Music

Rock show at Alehouse to benefit The Cocoon

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Debbie De Steno never met Cat Lambert face to face. They were Facebook friends who shared an interest in the local music scene. Then Cat was off social media, and Steno learned just a few days after they’d last been in contact that Lambert had been beaten to death by her husband. De Steno and others on the music scene wanted to do something. So De Steno pulled a benefit together at the Alehouse in the Woodland Mall. Music Against Domestic Violence was born with the proceeds going to help Lambert’s family. De Steno decided to make the benefit an annual affair.  So this Saturday (April 21) the fourth benefit will be held at the Alehouse from noon to midnight. The proceeds now benefit The Cocoon Shelter. The benefit is also to raise awareness about domestic violence, an issue people hesitate to talk about. For De Steno seeing the movie “The Burning Bed” was her first exposure to the physical and emotional realities of domestic abuse. The benefit will include a raffle and 50/50 drawing   with kids karaoke from noon to 2 p.m. The kids will turn the mic over to a lineup of local bands. Starting with Bliss at 2, each band will play about a 90-minute set. Other bands in order of appearance will be: Blue Ticks; 16-year-old guitar phenom Brad Tober and the Outsiders; BG high rockers Mindless Matters; Midnight Moses; and closers, AmpWagon. The first year De Steno played with the band Second Wynd, but she finds it too much to run the show and also be part of it. Still her love of music is at the heart of the event. As a kid growing up in New Jersey she picked up the guitar her older sister abandoned. She dreamed of being the next Pat Benatar. She’s been playing music ever since. Just picking up her guitar and picking a few notes helps her recharge. Music takes you away from everyday troubles, she said. “It gives you hope.” And that’s why it so fitting as a way to raise money so “The Cocoon can get resources to help people.”  


BGSU Arts Events through April 29

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS At  the galleries  — The School of Art will host its second MFA Thesis Exhibition April 21-29 in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries in the Fine Arts Center. The opening reception is at 7 p.m. Friday, April 20. Exhibitors include Fernanda Ruocco, Jacob Nolt and Ericsson De La Paz Lugo. Gallery hours are 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. All exhibitions are free and open to the public. The galleries are wheelchair accessible with the exception of the upper level of the Wankelman Gallery. For more information, visit bgsu.edu/art. April 19 — The International Film Series presents “Dear Pyongyang” (2005, Japan/South Korea, 107 minutes, directed by Yang Hong-Hi), with an introduction by Dr. Ryoko Okamura from the Department of World Languages and Cultures. Filmed in both Osaka, Japan, and Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2004, this deeply moving and intimate documentary features Zainichi (North) Korean immigrants living in Japan and their complex allegiances to family, host country, and their “fatherland.” A daughter interviews her parents as they return to Pyongyang to celebrate her father’s 70th birthday with her brothers. The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater, located in Hanna Hall. Free April 19-22 — The BGSU Theatre Department presents “The Threepenny Opera,” Bertolt Brecht’s “play with music.” Brecht turned John Gay’s 18th century “The Beggar’s Opera” into a biting commentary on the bourgeoisie and modern morality. Set in Victorian London, this tale of the outlaw Mack the Knife offers a socialist critique of a capitalist world. Advance tickets are $5 for BGSU students and $15 for other adults; all tickets the day of the concert are $20. Tickets can also be purchased at bgsu.edu/arts. For more information, call the box office between noon and 5 p.m. weekdays at 419-372-8171. The show opens at 8 p.m. in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Additional performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. on April 20 and 21, and 2 p.m. on April 21 and 22. See review. April 20 — The International Film Series presents “La Pirogue (The Dugout)” (2012, Senegal, 87 minutes, directed by Moussa Touré), with an introduction by Dr. Beatrice Guenther, International Studies program director. In this film, a group of African men leave Senegal in a pirogue captained by a local fisherman to undertake the treacherous crossing of the Atlantic to Spain where they believe better lives and prospects are waiting for them. The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theatre, located in Hanna Hall. Free April 20 — The Concert Band and University…


