagno Piano Days Festival was born last summer. Rosenkranz, a piano professor at Bowling Green State University, said their discussions turned to who would to study at the festival. “Where are most of the pianists coming from nowadays who want to do these kind of things, come to Europe to study, and can afford it? They mostly come from China. That’s what we realized.” Rosenkranz, who has spent the past year in China, has establsihed ties to that country. When he was on the faculty at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, he frequently traveled to Taiwan to teach and perform. When he came to BGSU seven years ago he was part of a delegation of faculty sent to China by Dean Richard Kennell of the College of Musical Arts to perform and recruit. “When we were there I fell in love with it,” Rosenkranz said. He’s been returning ever…


Simpson Garden site for open air celebration of the arts

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green Arts Council is hoping to establish a new event on the city’s arts calendar. Friday, June 10, the council along with Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department will host Art in the Park on the grounds of Simpson Garden Park, 1291 Conneaut Ave., from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. This is the event’s second year. Art in the Park is intended as a low key summer night’s excursion, said Jacqueline Nathan, president of the arts council. “The original thought was it’d be plein air (open air) painting and music in the park. “The arts council wanted to have some signature event and work with the community.” Paintings will set up their easels throughout the park, capturing the early summer beauty in paint. In its second year, the event has added elements. This year, thanks to the sponsorship of the Montessori School and the Parks and Recreation Department, there will be interactive activities for children organized by the Montessori staff. Adults will also have a chance to work on a community stain glass project with the guidance of noted stained glass artist Gail Christofferson. The finished work will be displayed at the community center. Theater will be presented in the amphitheater. The Black Swamp Players will present a short one-act play, “The Spot,” by Steven Dietz at 5 and 6 p.m. “The Spot” is a satirical look at how political campaign managers approach their candidates’ TV commercials. Horizon Youth Theatre will present an excerpt from its upcoming…


Nick Zoulek’s music for saxophone alone has the sound of togetherness

DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Nick Zoulek’s music for solo saxophone involves working with many people. The saxophonist-composer builds his work on collaborations with dancers, artists and filmmakers. From those collaborations grew the music that will appear on his first CD, “Rushing Past Willow.’ The recording of his original compositions for solo saxophone will be released on the Innova label later this summer. Videos of some of the pieces can be seen on www.youtube.com/zouleksax. While the recording will be music only, Zoulek, a student in the Doctor in Musical Arts in Contemporary Music program at Bowling Green State University, wanted to capture the passion that led to the creative process. The videos juxtapose the sound of Zoulek’s saxophones, alto, tenor, and the elephantine bass, with images of light sculpture by Erwin Redl, animation by John Simmons, who works under the name Simsies, and dancers. “The music came first,” Zoulek said in a recent interview.  “But it was inspired through so many visual memories, so many collaborations and improvisations, I wanted to capture those moments.” The compositions all grew from the practice of improvising that has been a central part of Zoulek’s playing dating back to his lessons in high school. He remembers that toward the end of his lesson his teacher would pick up his saxophone or sit at the piano and just say “here we go.” “I didn’t realize that was unusual,” Zoulek said. “I was very fortunate to have had teachers who were well versed in free improvisation and…


BGSU faculty among Ohio arts award winners

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Three members of the Bowling Green State University faculty have received $5,000 Ohio Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council. The awards are recognition by the artists’ peers for a body of work. Among this year’s recipients are writers Theresa Williams and Lawrence Coates, both of whom teach in the Creative Writing program, and composer Mikel Kuehn, of the College of Musical Arts. Coates, who has received recognition for his novels set in his native northern California, said it was good to receive recognition from Ohio, where he has lived and taught for 15 years. While his novels are most often set in the past and focus on the history of California, his stories often have Ohio locales. One, “Bats,” a piece of flash fiction, won the 2013 Barthelme Award. “People really seem to like the stories I set in Ohio,” he said. He included a few of those in his application. Still “when I write novels I tend to go back to where I feel home is,” he said. “As a teacher as well as a writer I hope to inspire my students to write great fiction set in Ohio,” he said “I hope my students take on that work.” Coates said he plans to use some of the grant to finance the research on forthcoming projects, including a novel set in the years after the Gold Rush. He has to travel to archives to find some of the material he needs. “Not…


Thank You, Mr. Brown

The following is a reflection piece written by Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel, who sang in the Memorial Choir to honor Jim Brown. St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Bowling Green was nearly full for Jim Brown’s Celebration of Life service Saturday morning. I scanned the crowd as people filed in, looking mostly for those I remembered from high school. We sat in the section to the right of the pulpit with other members of the Memorial Choir. Stacey (Timmons) Higgins from the Class of 1990 was sitting on my left; Amanda Gullufsen, a fellow graduate of the Class of 1991, was on my right. Both had been Madrigal Singers with Mr. Brown in High School and had traveled with him to the former Soviet Union as it was crumbling. I had been in regular Choir my 10th – 12th grade years, singing such memorable pieces as “I Sing The Body Electric” (from FAME) and the Rutter Requiem. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Brown had known John Rutter personally. My husband, John Zibbel, had graduated from BGHS some years after me and had been fortunate enough to be a student in the first Humanities Class co-taught by Mrs. Dianne Klein (Former English / Creative Writing) and Mr. Brown in their last years teaching before retirement. John’s class in the 98-99 school year was themed “Making The Midwest Home.” They traveled by bus to Chicago, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. In speaking about the Humanities class, Mrs. Klein stated that due to the closeness that the groups experienced from traveling…


Emily Freeman Brown honored as Professor of Creative Arts Excellence

BGSU Office of Marketing & Comunications There have been many high notes during Dr. Emily Freeman Brown’s 33-year career at Bowling Green State University. Brown, who has a Ph.D. in music performance studies, has been named the 2016 Professor of Creative Arts Excellence. The title is conferred upon members of the faculty already holding the rank of professor and who have established outstanding national and international recognition through research and publication or creative/artistic achievement in their disciplines. The title is for a period of three years with an annual stipend of $5,000 — a $3,000 salary stipend and $2,000 for professional development. Brown serves as director of orchestral activities and professor of orchestral conducting in the College of Musical Arts, a position she has held since 1989. “Dr. Brown’s record of creative activity is stellar in every way and she maintains a national and international profile as an orchestral conductor and music educator,” said a letter of nomination, composed by a committee of Drs. Rodney Rogers, provost and senior vice president; William Mathis, chair of music performance studies; and Marilyn Shrude, professor of music composition. “The quantity of her creative output is remarkable and the quality and prestige of her work has only grown through the years.” Last year, Brown released a book, “A Dictionary for the Modern Conductor,” published by Rowman and Littlefield. Guest conducting appearances make up the majority of her creative work, the nominators said. “Her record in this regard would qualify her consideration of this award…