Bowling Green State University Arts

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 their toll on his school’s music program. It had a band, but no jazz ensemble. He and his brother, a saxophonist, would by sheet music and play duets. They’d play for 4-H and PTA meetings, complete with some comedic schtick.  “I had to go in the community,” Wilson said. “I was around older musicians who gave me really great guidance.” Staring in his early teens he worked a number of jobs at weddings and dances. Once he was playing with a pianist at a nursing home. After the tune she asked: “We were playing ‘Sweet Georgia Brown.’ What were you doing?” Playing a solo, he said, taken aback. “I knew I had to play the song like everyone else.” Performing in a rock band that played original material taught him how to come up with drum parts when he didn’t have a recording as a model. Though he grew up…


Jazz guitarist to share his passion for music at BGSU Orchard Guitar Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News  When jazz guitarist Mike Stern stumbled on a sidewalk in New York City on July 3, 2016, and fell and broke both his arms, that seemed bad enough. Then five days later before he was to go in for surgery he developed nerve damage in his right hand. Then, he admits, he panicked. “It was amazingly scary because I love to play so much,” he said in a recent telephone interview. So much of his life is revolves around playing the guitar. More than his career, it’s his passion. So in a way he didn’t have a choice but to address the problem. “I settled down and figured it out.” Stern found a specialist who could treat him, and he devoted all his energy to recovering. Within several months he was back performing. That required adjustments. He used wig glue to affix his pick to his finger. He learned that trick from a drummer who lost most of the joints in his hands from burns when he was a child. “I always encourage students to keep going,” Stern said. Stern will be visiting Bowling Green State University, where he last played in winter, 2014, on Saturday, Sept. 29,  on the second day of the two-day Orchard Guitar Festival http://bgindependentmedia.org/mike-stern-headlines-orchard-guitar-festival-at-bgsu/. He’ll share that advice, talk about his love of bebop, and more at a master class at 2:30 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall. At 8 p.m. that night he’ll perform with the faculty jazz ensemble in Kobacker Hall. Tickets for the evening concert are $7 and $3 for students in advance from bgsu.edu/arts or 419-372-8171, and $10 the day of the show.  The more someone plays “the closer you get to the music,” Stern, 65, said. Life has no guarantees, he said. “The only guarantee in music is that you’re going to have the music and no one can take it away from you.… You’ll have the music no matter what you have to do to make bread.” But the more someone puts into the music, the more options they have whether that’s performing or teaching. “The most important ingredient,” Stern said, “is you’ve got to water the flowers.” That’s means practicing. Musicians also need to “keep learning new stuff.” Guitar offers a world of new styles and techniques to learn. The instrument has flourished around the world from country music to transcriptions of lute music by Bach. The guitar basics are easy to learn, though mastery is difficult to achieve.  Stern incorporates as much of that into his own work. “When I write I like to put some of those influences in.” He reaches beyond his instrument though. He studies pianists such as Herbie Hancock, and horn players such as Sonny Rollins and Sonny Stitt., and incorporates that into his playing. “It feels natural when I do it. It feels like that’s what I’m meant to do.” More and more Stern brings a vocal element into his music. He encourages his students to sing along with their guitar lines, even inaudibly. “It makes it feel like it comes from the heart.” His new album, “Trip” — the title a darkly humorous reference to his accident — employs those vocal sounds. Sometimes it’s actual voices, sometimes it’s the way Stern uses electronic effects. Recorded after…


