BGSU honors Burton Beerman as Distinguished Artist Professor

By any measure, Dr. Burton Beerman has led a remarkable life. As a composer, performer, teacher and founder of musical institutions, his accomplishments are myriad.

In his nearly 40 years at the Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts, he has helped make Bowling Green synonymous with new and experimental music. His own pieces have been performed around the world and have influenced a generation of composers and performance artists.

On Feb. 26, BGSU recognized him as a Distinguished Artist Professor. Conferred by the board of trustees, the designation recognizes professors who have earned national and international recognition through research and publication or creative and artistic achievement.

“Dr. Beerman is truly regarded as an outstanding visionary and artist” by “luminaries who are world-renowned,” said the award review committee.

The honor follows numerous other recognitions from his peers and arts organizations. Among them are the Ohio Governor’s Award for the Arts he received in 2008 and several Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council in previous years. Also in 2008, he won two Cine Awards for the composition for the documentary film “203 Days.” Beerman was awarded the prestigious Barlow Endowment Commission in 2005, an international award designed to encourage and financially support individuals “who demonstrate technical skills and natural gifts for the composition of great music,” according to the endowment.

Beerman’s music, which often addresses social justice issues, spans many media, including chamber and orchestral music, music for documentary film, video art and performance, theatre, dance and interactive real-time electronics. His works have been recognized by more than 30 professional journals and publications, and his activities have been the subject of national and public television network broadcasts.

Beerman grew up in Atlanta, where he was exposed to music ranging from traditional Jewish music he heard in the synagogue to the local gospel and blues. All those influences and more can be found in his compositions.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, with a specialization in composition and clarinet performance, and went on to receive master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan in the same fields.

He began teaching at BGSU in 1970. His interest in progressive forms of music led him to cofound, in 1971, the New Music Ensemble and the Electronic Music and Recording Studio (now the Music Technology and Recording Studios). In 1979, he founded the annual New Music Festival, which has brought outstanding composers and performers of avant-garde music to campus each year for concerts, panels and master classes. From 1999-2007 he was the director of the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music at BGSU.

Chanticleer Ensemble to close BGSU Festival Series

The internationally acclaimed vocal group Chanticleer will be the final performers in the 2009-10 Festival Series at Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts. The all-male ensemble, known around the world as an “orchestra of voices,” is making its second appearance at BGSU.

The concert will be held at 8 p.m. March 3 in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. The first half of the program, titled “In Time of …” will feature works by Orlando Gibbons, Sethus Calvisius, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur, Guillaume Dufay, Clément Janequin, Gyorgy Ligeti, Chen Yi and Steven Sametz, who composed the title piece of the performance. The second half of the program will include works by Michael McGlynn, Mason Bates, Manuel Sanchez Acosta, Carmen Cavallaro and Moises Simons.

Based in San Francisco, Chanticleer is renowned for the seamless blend of its 12 male performers, ranging from countertenor to bass, as well as the group’s original interpretations of vocal literature varying from Renaissance to jazz and gospel to venturesome new music.

Inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame in 2008, Chanticleer was also named the 2008 Ensemble of the Year by Musical America; the New Yorker magazine dubbed it the “world’s reigning male chorus.” Chanticleer has performed at prestigious festivals in France, Germany, Poland and Latvia. The group released a CD in fall 2008 titled “The Mission Road” featuring music from California’s vibrant mission period.

Tickets to the BGSU performance are $36, $28 and $20 for adults and $29, $22 and $15 for students. For ticket information, call the box office weekdays from noon-6 p.m. at 1-800-589-2224 or 419-372-8171.

Clarinetist Marianne Gythfeldt to perform at BGSU

Clarinetist Marianne Gythfeldt will appear at Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts on Monday, Feb. 8, performing contemporary works as part of the Music at the Forefront concert series.

Her program of electroacoustic works features pieces by Luigi Ceccarelli, Mario Davidovsky, Lars Graugaard, Gerard Grisey and Eric Moe, plus several of her own compositions. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center and is free.

Gythfeldt, a native of Norway, has distinguished herself as an adventurous performer and dedicated teacher. She was named assistant professor of clarinet at the University of Delaware after 15 years of professional life in New York City’s finest chamber ensembles, orchestras and educational institutions. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and SUNY at Stony Brook, she is equally at home in traditional, contemporary and alternative/crossover genres. The clarinetist of Zephyros Winds and a member of both the Absolute Ensemble and Ensemble Sospeso, she also performs with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and is a founding member of the new ensemble Fires-New York.
She is working on designing an electroacoustic piece for clarinets and interactive computer based on a medieval novel by Norway’s Pulitzer Prize-winning author Sigrid Undset. Gythfeldt has also developed an exciting collaborative project with fellow Delaware arts faculty member Ashley Pigford. Their work in the area of audio-visual experimentation for live concerts will be presented at Vox Populi in Philadelphia, the SEAMUS Conference in St. Cloud, Minn., and at various contemporary music festivals in Europe. Gythfeldt’s performances can be heard on recordings from CBS Masterworks, CRI, Albany, Koch and Mode Records.

Music at the Forefront, sponsored by the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music, is an annual concert series featuring performances by accomplished and innovative performers of contemporary music. For more information, contact the center at 419-372-2685 or email kdoles@bgsu.edu.

