Music

BGSU Jazz Week guest, trombonist Alan Ferber, has reached out to create a successful career

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For Grammy-nominated composer, arranger and trombonist Alan Ferber, his trip to Bowling Green is not a one-way street. He’ll work with students, and share with them the knowledge developed over a couple decades as a professional musician as they work to master his big band charts. That will give them “an intense experience of playing music with the guy who wrote it. I know it was like that with me when I was in college.” He’ll also get to hear some of his music written for a nine-piece group performed by local professionals. Hearing this nonet music played by a different set of musicians, most of whom he hasn’t met before, is fun, he said. He does know David Bixler, head of the Jazz Studies program at BGSU, who will play alto sax in the nonet. He and Bixler played in Toshiko Akiyoshi’s Jazz Orchestra together. It was Bixler who arranged Ferber’s visit to campus. Ferber is the guest artist for Jazz Week at the Bowling Green State University campus. He’ll perform a free nonet concert with the faculty and guests on Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall, and Friday with the Jazz Lab Band I at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall. Tickets are $7 and $3 for students in advance and all tickets are $10 the day of the show. Call 419-372-8171 or visit www.bgsu.edu/the-arts/. See http://bgindependentmedia.org/bgsu-arts-events-through-april-4/ for a schedule of Jazz Week events. Ferber said in dealing with students, his first job is putting them at ease. There can be certain misconceptions about how he’ll react. At a previous residency…


BGSU arts events through April 4

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS   Through March 31 – The BFA Senior Thesis Exhibition will be on display in the Bryan and Wankelman Galleries, located in the Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays and 1-4 p.m.Sundays. Free March 24 – Bowling Green Opera Theater features Kurt Weill’s “Street Scene.” The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre located in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Advance tickets are $5 for students and children and $15 for adults. All tickets are $20 the day of the performance. Tickets can be purchased at the box office in the Wolfe Center, by calling 419-372-8171 or online at www.bgsu.edu/the-arts/. An additional performance will be at 3 p.m. on March 26. March 24 – EAR | EYE Listening and Looking: Contemporary Music and Art explores the relationship of contemporary music and art through music performances in response to specific works of art and discussion. It is a partnership between the doctoral program at BGSU’s College of Musical Arts and the Toledo Museum of Art. The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Toledo Museum of Art, 2445 Monroe St. Free March 28 – Tuesdays at the Gish continues with the 1991 film “Thelma and Louise,” directed by Ridley Scott. Based on the award-winning screenplay by Callie Khouri, the film draws us into the remarkable but troubling adventures of Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon) that arise from their desire to take a few days off from their oppressive lives as women in domestic/economic relationships. Their misadventures lead…


Broadway, blues & opera intersect in colorful “Street Scene” at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The brownstone at 346 on an anonymous street on New York’s Lower East Side is the home to seven families of motley ethnicity. “Street Scene,” the opera they inhabit, brings together music of the Old World and New to express their joys, hopes, passion, fears, and desperation. The 1946 collaboration of composer Kurt Weill, poet Langston Hughes, and playwright Elmer Rice opens Friday at 8 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center for the Arts on the Bowling Green State University campus. A matinee performance will be presented Sunday at 3 p.m. Advance tickets are $15; all tickets are $20 the day of the performance. Call 419-372-8171, go online at bgsu.edu/arts, or visit the box office in the Wolfe Center to purchase tickets. “Street Scene,” said Kevin Bylsma, coordinator of opera at BGSU, “is a great amalgamation of operetta, opera and musical theater that tells a poignant story that resonates as much today as it did in 1946.” The tale of immigrants tossed together in a strange, sometimes hostile place had such resonance that guest director Nicholas Wuehrmann considered setting this version in contemporary times. There’s the “universality of the themes of love, relationships, the struggle of the immigrant population, prejudice, just every day life and the struggle to get along, and dreaming and hoping,” the director said. “It reminds me of the people I know in New York.” He passed on the idea, trusting the audience will relate regardless of the time period. All the characters have their own struggles, and the show highlights them in song. In the opening we…


