Monthly Archives: November 2014

BGSU presents Christmas opera ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’

BOWLING GREEN, O.—The Bowling Green State University Festival Series opens the season of giving with a Christmas opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” Presented by the Bowling Green Opera Theater, performances will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 5, and at 4 p.m. Dec. 6 in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts.

Composed by Gian Carlo Menotti, the opera is the touching story of Amahl, a poor shepherd boy with a crippled leg, who has an encounter with the three kings who are on their way to visit the newborn Jesus. During their visit, Amahl’s mother is at first tempted to steal the kings’ gold, but her impulse is later tempered into desire to meet this special baby. Amahl offers his crutch as a gift and experiences the miraculous healing of his crippled leg. The opera has captured audiences since Christmas Eve 1951, when it was first broadcast on NBC-TV. Its story line and shorter length make it appropriate for young children.

“With the shepherd’s lilting madrigal, the Kings’ magisterial music, the Mother’s soulful aria, and Amahl’s joyous songs, this opera certainly has something for everyone,” said Kevin Bylsma, BGSU College of Musical Arts faculty member, who prepared the vocalists.

Menotti said of the work, “This is an opera for children because it tries to recapture my own childhood. You see, when I was a child I lived in Italy, and in Italy we have no Santa Claus … Our gifts were brought to us by the Three Kings, instead. To these Three Kings I mainly owe the happy Christmas seasons of my childhood, and I should have remained very grateful to them … But in 1951 I found myself in serious difficulty. I had been commissioned by the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) to write an opera for television, with Christmas as a deadline, and I simply didn’t have one idea in my head. One November afternoon as I was walking rather gloomily through the rooms of the Metropolitan Museum, I chanced to stop in front of the ‘Adoration of the Kings’ by Hieronymus Bosch, and as I was looking at it, I then realized they had come back to me and had brought me a gift.”

That gift has delighted audiences ever since.

With stage direction by Geoff Stephensen, musical preparation by Bylsma and conducting by Emily Freeman Brown, the cast features Jennifer Cresswell as the Mother, Bethany Post and Maddie Russin alternating as Amahl, Tyler Dohar as King Kaspar, Richard Channell as King Melchior, Dean Moore as King Balthazar, Zach Shoot as The Page, and a chorus of shepherds including a dancing boy and girl. Set and lighting design are by Keith Hofacker, choreography by Tammy Metz Starr and stage-managing by Desiree Johnson.

Patrons attending Saturday afternoon’s performance are invited to stay afterwards for the 10th annual Arts X beginning at 5 p.m. in the Wolfe Center and Fine Arts Building. ArtsX is a free event open to the public and offers interactive activities for all ages including art sales, ceramic, glass and jewelry demonstrations, improv ensembles, musical performances, Austrian-born artist Erwin Redl’s LED art installation in the Wolfe Center foyer and a team of aerial acrobats led by Erin Pearson-Garber, among others. Visit for a complete schedule.

Tickets are $15 for the public and $5 for BGSU students and can be purchased online at or by calling the Arts Box Office at 419-372-8171.

Thomas Rosenkranz, Professor of Piano, to embark on Chinese tour

Thomas Rosenkranz

Associate Professor of Piano, Thomas Rosenkranz, will tour China giving masterclasses and performances from Nov. 20th-30th. He will visit the conservatories of Southwest University in Chongching, Sichuan Conservatory of Music in Chengdu, and Xinghai Conservatory in Guangzhou before performing as part of the Musicarama 2014 at the City Hall of Hong Kong on November 30th. The program features works for two pianos by local Hong Kong composers as well as John Adam’s Hallelujah Junction with pianist, Linda Yim. 

More information on Musicarama Hong Kong:

BGSU CMA Alumna, Kathleen Murray, named President of Whitman College

Kathleen Murray

A letter to the Whitman College Community from, Brad McMurchie ’84, Chair of the Board of Trustees:

On behalf of the Board of Trustees it is my great pleasure to announce that Dr. Kathleen Murray, Provost, Dean of the Faculty, Professor of Music, and former Acting President of Macalester College, will become Whitman’s 14th President on July 1, 2015. The Board voted unanimously to appoint Kathy after having received the same endorsement from the Presidential Search Committee.

