BGSU College of Musical Arts

Band director from Stoneman Douglas High talks about the healing power of music

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Last Valentine’s Day, the Douglas Stoneman High School Wind Symphony was rehearsing Vaclav Nelhybel’s “Symphonic Movement” when the killing started. A gunman had entered the ninth grade building across from the band room and was shooting. The code red lockdown was in place. The band students put away their instruments, left the music on their stands, and guided by the SWAT team left the building. Before that moment, what the band had on its mind was performing that piece in just a few weeks in Carnegie Hall during the New York Wind Band Festival. Now an expelled student had returned to the Parkland, Florida school and killed 17 staff and students, including two involved in the band program. The music stopped, but not for long. Alex Kaminsky, the band director at Douglas Stoneman High, visited Bowling Green State University Thursday to talk about his experience in the aftermath of the tragedy and to hear the premier performance of a composition written in response to the attack. In the afternoon, he spoke with the students in Lisa Martin’s Band Methods class. Bruce Moss, the director of band activities, arranged the visit. He called Kaminsky one of the best high school band directors in the country. While most directors would be happy to be asked to perform at the prestigious Midwest Clinic once, Kaminsky will be bringing the Stoneman Douglas Band there for his fourth appearance, an engagement secured before the shooting. Moss noted Kaminsky has taken bands from three different schools to the clinic. On Thursday Kaminsky told the class of future band directors that the day after the shooting, his pastor told him: “‘None of us understand this. … You are here for such a time as this.’” That statement weighed on Kaminsky. “I realized at that moment that everything I did or would do would affect the trajectory of the students with whom I had been entrusted. …  My role in their lives has been heightened to a level I’d never had to experience in the past.”  Among the victims were two ninth graders Alex Schachter, 14, a trombonist, and Gina Montalto, 14, a member of the color guard. Kaminsky’s son, Ethan, also a ninth grader, was not in the building where the shooting occurred. A trumpet player, he was the only freshman in the elite Wind Symphony. So he was with his…


Band director from Stoneman Douglas High School to visit BGSU

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Alex Kaminsky, the band director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, will visit Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts Nov. 29-30. The high school is the site of a February 2018 shooting, which left 17 dead and more than 15 wounded. Kaminsky uses music therapy to help people heal from this tragedy. Kaminsky’s visit will include four events open to the public, beginning with a talk at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 29 in 1002 Moore Musical Arts Center. At 4 p.m., he will speak with members of the Falcon Marching Band and the Ohio Student Collegiate Music Educators Association Chapter in the Kelly Rehearsal Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center. At 8 p.m. Nov. 29, the BGSU Concert Band will premiere a work written in honor of the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Kobacker Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center. Tickets are $3 for students/children, $7 for adults in advance and $10 all tickets, day of the performance. BGSU students get in free with their ID. Tickets are available at BGSU.edu/Arts. Dr. Katherine Meizel, an associate professor of musicology in the College of Musical Arts, will interview Kaminsky at 9 p.m. Nov. 29 in Kobacker Hall in a talk-back session. Meizel recently helped release an album of young people singing their songs about the impact of gun violence and the need for change. The songs are part of an album called “Raise Your Voice: The Sound of Student Protest.”