Bawdy “Threepenny Opera” takes the low & highly entertaining road

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Shakespeare for Dummies teaches that certain comic and bawdy bits in the Bard’s plays were written to appeal to the groundlings crowded at edge of the stage. “The Threepenny Opera,” though bearing an elite pedigree as the brainchild of theatrical provocateur Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill, is written through and through for the groundlings. This is bawdy, often crude by design, in-your-face entertainment meant to please those in the cheap seats. All of Bowling Green State University’s Donnell Theatre becomes the cheap sections when the Department of Theatre and Film presents “Threepenny Opera” opening tonight (April 19) and continuing through Sunday, April 22.  Shows are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8p.m., with matinees Saturday & Sunday at 2 p.m. Visit for details  bgsu.edu/arts. Jonathan Chambers, directing Michael Feingold’s translation of Elisabeth Hauptmann’s script, doesn’t stint on the raw humor of the piece. Yes, “Threepenny” has complex political and aesthetic underpinnings, but the flashing of women’s underwear and even one actor’s bare butt take precedence. “Threepenny Opera” was conceived a satirical criticism of capitalism and the middle class. The milieu of the show is the underworld, but it’s all the underworld in the opera’s view.  After the ensemble led by Jenny Driver (Erica Harmon) introduces us to the opera’s antihero, Macheath (Kris Krotzer)  with the tune, “Mack the Knife,”, we meet  J.J. Peachum (Noah Froelich) who runs the beggars’  racket around London. If you want to beg you have to pay him a fee and share your earnings. One down-on-his-luck sucker finds this out when he is beaten by Peachum’s operatives. Peachum tells him he should be glad he could still walk. In “Peachum’s Morning Hymn,” Peachum laments that begging requires constant innovation. Human pity has a short shelve life. Even the four or five useful verses from the New Testament lose their appeal. He and his wife the grasping, conniving Mrs. Peachum (Kelly Dunn) have other concerns – their daughter Polly (Anna Parchem) has been cavorting with the thug Macheath, a Victorian Tony Soprano. To them their daughter is yet another commodity. But as Polly explains in “Barbara’s Song” she’s likely to go only so far with a respectable suitor, but will drop her panties for a poor, disreputable man. Her father, though, is intent on having Macheath arrested. The problem is the chief of police Tiger Brown (Jabri Johnson) is an old Army buddy of Macheath’s. They celebrate in “Soldier’s Song,” a caustic look at the military. Here as elsewhere the production plays up a homoerotic undertone….


Ghanaian master drummer Bernard Woma has wake up call for BGSU students

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Master drummer Bernard Woma has greeted presidents and royalty to his native Ghana. On Tuesday morning he greeted students in Bowling Green State University’s School of Art with the throbbing sound of drums, and the swirl of dancers. Most of those in the audience in the lobby of the Bryan Gallery were students in Rebecca Skinner Green’s African art class, but the ranks of listeners swelled as the rhythm reverberated around the building. They didn’t stay observers for long. On the second dance, members of Woma’s Saakumu dance troupe summoned those in the audience to join the line, instructing them as they danced, on the steps and gestures. “We share the music together,” Woma said. “We share the experience together, so you better understand.” Ghanaian music is participatory. Woma has been coming to BGSU every few years since 2001. This week’s two-day stay with his dance troupe will culminate with a free performance Wednesday night at 7 in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre in Wolfe Center for the Arts. He said that when he first opened his Dagara Music Center in 1998, a BGSU group led by Skinner Green and Steven Cornelius was the first to come to study there. Woma said he was born to be a drummer. He came out of his mother’s womb with his fists clenched as if gripping a pair of mallets. That marked him as a gyil player. His grandfather played the instrument, a Ghanaian xylophone, as did his uncle. While his father didn’t play he loved to dance. So Woma grew up in a home full of music and dance. At 2 he was banging out the melodies he’d heard. His musical education began long before his formal “European” education. When he completed that, he headed to the capital city of Accra where he joined the National Dance Ensemble. The government brought together the best musicians from the country’s more than 60 ethnic regions. By the time President and Mrs. Clinton came to visit in 1998, he was the master drummer of the troupe. Clinton was intrigued by the enormous ceremonial drum, and quizzed Woma on what it was made from. Elephant hide, Woma replied. He also greeted the Obamas when they visited Ghana in 2009. He recalled that he was planning to come to the United States at that time, but the embassy said he needed to stay for the Obama visit. He even taught Sasha and Malia how to play the gyil. “It was privilege.” As master drummer he also welcomed South African President Nelson Mandela…


