Tuesday, March 24, 2015

AU Music Enjoys Cleveland Orchestra Concert at Severence

Ashland University Music students and faculty attended a concert by the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall on March 21, 2015.  It was an enjoyable opportunity to get away from campus for an evening, and hear one of the world's greatest orchestras.  Many thanks to AU Trustee Brooks Hull for his donation covering transportation for the trip!

Friday, March 20, 2015

BAND CONCERT HONORS AREA MIDDLE SCHOOL INSTRUMENTALISTS

In Celebration of Music in Our Schools Month, Ashland University Department of Music will host the annual Ashland County Middle School Honors Band on Sunday, March 22 at 4:00 p.m. in Hugo Young Theatre with the Ashland University Concert Band as the featured guest ensemble.  Ken Will, Ashland University Director of Bands, will conduct both bands.

Consisting of 75 members, the Ashland County Middle School Honors Band includes seventh and eighth grade students from Ashland, Crestview, Hillsdale, Loudonville-Perrysville and Mapleton Schools.  Members of the Ashland County Band Directors Association meet with Ken Will and Crestview's Christopher Thompson, this year’s chairman, to plan the program.  The committee of band directors selects the honors band members based on merit and instrumentation needs of the band. Students meet at Ashland University on Thursday, March 19 and Sunday, March 22 to rehearse and present this program with music ranging from classical selections to traditional marches. 

The 65-member Ashland University Concert Band will open the concert with a cameo program of wonderful but unusual music chosen especially to highlight the day. The University Band will also feature Shayne Smith (Bellevue), Hannah Phillips (Plymouth), and Don Roger Haught (Wooster) as student honors conductors during their portion of the concert. The three students are members of the concert band who are studying Music Education at Ashland University. 

The combination of these two bands make for a rewarding, exciting and satisfying musical experience for both the performers and the audience. Admission is complimentary and a recording can be ordered.

AU MUSIC STUDENT CAPTURES STATE COMPOSITION AWARD

Ashland University Department of Music is proud to announce that Nicholas J. Bartulovic, a sophomore history major and music minor, was awarded third place in the 2015 Ohio Federation of Music Clubs College Composers' Contest for his entry "Three Sketches for Piano." Nicholas is from Twinsburg, Ohio, studies music composition with Dr. Alex Sanchez-Behar, Assistant Professor of Music at Ashland University, and plays violin in the Ashland Symphony Orchestra. The statewide contest is offered annually by the OFMC's Foundation for the Advancement of Music to encourage the composition and performance of music, aid performing and creative artists regardless of citizenship, promote musical education, aid veterans in commencing and resuming musical careers and grant scholarships to carry out the above.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Full Slate of Recitals Announced for March

The Department of Music at Ashland University announces numerous recitals in March including a guest artist woodwind quintet, a faculty trombonist joined by several guest performers, and two junior recitals featuring voice, piano and trumpet students. All of the recitals are free and open to the public and are held in the Elizabeth Pastor Recital Hall in the Center for the Arts. 

On Sunday, March 15  at 7:30 p.m., instrumental music education majors Rachel Crow, piano, (Reynoldsburg, Ohio) and Hannah Phillips (Plymouth, Ohio), trumpet, present their junior recital including selections from Handel to Gershwin. Pianist Susan Gregg is the accompanist for the recital. Rachel studies privately with Susan Schoeffler, and Hannah studies with Gary Davis.

The next evening, Monday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m., the Solaris woodwind quintet will perform a guest artist recital with bass clarinetist Dr. Thomas Reed, Ashland University Professor of Music. The program of new and standard works will include Chorale and Fantasy by the late Columbus composer Mark Flugge, a new work written in 2014 by Akron composer Nikola Resanovic, the masterpiece Mladi by Janacek, and the lovely Romantic Suite, Op. 57 by LeFebvre. Since its formation in 1976 as ensemble in residence at the University of Akron, Solaris has established a reputation as one of the foremost woodwind quintets in the United States. In addition to their regular concert series at the University of Akron, Solaris has toured Italy, Brazil, Sweden and the United States.

On Sunday, March 22 at 7:00 p.m. (Note the date and time change from previous publications), Dr. Scott Garlock, Professor of Music, will present a faculty recital on trombone with several guest performers including pianists Emily Garlock and Susan Gregg; fellow trombonists Paul Ferguson, Chris Simmons, Chadwick Applegate and Jaylynn Buchmelter; Don Roger Haught on guitar; Ben Schnell, bass; and Dan Shade, drums. The program will include Benedetto Marcello's Sonata in A minor, Launy Grondahl's Concert pour Trombone et Piano and Sonata Breve for Bass Trombone by Walter Hartley along with Garlock's arrangement "Songs from Liz's Juries" based on Bela Bartok's "Bear Dance," and Paul Ferguson's arrangement of Henry Purcell's Sonata no. 11. The program will conclude with Antonin Dvorak's Three Slavonic Dances and Michael Davis' "Blue on Green." 