Renowned soprano Dawn Upshaw brings a world of vocal artistry to BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Soprano Dawn Upshaw and pianist Gilbert Kalish share an easy rapport. That was evident Sunday night as they performed a recital in Kobacker Hall at Bowling Green State University. They were entertain us, and it seemed each other. As Upshaw would say later, she likes to create a true “chamber” setting for the music “like we’re in a living room rather than a big hall.” When Kalish played a solo piece, “The Alcotts” movement from Charles Ives’ second Piano Sonata,  the singer stayed on stage and listened, enjoying the piece as much as the paying customers. “It’s nice when one can enjoy one’s work,” she said in an interview on Monday. Upshaw, one of the most renowned singers of our time, is on campus through Tuesday. Her Helen McMaster Endowed Professorship in Vocal and Choral Studies residency started Sunday with the evening recital, and continues through today (March 20) with a question and answer session at 1 p.m. in the Conrad Choral Room in the Wolfe Center, followed by a master class at 2:15 p.m. She now heads the vocal arts program at Bard Conservatory in the Hudson River Valley, where she lives. “I’m very focused on that.” That’s one of the reasons that Upshaw has cut back on her performing schedule. “I feel like it’s been great for my voice I don’t find I get vocally fatigued as when I was at the peak. “I would love for my life to be a little simpler at this point,” she said. Anyone who has been at their profession for as long as she has will want to change. Her career dates backs to 1984 when she was a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Young Artist development program. She went on to perform in 300 productions. In 1992 she was the soloist in the landmark recording of Hendrik Gorecki’s “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs,” the rare contemporary music recording that sold millions. She’s won five Grammy Awards, most recently for “Winter Morning Walks,” a collaboration with composer Maria Schneider, who coincidentally will be in residence at BGSU next week. As a teacher Upshaw said she emphasizes “a greater awareness of all the tools we have and how we use those tools to really connect with the music and what we think the music is really trying to say. I think finding the core meaning and being able to share that is of great importance.” Vocalists must find “our core sound that is uniquely you.” “I’m not sure we have much choice of what our sound is,” she said. “What we have to find is the depth. That’s one’s own private work. Teachers help to find routes to it. It takes … listening to your voice and your body and using your body without tension.” Working with soprano Alissa Plenzler in Monday afternoon’s master class, Upshaw encouraged the graduate student to work on the vowels in the French song she was performing. That was one way for her to find her core voice. Upshaw told the master class that French was a language she had difficulty mastering, yet she ended up singing a great deal in French. On Sunday night’s recital, much of the program was in English. She did open with five German songs by Franz…


Conrad competition brings out the best in BGSU singers

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The audience at the Conrad Art Song Competition finals Saturday night did a good job following instructions to hold their applause until the performers had completed all their songs. Holding their laughter was another matter. Several of the competitors offered up light hearted songs, and even if they were in a foreign language they managed in their gestures and facial expressions to draw a reaction. Soprano Caroline Kouma enlivened her performance of Leo Deliebes’ “Les filles de Cadix” with a coquettish manner. Pianist Rhys Burgess served as her musical straight man, punctuating her acting. That kind of interplay won the duo first place in the graduate division of the 19th Conrad competition. Winners in the undergraduate division were baritone Luke Serrano and pianist Yuefeng Liu. The event was created with a gift two decades ago by Conrad, a local doctor who resumed her vocal studies later in life. She passed away at 92 in 2014. Her spirit lives on through the competition, said Christopher Scholl, who coordinates the event. “She would be extremely proud of you tonight,” Scholl told the performers Saturday. Dean Southern, a vocal coach from the Cleveland Institute of Music, was one of the three outside professionals adjudicating the performances. BGSU “should be very proud,” of the competition, he said. “It’s definitely unusual and unique and to be celebrated.” Southern said he was impressed by the emphasis on the singer and pianist as a team, not just a singer with a pianist assisting. “That’s part of my DNA,” he said, noting that he studied piano before turning to voice. “The song will never be complete if those two parts are not there together.” Southern was also impressed that the duos were required to perform at least one song by a living composer. “That’s really important.” Adam O’Dell, who recently received his master’s in composition from BGSU, agreed. As an undergraduate, he said, the vocalists focused on Mozart, Schumann, and the like. But at BGSU he could have a singer, Luke Schmidt, perform his song “There Will Be Rest” in a showcase event. Singers are required to perform six songs, at least one each in German, French, Italian, and English with no more than two in English. During the preliminary round held during the day Saturday, Kouma, a student of Sujin Lee, performed a piece in Icelandic. She loves languages. Between her undergraduate work at Nebraska Wesleyan University and her graduate studies at BGSU, she served in the Peace Corps in Azerbaijan. She learned enough of Azerbaijan to be conversant. “It was the first time I learned a language so I could live in,” she said. It is like being a different person. “I like singing in different language and be able to step into that perspective.” A trip to Iceland several summers ago inspired her selection of Jon Asgeirsson’s song. While there she learned a couple pieces working with vocal coach. “It’s interesting music,” she said. “There’s a strain of melancholy even in the happiest songs, and the language is absolutely stunning.” Whether English or Icelandic, Burgess said as an accompanist, it’s important for him to know the words.  He wants to know how they sound, what syllables he needs to highlight in his playing. He loves working with a singer….


