BOWLING GREEN, O.—Each year the Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts welcomes a special musical artist as a part of the Hansen Musical Arts series, a residency created and supported by BGSU alumni Dorothy E. and DuWayne H. Hansen. From Oct. 28-Nov. 1, the college will host conductor Robert “Bob” Bernhardt.
His visit includes a public lecture entitled: “If They’re Not Looking at You, Why Do They Need You? A Peek into the Role of the Conductor,” at 7 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts. The lecture is free and open to the public.
As the Hansen Resident, Bernhardt plans a busy itinerary. “I’m going to be working with, and getting to know, as many aspects of campus/community musical life as I can. I’ll be talking to instrumentalists about the audition process, and answering as many questions as I can about life in the profession,” he said.
His schedule includes conducting a rehearsal with the BG Philharmonia, BGSU Wind Symphony and even the Toledo Youth Symphony, working with student conductors, with singers and accompanists in opera, and “meeting as many people, and hearing as many stories, as I can,” he said.
Bernhardt is not a typical guest; his early career aspirations revolved around baseball rather than music. In fact, he spent four days in spring training with the Kansas City Royals before deciding he was made for music and not the big leagues.
A New York native, Bernhardt earned his master’s degree from the University of Southern California in music, under the tutelage of Daniel Lewis. He began his opera career with the Birmingham Opera, becoming the assistant conductor of the Louisville Orchestra in 1989. He is a frequent guest conductor of the Nashville Opera and owns the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera.
“By the time I arrive at BGSU,” Bernhardt said, “I’ll have guest conducted the Detroit Symphony, Boston Pops, Dallas Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, and Edmonton Symphony, as well as conducted concerts with the Louisville Orchestra, where I am principal pops conductor, and Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, where I am Music Director Emeritus and conductor of pops. I also am Artist-in-Residence at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee.”
Along with an extensive resume, Bernhardt has worked with Broadway stars and pop rockers, including Ann Hampton Calloway, Patti LaPone and The Beach Boys.
He said he is excited to visit BGSU. “This will be my first time on campus, and I’ve heard marvelous things about BGSU and the arts.”
The Dorothy E. and DuWayne Hansen Musical Arts Series, established in 1996, brings significant representatives of the musical and creative arts to Bowling Green to share their talent and knowledge with students and the community at large. 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 guests include Branford Marsalis, Nancy Giles, Terence Blanchard, Benjamin Zander, Craig Schulman, Marin Alsop and Bob McGrath.
For more information, visit www.bgsu.edu/music.
By Rachel Gast
After what host Brad Cresswell described as “a long, harrowing process” the “New Music from Bowling Green” radio show was ready to launch BGSU musicians into the international spotlight on Oct. 6.
Putting together the show is an “organic process” but is also “a lot of work, time and investment-which is why not a lot of people do it,” Cresswell explained. “The fact that we’ve been able to band together and make it happen is something spectacular.
“Bowling Green State University is the only university I know capable to do a radio show at this level.”
He and Dr. Jeffrey Showell, dean of the BGSU College of Musical Arts, agree the stress is worth it. “It’s a thrill to know that the two years of work we’ve put into this series will be heard and appreciated by listeners all over,” Showell said.
Cresswell and Showell met in September 2011, both interested in bringing living classical composers to the radio.
Cresswell remembers Showell “wanted to raise the profile of the University using media and new media, and also taking people on the road. . . . So it struck me-why couldn’t we do a radio show with Bowling Green?”
The College of Musical Arts has the talent and capability to star in the nationally syndicated 13-episode radio series, he reasoned. The New Music Festival and MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music, which will provide most of the show’s music, each have 30-year histories behind them.
Cresswell lauded BGSU’s ability to consistently attract international attention and is eagerly awaiting more international stations to pick up “New Music from Bowling Green.”
“Our first international market is Dubai, and we hope to move into other English-speaking foreign countries in 2014,” he said.
Listeners from Atlanta to St. Louis will hear music produced by current BGSU students, professors and alumni.
“It’s about a 50-50 split between the recordings of the Bowling Green Philharmonia and Wind Symphony and the archives of the New Music Festival,” said Cresswell. Three episodes contain the music of Jennifer Higdon, one of BGSU’s most successful alumni.
Higdon has won a Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Awards, given a convocation address for the BGSU College of Musical Arts and been honored as one of the most successful BGSU alumni during the University’s 100th anniversary celebrations.
