Monthly Archives: March 2013

The heartbeat of new music

Pop, rock, country, alt country, classical, jazz … today’s music can usually be classified by genre. But what exactly is “contemporary” or “new” music?

Defying musical definition, contemporary music composers often write pieces for classical instruments but take advantage of the technological advancements of today, creating sounds that can both emotionally move and challenge audience perceptions of what music can and should be.

New music is also currently enjoying a resurgence driven by younger composers and younger audiences looking for something new, said Kurt Doles, director of the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music (MACCM) at Bowling Green State University.

For more than 40 years, BGSU’s College of Musical Arts has been at the leading edge of new music. As home to MACCM, an award-winning organization devoted to the study and promotion of contemporary music and technology, the University has been an active and prolific contributor to the national and international new music scene.

Faculty and graduate students from the University’s renowned contemporary music program will be taking that musical style from the Midwest to the Big Apple when they perform on April 3 at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City’s Greenwich Village, presenting a program of varied and challenging new music. The music club is a venue for both nontraditional music and interactive media, which often go together.

The New York performance is a continuation of BGSU’s tradition. The program will include works by composers such as Sebastian Currier, Iannis Xenakis, Jon Christopher Nelson, Leroux, Jonathan Harvey, BGSU faculty composer Christopher Dietz and BGSU alumna Jennifer Higdon, winner of Pulitzer and Grammy awards. The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m.

“The mix we’re bringing is a broad range of music that showcases the versatility of the genre and the strength of the performers,” Doles said. “We have a good mix of both accessible and challenging works.”

Creating and performing new music requires a distinct musical skill set – the technical and creative demands are beyond typical classical music. In many ways, it is tied to the indie-rock movement, and while there has always been a small but loyal audience, the people finding it now are a younger, thoughtful, educated crowd interested in something unique, Doles said.

BGSU has developed one of the top programs in the country. Along with MACMM, Bowling Green maintains a robust composition program, a vibrant new-music-focused Doctor of Musical Arts in Contemporary Music curriculum, and hosts the annual Bowling Green New Music Festival, now in its 34th year, which has brought some of the leading lights of the new music world to campus. The New York performance represents the beginning of a greater outreach for the program.

Tickets to the show are $10, and are available at Le Poisson Rouge’s box office website, LPR is located at 158 Bleecker St., on the site of the former Village Gate nightclub.

For more information, contact the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music at 419-372-2685.

Merry Widow waltzes onto BGSU stage

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Celebrate one remarkably romantic night in Paris in June of 1914 with “The Merry Widow,” performed March 22 and 24 in the Wolfe Center for the Arts at Bowling Green State University.

Performances of the operetta are at 8 p.m. Friday, March 22, and 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 24, in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre.

Those who are interested in learning more about the popular hit are invited to a Director’s Forum, one hour before curtain, at 7 p.m. on March 22 and 2 p.m. on March 24, in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre. BGSU musicologist Dr. Eftychia Papanikolaou and Christopher Scholl, an associate professor of voice and opera studies, will provide commentary on the music and stage history of Franz Lehar’s operetta, with musical examples prepared especially for the forum. Dr. Ron Shields, a professor of theater and film, will also share insights into his role as stage director for the production.

Set within the walls of the humble Pontevedrian Embassy, yet within sight of the newly electrified Eiffel Tower, provincial and urbane worlds gently collide through flirtations and stolen kisses. The plot follows the intrigues of the characters as they amusingly waltz to delightful conclusions in this musical comedy of manners.

Widely believed to be the most popular operetta of all time, Lehar’s “The Merry Widow” has been presented over 500,000 times since it first won audience applause at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna in 1905. Both a popular cultural phenomena and a stage sensation, the operetta prompted distinctive marketing ploys, including cocktails, songbooks in multiple languages, hats and shoes, and even a “Merry Widow” cigar.

The production is a collaboration among the BGSU Department of Theatre and Film, BGSU Opera Theater and the College of Musical Arts.

For ticket information, visit the BGSU Box Office online at, or call 419-372-8171.