Winners crowned in Competitions in Musical Performance at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Last week 87 students from the College of Musical Arts each had their eight minutes in the spotlight to vie for a chance to perform as a soloist with the Bowling Green Philharmonia. The instrumentalists and vocalists were part of the largest field ever for the Competitions in Musical Performance at Bowling Green State University, said  Caroline Chin, who teaches violin at the school and coordinated the event this year. In the preliminaries, the students performed for a panel of five outside judges. On Saturday, the eight finalists, four each in the undergraduate and graduate divisions, returned for a full reading of their selections, for a new panel of six judges. Those selected to perform on the Feb. 25 concert with the orchestra are: undergraduates Andrew Hosler, alto saxophone, and Zhanglin Hu, piano, and graduate students Kyle McConnell, trombone, and Caroline Kouma, soprano. Also, Kory Reeder won the composition award for “The Location of Lines.” The piece will be performed by the Philharmonia in October during the New Music Festival. Rhys Burgess received the Virginia Marks Collaborative Piano Award. Burgess, a student of Laura Melton, performed with three students during the competition and all three were finalists, including Kouma. Chin said the large field of competitors “shows the devotion of the studios to giving their students a lot of experience.” “For the competitors, it is a wonderful experience to learn what it’s like to compete, to figure out how to deal with their nerves. Some students compete every year, and you see a lot of improvement.” The competition offers them a way to prepare for moving on to the next stage of their careers, whether juries for graduate school or auditions. They also benefit, Chin said, from receiving comments from five, or if they make the finals 11, outside judges. While other institutions have assigned pieces, or run the competitions for specific instruments, the BGSU event is open to all instrumentalists and singers, and they can freely select with their teacher what they will perform. “It’s a great opportunity for all students and faculty and BG people to hear such a wide range of instruments and repertoire,” Chin said. “All the students have worked so hard. All got out in the preliminaries and did really well. The faculty and their studio mates were really proud.” In the past several years, contemporary pieces have dominated. While that’s challenging for the orchestra, “they are up to the task,” Chin said. “They always make it work.” Hosler performed a Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Chamber Ensemble by Walter Mays, which his teacher John Sampen commissioned in 1974. Hosler said he saw a video snippet of Sampen playing the piece and asked him if it may be a possibility for him to learn. “He seemed super excited,” Hosler said. “It’s a cool piece.” Hosler is not new to the event. He was a finalist last year. “I like competition because it’s a chance to perform. I like sharing music with an audience.” As it turns out the Mays’ composition will be the sole contemporary piece on the program. Hu will perform one of the warhorse of the piano literature, Beethoven’s “Emperor” concerto. Hu’s teacher, Robert Satterlee, suggested the concerto, and Hu approves. He loves the “grand sound” that…


Library concert offers great piano music from BGSU studios

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Some of the greatest music written for piano will be performed in the atrium of the Wood County Library, Monday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. Performing on the library’s Steinway concert grand will be piano students from the Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts. Masterworks from German and French composers, from J.S. Bach to Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy will be the focus of the program. The performance continues a series of recitals by BGSU piano students, who hail from around the world. “It has been such a pleasure to have our beautiful piano in use,” said Michele Raine, the library’s assistant director. “The students give excellent performances, and I appreciate that they are so willing to share their talents with the community.” Thomas Rosenkranz of the BGSU faculty coordinates the programs. “These kind of community concerts are important for our piano majors because it allows them to get out of campus and share their music with people who might not normally be exposed to classical music,” he said. “Too often in academia, things are quite insulated and these kind of concerts allow for a more real life experience for our piano majors.” The concert will feature 10 pianists performing music by Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Chopin, Debussy and Ravel. College of Musical Arts attracts musicians from around the world. Among those performing on Monday will be Mengqian Lin, from China. Lin is working on a one-year piano performance certificate from BGSU. In selecting a piece to perform at the library, she reflected on hearing a friend play at the venue. She decided to play the first movement of Beethoven’s Sonata, Opus 109. Considering the library’s “beautiful structure” and the piano, she decided “a simple melody line is better than complicated harmony.” She also felt that an audience of community members would “prefer a more beautiful, singable melody. It’s easier to understand it.” Lin came to BGSU this fall after completing a master’s in piano performance at Syracuse University. She’s planning to pursue a doctorate at another school next year, but felt she wanted another year of preparation for her auditions. Lin selected Bowling Green because it seemed such “a calm, small town, very peaceful, very good for practicing and studying,” which is her focus this year. Her teachers at Syracuse also know Rosenkranz from his time there, and highly recommended him. Lin, 25, has been playing piano for 18 years. She recalls when she was in kindergarten, one of her friends started taking piano lessons, and then a neighbor started lessons. “More and more my friends started to play an instrument,” she said. “So I told my mom I was jealous of them. I also want to learn something.” So her mother found a good piano teacher and bought a piano. Young Mengqian was excited … for about the first week. Then she got bored. But her mother kept her practicing. The more she learned about piano, Lin said, the more she wanted to learn. “Every time I got some encouragement from my piano teacher, I felt very satisfied and confident,” she said. “As a teenager, time every time I performed in public successfully, I started to love it more.” Coming to the United States three years ago and learning more about history of the instrument…