Pro Musica, Naslada Bistro team up to raise funds for music student enrichment

From PRO MUSICA Naslada Bistro, in downtown Bowling Green, will be hosting a fundraiser for Pro Musica from March 27 (Monday) – April 1 (Saturday). A portion of each bill will be donated to Pro Musica during the weeklong event. All monies raised will be use to fund student travel grants for students in the College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University. Patrons need to mention Pro Musica when they order. Located at 1820 S. Main Street in Bowling Green, the bistros name mean “lingering over excellent food and sipping quality wine in the company of good friends” in Bulgarian. It is known for its authentic European and American cuisine prepared with the freshest of ingredients. Pro Musica, funded by nearly 250 dedicated alumni, friends, parents and members of the Bowling Green community, sponsors a wide variety of musical events and provides financial to music students for educational travel projects. In addition, the organization provides funding for scholarships and various awards at Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts. The organization supports raises funds to support student-initiated educational travel projects to attend workshops, festivals, competitions or master classes, both domestically and internationally. Every dollar Pro Musica raises goes to help students. As a bonus, diners may wish to pair their meal with concerts being offered during the college’s annual Jazz Week events. Concerts include: Tuesday (March 28), Vocal Jazz Ensemble featuring jazz vocalist Kim Nazarian, 8 p.m., Bryan Recital Hall; Wednesday (March 29), Jazz Faculty Group, 8 p.m., Bryan Recital Hall; Thursday (March 30), Jazz Lab Band I with guest trombonist Alan Ferber, 8 p.m., Kobacker Hall,…


Indian Opinion, a harmonic convergence of musical friends

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The band Indian Opinion is all about harmony. The jazz-influenced ensemble jams over the chords of its original songs. What really holds the band together though is the harmony of friendship. Since its creation in 2015, Indian Opinion has been a staple of the local music scene with gigs at Grumpy Dave’s and especially at Howard’s Club H. “That’s our home court,” said Benji Katz, bass player, vocalist and songwriter in the group. Indian Opinion also includes Mark Dylan, guitar and vocals, JP Stebal, drums, and Connor Mancini, trumpet. They’ll be back at Howard’s for the Saturday, March 25, Battle of the Bands. They have set of songs available for download online featuring a set earlier this year from the club. (https://indianopinion.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-howards-121016-2) Now the band is in the process of producing its first full studio album. The band is deeply rooted in the local scene, bridging the campus with the community. It traces its roots back to 2015 when Connor and Stebal started jamming at Stebal’s house. They knew each other as fellow music students, including singing in the Vocal Jazz Ensemble. Dylan knew Katz from living on the dorms and brought him in. “It was just a network of friends, mostly from the college of music,” Dylan said. The band originally had a saxophonist Hiroki Kato and a percussionist Billy Gruber. Even as the band has settled into its four-piece configuration, the members are still a welcoming crew inviting musicians to join them on gigs and bringing Gruber and saxophonist Garrett Tanner into the studio for the forthcoming session. Abigail Cloud, one of…


Small ensembles shine in big way in Wayland Chamber Music Competition

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In a serious competition among groups of some of the best musicians in the College of Musical Arts, what set the winners apart is they seemed to be having fun. The Douglas Wayland Chamber Music Competition was held this weekend in the Moore Musical Arts Center on the Bowling Green State University campus. Lydia Qiu, a pianist from the University Michigan, was one of three judges on the panel for the finals held Sunday. “These two groups really enjoyed playing together,” she said of the Epsilon Quartet, the undergraduate winners, and Pitnix, a trio that won the graduate division. Pitnix was a repeat winner. Two of the members of the trio – Samantha Tartamella, flute, and Stephen Dubetz, clarinet – were in the ensemble when it won the undergraduate division. This year with another pianist, Emily Morin, they had to compete in the graduate division because Morin is a graduate student. Still the result was the same. Dubetz also won the undergraduate division in December’s Competitions in Musical Performance. The Epsilon Quartet, a saxophone foursome of Jacob Braslawsce, soprano, Nicole Grimone, alto, Tess Marjanovic, tenor, and Andrew Hosler, baritone, is the newest in a line of saxophone quartets to do well in the event. At least one saxophone quartet has been among the winners in all but one competition since its start in 2007. Second place in the graduate division went to Landlocked Percussion – Henrique Batista, Scott Charvet, Nicholas Fox, and Felix Reyes. Second place in the undergraduate went to the Derevo Quintet – Thomas Morris, oboe, Hayden Giesseman, clarinet, Brianna Buck, saxophone,…


