Glenn Korff School of Music Blog

Glenn Korff School of Music Blog

The halls of the Westbrook Music Building are busy with activity, but our faculty, staff, alumni and students are out in the world doing amazing things too! Read about all of their activities here.

Daniel Baldwin

This summer, I wrote a piece that was premiered at the International Double Reed Convention at NYU in NYC on August 7th in Skirball Hall. It is called "Dark Side of the Moon" and is a triple concerto for 2 amplified bassoons, rock band, and wind ensemble. The bassoonists were rock/jazz bassoonist Paul Hanson (best known from his time with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones) and Richard Ramey (principal bassoon of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra). The West Point Band accompanied and the rock band was made up of members of West Point, as well. The performance was very successful and very well received. The piece begins with an electric guitar solo, so the hall was blacked out and one spotlight was aimed at the guitarist for the introductory solo. Within about ten seconds everyone in the audience (mostly made up of professional double reed players) understood what the piece was and the crowd commenced to scream and yell like it was a rock concert. It was a lot of fun. Probably the most fun I have had doing a commission project from start to finish. 
I was asked several times, "what made you think to write a rock concerto for bassoons?' The short answer is that it was a commission (I was requested to write it). However, I was happy and excited to take it on. As "classical" musicians we are always looking for ways to be relevant to general audiences in the world at large. The piece was born out of a desire to assist in bridging this gap. There is something for everyone in this piece.
This piece was commissioned by Richard Ramey and a consortium of 40 other bassoonists, university wind ensembles, professional wind ensembles, and military bands. The bassoonists (Paul Hanson and Richard Ramey) and I will be arranging what we will be calling "the "Dark Side Tour." It is our hope to help organize performances with each of the consortium members over the course of the next two years.

Bobby Fuson II

This summer I worked as the coordinator of the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra, Nebraska Jazz Camp, and Lincoln Municipal Band. I had my first big band composition published by UNC Jazz Press, and I was named adjunct instructor of saxophone at Doane College this year. I was commissioned to write a piece for my alma mater, the University of the Cumberlands, and their jazz ensemble to celebrate David Threlkeld's 20 years of service to the school. The chart was premiered in Williamsburg, Kentucky on April 10 and received its Nebraska premiere by the UNL Jazz Orchestra on April 25.

Christopher Marks

I’m excited to be  back in Syracuse, NY, this week for the 2014 convention of the Organ Historical Society.  I’ll be playing a recital program on Tuesday afternoon for the convention, on an organ built in 1872 by J.H. Willcox in St. Cecilia Catholic Church.  I’ll be performing a newly commissioned piece by Kurt Knecht.  Here are a couple of pictures of the instrument …

Janka Krajciova

The International Music Institute and Festival USA 2014 took place on the beautiful campus of Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD from July 14-24 and I was able to attend due to a generous Hixson-Lied summer study grant. In addition to lessons, coachings, performances and masterclasses, the festival also included seminar in performance psychology, theatre workshop and daily yoga morning stretches. The following five-day tour around cities of Thurmont, Annapolis, Towson, Bel Air and Baltimore featured eight of us from the IMIF. We performed a total of seven concerts in various venues, including a mountain retreat lodge, retirement centers and many gorgeous churches. There was also time for friendships, sight-seeing, ice cream and trying local foods, my favorite being charming Annapolis, historic Hampton Mansion in Towson and of course, Maryland crabcakes! Needless to say, I had a blast!

Tass Schweiger and Christina Ensign

The past 5 weeks, we have been working as Counselors at the New York Summer Music Festival. We sent in our applications and audition tapes back in January and were notified of our positions in April. We began the 22 hour drive to Oneonta, New York on June 30 and will be headed back on August 4. 

While at NYSMF, Tass (oboe) has been a part of the Chamber Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Double Reed Trio, Mixed Woodwind Trio, Double Reed Institute, and All NYSMF choir.

At NYSMF, Christina (clarinet) has participated in Chamber Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Clarinet Quartet, Mixed Woodwind Trio (with Tass!), Jazz Combo (playing jazz clarinet), and Lab Jazz (playing trombone), a collaborative faculty/staff performance of "Carnival of Animals", and All NYSMF choir. She has also been teaching a Theory 1 class each morning to a class of approximately 20 students. 