Arts Beat: Sharing the bravos – ‘Emilie,’ electrifies; ‘Montreal, White City,’ haunts

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bravo! BGSU this weekend was a major arts event, showcasing some, but by no means all that transpires here culturally. Like the food served at Bravo! this was just a taste, delicious to be sure, but a sampling. As the spring semester unwinds, it’s hard to keep up with everything going on. Yet there are events that bear documenting.   “Emilie” Among those performing at Bravo! BGSU was Hillary LaBonte, who with Caroline Kouma, reprised a duet from Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte,” which was staged two weeks ago. That opera was a frothy entertainment. Just a couple days before Bravo! though, LaBonte had the stage to herself in a very different opera. Working with conductor Maria Mercedes Diaz Garcia and the Vive! Ensemble, which the conductor founded, she sang “Emilie,” a solo opera by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho and Lebanese author Amin Maalouf. Here LaBonte portrays leading 18th century French intellectual Emilie de Chatelet. We find de Chatelet in the process of writing a letter to her lover, the father of the child she carries. De Chatelet was a woman of great passions, both physical and intellectual, and all these weave together. She spills her heart into the letter. Her quill is amplified so that there’s a telegraphic urgency as she writes. That’s just one of the ways the composer uses electronics to expose Emilie’s inner life. Emilie is consumed by a sense of foreboding, about to give birth, she expects the worst. She speaks of her hopes for her child, hopes for a parent as loving and encouraging as her father. Rare for the time, de Chatelet received a full education in the sciences and arts. She played harpsichord. The instrument electronically amplified plays a prominent part in the orchestra. It tracks, even anticipates, her thoughts. She is devoted to astronomy, physics, mathematics, and philosophy. There is nothing cold about her calculations and observations. They burn like the sun, whose constitution she ponders. Emilie is at this point completing her translation into French from Latin of Newton’s “Principia.” This is the cutting edge science of the day, and still aligned with the mystical. The score, performed by a small orchestra, amplifies the moods, whether the dark foreboding or antic excitement. LaBonte soars above, her voice capturing all the emotional shades of Emilie’s personality. As she faces her fears that she will disappear in “the web of oblivion” she imagines holding her book, not her child, in her arms. As reality would have it, she died at 43, nine…


BGSU Arts Events through April 24

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS April 6 — Academy Award-winning actress Eva Marie Saint will attend a special showing of “The Trip to Bountiful,” the 1953 television production she starred in with Lillian Gish, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater at BGSU’s Hanna Hall. Gish and Saint reprised their roles on Broadway the following year, earning Saint the Drama Critics Award and the Outer-Circle Critics Award. Following the screening, Saint, a BGSU alumna, will discuss her career and her work with Gish. Free   April 6 — World Percussion Night will feature multiple drumming styles, including performances by the Taiko and Steel Drum ensembles from the College of Musical Arts. Advance tickets are $7 for students and $10 for other adults; tickets the day of the concert are, respectively, $10 and $13. Tickets can also be purchased at bgsu.edu/arts. For more information, call the box office between noon and 6 p.m.weekdays at 419-372-8171. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall, located in the Moore Musical Arts Center. April 11 — The Faculty Artist Series presents Matthew McBride-Daline on the viola. Since his debut in Carnegie Hall, McBride-Daline has performed worldwide as a viola soloist. An avid chamber musician, he has performed at numerous international festivals including the Banff Center for the Arts, Verbier Academy, the Music Academy of the West, the New York String Orchestra Seminar and Sarasota Music Festival. His performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall, located in the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free April 12 — Continuing its focus on exile and migration, the International Film Series presents “Balseros (Rafters)” (2002, Spain, 120 minutes, directed by Carles Bosch and Josep Maria Domenech), with an introduction by Dr. Pedro Porbén from the Department of World Languages and Cultures, Latin American Studies. Filmed in Cuba, Guantanamo Bay and the United States, this transnational film gives insight into the “human adventure of people who are shipwrecked between two worlds.” The award-winning documentary tracks the lives of Cubans who fled Cuba by raft during the economic depression of the so-called “Periodo especial” in the early 1990s. The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater, located in Hanna Hall. Free April 12 — Jazz Lab Band 2 will give a performance at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Advance tickets are $7 for students and $10 for other adults; tickets the day of the concert are, respectively, $10 and $13. Tickets can also be purchased at bgsu.edu/arts. For more information, call the box office between noon and 5 p.m. weekdays at 419-372-8171. April 13 — BGSU doctoral candidates in music perform in response to…