BGSU Arts Events through Sept. 12

Through Sept. 14 – “FABRICation” displays the work of seven artists — Erin Castellan, Kristy Deetz, Virginia Derryberry, Reni Gower, Rachel Hayes, Susan Iverson and Natalie Smith — who incorporate elements of fabric and fabrication. Inspired by a rich array of historical textiles (drapery to quilt), these complex, multi-part constructions are encoded by traditional handicraft to contrast our culture’s rampant media consumption with the redemptive nuance of slow work wrought by hand. Whether painting, tapestry or construct, these works interweave sensory pleasure with repetitive process to invoke introspection and reflection. The exhibit is in the Willard Wankelman Gallery at the Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdaythrough Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Through Sept. 16 – Focus Northwest Ohio/Southeast Michigan presents the juried High School Art Show in the Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery at the Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m.Thursdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Aug. 30 – The Faculty Artist Series presents Andrew Pelletier on the horn at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Aug. 31 – Visiting Writer Series will feature American poet Timothy Liu, whose poetry collections include “Bending the Mind Around the Dream’s Blown Fuse” (2009), “For Dust Thou Art” (2005), Publishers Weekly Book of the Year “Of Thee I Sing” (2004), and Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award winner “Vox Angelica” (1992). His reading will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Sept. 5 – Tuesdays at the Gish opens with “Lion”(2016), U.S. and Australia, 118 minutes, directed by Garth Davis. The showing is hosted by UFO/BGReel with an introduction by Kathleen Kollman, a doctoral student in American culture studies. This international co-production continues the long tradition of coming-of-age films, and is based on the true story of Saroo Brierley (Dev Patel), who searches for his family in India after being separated from them at age 5. The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater located in Hanna Hall. Free Sept 6. – The Faculty Artist Series features violinist Penny Thompson Kruse at 8 p.m.in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Sept. 7 – Spotlight on the Arts focuses on creative writing with a talk by Dr. Lawrence Coates, chair of the Department of English and award-winning author of novels “The Master of Monterey,” “The Blossom Festival,” “The Garden of the World” and “Camp Olvido.” Coates will discuss “Temporary Landscapes: The Fiction of Place,” at 7:30 p.m. in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts. A reception will follow. Free Sept. 8 – Family Weekend kicks off with a family-friendly showcase featuring the College of Musical Arts, Department of Theatre and Film and the School of Art. The showcase begins at 7 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Sept. 11 – The ARTalk series begins with “Strings, Folds and Rabbit Holes” by 1981 alumna Kristy Deetz, arts and visual design professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Her talk will begin at 6 p.m. in 204 Fine Arts Center. Free Sept. 12 – In conjunction with the exhibit “FABRICation,” Kristy Deetz,…


BGSU arts events through March 3

Feb. 23—The Creative Writing Program’s Reading Series features visiting writer Callista Buchen. The BGSU MFA alumna and author of chapbooks “The Bloody Planet” and “Double-Mouthed” will share her work. The reading will begin at 7:30 p.m.in Prout Chapel. Free Feb. 23 – The Department of Theatre and Film presents the second week of performances of “The Penelopiad,” Margaret Atwood’s version of Homer’s “Odyssey” told through the voices of Penelope and her 12 hanged maids. Speaking from beyond the grave, Atwood’s characters explore this mythic tale of love, betrayal, responsibility, and power. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre, Wolfe Center for the Arts. Tickets are available at bgsu.edu/arts, 419-372-8171 or at the Wolfe Center Box Office, and cost $5 for students and $15 for adults in advance, and $20 for everyone on the day of the performance. Additional performances are at 8 p.m. Feb. 24 and at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Feb. 25. Feb. 23 – The Hansen Musical Arts Series features the Grammy-winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth. Through study with masters from singing traditions the world over, the eight-voice ensemble continually expands its vocabulary of singing techniques and, through an ongoing commissioning process, forges a new repertoire without borders. The recital will begin at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Feb. 25 – The BG Philharmonia celebrates the 50th annual Concerto Concert. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of Moore Musical Arts Center. Advance tickets are $3 for students and children and $7 for adults. Tickets can be purchased at the box office in the Wolfe Center, at 419-372-8171, or online at www.bgsu.edu/the-arts. All tickets the day of the performance are $10. Feb. 27 – Music at the Forefront features the Quince Vocal Ensemble. Described as “a new force of vocal excellence and innovation” by The Brooklyn Rail, Quince continually pushes the boundaries of traditional vocal ensemble literature. The group will perform David Lang’s “Love Fail.” The concert will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Feb. 28 – Tuesdays at the Gish continues with the 1974 film “From These Roots,” directed by William Greaves. Recipient of 22 international awards, this film explores the extraordinary artistic, cultural and political flowering that took place in Harlem during the Roaring 20s. This remarkable portrait of the “Harlem Renaissance” is created entirely with period photographs. Narrated by Brock Peters, with music especially composed and performed by Eubie Blake. The screening includes “The First World Festival of Negro Arts,” the official documentary of the festival held in Dakar, Senegal in 1966. There also will be a Q and A session with special guest, Louise Archambault, filmmaker and curator of William Greaves Productions. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater located in Hanna Hall. Free Mar. 1 – The Faculty Artists Series features the compositions of faculty members. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Mar. 2 – The Creative Writing Program’s Reading Series features the work of graduate students Nathaniel Meals and Jen Pelto. The reading will begin at 7:30 p.m.in Prout Chapel. Free Mar. 3 – The Brown Bag Music Series features a recital of…