Scholar helps guide BGSU musicians toward Holy Week presentations of St. John Passion

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Mark Munson has been waiting for the academic and liturgical calendars to align. The director of choral studies at Bowling Green State University wanted a year when Good Friday fell late enough in the semester to allow time to prepare and present J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion on Good Friday. This is the year, and this past week the singers and musicians started the final phase of preparation. The passion oratorio, originally presented on Good Friday, 1724, is a large undertaking that involves soloists, the University Choral Ensemble, and the Early Music Ensemble, directed by Arne Spohr. To help this large contingent of students, faculty and community members prepare, a leading scholar and tenor Christopher Cock, of the Bach Institute at Valparaiso University in Indiana, visited campus. In the passion, Bach relates the story of Jesus’ trial and execution using the text from the Gospel of John, with reflections by soloists and the choir. Cock has sung the role of the evangelist in the St. John Passion 50 times as well as conducted it on several other occasions. His choir has been in residence at St. Thomas in Leipzig where the piece was first presented, a rare honor for an American choir. He was at BGSU as the Helen McMaster Endowed Professor in Vocal and Choral Studies. For many of the students involved this will their first time playing it. “I’m getting chills just thinking about you’re experiencing this work for the first time,” he told them. Cock spoke about how Bach brought the theology to life in the music. “The debasement of being…


BGSU arts events through March 29

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS March 16 – The Creative Writing Program’s Reading Series features visiting writer Dustin M. Hoffman. Author of the story collection “One-Hundred-Knuckled Fist” and winner of the 2015 Prairie Schooner Book Prize, Hoffman earned his MFA in fiction from BGSU.  The reading will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free March 17 – The Brown Bag Music Series continues with Opera! The performance will begin at 11:45 a.m. in the Simpson Building, 1291 Conneaut Ave., Bowling Green. Free March 17 – Elsewhere productions continue with “Jimmy and Sally.” The show will begin 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 March 18 and 19. Free March 18 – The ARTalk series presents “Where Next: The Future of Art.” Prominent artists and scholars will discuss the future of art in work, education and careers. Featured speakers include Cynthia Crow, program officer for the Fulbright Scholar Program in New York; Regin Igloria, multidisciplinary artist and arts administrator in Chicago, and John Jennings, graphic designer and associate professor at the University of Buffalo. The ARTalk will begin at 4 p.m. in room 204 of the Fine Arts Center. Free March 18 – The opening reception for the BFA Senior Thesis Exhibition will begin at 7 p.m. in the Bryan and Wankelman Galleries located in the Fine Arts Center. Free Through March 31 – The BFA Senior Thesis Exhibition will be on display in the Bryan and Wankelman Galleries, located in the Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are 11 a.m….


Optimal Aging Institute offers Ukulele for Beginners class

From OPTIMAL AGING INSTITUTE Bowling Green State University’s Optimal Aging Institute will offer a two-session Ukulele for Beginners class, co-sponsored by Bowling Green Parks and Recreation. The program will take place on March 22 and 29 from 10:30 a.m. until noon at the Simpson Garden Community Center at 1291 Conneaut Ave. Learn how to strum, play a few chords, and sing familiar songs, all in a fun and relaxing environment with Lisa Gruenhagen, Ph.D. Dr. Gruenhagen is an associate professor of music education at BGSU. While studying flute and music education at Eastman School of Music, she became involved with the New Horizons International Music Association, which provides entry points to music making for adults that are age 50 and over. Gruenhagen has been playing the ukulele for approximately five years and has taught people of all ages. Along with other basics she will be teaching how to hold and tune the ukulele as well as how to balance playing within the group regardless of experience level. “Music makes you think. Music is thinking in sound. You are thinking about fingerings, chords, playing in tune, and balancing your sound with others. While playing ukulele, you are strumming to the pulse and might also be singing, coordinating all of these things at once. Actively making music strengthens muscles and can help build memory,” Gruenhagen says. The purpose of this program is to learn new musical skills as well as have fun. Ukulele is relatively easy to learn, only one or two fingers are required for some chords, and it is small and lightweight, according to Gruenhagen. Learning an instrument later in life…