Sam Adler’s “wonderful life” in music celebrated on three-CD set (Part 2)

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In selecting pieces for the three-disc set to mark his 90th birthday Samuel Adler and his wife, conductor Emily Freeman Brown, had plenty of music from which to choose. After all, Adler has written more than 400 pieces dating back to 1953. They decided to focus on those that hadn’t been recorded. What resulted was an overview starting with his first symphony and including a piece from 2012. During a recent interview in his Perrysburg home, Adler said of all the music he has composed it is his music for orchestra that he wishes received more performances. Unless an orchestra commissions a work, the pieces tend not to get programmed. On Oct. 30, the Toledo Symphony will premier his tuba concerto. So the birthday collection, “One Lives but Once” on Linn is heavy on orchestral pieces. Freeman Brown, director of orchestral activities at Bowling Green State University, conducts the on the first two CDs.  “Each has an early, middle, and late piece because they are very, very different,” she said. “The style changes and develops.” The recording was “a very intense experience,” Freeman Brown said. The  project started with months of preparation. She had already conducted her husband’s first two symphonies. Still it was “a big, big process.” “It was a great collaboration,” she said. “Sam was always here. We had lots of conversations months in advance. When we got there (Frankfurt, Germany) we had a really fruitful experience.” The team included Linn recording engineer Philip Hobbs. “I felt the same way with the orchestra,” Freeman Brown said. “They worked incredibly hard and were extremely disciplined.” That was necessary given the schedule they set for themselves to record one piece a day. “It was quite an experience, a communal effort,” Freeman Brown said. Those are “typical American symphonies,” Adler said of the first and second symphonies. The set opens aptly with Adler’s First Symphony which dates back to his tenure in Dallas. He’d been hired in 1953 as music director of Temple Emanu-El after his stint in the Army, during which he founded and conducted the Seventh Army Orchestra (see related story). A choral piece he wrote won a competition, and that led the Dallas Symphony to commission his first symphony. While in Dallas, he also began to teach at the University of North Texas, or North Texas State as it was known at the time. He helped found the composition department at the school most known for its pioneering jazz program. Adler said Leon Breeden, who headed the jazz program, wanted jazz students should take classical composition….