BGSU arts events through March 1

From BGSI OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Feb. 16—The Creative Writing Program’s Reading Series features graduate students Bridget Adams and Benji Katz. The reading will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Feb. 16—The Department of Theatre and Film’s production of “The Penelopiad” will open at 8 p.m. in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts. “The Penelopiad” is Margaret Atwood’s version of Homer’s “Odyssey” told through the voices of Penelope and her 12 hanged maids. Speaking from beyond the grave, Atwood’s characters explore this mythic tale of love, betrayal, responsibility and power. Additional performances are at 8 p.m. Feb. 16-18 and Feb. 23-25, with matinees at 2 p.m. on Feb. 18, 19 and 25. Advance tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the box office in the Wolfe Center, 419-372-8171 or online at www.bgsu.edu/arts. All seats the day of the performance are $20. (See story: http://bgindependentmedia.org/bgsus-the-penelopiad-shows-the-tragedy-on-the-ancient-greek-homefront/) Feb. 17—The Brown Bag Music Series will present a musical extravaganza in celebration of Black History Month. Students and faculty from the College of Musical Arts will perform starting at 11:45 a.m. at the Simpson Building, 1291 Conneaut Ave., Bowling Green. Free Feb. 17—The BGSU Wind Symphony will perform at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Advance tickets are $7 and can be purchased at the Wolfe Center for the Arts box office, 419-372-8171 or online at www.bgsu.edu/arts. All seats are $10 the day of the performance. Feb. 18—The University and Concert Bands will perform at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Advance tickets are $7 and can be purchased at the Wolfe Center for the Arts box office, 419-372-8171, or online at www.bgsu.edu/arts. All seats are $10 the day of the performance. Through Feb. 20—The annual Undergraduate Art and Design Exhibition will be on display in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman in the Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are from 11 a.m.­-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Feb. 21 – Tuesdays at the Gish continues with the 2001 film “Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey,” directed by William Greaves. Narrated by Sidney Poitier, the film represents the first in-depth documentary on the life and legacy of this American legend. Dr. Ralph Johnson Bunche (1903-71) was a statesman, peace negotiator, leading intellectual, scholar and the first person of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize. He overcame poverty and racial prejudice to become Undersecretary General of the United Nations. His life offers a unique window on key historical events in the mid-20th century. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater located in Hanna Hall. Free Feb. 21–Music at the Manor House features the BG Brass Ensembles. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Manor House in Wildwood Metropark, 5100 W. Central Ave., in Toledo. Free Feb. 23 – The Creative Writing Program’s Reading Series features visiting writer Callista Buchen. The BGSU M.F.A. alumna and author of chapbooks “The Bloody Planet” and “Double-Mouthed” will read from her work beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Feb. 23–The Hansen Series Guest Artists are Grammy-winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth. Through study with masters from singing traditions the world over, the eight-voice ensemble continually expands its vocabulary of…