SPLICE Ensemble brings heart & soul to electroacoustic music

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Even music that relies on circuitry needs the human touch.  “It’s really that live concert that can make music live and breathe and survive the test of time,” said Keith Kirchoff, of the SPLICE Ensemble. “It’s the performer that’s going to take this music into the next generation.  We still need to go to concerts, and it’s this concert experience that’s driven by a compelling performer … that makes it an immediately relatable art form.” The SPLICE Ensemble will headline the SPLICE Festival  this week at Bowling Green State University. The festival convenes Thursday, Nov. 8 on the Bowling Green State University, and continues through Saturday, Nov. 10. SPLICE will perform a free concert on the last night at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall. The festival is devoted to electroacoustic music. Kirchoff defines electroacoustic music as classical music using electronics that’s “designed for the concert stage, for concentrated listening, intentional listening as opposed to being in the background or for dancing.” The festival, Kirchoff said, is a mix of performances and workshops. “We wanted to create a ground where  the education is an intrinsic part of the festival.” The festival is one branch of the umbrella SPLICE organization. It started as a one-week summer institute, branched out into the festival, and soon will have an academy program. The ensemble grew out of the institute, Kirchoff said. SPLICE was launched about five years ago by composer Christopher Biggs and Kirchoff, a pianist. “I felt there weren’t very many, if any, opportunities for performers to become comfortable integrating electronics into their performances,” Kirchoff said. The ensemble is an outgrowth of the festival. Kirchoff and Biggs  “wanted to have a performance faculty that was really good at their instruments and really good at electronics.” That, Kirchoff said, turned out to be himself, Kirchoff and fellow institute faculty, Adam Vidiksis, percussion, and  Sam Wells, trumpet.  “We really enjoyed working together,” the pianist said. They realized that they had a distinctive sound. Only one composition existed for their particular instrumentation.They set about soliciting composers to write for them. That process was facilitated by the institute and the festival. The SPLICE Festival is in its second year. Last year it was presented at Western Michigan University where Biggs teaches. Bringing it to BGSU was a natural. Elainie Lillios, of the BGSU composition faculty, teaches at the SPLICE Institute. She’s been “the…


‘Most Happy Fella’ at BGSU is a most wonderful show

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Frank Loesser’s “The Most Happy Fella” is a tricky devil of a musical. Or is it an opera? Loesser said it was a musical, and yet it is filled with soaring operatic moments to go along with the toe-tapping numbers.  The Bowling Green Opera Theatre has the talent to do justice to both genres. That will be on display this weekend when “The Most Happy Fella” is performed Friday, Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 4 at 3 p.m. in Kobacker Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center at Bowling Green State University. For tickets click here. .Directed by Geoffrey Stephenson, the musical compresses the original three acts into two with the elimination of dance numbers. That puts the focus even more on the singing, and the cast comes through, which is no surprise to anyone who follows the sounds emanating from the College of Musical Arts. Leading the cast are Caroline Kouma as Rosabella and Nick Kottman as Tony.  They are an unlikely pair of lovers. The elderly vineyard owner sees her waiting table in a restaurant in San Francisco and falls in love. He leaves a note and keepsake indicating he’d like to develop a relationship. They correspond, and when she asks for a photo he’s afraid she’ll reject him because of his age, instead he sends a photo of the handsome itinerant foreman Joe (Luke Serrano). And when Rosabella — the name given her by Tony — finally  arrives at the Napa Valley vineyard, she finds the wedding feast all spread out and Joe waiting for her. Only then do Joe and Rosabella discover the deception. But not before a couple of the exuberant production numbers that make the show so enjoyable. This leads up the revelation that takes both Joe and Rosabella by surprised. She’s about to leave, despite Joe’s protestations that Tony may be a “grampa,” he’s a nice guy as shown by all his friends gathered to greet his bride. Then Tony arrives, on a stretcher, after his truck overturned. Knowing she has few options in life, Rosabella goes through what may be a deathbed wedding anyway, only to follow it up with an intimate indiscretion with Joe. Rosabella is at a loss and Joe only wants to help, yet they are carried away on waves of emotional confusion. Now in most musicals the old guy,…


BGSU professor helps young people find their voice to protest gun violence

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Young people singing their original songs about the impact of gun violence and the desperate need for a change took the stage at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco recently. Their songs and others’ are part of a new album called “Raise Your Voice: The Sound of Student Protest.” The 11 tracks came from students across the United States, performing as soloists or in groups, from hip-hop to rock to spoken word to voice and piano. They are united in their insistence that gun violence has to stop. The impetus for the album came from Dr. Katherine Meizel, an associate professor of musicology in the Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts. With the help of the Little Village Foundation, she found a way to preserve those voices and share the students’ message. “The project has two goals: to encourage young people to vote and to raise money for gun safety,” Meizel said. Proceeds from the album will be donated to the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety organization, which works to end gun violence, create safer communities and assist victims of gun violence. “Raise Your Voice: The Sound of Student Protest” is available at Grounds For Thought, for a discounted price of $16.50. For each album sold, $15 will go to Everytown for Gun Safety (https://everytown.org). The album is available for download and streaming on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify and Google Play. “It’s important for young people to feel they can make a difference, and these students are demonstrating that in a really powerful, beautiful way,” Meizel said. “One of the reasons I’m so impressed with this movement is that they don’t imagine they can’t make a difference; it’s absolutely clear to them they can make a difference, and they are doing it. They don’t sit back and say, ‘My voice doesn’t count.’ They are making it count. “The students have different ideas about what reform should look like, but they all want to be safe in school and they all want to help heal people who have been harmed. They want to tell their representatives to care more about young people than about the gun lobby. Some want to tell policymakers they will soon be able to vote and will be making an impact politically. The want to encourage other young people to use their voices the way they have, and vote.” Last spring, as…