Along with ensembles, we have had opportunities to take lessons, participate in master classes, and listen to concerts given by various guest artists from around the world. We even found some spare time to take a beginning guitar class (We can now play about 5 chords and "Love Me Tender"!) and got some fantastic ice cream! 

James Drelling

James Dreiling

DMA in conducting and band graduate teaching assistant James Dreiling recently learned his clinic session, “Guy Woolfenden: A Composer’s Musical DNA,” was selected for the 2015 World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) conference in San Jose, California next July. WASBE is the only international organization of wind band conductors, composers, performers, publishers and friends of wind music. WASBE is completely dedicated to enhancing the quality of the wind band throughout the world.  

The topic of James’s clinic is the wind music of British composer Guy Woolfenden. Woolfenden spent thirty-seven years as the Head of Music for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon where he composed over 150 scores of incidental music and is the only composer known to have composed music for every Shakespearean play. Woolfenden has also composed fourteen pieces for band and nine pieces for various chamber ensembles, much of which is based on his music for Shakespeare.   

Clark Potter

I recently taught and performed at the Csehy Summer School of Music at Houghton College in New York. 

Caitlin Gilmore

Right now I am in Cortona, Italy, studying with a variety of composers and working with a bunch of performers because of a grant the Glenn Korff School of Muisc gave me! Yesterday, I toured Firenze with all of my new friends here in Italy, and on Monday, I will be taking a wine tour around the Italian countryside. All the while, I'm getting to hear the most incredible new music by my fellow composers, and will have two of my pieces premeired Thursday and Friday!

Ian McCollum

This summer I will be attending two different seminars for percussion performance.

The first is the Chosen Vale seminar in New Hampshire from June 30 until July 12. Chosen Vale has a diverse faculty of nationally known percussionists including the Eastman percussion professor, Michael Burrit, the principal percussionist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cynthia Yeh, and several other percussionists making their careers as solo and chamber musicians. I will be participating in several evening concerts and masterclasses, performing chamber and solo works, and during the day I will have the opportunity to meet with and take lessons with the diverse faculty.

The second seminar is the So Percussion Summer Institute at Princeton University from July 20 to August 3. The So Percussion quartet was recently named as artists in residence at Princeton University, replacing the Brentano String Quartet. They are one of the most important percussion chamber groups in the United States, championing and revitalizing many important standard pieces of the repertoire, like the works of Cage, Reich, and Xenakis. They have also premiered and recorded many new works for percussion, such as Lansky's Threads and Mackey's It Is Time. This year's Summer Institute theme is percussion and electronics with Dan Trueman's Neither Anvil nor Pulley as the central piece for study and performance.

Peter Eklund

Dr. Peter Eklund departs on June 30 with 100 singers and chaperons for Europe to perform large combined choral, brass, and organ works by Palestrina, Saint-Säens, Rachmaninoff, and many others in amazing world-class venues such as Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral, on Omaha Beach in France, Normandy's American Cemetery, the Gothic Bordeaux Cathedral, the yet-to-be-completed Gaudi-designed Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona (soon to be the tallest church in the world upon completion of the primary tower), the Prince's Cathedral in Monaco, Dachau Concentration Camp, the Milan Cathedral, the important historical abbey-church of St. Hildegard von Bingen above the Rhine River, plus other important churches in Munich, Rothenburg, and many other great spaces in Switzerland, Austria, Italy, and Germany. Eklund's long-standing connection with the venues, music-directors, and his European conducting reputation have ensured amazing venues for participants over the years (including Venice's St. Mark's Basilica, the Salzburg Cathedral, the Prague Cathedral, the primary naves of London's Westminster Abbey, Coventry Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral, Straford-on-Avon, Warwick, the Chartres Cathedral, Metz Cathedral, the Strasbourg Cathedral and many, many more. This marks the 20th International Honor Choir directed by Eklund, Director of Choral Activities at UNL. Many of these talented performers ultimately enrolled and attended UNL over the years. Many current and past UNL students have filled roles of chaperons, instrumentalists, performers, and mentors on this trip.