Roomful of Teeth brings sound of world’s many voices to BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Roomful of Teeth is an ensemble of eight voices that creates world of sound. They were pulled together in 2009 by choral conductor and composer Brad Wells who was interested in expanding the potential of the human voice, said mezzo-soprano Virginia Warnken. After auditions in New York City, the eight singers convened at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, in North Adams, Massachusetts, where they delved into a range of vocal techniques – yodeling, Broadway belting, and throat singing, both Mongolian and Inuit, to name a few. They have worked those techniques into a distinctive sound that inspired a Pulitzer Prize winning composition, “Partita for 8 Voices” by ensemble member Caroline Shaw and been captured on a Grammy-winning album. Roomful of Teeth will bring their globally influenced sound to Bowling Green State University Feb. 22 and 23 as the Hansen Musical Arts Series featured artist. The ensemble’s residency will culminate in a free concert Thursday, Feb. 23, at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall. The ensemble will also present a voice master class, Feb. 22 from 4:30-6 p.m. in the Conrad Choral Room at the Wolfe Center for the Arts and discuss writing for the voice with student composers that evening from 7:30-9 p.m. in Kobacker. The members will participate in a panel discussion Feb. 23 from 10:30-11:30 p.m. also in Kobacker. Having incorporated these disparate techniques along with traditional Western chorale sounds, the ensemble then commissioned composers to write pieces for them. “It was really exciting. None of us knew what would happened,” Warnken said. What happened was Roomful of Teeth established itself as one of the premier new music ensembles in the world.  “I don’t think any of us thought it would become this big.” Most of what they perform is the result of a close collaboration with the composer, she said. Seldom do they simply receive a finished score that the singers have not seen in draft form. That’s essential given the mix of sounds the ensemble commands. “We’re definitely one of a kind.” That distinctive tonal palette is the result of intense study including the regular residencies at Mass MOCA. They don’t just go onto YouTube and look at a video or two to learn these techniques, Warnken said. They study with the masters of the genres. Like athletes learning a new sport, they find themselves exercising vocal muscles they hadn’t used before. “It’s physically demanding.” The singers do use microphones to allow them to employ all these sounds without injuring their voices. Hearing those sounds also pulls the composers in new directions, she said. Sometimes they are inspired by the folk styles, other times the references are more obscure. “They’ll become inspired by one tiny detail in song and transform it. … The influence is still there. It’s interesting to see how creative some of our composers get in extrapolating some of these styles.” The resulting compositions are wedded to Roomful of Teeth. Warnken said the ensemble doesn’t think of itself as a chorale or vocal ensemble, they think of themselves as a band, and they have a band’s proprietary connection to the music they perform. Occasionally another ensemble may perform a piece originally penned for Roomful of Teeth. “It becomes something else. … They can sing them and can sound…


New Music Festival showcases contemporary music at BGSU, Oct. 19-22

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS The 37th Annual Bowling Green New Music Festival will showcase the work of more than 30 guest composers and performers Oct. 19-22. The four-day international festival includes concerts, lectures and an art exhibition. This year’s featured guests include composer Dai Fujikura and the Spektral Quartet (See related stories at: http://bgindependentmedia.org/musical-specters-come-to-life-in-string-quartet-concert-on-campus/ and http://bgindependentmedia.org/music-of-now-intersects-with-classics-in-spektral-quartet-concert/) Organized by the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music (MACCM), the College of Musical Arts and the Fine Arts Center Galleries at BGSU, the festival supports the creation of new work and engages both the University and city communities in the process of music appreciation and awareness. Most festival events are free and open to the public. FESTIVAL SCHEDULE Wednesday, Oct. 19 7 p.m., Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery, School of Art Exhibition opening: “The Deathworks of May Elizabeth Kramner,” a mixed media installation by The Poyais Group. Thursday, Oct. 20 1 p.m., Bryan Recital Hall Composer Talk: Dai Fujikura 3pm, Bryan Recital Hall Concert 1: chamber works by Dai Fujikura, Peter Eötvös, Marissa DiPronio, and Chin-Ting Chan. 7:30 p.m., Kobacker Hall Concert 2: Ensemble works by Roger Zare, Takuma Itoh, Dai Fujikura, Christopher Dietz and Jason Eckardt. 9:30 p.m., Clazel Theatre (127 N. Main St., downtown Bowling Green) Concert 3: Works by Dai Fujikura, Anthony Donofrio, Dan VanHassel, Alex Temple, Mario Diaz de Leon, and Matt Marks. Friday, Oct. 21 10:30 a.m., Bryan Recital Hall Concert 4: Chamber works by Steven Stucky, Dai Fujikura, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Girard Kratz, Eliza Brown and Joe Dangerfield. 2:30 p.m., Kobacker Hall Concert 5: Works by James Romig, Chun-Wai Wong, Robert Morris, Marilyn Shrude and Dai Fujikura. 8 p.m., Kobacker Hall Concert 6: Spektral Quartet. Music by Samuel Adams, George Lewis, Mikel Kuehn, and Dai Fujikura. Saturday, Oct. 22 10:30 a.m., Conrad Choral Room, Wolfe Center for the Arts Panel Discussion to be announced 2:30 p.m., Bryan Recital Hall Concert 7: Electroacoustic works by Ravi Kittappa, Daniel Pappas, C.R. Kasprzyk, Mara Gibson, Dan VanHassel, and Mario Diaz de Leon. 8pm, Kobacker Hall Concert 8: Orchestral and wind ensemble works by Dai Fujikura, Jonathan Newman, John Mackey, Emily Custer, and Leonard Slatkin.   (Programs subject to change.) Locations: The Moore Musical Arts Center houses Bryan Recital Hall and Kobacker Hall. Saturday concert can be purchased at: www.bgsu.edu/arts. Online tickets will be available up to midnight the night before the concert. To purchase tickets in person or by phone, please call 419-372-8171 or visit the Arts Box Office, located in the Wolfe Center for the Arts, Monday-Friday, noon-5 p.m. The College of Musical Arts Box Office will be open two hours prior to the performance. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.bgsu.edu/newmusic or contact the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music at 419-372-2685. DAI FUJIKURA Although Dai Fujikura was born in Osaka, he has now spent more than 20 years in the UK where he studied composition with Edwin Roxburgh, Daryl Runswick and George Benjamin. During the last decade he has been the recipient of numerous prizes, including Kazimierz Serocki International Composers’ Competition 1998 and a Royal Philharmonic Society Award in UK, Internationaler Wiener Composition Prize, the Paul Hindemith Prize in Austria and Germany respectively and both the OTAKA and Akutagawa awards in 2009. A quick glance at his list of commissions and performances reveals he is fast becoming a truly international composer. His music is not…