The Search Committee began its work by developing a set of principles in consultation with all College constituencies. These principles, summarized in the Presidential Prospectus, guided our selection process. Over the intervening 8 months, the Committee reviewed the applications of more than 100 candidates. The College’s strong position allowed us to attract an extraordinarily impressive pool. A series of in-depth interviews and personal interactions culminated with the selection of Kathy.

From the beginning it was clear to the committee that a leading priority would be to find a President with a deep background in the liberal arts as well as the ability to articulate the power of the type of education offered at Whitman. We also sought a candidate able to lead the College in the development of a new strategic plan and with the experience necessary to turn that plan into reality through both their management abilities and fund raising prowess. Kathy stood out from a pool that included leaders from some of the nation’s best colleges and universities. Kathy is described by a peer as a “calm, good listener [who is] able to clearly and respectfully articulate her views.” In Kathy, the Committee found the person with the experience and vision to lead Whitman forward as we build on the success of the last ten years. We also found a person with great warmth, intelligence, and a sense of humor.

At Macalester, Kathy was responsible for the academic program of one of America’s finest liberal arts colleges. She also directed the planning for Macalester’s new $70 million Fine Arts Center and played a key role in the development of the College’s new strategic plan. As a testament to her leadership skills, Macalester’s Board of Trustees selected Kathy to serve as Acting President of the College during the fall of 2013. Away from Macalester, Kathy serves as the Vice Chair of the American Conference of Academic Deans and as a Director of the Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth.

Kathy, as a first generation college student, graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Music (Piano Performance) from Illinois Wesleyan University. She received a Master of Music from Bowling Green State University and a Doctor of Music (Piano Performance and Pedagogy) from Northwestern University. Kathy began her academic career at Lawrence University (a selective liberal arts college and conservatory of music, enrolling approximately 1350 students), where she moved from Department Chair to Dean of the Conservatory of Music to Dean of the Faculty. Before being appointed as Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Macalester in 2008, Kathy served for three years as the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Birmingham-Southern College. She is also a 2004 graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Institute for Educational Management.  Please click here to learn more about Dr. Murray.

The campus owes a debt of gratitude to all the members of the Search Committee and, in particular, to Co-Chairs Nancy Serrurier and Janice Abraham. The Trustees, Overseers, faculty, staff, and students on the committee, along with our search consultants from Storbeck/Pimentel, worked tirelessly and collegially to find the next great leader of Whitman. I also want to thank President George Bridges. Our ability to attract such an outstanding pool of candidates is a testament to his hard work and leadership since assuming the Presidency in 2005.

Kathy and her partner Bridget Reischl are excited to join the Whitman and Walla Walla communities. Please join me in welcoming them.


Chamber Music remix

Project Trio


By DAVID DUPONT, Sentinel News Editor

Project Trio doesn’t have the usual classical chamber ensemble biography.

The musicians –  flutist Greg Pattillo, cellist Eric Stephenson and bassist Peter Seymour – were “all good buddies” at the Cleveland Institute of Music in the late-1990s.

Seymour said in a recent telephone interview that they loved playing together, both within the walls of the conservatory and “extracurricular” gigs where they explored rock, hip hop and jazz.

After graduation and grad degrees, the three headed off on the difficult path of making musical careers for themselves. Still they got together when they could, and when they could they talked. Those conversations turned to the eclectic mix of music they had always enjoyed.

Seymour said they wanted “our own little project that we could do a couple times a year and make music we really wanted to do.”

After lots of talk, in 2005 they played their first show. Then in 2007, Pattillo posted a video, “Inspector Gadget Remix.” It featured his distinctive beatbox technique for flute which  incorporates vocal sounds and percussive effects into his playing.

The video exploded. It has now had 26 million views.

