All posts by cdahn

Composer Libby Larsen visits BGSU as McMaster Professor in Vocal and Choral Studies

Works by Grammy Award-winning composer Libby Larsen will be the focus of a special concert Friday (March 16) at Bowling Green State University’s Kobacker Hall. Larsen is in residence at BGSU this week as the McMaster Professor in Vocal and Choral Studies.

The free concert, at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall, will feature works by Larsen including vocal and piano duo selections and “She piped for us” with the University Women’s Chorus.

Larsen’s residency will include meetings with composition students, a visit to a theory class, coaching of vocal and piano duos, sessions with the University Women’s Chorus and a speech with a question-and-answer session at 2:30 p.m. Friday in Bryan Recital Hall, also in Moore Musical Arts Center.

Larsen is one of America’s most performed living composers. She has created a catalogue of over 400 works spanning virtually every genre from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral works and 12 operas. Widely recorded, she is constantly sought after for commissions and premieres by major artists, ensembles and orchestras around the world, and has established a permanent place for her works in the concert repertory.

A vigorous, articulate advocate for the music and musicians of our time, in 1973 Larsen co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum, now the American Composers Forum, which has become an invaluable aid for composers in a transitional time for American arts. A former holder of the Papamarkou Chair at John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, Larsen has also held residencies with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony and the Colorado Symphony.

Her visit is supported through funding established for the endowed professorship by Helen and the late Harold McMaster in spring 2000. Helen McMaster, a longtime Perrysburg resident, has supported the arts at BGSU for many years. In 1992 she served as honorary chair of Bowling Green’s Campaign for the Arts, to which the McMasters donated $150,000.

Generous friends of BGSU, she and her husband previously donated to programs in music, business, science and the Center for Photochemical Sciences. They established the Harold and Helen McMaster Professor of Photochemical Sciences position in 1993, helped to purchase a photoelectron microscope for the center in 1992 and gave the University a $1 million gift for the McMaster Endowment Fund, which supports the chemical sciences, in 1985. Guest artists are nominated by college professors in vocal, choral or opera to be approved for visits to the campus.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Christopher Scholl, associate professor of music performance studies, at 419-372-2287.

BGSU Opera Gala launches new Wolfe Center for the Arts

Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts presents an Opera Gala as the first musical performance in the newly opened Wolfe Center for the Arts. The program begins at 8 p.m. on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 in the Thomas and Kathleen Donnell Theatre.

The evening will feature solo arias, duets, quartets, quintets and overtures to some of world’s greatest operas including Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” and “The Magic Flute,” Beethoven’s “Fidelio,” Bizet’s “Carmen,” Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” and Verdi’s “Rigoletto.”

In a showcase of student and faculty talent, the program features the Bowling Green Philharmonia, University Choral Society, Collegiate Chorale, Men’s and Women’s choruses, and faculty soloists including Christopher Scholl, Doug Wayland, Jane Rodgers, Sean Cooper, Sujin Lee, Ann Corrigan, Ellen Scholl, Lance Ashmore and Jennifer Cooper.

Special commentary and narration will be provided by WGTE-FM Program Manager and Music Director Brad Cresswell. Radio audiences may recognize him as the host of “Afternoon Classics,” “Live from FM 91” and “WGTE in Concert.”

The Wolfe Center for the Arts, a distinctive structure built to advance collaboration across the arts at BGSU, opened its doors in December 2011. Designed by international award-winning architects Snøhetta of Oslo, Norway, the $41 million, 93,000 square-foot building serves as the home for the Department of Theatre and Film and supports instructional and creative activities by the College of Musical Arts and the School of Art.

General admission tickets are $10 and available by calling the college box office at 419-372-8171 or by emailing Tickets also will be available at the door. Seating is limited. Media sponsorship by WGTE Public Media.

Jazzed about the Grammys

A Bowling Green State University music faculty member has a hand in a 2012 Grammy-nominated album.

David Bixler, an assistant professor of jazz studies, arranged one of the songs on the album “40 Acres and a Burro” by Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. The album is a contender in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album category.

Bixler’s contribution to the album is an arrangement of the traditional Irish song “She Moves Through the Fair.” On the album jacket Bixler is called an “amazing composer, saxophonist. … It is not a stretch that this arrangement of a traditional Irish air is on our record. We believe the music we call jazz belongs to the planet and that beauty knows no borders or genres.” Additionally, Bixler’s arrangement, which starts with a violin solo by his wife, Heather Martin Bixler, is described as “achingly beautiful.” It is the tale of a man whose wife tragically dies and he is constantly seeing her ghost, Bixler explained.

He has been a part of this musical genre for many years, performing with Arturo O’Farrill’s bands and with O’Farrill’s father, the legendary composer and musician Chico O’Farrill.

“I am thrilled to have this opportunity,” Bixler said about the album and the Grammy nomination. This is the first year Latin jazz is not a separate category at the Grammy Awards; however, Bixler said the upside is that for the first time this genre of music moves into a mainstream category that is announced during the actual ceremony.

Bixler has also been part of another Grammy nomination. He played saxophone on Bobby Sanabria’s “Big Band Urban Folktales” album, which was up for Best Latin Jazz Recording in 2007.

Bixler joined the BGSU jazz studies faculty in 2008. He graduated from Indiana University in music performance, and after deciding he wanted to teach, he went on to receive a master’s degree in composition from Montclair (N.J.) State University.

The telecast of the Grammy Awards ceremony is at 8 p.m. Feb. 12 on CBS.