The final recital in March presents vocalists Fatima Imani Smith (Copley, Ohio), soprano, and Deric Dove (Newark, Ohio), baritone, as they perform their junior recital on Thursday, March 26 at 7:30 p.m.. Both study privately with Stephanie Sikora with Fatima pursuing a degree in music performance and Deric studying music education. They will be assisted by pianist Deb Logan and percussionist Maria Cardonay.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

JAZZ PIANIST BENNY GREEN HEADLINES 2015 MAPLEROCK JAZZ FESTIVAL

Ashland University’s award-winning Jazz program is proud to present the 2015 Maplerock Jazz Festival slated for Friday, March 20. Along with free performances by area high school jazz ensembles in the afternoon, the event presents a main stage concert at 7:30 p.m. in Hugo Young Theatre. The evening concert opens with the Ashland University Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Scott Garlock and features Jazz pianist Benny Green as the headlining guest artist along with Ashland High School alumnus Michael Stewart on trumpet; Dave Sterner, alto saxophone; and Jeff Bush, trombone. 

The afternoon performances are free and open to the public while tickets for the evening concert are available through the Ashland University Box Office at 419.289.5125, 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, or online (additional fees apply) at www.ashland.edu/tickets.  Tickets for the evening concert are $10 for adults; $5 for senior citizens, non-Ashland University students and Ashland University faculty and staff; and free for Ashland University students.

Masterful pianist Benny Green possesses the history of jazz at his fingertips. Combine mastery of keyboard technique with decades of real world experience playing with no one less than the most celebrated artists of the last half century, and it's no wonder Green has been hailed as perhaps the most exciting hard-swinging, hard-bop pianist to ever emerge from Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. 

Born in New York in 1963, Benny Green grew up in Berkeley, California, and began classical piano studies at the age of seven. Influenced by his father, a tenor saxophonist, his attention soon turned to Jazz: “I began trying to improvise on the piano, imitating the records I'd been hearing from my father's collection, which included a lot of Monk and Bird… it was a gradual process of teaching myself”.

Benny never looked back and never stopped learning as his blossoming talents, supported by mentors such as Walter Bishop, Jr. and others, plus his love for the music propelled him to the upper strata of jazz luminaries.  Benny’s list of credits, accomplishments, and accolades could literally fill a book. His recordings with the masters form a foundation of jazz education. He began his touring life with Betty Carter for four years, was the first recipient of the City of Toronto's Glen Gould International Protégé Prize in Music, and has appeared on well over one hundred recordings with legacy artists such as Betty Carter, Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Watson, Milt Jackson, Diana Krall and Ray Brown.

Also joining Maplerock as a guest artist and returning to his hometown is trumpeter, arranger and composer Michael Stewart. With an active teaching studio and performing career in the Chicago area, Michael currently plays lead trumpet with the Gold Coast Orchestra, the Chicago Grandstand Big Band, the Dana Legg Jazz Band, the Grand Avenue Big Band and is a freelance classical soloist. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Composition from the University of South Carolina, a Master of Arts degree in Trumpet Performance from Eastern Illinois University, and a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Akron (OH). Although he primarily writes for jazz ensembles from 7 to 17 players and various brass ensembles, his compositions also cover a far reaching range of styles and genres.

Saxophonist Dave Sterner is a traditional jazz musician with a bent for mixing swing, funk and the blues into his sound. Spending his entire career in the Mid-West, Sterner earned his degree in music from Indiana University and early on played with funk and R&B bands. Returning to his home town of Cleveland, he has performed with Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Harry Connick Jr., The Manhattan Transfer, The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, The Jazz Heritage Orchestra and the Dizzy Gillespie All-star Big Band to name a few. In addition to teaching for the Cuyahoga Community College jazz program, Mr. Sterner conducts the Lakeland Community College Civic Jazz Orchestra and co-directs the Lakeland Jazz Festival.