Electric solo opera brings passions of intellectual woman to life

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Emilie de Chatelet defied the social gravity of her time, rising to prominence as an intellectual in the fields of physics, math, and philosophy in early 18th century France. She was a passionate woman, whose love life and intellectual life were woven together. She was married, and had affairs, including with French philosopher Voltaire. “Emilie,” a one-woman opera by composer Kaija Saariaho and her librettist author Amin Maalouf, depicts de Chatelet as she is completing her French translation of Isaac Newton’s seminal text “Principia” from Latin. Two women from Doctorate in Contemporary Music Program are teaming up to bring “Emilie” to the stage for a free performance Thursday, April 5, at 6 p.m. at Kobacker Hall on the Bowling Green State University. Soprano Hillary LaBonte will perform as the heroine in the one-person opera, and Maria Mercedes Diaz Garcia will conduct the VIVE! Ensemble. This is the first time the 2010 opera has been performed in the Midwest. LaBonte was looking for a contemporary opera featuring a strong female character. Diaz Garcia came upon the opera during her research into Saariaho’s work as part of her dissertation, which is about the way the Finnish composer’s manipulates time. The opera is small scale using a small orchestra, no choir, and one soloist, a soprano.  “I thought it was perfect. It was for the soprano we have in the program, for Hilary.” LaBonte is excited about portraying Emilie. “She is fascinating because she was exceptional, working at a time when women were not allowed in certain circles of intellectual society. Her father made sure she got a complete education, which was not normal at time. She dug into everything that was happening in intellectual society, blending science, language, math, philosophy.” When she was younger she couldn’t afford books, so she developed successful gambling strategies. “She met Voltaire, and they recognized each other as intellectual equals,” LaBonte said. The opera finds her in the late stages of pregnancy working on the translation of “Principia.” “She had this sense of foreboding that she wasn’t going to complete this translation before this baby was born.”  LaBonte said. She did, including all the commentaries and proofs, but died from complications of childbirth just nine days after she delivered her son. Her translation sat for several years, until it was discovered and published. It is still considered the standard translation of Newton’s work. Though the soprano is the only singer, Emilie’s is not the only voice in the opera. The composer employs electronics to alter the…


At 90, composer Samuel Adler reflects on a life in music (Part 1)

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Samuel Adler was born, his mother, Selma, declared he would be a composer.  The hospital was located on the spot where Mozart himself had lived. Of course, music was the family occupation. His father, Hugo Adler, was a cantor at the central synagogue in Mannheim, Germany, and himself a composer of sacred works. So the path was blazed early, and Adler has stayed on that road guided by his father and some of the greatest musicians of his time. Along the way Adler has created a legacy of hundreds of compositions, from solo pieces for every instrument in the orchestra plus accordion to operas – “I’ve written too much,” he says with wry self-deprecation – and hundreds of composition students. Adler lives, retired from teaching but not composing, in Perrysburg with his wife, Emily Freeman Brown, the director of orchestral studies at Bowling Green State University. His 90th birthday year will be marked by performances near and far, both in Toledo with the Toledo Symphony will premiering his tuba concerto in fall and in his native Germany where one of his pieces will be performed in Potsdam on the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night of Nazi attacks that signaled the ratcheting up of the persecution of Jews. Adler has released a three-CD set, “One Lives but Once” on Linn Records and published “Building Bridges with Music: Stories from a Composer’s Life,” published  by  Pendragon  and  already in  its second edition. “I’ve made it,” he declares when asked about the milestone year during an interview at his home. His actual birthday was celebrated in Dallas March 4. It coincided with a celebration of the 65th anniversary of the choir at Temple Emanu-El which he formed.  Music director of the temple was his first job after his discharge from the Army in 1952. His life in music started in Mannheim. After playing recorder in school, his parents started him on violin at 7. This was during the time when the Nazis had taken control, and were imposing increasing restrictions and harassment on Jews.  Musicians and singers were fired from their positions. They banded together to form a cultural organization that staged concerts and operas. Hugo Adler with active in writing cantatas. Young  Sam Adler heard his first operas performed by the Judischer Kulturbund. Then came Kristallnacht in 1938. In his memoir, Adler recalls the central synagogue being burned.  His father recruited him to help rescue old books of music, the musical legacy of the congregation, from the badly damaged…


