Friday, February 24, 2012


Ashland University’s award-winning Jazz program is proud to present the 2012 Maplerock Jazz Festival slated for Friday, March 16.  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 featuring guest artist and jazz violinist Zach Brock and his trio The Magic Number.  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

One of the most virtuosic and emotive voices of contemporary jazz violin, Zach Brock has followed a path which embraces not only jazz, but also classical, world, and popular music. From critical acclaim as a bandleader to international exposure in collaborations with Stanley Clarke, Grazyna Auguscik, and Frank Vignola, Zach continues to gain admiration from both jazz purists and music enthusiasts alike. Zach’s repertoire includes re-workings of songs by Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Phil Markowitz, and Zbigniew Seifert, in addition to an evolving catalogue of his own compositions. His latest CD The Magic Number offers a telling glimpse of why Zach is being heralded as “the pre-eminent improvising violinist of his generation.” (Neil Tesser, Chicago Examiner)

The Magic Number is an acoustic trio with Zach on violin, Matt Wigton on bass, and Fred Kennedy on drums, as well as wordless vocals and pitched percussion. The group’s unusual instrumentation allows for a wide variety of sounds, from sparse to dense, and the group’s repertoire is a mix of Zach’s original compositions with original arrangements of modern and classic jazz and pop standards.

The Jazz Festival's afternoon performances begin at 1:30 p.m. with Ashland High School Jazz Band B, followed at 2:00 p.m. with Rittman High School Jazz Band; Lakewood High School Jazz Band at 2:30 p.m., and conclude with Ashland High School Jazz Band A at 3:00 p.m.

Fresh off their spring tour of Spain, the evening concert begins with several selections performed by the Ashland University Jazz Orchestra led by Ashland University Associate Professor of Music
Dr. Scott Garlock.  Works performed will be selected from jazz favorites including Satin Doll, In the Mood, Come Rain or Come Shine; along with newer arrangements such as Semi-Mental Journey, Besame Mucho and Tio Jorge.  Immediately following the AU Jazz Orchestra, Zach Brock and The Magic Number will headline the evening concert.

Tickets for the evening concert are $12 for adults; $5 for senior citizens, non-Ashland University students and Ashland University faculty and staff; and free for Ashland University students.

Monday, February 20, 2012


The Department of Music at Ashland University presents a faculty recital with soprano Dione Bennett and pianist Pavlina Draganova on Sunday, February 26 at 5:00 p.m. in the Elizabeth Pastor Recital Hall. The concert is free and open to the public.

The concert program offers a "World of Colors" through the Latin rhythms of Xavier Montsalvage, the jazz fusion of Ricky Ian Gordan, the classical musings of Robert Owens, H. T. Burleigh, John Carter and Rosephanye Powell. Bennett will also highlight the poetry of Langston Hughes.

An established pedagogue, Bennett is in her eighth year at Ashland University and is an active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). She expects the conferral of her doctorate in May from the University of Illinois where she studied with professor Cynthia Haymon. Further study has taken her to Graz, Austria with the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) where an Austrian newspaper said she was “the discovery of the evening”. A performer in such operatic roles as Micaela (Carmen), Bess (Porgy and Bess); Mimi (La Bohéme); Suor Genevieffa (Suor Angelica); and Lucy (Treemonisha); and such oratorio’s as Handel's Messiah, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Mass in C, Schubert's Mass in G, Dubois' Seven Last Words of Christ, and Mozart's Vespers, she has been featured with the Warren Philharmonic, Akron Symphony, Ashland Symphony, Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra, Columbus Symphony, Eastern Illinois Symphony as well as Cleveland Opera and Opera Western Reserve. As an avid recitalist, she paired with pianist John Wustman singing Brahms, Berlioz, and Burleigh as well as a journey of the development of spirituals.

A native of Bulgaria, Mrs. Draganova is a staff accompanist at Ashland University and the principal pianist of Ashland Symphony Orchestra. She earned her first masters degree in piano performance from Pancho Vladigerov State Academy of Music, Sofia studying with Stela Dimitrova and the prominent Bulgarian piano duo Konstantin and Julia Ganev. After moving to the United States, she graduated with a masters in piano performance from The University of Michigan where she was a student of Louis Nagel. Mrs. Draganova has been on the faculties of the Music High School, Plovdiv; The Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts, Plovdiv; and Pancho Vladigerov State Academy of Music, Sofia. An active performer as a collaborative and solo musician, Pavlina has performed in major cities in Bulgaria, Michigan and Ohio, and appeared as a soloist with the Plovdiv Symphony Orchestra under Maesto Dobrin Petkov. As a member of the Michigan Music Teachers Association she performed at the organization's 120th State Conference.