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Wayan Balawan and Batuan Ethnic Fusion to Visit BGSU

Superstar Balinese guitarist Wayan Balawan and his band, Batuan Ethnic Fusion, will visit BGSU from March 17-22. Balawan will guest in several classes, visit the Arts Village, conduct a guitar workshop, and perform a free concert at the Clazel Theatre on March 21 at 8 pm. Balawan has released several albums and is famous for his guitar-tapping technique. His music is a high-powered combination of jazz, gamelan (the ensemble of gongs and metallophones in Bali) and metal

Balawan grew up in the arts village of Batuan in Bali, Indonesia, performing on gamelan, the ensemble well known for its scintillating sound and tempo. As a young man, he was drawn first to the guitar and then to the style known in the 1980s as speed metal and the music of bands such as Deep Purple and Van Halen. He was later attracted to jazz, particularly the jazz-rock styles of John McLaughlin, Chick Corea and Stanley Jordan. He was invited to study at the Australian Institute of Music in Sydney in the 1990s, and honed his jazz skills during that time to become one of the leading and most virtuosic players in Australia.

When he returned to Bali in 1997, he had mastered the tapping style of guitar playing and had mixed it with jazz harmony, rock rhythms, and Balinese gamelan sensibilities to create an entirely new sound. He founded the Batuan Ethnic Fusion band and has since toured throughout Indonesia and most of the world. He soon became famous for playing two guitars at once or two necks of a 12-string guitar at once through using all of his fingers over two fingerboards.

Batuan Ethnic Fusion has released three CDs with a fourth planned for later this year. The 2008 release, See You Soon, won an award as Best Instrumental Jazz Album in Indonesia. Balawan has also released a solo CD and was three members of Trisum, a recording project featuring superstar guitarists in Indonesia. In addition, Balawan produced a CD featuring the Bali Guitar Club, an organization he founded several years ago that is now 300 members strong.

He is touring the United States for the first time in spring, 2011, bringing with him two members of Batuan Ethnic Fusion to play gamelan instruments and picking up jazz drummers and bass players at every stop. In the United States, the band will play a combination of jazz standards and Balawan’s eclectic hybrid originals that fuse gamelan, metal, and jazz into a synthesis. Balawan and his gamelan musicians Suwida and Suarsana will be joined on stage at the Clazel Theatre by CMA jazz bass student Adam Meinerding and Afro-Caribbean ensemble director, Olman Piedra. This concert will be an unforgettable and high-powered experience!

(Submitted by Eftychia Papanikolaou)

BGSU Chamber Music Competition winners announced

Four student chamber ensembles from Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts have been announced as the winners of the fifth annual Chamber Music Competition held Feb. 20.

The winner of the undergraduate division was the “Four Corners Quartet,” coached by graduate assistant Noa Even. Playing soprano saxophone was Xiao Han from Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. On alto saxophone was Ryan Hurd from Parma, Ohio; on tenor saxophone, Corey Whitt from Pulaski, Wis., and on baritone saxophone Anthony Nicolia from Rochester, N.Y.

Taking second place in the undergraduate division was “Flow Like Water,” a percussion trio consisting of Alvin Dawson from Toledo, Jacob Bori from Swanton, and Elizabeth Hall from Medina.

The graduate division winner was the “Ying Quartet,” coached by Distinguished Artist Professor John Sampen and consisting of John Cummins, on soprano saxophone, from Grinnell, Iowa; Drew Sevel, on alto saxophone, from Columbus; Pin-hua Chen, on tenor saxophone, from Taipei, Taiwan; and Elissa Kana, playing baritone saxophone, from Katy, Texas.

The second-place winners of the graduate division were the “Color Field Ensemble” coached by Dr. Jane Schoonmaker Rodgers. The ensemble consisted of soprano Amanda DeBoer, from Papillion, Neb.; pianist Karl Larson, from McFarland, Wis., and clarinetist Spencer Prewitt, from Braymer, Mo.

Finalists in each division received a certificate of merit. The winners of the competition received the Chamber Music Community Engagement Award and the Pro Musica Award. Pro Musica is a community organization dedicated to supporting students in the College of Musical Arts. First- and second-place winners of each division received a certificate of merit and cash prizes sponsored by Pro Musica.
Richard and Carolyn Lineback established the Chamber Music Community Engagement Award in 2006. It provides travel funds for the winning chamber ensembles to present concerts and clinics in the community and region following the chamber music competition.

(Submitted by Susan Knapp)

Dr. Solungga Fang-Tzu Liu’s solo CD reviewed by the Audio Video Club of Atlanta

Dr. Solungga Fang-Tzu Liu’s solo CD, THE PLEASURE DOME OF KUBLA KHAN, Piano Works of Charles Tomlinson Griffes (Centaur), was recently reviewed by the Audio Video Club of Atlanta, saying, “Under Liu’s thoughtful interpretive style and her delicate touch at the keyboard, these pieces emerge as a labor of love. She does a wonderful job bringing out Griffes’ salient features as a composer.”

To read the entire review, click here.

(Submitted by Solungga Fang-Tzu Liu)

Faculty member, Thomas Rosenkranz to perform with Signal Ensemble in New York City

Assistant Professor of Piano, Thomas Rosenkranz will join ensemble Signal in performances and a recording of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians at the The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) in Troy, New York and at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City on March 12th and 13th.

In the Fall of 2008, Signal gave two sold-out performances of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians and You Are (Variations) at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC. The New York Times hailed the group for its “vibrant, euphoric performances that seemed to electrify the remarkably youthful audience.” Rosenkranz and Signal will be recording the work for New Amsterdam Records in celebration of Steve Reich’s 75th birthday.

For more information please visit:


Le Poisson Rouge

(Submitted by Thomas Rosenkranz)