For Matt Wilson, music is about more than making sounds on his drums

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Matt Wilson is in the middle of it all. And the  jazz drummer and composer wouldn’t have it any other way. As much as the music, he said in a recent telephone interview, he was drawn to the jazz community. Wilson remembers as a teen going to festivals and watching in awe at the interaction among the performers. “I just saw the way players greeted each other … how they talked and showed their love and asked about families. I’d sit and see that from a cloud. Now I’m part of it. I love the social aspect.” The 54-year-old musician has gone on to play and teach with many of those he first admired, and he also passes that sense of community on to a new generation, not just as a teacher but as a fellow musician. Now he’s sometimes the oldest musician on the stage. This week Wilson will interact with the students at Bowling Green State University during a four-day residency. His visit will culminate in a performance with the jazz faculty and the Jazz Lab bands  at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall. Tickets in advance are $7 and $3 for students from bgsu.edu/arts or by calling 419-372-8171. All tickets are $10 the day of the performance. Wilson said his mother attributes his playing drums to his childhood. He was born with a clubfoot. Because of the treatment to correct the problem, he couldn’t run around. He’d be seated in one place with toys around him, like a drum set. And he used his imagination to find new ways to play with his toys. That approach to drums have earned him the respect of his peers. In 2017 he was named Musician of the Year by the Jazz Journalist Association.  His parents played a lot of music, not necessarily jazz, but instrumental music. Then he saw Buddy Rich on an episode of “The Lucy Show” in the 1970s, and he was hooked. “I liked the  look. I liked the energy,” he said. “I liked the way to brought people together.” Wilson started learning drums on his own. When he did start taking lessons, he found a teacher who was more interested in teaching music rather than just the rudiments of drumming. So when he was showing Wilson a bossa nova beat, the teacher would play along on bass. Budget cuts had taken…


Library piano recital showcases the top talent from BGSU College of Musical Arts

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Entering her senior year as a piano performance major, Yuefeng Liu has a lot on her agenda. That includes preparing for the next stage of her career — auditioning for graduate programs. On Monday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m.  she’ll take time to join six fellow Bowling Green State University Piano students to perform a free public recital in the Wood County District Public Library’s atrium. The program will include music by Beethoven, Chopin, Bach, Rachmaninoff, and Carl Vine. Liu, a student of Laura Melton, will perform two movements from Beethoven’s sonata in F minor, the “Appassionata.” That piece will be part of her audition repertoire. These recitals, said fellow pianist Hanqiu Xu, who also studies with Melton and has performed at the library in the past, tend to be more relaxed than those on campus. “It’s more enjoyable,” she said, and that can lead to a more expressive playing. Pianist Zhanglin Hu, a student of Robert Satterlee, feels the same way. But it doesn’t matter the venue or the audience. The goal is always to make beautiful music, he said. Solungga Liu, professor of piano at BGSU, said that though the students may feel more relaxed, it does not mean they and their teachers take these concerts, which happen several times over the year, lightly. Rather they take the library recitals very seriously and prepare diligently for them, she said.  “The selection (of performers) is very strict.” Only the most prepared students are selected to perform. “We only want the best. This is good exposure for the college,” Solungga Liu said. While the recitals have occasionally had themes, that’s only been by happenstance. The pieces are selected by the faculty members based on what the students have best prepared.  “The library is the most ideal environment outside the College of Musical Arts,” Professor Liu said.  “The audience is receptive and always very attentive. It’s very encouraging for the students. We need a venue like that. It makes students leave their comfort zone and have an opportunity to perform for a completely different group of people.” While there are familiar faces in the audience, she said, “there’s some new faces as well and more kids, and they stay quiet the whole time. It’s very nice.” Xu said at the library the performers also introduce their pieces, telling a bit about themselves and sharing background…


