Category Archives: all

Hansen Musical Arts Series features conductor Marin Alsop

The Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts will host “An Evening with Marin Alsop,” groundbreaking music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, at 7 p.m. April 23 in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center.

Open to the public, the free event is part of the annual Hansen Musical Arts Series created by Dorothy E. and DuWayne Hansen. Alumni and friends of the College of Musical Arts and BGSU, the Hansens are supporting Alsop’s appearance and residency.

In addition to her presentation that evening, Alsop will conduct the Bowling Green Philharmonia in rehearsal at Kobacker Hall at 1:30 p.m. April 23 and will meet with conducting students and faculty during her visit. She will also be presented an honorary doctorate.

Alsop made history with her appointment as the music director of the Baltimore Symphony, becoming the first woman to head a major American orchestra. Called a “born communicator and effective proselytizer for music” by The New York Times and a “lively entertainer as well as a powerhouse musician” by the San Francisco Chronicle, she began playing piano at 2 and violin at 5, entered Julliard pre-college at 7, decided to become a conductor at 9, and at 16 entered Yale University. In 1991 she made her professional conducting debuts at the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where she continues as a regular guest conductor, along with the New York Philharmonic and the London Symphony.

She became chief conductor of the São Paolo Symphony Orchestra, Brazil’s premiere orchestra, at the start of the 2012 season. Winner of Gramophone’s “Artist of the Year” award, Alsop was the first conductor to be named a MacArthur Fellow. In 2006 she was the only classical musician invited to attend the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. A protégée of Leonard Bernstein, Alsop became the artistic director of London’s Southbank Centre’s season-long The Bernstein Project in 2009. She can be heard regularly as a commentator on NPR’s Weekend Edition program, “Marin on Music,” BBC’s Radio 3 and XM Satellite Radio.

In Baltimore, Alsop has been credited with reinvigorating the orchestra and leading a major community outreach effort. In 2008, she and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra unveiled ORCHkids, a major education initiative. The program provides music education, instruments and mentorship to Baltimore’s youth. For adults, Alsop conducts BSO Fantasy Camp, a weeklong immersion program for amateur musicians from across the country, as well as the biannual “Rusty Musicians” program which allows amateur players to have the opportunity to spend an evening playing music with the BSO.

Established in 1996, the Dorothy E. and DuWayne Hansen Musical Arts Series Fund brings significant representatives of the musical arts and creative arts to Bowling Green to share their talent and knowledge with students and community residents. 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 series guests have included Branford Marsalis, Nancy Giles, Terence Blanchard, Benjamin Zander, Craig Schulman and Bob McGrath.

For more information about “An Evening with Marin Alsop,” contact the college’s office of public events at 419-372-8654.

‘Hercules’ opera presented on BGSU stage

Bowling Green State University Opera Theater presents “Hercules,” adapted from George Frederic Handel’s oratorio, with libretto by Rev. Thomas Broughton and based on the writings of Sophocles and Ovid.

Dr. Ronald Shields, chair of the Department of Theatre and Film and stage director for the production, adapted Handel’s work from a three-act oratorio to a two-act, contemporary opera with choral sections and solos.

Set in a time when the gods spoke through oracles and Amore controlled people’s passions, the opera depicts the final day of Hercules, who has raised an army to retaliate against King Eurytus for refusing him the hand of his daughter as promised. Hercules has moved to Calydon and married King Oeneus’s daughter Dejanira. After accidentally killing the king’s cupbearer, he takes his family to safety in Trachis. Once there, Hercules and his army set upon King Eurytus and the people of Oechalia.

Performances are at 8 p.m. March 30 and 31 in the Donnell Theatre of the Wolfe Center for the Arts. The event is free, but seating is limited. Call the box office at 419-372-2719 for tickets.

BGSU student Benjamin Laur plays Hercules, along with Patrick Conklin as his son, Hyllus, and Laura Reaper as his wife, Dejanira.

The production is a collaboration between the College of Musical Arts and Department of Theatre and Film.

New music dean highlights college’s facets

Since coming to BGSU last July as dean of the College of Musical Arts, Dr. Jeffrey Showell has focused on raising the visibility of the college, which he describes as”pretty much a jewel.”

“It has rather amazing qualities. I know of no other music college in academia that has such a strong undergraduate music education program along with such high performance standards and a doctoral program in contemporary music. The challenge is representing all those and establishing
an identity.”

Already he has achieved a major objective of that goal — arranging with National Public Radio to produce a series of 13 hour-long, nationally syndicated programs highlighting aspects of the college’s inner workings, from the music education program to interviews with faculty to performances. Hosting will be alumna Jennifer Higdon, a Grammy- and Pulitzer-winning composer.

Funding for the series comes from Dorothy and DuWayne Hansen, longtime benefactors of the college. Dorothy is an alumna and DuWayne the former chair of the Department of Music Education.

“The stars were aligned to make this happen,” Showell said. “We couldn’t have done it without WGTE-FM’s Brad Creswell, who is producing the series, and the Wolfe Center for the Arts; before that, there wasn’t a place suitable for recording.”

The recent opera gala demonstrated how good the acoustics in the Donnell Theatre are—something that can’t be predicted until a performing space is complete, he said. And not only the Donnell but the Conrad Choral Rehearsal Room, which expands programming possibilities. “That’s been an unexpected side benefit,” Showell noted.

Showell has experience with opening new performing arts centers. At James Madison University, where he was director of the School of Music, he was deeply involved with all aspects of creating the university’s new center.

BGSU’s reputation for excellence in contemporary music allows the doctoral program to be highly selective, he said. “We get many applications but choose only four each year, so we have 20-25 students in the program at a time. We can be very picky.”

He is looking forward to the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music’s next New Music Festival in October, which, under the direction of oboist Jackie Leclair (who is “something of a creative organizing genius,” he said) will incorporate art along with an ecological theme, thus “broadening the festival’s appeal.”

“All these things happen because of someone’s hard work,” Showell says. “My job is to help find the resources to support them all.”