Composer Maria Schneider warns students about the future of the music industry

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Maria Schneider is an award-winning composer with Grammys in jazz, pop, and classical. She’s also a pioneer in crowdsourcing her music. And she’s a champion for artists’ rights, rebelling against the current music business model. Schneider has written about the issue, appeared on CNN, and testified before Congress. She helped launch musicanswers.org with other composers, performers, songwriters, and producers to advocate for their rights. “I’m really doing it for your future,” she told students at Bowling Green State University, Friday in a session of digital music rights. She’s established enough that she could sit back and live off what she’s already created. Her model, ArtistShare, works well for her. Through the platform, fans help finance the $200,000 it takes to produce one of her recordings. She makes her living from her music, but she’s concerned the new generation of musicians may not have that opportunity. “I’m really doing it for your future.” She apologized for presenting such a bleak “outlook.” The session came on the last day of her three-day residency at BGSU, which concluded with Schneider conducting Jazz Lab I in a concert of her music. (Click to read interview with Schneider.) Her outrage at the compensation started when she’d made her first recording, and found out just how little she would earn after the record company took its share. She contacted older musicians, such as Bob Brookmeyer, one of her mentors in composition, and guitarist Jim Hall. They basically shrugged in resignation. Looking back on it, those payments were generous compared to the pittance that musicians get through the streaming model. Not surprising given Spotify was created by Daniel Ek who got his start in the illegal download business. When he launched Spotify he needed content so he went to the three major record labels, Sony, Universal, and Warner. In exchange for 6 percent of equity in Spotify, which will go public next week, they gave Spotify the rights to their catalogs. Millions of hours of music, the work of composers and performers and producers, who would now earn almost nothing. Certainly not enough to pay for their recording sessions, which record companies now expect artists to pay for unless they sign deals to share all revenue streams. This has been detrimental both to the download model, such as iTunes, which did provide decent income, and the sale of CDs. Only vinyl LPs are seeing an increase in sales.  But the cost of shipping vinyl is prohibitive for her. Schneider detailed her own battles to keep her…


Pemberville Opera House presents Avanti Guitar Trio

From PEMBERVILLE OPERA HOUSE The Avanti Guitar Trio will perform a Live in the house concert, Saturday, April 7, 7:30pm in the historic Pemberville Opera House Tickets are $12 at the door and from Beeker’s General Store, or by contacting CarolBailey at 419-287-4848, carol@pembervilleoperahouse.org or at www.pembervilleoperahouse.org. To benefit the opera house elevator fund, the Historical Society will host a pre-show dinner at Higher Grounds in Downtown Pemberville. From 5:30-7 p.m. BBQ Chicken or Riblet, Baked Potato, Choice of Salads, Corn, Roll and Butter and Choice of Beverage Cost $9.95 and tax with homemade pie ala carte. Reservations not necessary but appreciated. Call 419-287-3274 The Avanti Guitar Trio is a world-class chamber ensemble whose performances are exciting, approachable, and welcoming. Guitarists Jason Deroche, Julie Goldberg, and Wesley Hixson blend together pristine technique and sensitive interpretation, earning critical acclaim for their engaging concerts and varied programming. AGT repertoire ranges from the Baroque to Contemporary, and features newly composed music, engaging transcriptions of classical masterpieces, and an occasional rock/pop or jazz tune. Based in Chicago, Illinois, AGT has performed for the Waukegan Chamber Society, Chicago Composers’ Consortium, Illinois Wesleyan University, Quincy University, Church of Beethoven, and Harold Washington Chicago Public Library. AGT has shared the stage with renowned guitarists Benjamin Verdery, William Coulter, Las Guitarras de España, and Earl Klugh. Formed in 2010 the Avanti Guitar Trio continues to expand the guitar trio repertoire by composing/transcribing new works and collaborating with established and upcoming composers. The Avanti Guitar Trio opens their program with a transcription of Luigi Boccherini’s “Introduction and Fandango.” Boccherini, an Italian composer and cellist spent much of his career in Madrid, Spain. He composed chamber works for royalty and enjoyed steady employment as a composer and performer. The Spanish Nobleman, Marquis de Benavente, was an amateur guitarist and fan of Boccherini’s string quartets. He commissioned the composer to write guitar parts for his favorite chamber works so that he could participate in playing Boccherini’s chamber music. The Marquis paid Boccherini 100 francs for each quartet the composer arranged. Introduction and Fandango was originally composed as the last movement of Boccherini’s Quintet, Op. 40, No. 2. Reworked for guitar and string quartet, it became the final movement of the composers Guitar Quintet No. 4 in D major. Wesley’s piece, “Tidal Light” was inspired by the popular Youtube video “Flaring Up, Surfing with Flare.” The video features world renowned surfer Bruce Irons. “Tidal Light” is an aural impression of ocean sounds, from the shushing monotony of tidal waters overlaying the shoreline to the effervescence of whitecaps…