From suits to nuts, BGSU project puts students’ refuse to good use (updated)

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Harshman Community Room has everything needed to equip a college student, lots of everything needed. Books, planners, printer paper are here. Cardboard crates overflow with boxes of mac and cheese, ramen noodles and Pop Tarts of all varieties. Clothes, from coats to undies, suitable for all occasions from a session in a gym to a special date or a job interview, are piled and hung around the room. Falcon spirit wear gets its own stack. Want to see how you look? There’s about 30 mirrors. Mini-fridges and microwaves are stacked on a table, and a few computers, albeit of questionable operating status, are nearby. Off in one corner is the furniture, and shoes take up an entire room size space. Welcome to the sorting operation for Bowling Green State University’s Move Out, Don’t Throw It Out project. Now in its 15th year, the drive encourages students to donate whatever they don’t want that may be usable to the drive. Boxes are located throughout campus, in dorms, at convenience stores, in the student union. It’s a form of “passive community service,” Hennessy said. The organizers will try to find new homes for their castoff goods. “Somebody’s future treasures,” said Torrance Vaughn, a student volunteer sorting through a bag of clothing. “Somebody will have a use for it.” The idea is to promote reuse and waste reduction, said Nick Hennessy, director of the BGSU Office of Campus Sustainability. On Monday with the students gone, he and Carina Weed, the intern who organized the event, and a group of student volunteers, were sorting through what was left behind. Last year, Hennessy said, the drive collected almost nine tons of material, and he wasn’t sure if that included the food. All that otherwise most likely would have gone to the landfill. “I would like to think not, but I don’t know where else it would end up.” He added: “What gets really overwhelming when you multiply that by every university. The landfills must just swell this time of year with all this stuff.” Already the tables groan with the plenty of hand-me-downs. All are carefully sorted. “We try to get as specific as possible because that helps with the final dispensation of it,” Hennessy said. Some items are of questionable use. A half-full bottle of ketchup? A portfolio with resumes? Charities such as the Cocoon Shelter will have a chance to go through and retrieve whatever personal care items they can use. “Food all goes directly to food pantries we’ve helped the out for more than a decade,” he said. On May 24 and 25 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., a sale open to students, faculty and staff with valid identification will be held in the Harshman Community Room to sell off much of the rest. Details of the sale are still being set. This is the second year of the sale. Last year, Hennessy said, it raised close to $3,000. That money is used to fund sustainability efforts on campus. “I will say our prices were very, very reasonable,” he said. “I let my students decide what was right.” While the money benefits people and initiatives, he said, “it’s not intended to be a huge profit making venture.” Some school supplies are just given away. The overriding mission…