Falcon Marching Band selected for CBDNA event

The Falcon Marching Band, Carol Hayward, director,  has been selected for a video performance at the 2013 conference of the College Band Directors National Conference at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The Falcon Marching Band was one of 10 bands selected from nationwide applicants through a peer-review process. The selected bands will be featured at the conference on Mar. 21, 2013.

The show to be presented at the conference, performed by the 280 member Falcon Marching Band in collaboration with the BGSU Men’s Chorus, Timothy Cloeter, director, is titled “I Hear America Singing.”  Performed on Sept. 10, 2011, the show is a medley of patriotic selections, selected to honor those who gave their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, as well as the survivors, first responders, and members of the military who assisted in the recovery and rescue efforts. The musical arrangements are by Falcon Marching Band staff arranger, Ryan Nowlin, and the visual design is by Carol Hayward.

Jason Dovel (MM ’05) performs in Greece

BGSU music alumnus Jason Dovel taught and performed in Greece as part of the 2013 Exploring Trumpet in Greece International Music Festival. He presented a morning warm-up clinic, coached chamber ensembles, and presented a lecture recital titled “Baroque Trumpet and Early Music Performance Practice.” The festival included performances, clinics, and events in Athens, Kalavrita, and Klitoria. Master classes, clinics and recitals were presented by internationally renowned trumpet artists including Gerassimos Ioannidis of the Orpheus Conservatory in Athens; Vince DiMartino, an international soloist and 2012 NSU Trumpet Festival featured artist; David Hickman of Arizona State University; Rich Illman of Michigan State University; Edward Reid of the University of Arizona; and Al Hood of the University of Denver.

Jason Dovel is assistant professor of trumpet at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. He studied trumpet at BGSU with George Novak and Charles Saenz.

Charles Saenz and Solungga Fang-Tzu Liu in Brazil

Charles Saenz, Associate Professor of Trumpet, and Solungga Fang-Tzu Liu, Assistant Professor of Piano,  will present recitals and masterclasses in Brazil during the week of March 18-25, 2013.  The duo will perform in Porto Alegre, Campinas, and Sao Paolo during this tour.  Venues include the Theatro Sao Pedro, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Artmahhas do Som, and Universidad de Campinas.

Hugh Masekela closes out Festival Series

BOWLING GREEN, O.—The Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts closes out the 2012-13 Festival Series with renowned South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela. He will perform with his band at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, in Kobacker Hall of Moore Musical Arts Center.

An innovator in the world music and jazz scene, Masekela is best known for his 1968 Grammy-nominated hit single, “Grazing in the Grass,” which sold over four million copies. He played an integral role in Paul Simon’s tour for “Graceland,” which was one of the first pop records to introduce African music to a broader public.

Masekela has collaborated with numerous artists in the United States, Africa and Europe, including Miriam Makeba, Dizzy Gillespie, Harry Belafonte, Herb Alpert, Fela Kuti (in Nigeria) and Franco (in the Congo). Renowned choreographer Alvin Ailey chose a piece by Masekela to create a work for his Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Masekela also co-created the Broadway smash musical “Sarafina” that introduced the sounds and passion of South African music to theater audiences worldwide.
He was recently nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award in the “Best World Music Album” category for the album “Jabulani,” produced and arranged by Don Laka and released through the Gallo Record Company label in South Africa and Razor and Tie Records in the U.S.

Masekela’s music portrays the struggles and joys of living in South Africa and voices protest against slavery and discrimination. His work as an activist raised international awareness of the South African government’s restrictive apartheid policies. In the 1980s his hit song “Bring Him Back Home” became an anthem for the Free Nelson Mandela movement.
In the 1990s Masekela himself finally returned to South Africa and renewed the musical ties to his homeland. In 2004 he released his autobiography, “Still Grazing: The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela,” a stunning memoir that is both heartbreaking and hilarious.

Maskela is joined by Abednigo Sibongiseni Zulu, bass guitar; Frances Manneh Edward Fuster, percussion and backing vocals; Randal Skippers, keyboards and backing vocals, and Lee-Roy Sauls, drums and backing vocals. The BGSU performance is the first on an 18-city tour in support of his new recording, “Playing@Work.”

To purchase tickets online, visit Tickets can also be purchased by calling 419-372-8171.