Three prize winners have been selected for the first annual BGSU Young Composers Competition, sponsored by the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music. They are:
First place: Alex Berko (Solon, OH) – Urgentem for string quartet
Second place: Jonah Haven (Ashland, OH) – A Room for piano solo
Third place: Hayden Brown (Galloway, OH) – Quartetto per archi for string quartet
These three composers receive a cash award and a performance of their work on the 2012 Bowling Green New Music Festival, October 17-20, featuring special guest composer John Luther Adams, author Barry Lopez, sound artist Marina Rosenfeld and more. For more information on the New Music Festival, visit the festival schedule site at http://goo.gl/jLJG5.
Dr. Elainie Lillios, an associate professor of composition at Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts, has been awarded a commission from the prestigious Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM) in Paris.
A historical research group founded in 1948 by electroacoustic music pioneer Pierre Schaeffer, the commission invites Lillios to compose a new work in the GRM’s electroacoustic studios, which creative environment and technical facilities have hosted an array famous composers, including Pierre Boulez, Olivier Messiaen, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Darius Milhaud and Edgard Varèse, among others. The group awards 25 to 30 commissions each year to composers from around the world.
Lillios is only the second American composer in the history of the GRM to be awarded a commission. The American composer and inventor, John Chowning known for discovering the FM synthesis algorithm in 1967, which led to the creation of the digital synthesizer, was the first. Lillios’s new work will be premiered in October 2013 as a featured piece on the GRM’s “Multiphonies” concert series. The performance will take place in Paris at La maison de Radio France in the Salle Olivier Messiaen, with the composer performing the worked on the GRM’s famous “Acousmonium,” an orchestra of 80-plus loudspeakers arranged throughout the concert space.
About the commission Lillios states, “I’m thrilled to receive a commission from the GRM and look forward to creating a new piece in its inspiring studios. The GRM resides at the forefront of electroacoustic music, boasting an amazing historical lineage of research, composition, and development in electroacoustic music and performance. It’s an honor to be among those awarded commissions by this preeminent institution.”
Music is the connection that brought Sally Williams and Mark Minnich together, and it is music that is at the heart of their relationship.
The violin performance students met when they were in high school as members of an all-state orchestra. Their initial encounter, however, did not lead to true love. In fact, Williams recalls, she thought Minnich was “somewhat socially awkward.” They met again at a strings camp between her freshman and sophomore years at BGSU and before his freshman year.
Eventually, in the small, tight-knit community of the College of Musical Arts, where both were students of BGSU professor Vasile Beluska, they first became friends and then became inseparable in their love of music and their love for one another.
In 2008, they joined musical forces to create Revamped, playing at concerts, events, receptions and weddings. Their performances go beyond a traditional musical duet. Together they bridge the gap between the precision of classical violin and the energy of popular music by incorporating tricks and techniques that mesmerize their audiences.
As part of their classical music performances they may improvise by adding an interlude of music from “Star Wars” or “Mario.” Often Minnich will hand his violin to Williams and she gives him her bow. They play the instruments together, with her creating the pitch and him doing the bowing. Their passion for music and one another is visible during their concerts.
Williams, who grew up in Elyria, Ohio, started playing Suzuki violin at age 4. Minnich, from Swanton, Ohio, started learning violin at age 9 with Romanian violinist Anca Gavris, before switching to Beluska at BGSU the following year.
The talented couple is committed to its music, practicing a minimum of three hours a day, with at least one of those hours dedicated to their duet performances. Like true artists who live and breathe their music, “We never separate our affection from our music. The music seems like a natural extension of our relationship,” she explained.
Williams and Minnich are graduating May 4. She will earn a master’s degree, and he will receive a bachelor’s degree, both in violin performance. Beyond BGSU and the College of Musical Arts, they will become Falcon Flames when they marry this summer before heading to Penn State where they will have assistantships to earn advanced degrees. He plans to work on a master’s degree in violin performance, and she will pursue a master’s of education to further her research in the development of a new teaching method for beginner level, post-Suzuki-aged students.
“We also would like to continue our duo professionally, as well as performing in other ensembles together. As much as possible, we’d like to not distinguish what we do for fun and what we do to pay the bills,” Minnich said.
See them perform during the recent BGSU Leadership Gala at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHUvPOzEWUY&feature=youtu.be.
The Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts will host “An Evening with Marin Alsop,” groundbreaking music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, at 7 p.m. April 23 in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center.
Open to the public, the free event is part of the annual Hansen Musical Arts Series created by Dorothy E. and DuWayne Hansen. Alumni and friends of the College of Musical Arts and BGSU, the Hansens are supporting Alsop’s appearance and residency.
In addition to her presentation that evening, Alsop will conduct the Bowling Green Philharmonia in rehearsal at Kobacker Hall at 1:30 p.m. April 23 and will meet with conducting students and faculty during her visit. She will also be presented an honorary doctorate.
Alsop made history with her appointment as the music director of the Baltimore Symphony, becoming the first woman to head a major American orchestra. Called a “born communicator and effective proselytizer for music” by The New York Times and a “lively entertainer as well as a powerhouse musician” by the San Francisco Chronicle, she began playing piano at 2 and violin at 5, entered Julliard pre-college at 7, decided to become a conductor at 9, and at 16 entered Yale University. In 1991 she made her professional conducting debuts at the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where she continues as a regular guest conductor, along with the New York Philharmonic and the London Symphony.
She became chief conductor of the São Paolo Symphony Orchestra, Brazil’s premiere orchestra, at the start of the 2012 season. Winner of Gramophone’s “Artist of the Year” award, Alsop was the first conductor to be named a MacArthur Fellow. In 2006 she was the only classical musician invited to attend the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. A protégée of Leonard Bernstein, Alsop became the artistic director of London’s Southbank Centre’s season-long The Bernstein Project in 2009. She can be heard regularly as a commentator on NPR’s Weekend Edition program, “Marin on Music,” BBC’s Radio 3 and XM Satellite Radio.
In Baltimore, Alsop has been credited with reinvigorating the orchestra and leading a major community outreach effort. In 2008, she and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra unveiled ORCHkids, a major education initiative. The program provides music education, instruments and mentorship to Baltimore’s youth. For adults, Alsop conducts BSO Fantasy Camp, a weeklong immersion program for amateur musicians from across the country, as well as the biannual “Rusty Musicians” program which allows amateur players to have the opportunity to spend an evening playing music with the BSO.
Established in 1996, the Dorothy E. and DuWayne Hansen Musical Arts Series Fund brings significant representatives of the musical arts and creative arts to Bowling Green to share their talent and knowledge with students and community residents. Dorothy Hansen is an alumna of the College of Musical Arts and DuWayne Hansen is a former chair of the college’s music education department.
Previous series guests have included Branford Marsalis, Nancy Giles, Terence Blanchard, Benjamin Zander, Craig Schulman and Bob McGrath.
For more information about “An Evening with Marin Alsop,” contact the college’s office of public events at 419-372-8654.
Posted by cdahn in all, voice
Bowling Green State University Opera Theater presents “Hercules,” adapted from George Frederic Handel’s oratorio, with libretto by Rev. Thomas Broughton and based on the writings of Sophocles and Ovid.
Dr. Ronald Shields, chair of the Department of Theatre and Film and stage director for the production, adapted Handel’s work from a three-act oratorio to a two-act, contemporary opera with choral sections and solos.
Set in a time when the gods spoke through oracles and Amore controlled people’s passions, the opera depicts the final day of Hercules, who has raised an army to retaliate against King Eurytus for refusing him the hand of his daughter as promised. Hercules has moved to Calydon and married King Oeneus’s daughter Dejanira. After accidentally killing the king’s cupbearer, he takes his family to safety in Trachis. Once there, Hercules and his army set upon King Eurytus and the people of Oechalia.
Performances are at 8 p.m. March 30 and 31 in the Donnell Theatre of the Wolfe Center for the Arts. The event is free, but seating is limited. Call the box office at 419-372-2719 for tickets.
BGSU student Benjamin Laur plays Hercules, along with Patrick Conklin as his son, Hyllus, and Laura Reaper as his wife, Dejanira.
The production is a collaboration between the College of Musical Arts and Department of Theatre and Film.
Since coming to BGSU last July as dean of the College of Musical Arts, Dr. Jeffrey Showell has focused on raising the visibility of the college, which he describes as”pretty much a jewel.”