Renowned pianist to offer free master class

Pianist Margo Garrett returns to Bowling Green State University for a residency at the College of Musical Arts Feb. 1 and 2 as one of this year’s Helen McMaster Endowed Professors in Vocal and Choral Studies.

During her stay at the University, Garrett will coach student singers and pianists, as well as present a public master class at 7 p.m. Feb. 1 in Bryan Recital Hall that is free and open to the public.

Garrett has established a number of long-standing performing relationships with artists such as sopranos Kathleen Battle, Barbara Bonney, Dawn Upshaw and Benita Valente. Active in the world of contemporary music, Garrett has performed the premiers of more than 30 works.

She is a member of the Julliard School Collaborative Piano Faculty and was the first holder of the Ethel Alice Hitchcock Chair in Accompanying and Coaching at the University of Minnesota’s School of Music—the first privately endowed collaborative chair in the U.S.

Garrett is sharing this year’s McMaster professorship with renowned Swedish vocal conductor Erik Westberg, who completed his residency last October.

Helen McMaster and her late husband, Harold, established this endowed professorship in spring 2000. Helen McMaster, a longtime Perrysburg resident, has supported the arts at BGSU for many years. The McMasters previously donated to BGSU programs in music, business, science and the Center for Photochemical Sciences.

BGSU to host Viola Day for student musicians

Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts will host its second annual Bratsche Bash (Viola Day) on Feb. 13 in the Moore Musical Arts Center.

Geared toward middle school, high school and college-aged violists, Bratsche Bash will include master classes with prominent violists from throughout the Midwest and classes on orchestral repertoire, improvisation and technique, as well as a brown bag discussion about “Making a Career as a Musician.”

Dr. Megan Fergusson, assistant professor of viola, will host the daylong program. Guest clinicians include pianist Marcantonio Barone, a faculty member at Swarthmore College; violist Caroline Coade of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; violist Louise Zeitlin, a faculty member at Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory, and Chris Buzzelli, a professor and director of jazz activities at BGSU.

Parents, teachers and nonparticipants are welcome to observe at no cost. The registration fee for participants is $15, which includes lunch.

Make checks payable to College of Musial Arts. Completed forms must be mailed by Feb. 10 to Megan Fergusson, College of Musical Arts, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403.

For more information, contact Fergusson at 419-372-2428 or email Fergusm@bgsu.edu.

BGSU celebrating centennial with fanfare

Ryan Nowlin has returned to his native Cleveland since earning two music degrees from Bowling Green State University. But a part of the teacher and composer remains at BGSU, as reflected in one of his recent works.

The BGSU Centennial Commission has named Nowlin’s “Sounds of the Centennial” the winner of the Centennial Fanfare Competition. As the celebration of the University’s first 100 years dawns, the fanfare will premiere at a BGSU Wind Symphony concert at 8 p.m. Friday (Jan. 22) in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center.

“Many of my friends, alumni of BGSU, had informed me of the contest and encouraged me to enter,” recalled Nowlin, an instrumental music teacher in the Brecksville-Broadview Heights City Schools in Cleveland’s southern suburbs. “BGSU has had a profound impact on me, my life and my family. I decided I had to enter, as I owe much to this institution and her professors.”

Nowlin earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University in 2000 and 2004, respectively, in music education and music education/conducting. He has also been a BGSU instructor in conducting and band scoring, as well as a staff arranger for the Falcon Marching Band.

Nowlin said he knew he wanted his centennial fanfare submission to be brief—only about two minutes long. “I wanted shadows and hints of the Alma Mater but no gratuitous or labored quotations,” he continued. “I wanted the piece to ‘feel’ like Bowling Green, almost a snapshot of the past 100 years and a forecast of the next. To do this, I chose to use frequent meter changes, flourishes and frequent builds in intensity and volume.”

“Nowlin’s fanfare stood out for the way it conveys a sense of energy and excitement and heralding of the University’s next century,” said Centennial Co-Chair Kim McBroom. “It recalls the past with a bit of solemnity but also chimes a celebration of the present. It’s a joyous piece of music.”

“Sounds of the Centennial” isn’t Nowlin’s first acclaimed fanfare. His “A Christmas Fanfare” is featured as the opening piece on “Snowed In … Again,” a Tower Brass Quintet CD. In addition, Andrew Pelletier, a 2005 Grammy Award winner and BGSU faculty member, premiered Nowlin’s “Elegy (for Herbert A. Spencer)” at the International Horn Society Summer Symposium in 2005.

He has been commissioned to write for brass quintet, tuba quartet, horn ensemble, and solo horn and piano, as well as for concert bands with members ranging from beginners to professionals. At Brecksville-Broadview Heights, he directs the high school wind ensemble, marching band, jazz ensemble and symphonic band, plus the eighth grade band, and assists with the seventh grade band.

Nowlin is also a staff arranger for the Kansas State University marching band. That came about after Kansas State’s director of bands—and fellow Cleveland native—Frank Tracz heard Nowlin’s charts through a mutual friend, Vince Polce. Another BGSU alumnus, Polce is retired director of bands at Defiance High School, where Nowlin did his student teaching.

For his work at BGSU, Nowlin has received the James Paul Kennedy Music Achievement Award, the Mark and Helen Kelly Band Award and the Faculty Excellence Award.

The Jan. 22 concert where his centennial fanfare will premiere is part of the 52nd annual Band Music Reading and Directors Clinic at BGSU.

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