Coming back to BGSU gives Higdon a chance to eat some Myles pizza and hear the “really interesting stuff” coming out of the college, the composer said.
“What BGSU has that most schools don’t is the New Music Festival,” she noted. “You get to hear a good selection of what’s going on around the world.”
All the pieces featured in her three-episode series “have some sort of connection, even if it was remote, to Bowling Green.”
Listeners will hear Higdon’s love of melody in her compositions along with the “two primary hallmarks of my music: rhythm and a clear pulse.”
“Everyone tells me my music sounds very American-I’m not sure what that means, though. I know I would be in trouble having lived in America all my life and I sounded Russian or French,” she joked.
Higdon, Cresswell and the College of Musical Arts faculty are excited to hear the program air.
“We are the direct conduit between the composers and listeners,” Cresswell explained. “Radio engages your ears, and there’s where all this music lives, in the ears of the listener.
“We’re doing something different and worthwhile. That’s really where the value of presenting new music comes in. … You’re taking the genre into the 21st century and beyond.”
Listen to “New Music from Bowling Green” every Sunday at 1 p.m. on WGTE 91.3 FM.
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.
Highlights of this year’s festival include an exhibition of installation works by Lewis, Pamela Z and Terry Adkins at the Fine Arts Center Galleries, world premiere performances of works by Lewis, Mikel Kuehn, Mathew Fuerst, Marcos Balter and Braxton Blake, and several performances by Ensemble Dal Niente, an acclaimed new music ensemble with strong ties to the BGSU College of Musical Arts.
Founded in 1980, the New Music Festival has hosted such notable composers as John Adams, Milton Babbitt, John Cage, Chen Yi, John Corigliano, Philip Glass, Pauline Oliveros, Terry Riley, Bright Sheng, Steven Stucky, Joan Tower, and more than 400 other guest composers and musicians.
Most festival events are free and open to the public.
Tickets for the final 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, call 419-372-8171 or visit the Arts Box Office, located in the Wolfe Center for the Arts, from noon-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. 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.
The festival schedule is subject to change.
When most Americans think about extreme talent, shows like “Dancing with the Stars” or “American Idol” come to mind. Who can forget Apolo Anton Ohno and Julianne Hough’s energizing samba performance, or watching Carrie Underwood emerge to become a multi-platinum selling recording artist? Yet each weekend devotees of classical music across America tune into their local National Public Radio station to enjoy the talent of a very different kind of performer -classical music’s most gifted emerging young stars – on the acclaimed radio show “From the Top.”
On Saturday, Sept. 28, residents of northwest Ohio will have the opportunity to experience that same magic firsthand when the College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University presents “From the Top,” live with Christopher O’Riley, at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall.
According to the Boston Globe. “Each program provides a compelling and entertaining window into the world of a diverse group of young people, who pursue life with passion, determination, and joy.”
“From the Top” began as a radio experiment in 2000 and has quickly become the preeminent showcase for America’s best young musicians. The show shares the performances and stories of pre-collegiate musicians from 8 to 18 years old with dedicated listeners each week. The young musicians captivate audiences with their mature musical prowess despite their youth.
The performers on each show bring formidable musical ability and inspiring stories from diverse backgrounds. “From the Top” unleashes the potential of young musicians as leaders in the arts and inspires them to take their music beyond the concert hall and engage new audiences with classical music, reaching thousands of people across the country each year.
The musicians are inspirational role models for all ages, proving the value of hard work in the pursuit of excellence.
The show in Kobacker Hall will feature 15-year-old contrabassist Lena Goodson from York, Penn.; 15-year-old pianist Patrick Pan from Houston, and the Quartet Lumiere, based at The Academy at the Music Institute of Chicago.
Host O’Riley will join the rising musicians on stage and accompany them in their performances. Between each performance, O’Riley will chat with each performer about topics such as why they chose their instrument and the most embarrassing musical moment they’ve experienced -and in so doing, will allow the passion of the young musicians to transcend radio and connect with the live audience as well as those listening on the radio.
“From the Top” has been described by the Boston Globe as “an entertaining, accessible and inspirational mix of outstanding musical performances, informal interviews, skits and games; the show is a celebration of extraordinary musicians who happen to be teenagers leading fairly normal lives.”
For tickets and information, visit the Festival Series website. “From the Top” may be heard locally on WGTE 91.3FM on Sundays at noon. The BGSU episode will air on Nov. 4.