BG Philharmonia opens 100th anniversary season

From BGSU COLLEGE OF MUSICAL ARTS One hundred is a notable anniversary, and the BG Philharmonia is celebrating this important milestone with a year of special events during 2018-19. Large concerts in December and May in Kobacker Hall are the premier events, and every concert throughout the season will feature something special. Under the direction of Dr. Emily Freeman Brown, the Philharmonia will welcome back alumni members and host guest artists. Talented young musicians from BGSU and local schools will join in some of the performances. And four performances will feature a “birthday” composition — three in the fall and one in the spring. “This is the beginning of a great year,” said Brown, director of orchestral activities. “I have a terrific group of freshmen and new people. The spirit, the mood, the enthusiasm and the energy are incredible.” The Dec. 2 gala concert will feature the return of Bowling Green native Zachary DePue, a well-known violinist who is part of a musical BGSU family. His visit holds special meaning for Brown, who was his conductor when he became the winner of the Young Artist Competition as a Bowling Green High School student. The centennial concert features DePue in Shostakovich’s “Violin Concerto No. 1” and Stravinsky’s “Petrouchka.” Brown is also enthusiastically anticipating Bowling Green Opera Theater’s production of Handel’s “Semele” in April. Audiences will have the opportunity to see this infrequently performed work, accompanied by the Camerata di Campo di Bocce, the elite chamber group of the Philharmonia. “It’s a challenging piece and the music is so fantastic and so exciting,” she said. “It’s just out of this world.” The year culminates May 5 with the 100th anniversary concert and alumni gathering featuring Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, with all five University choirs and guest soloists. Advance tickets for the concerts are $3 for students and $7 for adults. All tickets the day of the performance are $10. Tickets are available online at bgsu.edu/arts or by calling 419-372-8171. As an added touch, each concert during the year will have its own concert program highlighting aspects of the Philharmonia, with photos, testimonials, past program notes and stories about the conductors. For the first performance, Brown sets the stage with an extensive history and timeline of the orchestra, aided by the program from the 75th anniversary season written by Lee Anne Snook and by Dr. Vincent Corrigan’s “100 Years of Music at Bowling Green…


Deeply moving ‘Considering Matthew Shepard’ leaves BGSU audience at a loss for applause

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News “Considering Matthew Shepard” ended in silence. A packed Kobacker Hall went quiet as the C-triad softly hummed by the members of the vocal ensemble Conspirare and the 100 singers filling the mezzanine faded out. At first it seemed the usual pause at the end of a concert. But the silence extended in length, and somehow increased in depth. The conductor-composer Craig Hella Johnson stood in front of the stage head bowed. Silence. Then his head rose and his gestured to the performers on stage. The audience erupted. The applause rapturous, as loud as the previous moments were soft. On their feet, the audience called the ensemble out for three curtain calls. The applause did not so much break the silence as let loose the emotions it contained. The listeners and performers had for the past 100 minutes lived the story of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man beaten and left for dead in October 1998 outside of Laramie, Wyoming. When he died several days later he became an icon for those who opposed hate crimes and longed for greater tolerance.  The oratorio was performed Monday by Conspirare at Bowling Green State University. When, a few minutes after the performance ended, about 150 members of the audience assembled in Bryan Recital Hall, members of the panel who were there to discuss the work and the meaning of Matthew Shepard, said it was hard to speak about the experience. Katie Stygles, assistant director for Diversity Education and LGBTQ+ Programs at Bowling Green State University, said she was still processing the experience. “I still have tears flowing over. It’s just so beautiful.” She sees the students she serves in Matthew Shepard. Susana Pena, director, School of Cultural and Critical Studies, said that when the news of Shepard’s death came, the nation had reached a point where it was open to hearing this tragic story, and acting on it. Olivia Behm, a graduate student, said she grew up in the world shaped by Shepard’s death. “Considering Matthew Shepard,” she said, was more than research into the facts, but allowed her to be emotionally absorbed in the story. The oratorio had plenty of facts, drawn from court documents and news reports. It included Shepard’s own words from journals and childhood jottings. It also had long passages of reflection. Johnson composed the piece over a long period of time, drawing…