“It has rather amazing qualities. I know of no other music college in academia that has such a strong undergraduate music education program along with such high performance standards and a doctoral program in contemporary music. The challenge is representing all those and establishing
Already he has achieved a major objective of that goal — arranging with National Public Radio to produce a series of 13 hour-long, nationally syndicated programs highlighting aspects of the college’s inner workings, from the music education program to interviews with faculty to performances. Hosting will be alumna Jennifer Higdon, a Grammy- and Pulitzer-winning composer.
Funding for the series comes from Dorothy and DuWayne Hansen, longtime benefactors of the college. Dorothy is an alumna and DuWayne the former chair of the Department of Music Education.
“The stars were aligned to make this happen,” Showell said. “We couldn’t have done it without WGTE-FM’s Brad Creswell, who is producing the series, and the Wolfe Center for the Arts; before that, there wasn’t a place suitable for recording.”
The recent opera gala demonstrated how good the acoustics in the Donnell Theatre are—something that can’t be predicted until a performing space is complete, he said. And not only the Donnell but the Conrad Choral Rehearsal Room, which expands programming possibilities. “That’s been an unexpected side benefit,” Showell noted.
Showell has experience with opening new performing arts centers. At James Madison University, where he was director of the School of Music, he was deeply involved with all aspects of creating the university’s new center.
BGSU’s reputation for excellence in contemporary music allows the doctoral program to be highly selective, he said. “We get many applications but choose only four each year, so we have 20-25 students in the program at a time. We can be very picky.”
He is looking forward to the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music’s next New Music Festival in October, which, under the direction of oboist Jackie Leclair (who is “something of a creative organizing genius,” he said) will incorporate art along with an ecological theme, thus “broadening the festival’s appeal.”
“All these things happen because of someone’s hard work,” Showell says. “My job is to help find the resources to support them all.”
Posted by cdahn in all, Events
The members of the Bowling Green State University Men’s Chorus had a busy spring break. Not only did they perform in the New York and Massachusetts areas, they capped off the week with not one, but two national television appearances.
The group arrived in New York City on March 7 and made plans to visit the set of “Good Morning America” on March 8. About 30 members got up early and found a spot in the crowd about four rows back from the front.
“We thought, well, we’re here, we might as well get noticed,” said chorus President Benji Cates, a junior majoring in music education from Mansfield. “We started singing some a cappella songs, but the lady who was the ‘crowd wrangler’ for the show didn’t seem fazed at all. But the tourists were all getting their video cameras out and taping us, they thought it was great!”
Cates says they saved one song to sing when newsreader Josh Elliott and weatherman Sam Champion came out to greet the crowd.
“As soon as they came out we started singing ‘Brothers Sing On.’ They both started gravitating towards us and said we’d be the entertainment for the weather segment. We got pulled onto the blue carpet and stood in formation for about five minutes waiting for our cue to start singing. “
“I didn’t think we’d get on TV — the Marquette University cheerleaders were there, too, and they’re cuter than us. But we stole the show.”
Minutes after their live national debut, Facebook pages and cell phones started lighting up with messages from family and friends.
“It was crazy,” said D.J. Zippay, a junior majoring in vocal music education from Edgerton, and chorus secretary. “I called Professor Cloeter, our director, two seconds before we were on and yelled at him to turn on the TV. While we were singing my phone was just buzzing.”
“Everyone had a ton of Facebook messages,” Cates said. “The University even mentioned us on its Facebook page. We felt really big time.”
“It was pretty awesome,” Zippay said. “I didn’t think we’d get on TV — the Marquette University cheerleaders were there, too, and they’re cuter than us. But we stole the show.”
The national exposure didn’t end there. Cates says a producer for the ABC’s “The Chew” handed them tickets to that day’s show. About 12 members headed to the studio. This time, it was one member’s unusual hairdo that got them noticed, not their singing.
“One of our members has a crazy red afro and Carla Hall, one of the hosts, saw it,” Cates said. “During a break she came up and was playing with it and dancing with him. After the show we went up to her and started singing the same song we sang on GMA. When we were done the executive producer came up and asked if we knew ‘Danny Boy.’”
Call it the luck of the Irish. It turns out “Danny Boy” was part of their tour repertoire. They were asked to stick around for the next show taping, which would be St. Patrick’s Day themed, and sing. The show aired March 16.
“This time we were right up front. We got a signal to stand up and just start singing and it went great.
“It was such an awesome experience to be on national television,” said Cates.