BGSU musicians mix it up in Wayland competition

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Like a lot of kids, Nick Fox used his family’s cookware for drums when he was little. Jerry Emmons was into drumming on his school desk with pencils. “I got in trouble,” he said. On Sunday night, Emmons and Fox  with fellow percussionist,  Emanuel Bowman, brought that childhood fascination with making rhythm to fruition and won the graduate division of the Wayland Chamber Music Competition at Bowling Green State University. “Catfish” by Mark Applebaum had Fox drumming on three cast iron pots that have passed down to him from his grandmother. And Emmons worked with three pieces of lumber while Bowman played a set of bongo drums. The piece doesn’t specify instruments, Fox explained, just three metals, three woods, and three skins so they could create their own version. Landlocked Percussion was one of 13 undergraduate and graduate small ensembles that competed in the event that began with the semifinals Saturday, culminating with the finals. The Undergraduate Division winners were the Autumn Trio with Ling Na Kao, violin, Gretchen Hill, clarinet, and Varissara Vatcharanukul, piano. Unlike the percussion trio, the Autumn Trio draws members from different instrumental areas. They may never have met each other had they not been brought together as an ensemble for the Wayland Competition. The three sophomores first assembled as freshmen. Hill said she didn’t remember who on the faculty initiated the creation of the trio. Hill said she and Kao do play together in the Bowling Green Philharmonia “but we sit on different sides of the ensemble, so we don’t get to interact much.” They are pleased that they had this opportunity to get to know each other. For Vatcharanukul and Kao playing in a small ensemble was a first. Figuring out how to work together was a challenge. “It was a new experience,” Kao said. “It was really hard,” she said, especially given they were venturing into playing contemporary music with Paul Schoenfeld’s “Freyiakh,” a piece influenced by klezmer music. Kao said she discovered the piece was searching for music for the trio on the internet. Fox said Landlocked Percussion first came together as a quartet, but one member had to drop out to prepare for his doctoral recital. The group has been together for about two months. They are committed, he said, to continuing the project. “We hope to keep the trajectory going.” “A big thing for with music for me is the emotional connection,” Emmons said. “It’s easy to get that emotional connection with the music, the audience, with a small…


Jazz composer Maria Schneider has high expectations for student performances of her music

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Maria Schneider has high standards for the members of the Maria Schneider Orchestra. They represent the best players on the New York jazz scene, and some of them have been with her since she launched the ensemble more than 25 years ago. When she visits colleges and universities, she expects top quality performances as well. “I never approach anything like this with anything but the highest expectations of what the music can convey,” the composer said in a recent telephone interview. Schneider, who has won Grammy Awards in jazz, classical for her collaboration with soprano Dawn Upshaw, and pop for her work with David Bowie, will visit Bowling Green State University for Jazz Week as the Hansen Musical Arts Series artist. Her three-day visit will culminate with a free concert Friday, March 30, at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall when the Jazz Lab Band I, directed by David Bixler, will play of program of Schneider’s music. She will also present master classes, participate in a question-and-answer session, and discuss digital rights for music during her stay, which begins Wednesday, March 28. Click here for more details. http://bgindependentmedia.org/composer-maria-schneider-bgsu-jazz-week-guest-artist/. She said she always coordinates with the college band’s director to get a sense of the ensemble’s strengths and weaknesses, and the soloists who will be featured.  Sometimes she’s working with a band at a liberal arts school where, unlike at BGSU, few of the band members are music majors. “You just work with what you have and the make the best of it. It’s really fun,” Schneider said. “When I work with students, I push them the way I would push my group or a professional group,” Schneider said.  “I push them to get the best possible result. The power of music doesn’t always depend on perfection. You want the intonation, and you want all those details. “I’ve had performances of my music with young groups where everybody had the right intent. They knew the sound they were going for.  The emotion came through the music so it made the hair on my arms stand up,” she said. “Music has this magic that comes through when the intent is there, when the right elements are there. That’s the mystery of it.  I never approach anything like this with anything but the highest expectations of what the music can convey.” That music can speak volumes, even at its most delicate moments. While she employs the standard instrumentation of a jazz big band, she works to subvert those expectations. “That’s why I call…