On the basis of that the trio was able to focus on  Project Trio full time. Since then the trio has toured worldwide. Project Trio will perform Nov. 22 at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall as part of Bowling Green State University’s Festival Series. Tickets are $15 and $5 for BGSU students. Visit or call 419-372-8171.

That video represented a lot of hard work, Seymour said, and it took more hard work to exploit its popularity to show presenters an audience existed for the ensemble’s twisted blend of musical styles.

The musicians match their stylish repertoire with an appealing stage manner.

“There’s no question that concert music, instrumental music is changing, and that engaging the audience is one of the most important things we do as chamber and jazz musicians,” Seymour said. “There’s a lot of cool new music going on in classical, jazz and instrumental music and we’re trying to add our voice to that.”

They put high priority in connecting with audiences. “We speak to the audience regularly,” Seymour said. “We smile. We have fun. We dance.”

That’s not an act though, “it’s who we are.”

“We love to perform, we love to share music with people,” he said.

As the band arranges and composes new material “we truly think about what the audience  might like.” That prompts adventures into new genres – Brazilian choro music or Indian ragas.

“We’re always trying to push forward.”

And there’s one way to test those experiments: “The only place you can find out if an audience will like stuff is to bring it to the stage and see what happens.”

Seymour said the Bowling Green audience can expect a mix of what the trio has to offer. That includes off-beat versions of classical masterpieces such as “Peter and the Wolf” and the finale to the opera “William Tell.”

The show will include original music, as well as the sound of jazz composer Charles Mingus, and some hip hop, Seymour said. “Truly something for everyone.”


PROJECT Trio Makes a splash at BGSU

Project Trio

“Toledo’s classical music scene next week will focus intensely on youth music education — both performers designing programs to interest and inspire young audiences, and youthful performers revealing their capabilities in concerts and recitals.

Topping the list is Project Trio.

If you’ve never thought of the flute, the cello, and the bass as percussion instruments, then you’ve clearly missed out on this young and energetic musical trio. Energetic young New Yorkers playing on classical-music oriented instruments are ready to free Northwest Ohio of such limited thinking.

The players — bassist Peter Seymour, cellist Eric Stephenson, and flutist Greg Patillo — who met while studying at the Cleveland Institute of Music, have applied a fresh new face and sound to the idea of chamber music through clever improvisation and fresh arrangements of standards.

“Absolute technical masters of their instruments — Patillo is renowned as the leading beatbox flutist in the United States, Stephenson is a regular in major chamber performances — they amp up the energy playing together, mixing styles from classical, jazz, urban, and original works with skill and wit.

Project Trio is coming to Bowling Green State University for a residency and to Toledo for several youth concerts Nov. 19-22. Their big marquee appearance will be at 8 p.m. Nov. 22 in Kobacker Hall. Tickets are $5-$15 at 419-372-8171. A preconcert talk for ticketholders will start at 7 p.m. in nearby Bryan Hall.”


Toledo Symphony Orchestra reads BGSU student composer pieces: 11/19

Next Wednesday (11/19) from 3:30-6:00pm the Toledo Symphony will read, rehearse and record BGSU student compositions in Kobacker Hall.

The orchestra will be conducted by Michael Lewanski with guest composer Steven Stucky on hand to work with our composition students.The program is as follows–

Chris Lortie                 And death i think is no parenthesis
Lydia Dempsey           Passage
Alan Racadag             Prelude and Partial Postlude
Brian Sears                  Fractured Spirits
Kyle Laporte               Fire Breather

The event is open to students, faculty and staff of the College of Musical Arts and invited guests.  If you are aware of members of the public who would like to attend, please have them email faculty liaison Christopher Dietz ( to be included on the guest list.This is a very unique opportunity for BGSU composers.  While there are some very competitive national and international competitions for readings with professional orchestras, few academic institutions can offer this kind of professional experience to their students, exclusively.

If available for some or all of the reading session, please consider attending.

Thank you,
Christopher Dietz