Pennsylvania native Jeff Bush began studying music at the age of four on an unlikely instrument, the banjo. He followed with the piano and then discovered the trombone which has become a lifelong pursuit. Working as a professional musician while still a college student, Bush performed with The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra and toured with The Glenn Miller Orchestra. In his final year of undergraduate study, Bush became linked to one of his musical heroes, receiving the Frank Rosolino Memorial Scholarship. The award featured Bush at the 1999 International Trombone Festival and allowed him to study in Berlin, Germany with acclaimed trombonist, Jiggs Whigham. In 2000 Jeff moved to New York City to begin a Master's degree at The Manhattan School of Music and to pursue a freelance career which continues to flourish today.  Bush is honored to have performed with a number of great jazz artists including The Count Basie Orchestra, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Cyrus Chestnut and Anthony Braxton. Jeff has also been a featured soloist and substitute conductor for The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and joined the big band of superstar Harry Connick Jr. in February 2007 and stayed with the group through early 2009. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

SPRING CHORAL CONCERT FEATURES THREE VOCAL ENSEMBLES

Ashland University’s Spring Choral Concert features performances from three University vocal ensembles including the Ashland University Choir, Chamber Singers and Women’s Chorus on Sunday, March 15, 4:00 p.m. at the Jack and Deb Miller Chapel.  The performance is free and open to the public.

Dr. Rowland Blackley, Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities, will conduct the Ashland University Choir and Chamber Singers. The University Choir will perform selections including Japanese and Samoan songs of poetry, Eric Whitacre's "Sleep," "The Coolin" by Samuel Barber's Reincarnations, Moses Hogan's spiritual "Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel," Franz Biebl's "Ave Maria" which will feature the men in the choir, and the women will be featured in "The Road Home" by Stephen Paulus.

The Chamber Singers will be accompanied by pianist Susan Gregg as they sing Sven-Eric Johanson's Fancies, a set of modern settings of Shakespearean texts. They will also sing Ralph Vaughan Williams' beautiful a cappella works "Two Elizabethan Partsongs."  

Dr. Marla Butke, Associate Professor of Music, will direct the Women's Chorus with accompaniment by pianists Rachel Crow and Eddie Carney. The ensemble will perform a selection of love songs including "Three Madrigals" by Emma Lou Diemer with text by William Shakespeare, "A Red, Red Rose" by Eleanor Daley with text by Robert Burns, and "Dance on My Heart" by Allan Koekpe.

Friday, February 20, 2015

IRON TOYS ANNOUNCES CD RELEASE CONCERT

The saxophone/woodwind quartet Iron Toys announces a public release concert and party for their new CD to be held Saturday, February 28, 7 p.m. at the Happy Grape Wine Bar in Lexington, Ohio.   

Founded in 2004 in Cleveland Ohio, the woodwind quartet features the accomplished and highly respected musicianship of Howie Smith, Rich Shanklin, Tom Reed and George Shernit. With a diverse repertoire exploring classical music, jazz and related styles composed or arranged by members of the quartet, this recording also presents Jim McNeely’s engaging and challenging composition Three Conversations.  Major funding for the project was made possible by the Ashland University Faculty Development program and the Ashland University Department of Music. 

Tom Reed is Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department at Ashland University, principal clarinetist of the Ashland Symphony Orchestra, and bass clarinetist with the Akron Symphony Orchestra.  He has performed regularly with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra and the Cleveland Chamber Symphony. Tom has also been soloist with the Akron, Mansfield, Clarence (NY) and Ashland Symphonies, and has recorded with the Akron Symphony, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the Jazz Unit, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra and the Paul Ferguson Jazz Orchestra.  His clarinet CD “Mutually Inclusive” was released in 2008. 

Rich Shanklin has recently retired from 31 years of teaching at the University of Akron.  He taught classical and jazz saxophone, coached saxophone quartets, and taught courses in Jazz Arranging, History of Jazz, and the Business of Music. He has performed with the Jazz Unit, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Akron and Canton Symphonies, the Blossom Festival Band, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and is a first-call woodwind doubler for dozens of musical pit orchestra performances at Cleveland's Playhouse Square. 

George Shernit received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Theory/Composition and a Master of Arts in Saxophone Performance from Cleveland State University.  As a freelance musician for 35 years, he has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Blossom Festival Band, and numerous Broadway shows and entertainers.  He also toured with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and the road show of “Annie.”  For the past 28 years he has worked in the wholesale music business, including 7 years in Austin, Texas, as national sales manager for Jupiter Band Instruments. 

Howie Smith has presented concerts and workshops throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Europe and Australia, and has worked with musicians, composers and ensembles as varied as Anthony Braxton, Gary Burton, Dizzy Gillespie, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Elvis Presley, John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Tone Road Ramblers.  His recorded performances are equally diverse and his extensive catalogue of compositions includes works for conventional big bands and combos; for string, wind and percussion ensembles; for electronics; and for mixed media.  Recordings of his work may be heard on the Philips, Polydor, Albany, Open Blue, Optimism and Sea Breeze labels. Smith is a professor emeritus at Cleveland State University, where he was the coordinator of jazz studies from 1979 to 2006 and served as chair of the Art Department from 2003 to 2007.  He has been an artist/clinician for Yamaha since 1971.