Category Archives: keyboard-alumni

‘Frankenstein’ plus live music equals Halloween fun at BGSU

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Audiences will have a chance to celebrate Halloween in a uniquely scary way this year and experience the film “Frankenstein” as never before.

The Festival Series event will feature a screening of the 1931 Boris Karloff film with a new musical score played live by BGSU music faculty members. It begins at 8 p.m. Oct. 31 in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts.

Cashbox Classical Music Editor Rob Tomaro said of a previous performance, “The audience was riveted to their seats. The power of the live music with the classic film was hypnotic.”

Audience members are invited to dress up in costume. There will be a costume contest, with three winners selected before the concert and awarded prizes.

Conducted by Bruce Moss, director of BGSU band activities, the “Frankenstein” musical score was composed by Michael Shapiro, music director and conductor of the Chappaqua (New York) Orchestra.

“When the Film Society of Lincoln Center opened an adjunct theater in Westchester,” Shapiro recalled, “I spoke to executive director Steve Apkon about doing a joint project during their opening season with my orchestra and the theater. During our discussion I offered to write a film score for ‘Frankenstein’ that would be played simultaneously with the 1931 film by live musicians,” he said.

The original picture has spoken dialogue, qualifying it as a “talkie,” but no musical score, Shapiro explained. The technology did not exist in 1931 to have a separate music track on the film, he said, adding that the first through-composed film score was Max Steiner’s “King Kong” in 1933.

“Writing for a ‘talkie’ with a simultaneous live score is in many ways a new art form, so it’s tremendously adaptable and exciting to do,” Shapiro said.” He also noted that live orchestral performance with film attracts a new audience to experience this hybrid medium.

“I love writing music that has a dramatic impulse,” he said. “I thought of this Frankenstein score as almost a one-act opera … but instead of writing music to move singers across a stage, I thought of moving actors through their dramatic action, commenting on what is being portrayed emotionally by (director) James Whale in his masterpiece.”

“I try to write music in every form that gets under the listener’s skin,” Shapiro said.

There is no intermission for the performance. The audience is invited to a special after party at The Melt Shoppe in downtown Bowling Green.

Tickets are $12 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

Professors Charles Saenz and Solungga Fang-Tzu Liu tour Taiwan

Professors Charles Saenz, trumpet and Solungga Fang-Tzu Liu, piano, along with Professor James Ackley (Trumpet, University of South Carolina), will present a tour of Taiwan from September 24-26, 2014.

Events include Master Classes and Recitals at:
National Taiwan Normal University
Shih-Chien University
National Tainan University

Professors Liu and Saenz with James Ackley
Professors Liu and Saenz with James Ackley

My Summer Experience: Elizabeth and Evangeline Canfield

As the wing of the plane dipped toward the earth, I got a glimpse of the ever-enlarging scenery 16,000 feet below. Despite wispy clouds and the haze of the beating sun, I could perceive a mountainous island surrounded by a glistening sheet of Mediterranean blue.

The island, one of the world’s most tranquil vacation destinations, has been the focus of literary novels, historical inquiries and cultural events. But for my fellow traveler and myself, it was the meeting place of the Summer Piano Institute in Corfu, Greece.

Drawing musicians from around the world, inspiring pianists came to study with experienced artists in a wonderful weeklong program that featured lessons, lectures, performances and cultural excursions.

After a smooth landing, I and my traveling companion, a fellow pianist, best friend and identical twin sister Evangeline, joined the throngs of passengers entering the airport terminal. It was no small relief that we got to our destination. Not that either of us mind flying; but when a ticket agent switches your boarding passes for a connecting flight with a couple going to another country, you realize just how lucky you are to have actually reached your destination! (Incidentally, from then on we double checked all of our papers to make sure nothing like that would ever happen again!)

Immediately after passing customs, we were whisked into the arms of Greek hospitality. Thoroughly organized and equally prepared, the directors of the festival took care of transportation and boarding accommodations so that our trip proceeded without further incident. The location of the festival was entirely breathtaking! Housed within the confines of an ancient fortress, Ionian University, where the piano festival was held, bore evidences of ancient days and foreign ways.

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Professor Thomas Rosenkranz and his students to tour China

Associate Professor of Piano, Thomas Rosenkranz will return to China to tour with members of his piano studio for concerts at the Sichuan Minorities University, South West University in Chongqing, and the Sichuan Conservatory of Music in Chengdu from May 13-May 17th. Additionally, he will be a featured soloist with the Sichuan Philharmonic Orchestra for a performance of J.S. Bach’s D minor Keyboard Concerto on May 23rd and will serve on the jury for the Shanghai Spring Festival Competition sponsored by Weibo; the Chinese version of Twitter.