Dietz finds a place among the masters on Toledo Symphony program

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Alain Trudel debuts as conductor of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Sept. 21 and 22, (http://bgindependentmedia.org/toledo-symphony-welcomes-trudel-as-music-director-kicks-off-75th-anniversary-season/) he’ll call on some heavy hitters in classical music to help with the introductions. The concerts will open with Beethoven’s iconic Fifth Symphony and its majestic four-note clarion call. The second half will be devoted to the music from Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Swan Lake” with dancers from the Toledo Ballet.  And then tucked in between Beethoven and the intermission will be “Caldera” by Christopher Dietz, a professor of composition at Bowling Green State University. Dietz said he’s delighted to be on the program. “It’s a little weird seeing my name in the middle between those two,” he said. While his fellow composers on the program are represented by mature work, “Caldera” was actually Dietz’ first successful orchestral piece. He composed it in 2004 while he was studying for his doctorate at the University of Michigan. The title means a large volcanic crater, but that came well after the piece was composed Dietz said. “I just wanted to write 11 to 12 minutes of robust, energetic, intense orchestral music.” This was not his first try. “The first one was so big and grotesque and impossible to play,” he said. The second was a chamber symphony that “lacked chutzpah.” “Caldera” hit the Goldilocks spot. The piece has a churning, forward momentum full of sparkling instrumental touches. Every instrument in the orchestra gets a chance to shine. Dietz said in this instance he “had a better sense of what an orchestra can do given the rehearsal time they have.” This is the second time the orchestra will perform “Caldera.” Back in 2007, then Resident Conductor Chelsea Tipton put the piece on a Classics Concert he was leading. Dietz knew Tipton through his wife, Emily Price Dietz, who has played French horn in the orchestra since 2000. Dietz said he showed the piece to the conductor and was surprised he programmed it. “Caldera” resurfaced during conversations between Dietz and the orchestra’s CEO Zak Vassar at the Toledo Symphony Student Composer Reading Sessions. Dietz initiated that program when he came to BGSU in 2010.  Vassar was interested in having a new orchestral work from the composer, and that was arranged, and will be performed next season by the symphony. Dietz, 41, on sabbatical is now working on the piece at his home in Perrysburg…


Former students to gather to honor legacy of late BGSU band director Mark Kelly

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATION They called him “The Chief,” and at 10:30 a.m. June 23, 101 of his former students will play at Bowling Green State University’s Kobacker Hall in his memory. Mark Kelly, who directed the BGSU bands from 1966 to 1994, died in November 2017 at the age of 91. The BGSU College of Musical Arts will host the memorial service Saturday. His daughter, Karen Kelly, brought together dozens of alumni and former students of her father to perform together as a band at the service. Capt. Ryan Nowlin, assistant director of the “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band, will conduct the band during its performance. Karen Kelly ’75, ’82 is touched that so many alumni are coming back to the University to pay their respects to her father. “It speaks to the interest Dad maintained in the life and careers of the students, whether they continued in music, or completely different careers, away from music,” said Kelly, who was the band director at Van Wert (Ohio) High School for 34 years. “Outside of music, the careers included Air Force pilots, business entrepreneurs and scientists. His leadership was not music education specific.” Before Mark Kelly came to BGSU, he taught high school band at his alma mater in Centerville, Iowa, for several years. Three of his students from that time period will play in the memorial concert. Others are traveling from Washington D.C., Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire and Texas. Alumni performing Saturday include Lisa Welling Baker ’84, flute, a retired Shelby (Ohio) High School band director whose daughter is a twirler with the Falcon Marching Band; George Edge ’79, oboe, retired Grove City (Ohio) band director; Roger Kantner ’88, bassoon retired member of “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band; Patty Ruckman ’90, clarinet, New Bremen (Ohio) choirs; Stan George ’80, alto sax, Perrysburg (Ohio) Schools; Ray Novak ’83, trumpet, retired (Toledo) Whitmer High School band director; Amy Horn ’89, French horn, retired member of “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band; Dale Laukhuf ’67, trombone, retired Bath (Ohio) Local Schools; and Jeff Macomber ’75, euphonium, Missouri State Southern University. “To say that Mark Kelly made a meaningful contribution to BGSU as director of bands is an understatement,” said William B. Mathis, College of Musical Arts dean. “His influence and legacy is felt in the College of Musical Arts every day as students rehearse in…