BGSU School of Art sees new role for itself

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The School of Art at Bowling Green State University is changing by degrees. Last week the faculty senate gave unanimous approval to a change in the school’s core degree, the Bachelor of Fine Arts. Until now students have received their BFA in either two-dimensional art – drawing, painting, photography and printmaking – or three-dimensional art – sculpture, glass and ceramics. If approved by the university’s Board of Trustees later this spring, the school will offer just one BFA, regardless of discipline. That is just one change of several that marks a shift in philosophy in the school, said interim director Charles Kanwischer. “This is a big step for the school.” “We are a collection of disciplines. … We’ve been pretty good about maintaining the autonomy of those disciplines and giving students and faculty a lot of independence within them.” But forces are pushing them together, he said. For one, the media are blending together. Kai Lee Liu, the student who won best of show honors at the recent Undergraduate Exhibit, won the top prize with an installation that employed video with glass sculptures. Another of her pieces, which was also honored, was a sculpture made of ceramics that included a recording of the artist reading a poem. The disciplines “are bleeding together,” Kanwischer said. Enrollment in the traditional disciplines is declining, a trend seen nationwide. At the same time more students were enrolling to study digital art and graphic design. The changes do not affect the BFA in Graphic Design nor BFA in Digital Arts. The enrollment in the school is actually up. The change in degrees will give students greater flexibility as well as a more early exposure to the traditional disciplines. In the past, depending on what track students followed, they took introductory courses in three of four disciplines, now they will take introductory courses in five of the eight traditional disciplines – painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, metals and jewelry, glass and ceramics. “We’re giving students more choice across those disciplines,” he said. The change also increases the number of credits in art courses to get a BFA from 73 to 75. That brings in school in line with accreditation requirements. The change in the BFA, though, is just one. The changes in studio art requirements applies to those who receive a BFA in Art Education. They also received either a 2-D or 3-D degree, depending on their studio work. Those degrees are merging. Barbara Bergstrom, who chairs the art education division, said the changes also will allow art education majors to concentrate in digital art and graphic design. Also, the school is instituting three new art minors: art education, digital art, and photography. Bergstrom said that the art education minor is open to students outside the School of Art. While open to all majors, to date most of the response has come from the College of Education and Human Development, particularly early education majors. She sees the new minor as useful for those interested in community art education, working with the elderly or in nursing home settings or for arts commissions. She hopes the minor will lead to a BA in art education. This would also be for those in community art education, who want art training but don’t need to…


BGSU Lively Arts Calendar, Feb. 4-17

Thursday —The Creative Writing Program’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) readings will be presented by graduate students Eric Komosa and Tom Markham at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Thursday —BGSU Student Composers recital will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall at Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Thursday —The season opener for The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Film Theater and Gallery’s International Film Series features “English/Vinglish,” a 2012 feature from India, directed by Guare Shinde. A quiet housewife endures small slights from her well-educated husband and daughter because of her English skills. During a visit to New York, she enrolls in an English course and meets new people who teach her to value herself. Free Saturday —The four student winners of the annual Competitions in Music will perform with the BG Philharmonia during the 49th annual Concerto Concert. Under the direction of Dr. Emily Freeman Brown, the concert begins at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Advance tickets, available at bgsu.edu/arts or by calling the ticket office at 419-372-8171, are $7 for adults and $3 for students. All tickets on the day of the performance are $10. Sunday —The BGSU School of Art presents the Annual Undergraduate Art & Design Exhibition in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries of the Fine Arts Center. The exhibition opens with a reception from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7, and continues through Feb. 21. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays and 2 to 4 p.m. Sundays. Free Sunday —The Bent Note Duo are guest artists for the College of Musical Arts series. The duo is comprised of saxophonist Allison Balcetis and pianist Sandra Joy Friesen, who began performing together in 2009 during their doctoral studies at the University of Alberta. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Feb. 9—BGSU student brass ensembles will perform at the Wildwood Metropark’s Manor House. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Free. Feb. 10—The Faculty Artist Series features bassoonist Susan Nelson, an assistant professor of bassoon at BGSU. Her performance begins at 8 p.m. in the Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Feb. 11 – BGSU’s Graduate Brass Quintet recital will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Feb. 11 – The Visiting Writers Series features award-winning novelist Karen Osborn, author of “The River Road,” “Between Earth and Sky,” “Patchwork” and “Centerville.” Her reading begins at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Feb. 13 – The College of Musical Arts hosts guest artist Spencer Myer as a part of the Dubois Piano Festival. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of Moore Musical Arts Center. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children, and BGSU music majors are free with student ID. Feb. 15—Guest artist James Giles will perform on piano in Bryan Recital Hall of Moore Musical Arts Center beginning at 8 p.m. Free Feb. 16 – Tuesdays at the Gish begins with “Do the Right Thing” (1989), directed by Spike Lee. This was a landmark film when it premiered more than 25 years ago; it still warrants viewing today. Spend one day on one…