Bach expert to help prep BGSU musicians for Passion

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Renowned Bach expert and premier lyric tenor Dr. Christopher M. Cock will share his knowledge and love of the composer with students in the College of Musical Arts and local audiences March 13-15 as the 2017 Helen McMaster Endowed Professor in Vocal and Choral Studies at Bowling Green State University. Cock holds the Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Lutheran Music at Valparaiso University and is director of its Bach Institute. During his residency, he will give a public lecture and work with the BGSU Collegiate Chorale, voice and conducting students and the Early Music Ensemble as they prepare to perform Bach’s “St. John Passion” in April during the Easter season. All events and activities are free and open to the public. Cock will discuss his life’s work in a public presentation titled “J.S. Bach and the St. John Passion: A Lifelong Pursuit” at 10:30 a.m. March 14 in 1040 Moore Musical Arts Center. In addition, audiences may hear the ensembles in performance, beginning with the Early Music Ensemble with soloists at 8 p.m. March 13 in the First United Methodist Church, 1526 E. Wooster St. in Bowling Green. On March 14, he will lead the University Choral Society at 7:30 p.m. in 1040 Moore Musical Arts Center. On March 15, he will again lead the Early Music Ensemble with soloists, at 8 p.m. in the First United Methodist Church. His visit will also include a voice master class and work with undergraduate choral conducting students. Through his activities as a choral music educator and distinguished solo artist, Cock has forged a unique career path…


TJO to beat the drums in memory of Roger Schupp

The Toledo Jazz Orchestra will bring on the drummers to pay tribute to one of their own. The big band will present Drums and Drummers, a concert dedicated to Roger Schupp, the long-time TJO drummer who died in December, 2015, Saturday, March 11, at 8 p.m. at the Valentine Theatre in Toledo. Tickets are $25 and $35 from the Valentine box office at 419-242-2787 or order online at valentinetheatre.com. Ron Kischuk said that the TJO wanted to wait to plan its tribute to Schupp until after Bowling Green State University, where Schupp was a percussion professor, did their tribute concert. Kischuk said he’d encountered Schupp over the years, but the two first worked regularly when Kischuk became leader of the jazz orchestra after it re-formed seven years ago. He liked working with Schupp so much, he brought him to Detroit to record with his own groups. “What made Roger such a special player was his never ending appetite for becoming better at what he did,” Kischuk said. “He had such a joy to learn about all types of music and to excel at all types of music.”   Schupp performed at such “a high level all the time it almost became something sadly that’s taken for granted.” Given that Schupp so enjoyed the camaraderie of other drummers the theme seemed appropriate. The concert will feature three drummers during the concert. Tommy Igoe leads large ensembles on two coasts, the Birdland Big Band in New York City and the Tommy Igoe Groove Conspiracy in San Francisco. He’s also author of top drum instructional books. That dedication to both teaching and performance…


Music rings out up & down BG’s Main Street

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Music brought people together in downtown Bowling Green Friday night. On South Main Street more than 100 people gathered at Grounds for Thought for “Singing for Our Lives: Empowering the People through Song” a protest song singalong led by three of the four members of the Grande Royale Ukulelists of the Black Swamp. A couple blocks north more than 100 people celebrated the ageless power of rock ‘n’ roll with The Welders, who for more than 30 years have been staging a spring break show at Howard’s Club H. Mary Jane Saunders, co-pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, opened “Singing for Our Lives” at Grounds by explaining her rationale for suggesting the event. Many are feeling stressed and uncomfortable in the current political climate, she said. That’s been expressed in several rallies, most held in the green space next to the Presbyterian Church.             The sing-along of classic songs was offered as an occasion “to have fun together” while not forgetting the cause that has united so many in the community. “Music has the power to empower and to energize us,” she said. Pop music historian Ken Bielen gave a brief introduction to protest music, much of it by simply quoting memorable lines. He recalled that it was gospel singer Mahalia Jackson who urged Martin Luther King Jr. to deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech. “When people get together in the right combination, history is made.” He then recalled Country Joe McDonald’s admonition to the throngs at Woodstock singing along to “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die…