Solungga Liu performs musical treasures at Mother’s Day recital at Toledo Museum

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Solungga Liu remembers the day well. A hot, rainy afternoon in her native Taiwan, and she was bored. So she randomly pulled a score from the shelf in her studio. It was the music of Charles Tomlinson Griffes. She did not know his work much beyond his piece “The White Peacock.” She sat at her piano and began to sight-read through the music. She played through the entire book. “Right at that moment I couldn’t stop,” she remembers. “I fell in love with his works.” That passion for the music of Griffes, whose work sits at the intersection of Romanticism and Impressionism, will be on display Sunday at 3 p.m. when Liu performs a Great Performances recital in the Toledo Museum of Art’s Great Gallery. The program will include Griffes’ transcription of “Les Parfums de la nuit,” the second movement of Ravel’s orchestral piece “Iberia,” a piece she premiered after its discovery. Music by Cesar Franck and Amy Beach, another little appreciated American composer, will also be on the program. Two years after Liu’s discovery of Griffes’ music, she recorded “The Pleasure-Dome of Kubla Khan: The Piano Works of Charles Tomlinson Griffes” on Centaur Records. By that time Liu had joined the faculty of the College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University. The Toledo concert will be similar to the one she presented last November at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. It was there that the Debussy transcription had been discovered. Liu said that Griffes, who was born in Elmira, NY, had studied for four years in Berlin. He heard an early performance of Debussy’s “Iberia.” He was so taken with the piece, that he faithfully transcribed its intricacies for solo piano. Back in the United States he taught music at the high school in Tarrytown, NY, a job he hated. But it did give him access to New York City. He traveled to the offices of the publisher G. Schirmer, and played his transcription for two people there. That was, Liu said, the only public performance of the work. Copyright issues seemed to have scuttled hopes for publication, and the manuscript disappeared. Griffes seemed on the verge of a professional breakthrough when he died at 35. Griffes scholars, Liu said, assumed the manuscript was lost. Then in 2016 it turned up in the vast archives of the Library of…


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….


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…


Composer Maria Schneider BGSU Jazz Week guest artist

From  BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Composer and band leader Maria Schneider will conduct and teach at Bowling Green State University March 28-30 as the 2018 Hansen Musical Arts Series guest artist. Schneider’s music has been hailed by critics as “evocative, majestic, magical, heart-stoppingly gorgeous, and beyond categorization.” She and her orchestra became widely known starting in 1994 when they released their first recording, “Evanescence.” There, Schneider began to develop her personal way of writing for what would become her 18-member collective, made up of many of the finest musicians in jazz today, tailoring her compositions to distinctly highlight the uniquely creative voices of the group. The Maria Schneider Orchestra has performed at festivals and concert halls worldwide. She has received numerous commissions and guest-conducting invitations, working with more than 85 groups from more than 30 countries. At BGSU, Schneider will conduct the Jazz Lab Band I as it performs her music at 8 p.m. March 30 in Kobacker Hall. Her residency activities include a question-and-answer session at 3:45 p.m. and a composition master class at 5:15 p.m. March 29, and a digital rights/music business master class at 2:30 p.m. March 30. All events are in Kobacker Hall and are free and open to the public. Schneider’s music blurs the lines between genres, making her long list of commissioners quite varied, stretching from Jazz at Lincoln Center, to The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, to collaborations with the late David Bowie. She is among a small few to have received Grammys in multiple genres, including both the jazz and classical categories, as well as for her work with Bowie. Her recent collaboration with her orchestra and Bowie resulted in his single called “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime),” and brought her a 2016 Grammy (Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals). Schneider and her orchestra also received a 2016 Grammy for their latest work, “The Thompson Fields” (Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album). Her distinguished recording career with the orchestra has earned them 12 Grammy nominations and five Grammy awards. Unique funding of projects has become a hallmark for Schneider through the trend-setting company, ArtistShare. Her 2004 album, “Concert in the Garden,” became historic as the first recording to win a Grammy with internet-only sales. Even more significantly, it blazed the “crowd-funding” trail as ArtistShare’s first release. She’s been awarded many honors by the Jazz Journalists Association and Downbeat and JazzTimes critics and readers polls. In 2012, her alma mater, the University of Minnesota, presented Schneider with an honorary doctorate, and…