One-woman opera “Emilie” celebrates female philosopher, physicist & mathematician

From VIVE! ENSEMBLE VIVE! Ensemble, conducted by Maria Mercedes Diaz Garcia, will perform the Midwest American premiere of the opera “Emilie,” by Kaija Saariaho, on Thursday April 5, 2018 at 6 p.m. at Kobacker Hall, Bowling Green State University. Soprano Hillary LaBonte will star and sing the role of Emilie. The renowned opera Emilie is based on Emilie de Chatelet, a French philosopher, mathematician, physicist, and female author who was born in France and lived in the early 18th century. Her most recognized achievement is the translation of and commentary on Isaac Newton’s book “Principia,” work that contains the well-known laws of physics. Based in Paris, France, Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho sets her music to the libretto by Lebanese author Amin Maalouf in this 90-minute monodrama for soprano, chamber orchestra and electronics composed in 2010. The work explores the last moments of Emilie’s life prior to her death due to childbirth during the period that she is writing the translation of Newton’s book. VIVE! Ensemble, founded by conductor Maria Mercedes Diaz Garcia, is a collective of performers and guest artists dedicated to bringing new compositions and revived versions of standard repertory works to broader audiences. Since its inception in 2015 the ensemble has performed chamber versions of the “Rite of Spring,” “Afternoon of a Faun,” and Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde” amongst many other works. They are engaged for a tour this coming spring and summer to perform a program of premieres of emerging American composers in Cincinnati, Nashville, and Dallas.  


Mozart’s opera ‘Cosi fan tutte’ is more than a pretty escape

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News These days even an opera from 1790 has to be viewed through the lens of #metoo. That Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutte” can withstand what some would see as an anachronistic framing is a credit to his work. Everything else aside, the music is gorgeous and the BGSU Opera Theatre’s production does full justice to its melodic and orchestral delights of the score while nodding to its social complexities. “Cosi fan tutte” by Mozart and his librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte will be presented Friday, March 23 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 25, at 3 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Advance tickets are $15 and $5 for BGSU students, and $20 the day of the show. Contact bgsu.edu/arts or 419-372-8171. The production, directed by Jane Schoonmaker Rodgers plays up the artificiality of the tale. The curtain comes up on a bare stage as the orchestra, conducted by Emily Freeman Brown, performs the gorgeous overture. As woodwinds duel and strings swell with punctuation by percussion and brass, a café proprietor (Tim Krueger) directs the setting of the scene as conceived by designer Bradford Clark. The curtains are half drawn and draped, and the silhouettes of large windows are projected on the back wall. A café table is set as a maid (Bethany Waldick) diligently sweeps the stage. The proprietor returns throughout the opera to direct the scene changes, a fitting nod to stage business given the plot revolves around deception. Once the scene is set, the young soldiers Ferrando (Mark Tenorio) and Guglielmo (Ben Ganger) arrive to meet with their older friend Don Alfonso (Nick Kottman). The conversation turns to love, and the young men lavish praise on their lovers, how beautiful and faithful they are. The subtext is that the men consider themselves such wonderful catches that they can’t imagine the women being attracted to anyone else. Alfonso begs to disagree. The women like all women – the title of the opera means “thus do all women” – will stray if given the opportunity. The men are offended, almost to the point of dueling. Instead they make a wager and agree to test the young women. They will arrive in disguise to seduce them. When we meet the sisters Fiordiligi (Caroline Kouma) and Dorabella (Hillary LaBonte) they too are singing about their lovers, and how much they love them and how they would never part from them. Even then the singers hint at the sisters being more enamored with the state of being love than…