Contemporary music is at center stage at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When the New Music Gathering arrives at Bowling Green State University next May 11-13, it will be further confirmation that the College of Musical Arts has become a Midwestern center of contemporary music. That reputation is grounded in the New Music Festival, which started in 1980 and staged every October. The university is also one of only two that offers a doctorate with a specialty in contemporary music. That gives it a foothold with the younger generation of performers, composers and impresarios A series of performances by visiting and resident performers in the past week has demonstrated the extent to which contemporary music has been infused into the culture of the College of Musical Arts. A series of in-house concerts this week further elaborates on the theme. This activity testifies to contemporary music’s place at center stage at BGSU. The opening act for this un-festival was the biggest name, Roomful of Teeth. The voice ensemble arrived Wednesday as the guest artist for the Dorothy E. and DuWayne H. Hansen series. The ensemble has won a Grammy, and its signature piece “Partita for 8 Voices,” composed by one of its members Caroline Shaw, won a Pulitzer. The ensemble was the epitome how the Hansens envisioned for the series. They want to bring inspirational artists to campus to share their skills and artistic philosophies with students and the broader community. The ensemble worked with students on campus and made an appearance at Bowling Green High School, sharing the joy and immediacy of new music wherever they went. At a master class for voice students, ensemble members…


Quince’s advocacy for a place in new music for female voices bears fruit

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For three members of Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, the concert on Monday at Bowling Green State University is a homecoming. The ensemble got its start here when three members met. Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, Liz Pearse and Kayleigh Butcher studied with Jane Schoonmaker Rodgers in the College of Musical Arts as graduate students. Carrie Henneman Shaw is the fourth member of the ensemble. Fittingly their concert will be devoted to a single work “Love fail” by David Lang. They met the composer when he visited BGSU as the guest composer at the New Music Festival on campus.in 2011. The free Music on the Forefront concert will be Monday, Feb. 27, in Bryan Recital Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center. The hour-long piece is more than four women singing. They break into duos and trios, said Kayleigh Butcher, and each has a solo. They also are called on to play percussion and she even blows on  a conch shell. “Love fail,” was originally written for the early music group Anonymous 4. Since that venerable ensemble has retired, “we’ve taken up the reins,” Butcher said. The piece with text written by Lydia Davis revisits the myth of doomed lovers Tristan and Isolde. This will be a concert version of the piece, though Quince traveled with Lang to the Kody Festival in Lublin Poland last year to perform a theatrical production. “Love fail” is a haunting, spacious piece full of resonant dissonances and echoes of ancient chant. “Love fail” is one of the rare pieces for women’s voices in contemporary music. The desire to promote chamber music…


Soloists & orchestra are up to the task of challenging concerto concert program

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The soloists in Saturday’s concerto competition didn’t make it easy for their fellow students in The Bowling Green Philharmonia. Flutist Kenneth Cox said the orchestra parts have more notes than his solo part. And the solo part in Joan Tower’s Flute Concerto has plenty of notes jammed into its measures. Cox, who studies in the Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts doctorate in contemporary music program, executes them with aplomb with the orchestra keeping pace. Michelle Whitmore said she’s heard from some orchestra members about some of the unusual sounds the score of her piece requires of them. But that’s what they should expect when the piece is John Corigliano’s “The Pied Piper Fantasy,” and they get to be the rats. Whitmore gets to make her entrance strolling through the orchestra. The program is no stroll in the park for the orchestra. Emily Freeman Brown said this was the most difficult concerto concert set the Philharmonia has tackled. And they’ve risen to the challenge. Tonight (Saturday, Feb. 25) at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center on the Bowling Green State University campus the Philharmonia will perform with the four winners of last December’ 50th Competition in Musical performance. Tickets are $10. Beside Cox and Whitmore, those performing will be junior Stephen Dubetz on clarinet performing Stephen Hartke’s Clarinet Concerto “Landscape in Blue” and graduate student Peisi Luo soloing on Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto for left hand. Each earned the honor of soloing with the orchestra by coming out on top of competition with 69 of the best musicians…