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.
Professor of Cello Karen Becker is having a piece rebroadcast today on Performance Today. The piece premiered in January 2015 in Kimball Recital Hall but the performance was recorded at the Red Lodge Music Festival -- Laurence Sherr's Sonata for cello and piano, "Mir Zaynen do!"
Assistant Professor of Composition Greg Simon is currently in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains for the 2017 season of the Brevard Music Center Summer Institute. Founded in 1936, the Brevard Music Center attracts over 400 music students from around the world for its six-week summer season. Greg serves on the composition faculty, working with student composers from as far away as China and attending schools such as Indiana University, the Boston Conservatory, and Oberlin College. This is his third consecutive year on the BMC faculty.
David von Kampen
Glenn Korff School of Music Lecturer in Theory and Literature as well as the director of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Vocal Jazz Ensemble, David von Kampen, has released the first professional recording of his jazz compositions -- The Kansas-Nebraska Act: Music for Small Jazz Ensembles.
"I wrote half of these charts during graduate school at the University of Kansas, and the rest in Nebraska, where I live now. Some of the band lives in Lawrence, the rest in Lincoln. The first time we all played together was the night before this recording session."
Borrowed Time, Glenn Korff School of Music graduate student Andrew Janak’s debut album, is a project several years in the making. The album is currently available on Bandcamp and will soon be on CDBaby and iTunes.
“After leading my own band in Chicago playing my original music for one and a half years, I moved back to Lincoln to pursue my DMA,” Janak said. “I always had it in the back of my mind that I needed to record the music I was making with the group and it all came together with my first DMA composition recital. I brought in five musicians from Chicago with whom I had frequently collaborated (Adam Thornburg, Carl Kennedy, Robin Fey, Jackson Kidder, Jon Wenzel) and added University of Nebraska-Lincoln DMA student Jesse McBee to the mix to create the band for the record.”
The compositions on the album reflect the direction his music was headed back in late 2015-2016: densely orchestrated and contrapuntal jazz music with ample space for improvisation.
“All of the tunes were written during my first year of my DMA at Nebraska with this particular seven-piece band in mind. While some time has passed between the recording session in late February 2016 and the release in June 2017, I am thoroughly satisfied with the final product. All of the band members played beautifully and brought my music to life in ways I didn’t know were possible.
“I’m so excited to share this music with the public and sincerely hope people enjoy it.”
Glenn Korff School of Music Assistant Professor of Composition (Emerging Media and Digital Arts) Tom Larson served as recording engineer and also mixed the album.
Our own Jamie Reimer joined up with the I the Siren Ensemble for a performance. Read more at the link: https://unomusic.wordpress.com/2017/06/22/i-the-siren-performs-at-the-musforum-conference/
Jordan Redd, who is working on his masters in horn performance, is participating in the FOOSA (Fresno Summer Orchestra Academy) Music Festival. It's a three-week festival in Fresno, California. He is playing principal on Mahler 6, and Strauss Don Juan. They have a concerto competition every year and the winner plays on the final concert with the FOOSA Philharmonia. Anyone can audition as long as they are participating in the festival. There are contestants from all around the world between the age of 10 all the way to DMA students and professional musicians. Redd collaborated with a horn from Oklahoma State University (Scott Campbell) and performed the Haydn Double horn concerto and they have made the final round that takes place tonight!
Alum Brian Jeffers was mentioned in Opera News in a review of Cracked Orlando.
"Brian Jeffers offered a heroic, flexible tenor as Medoro."
Here is the complete review:
NEW YORK CITY
Center for Innovation in the Arts | The Juilliard School
“CRACKED TO PIECES, where is Orlando?” sings the title character in Jonathan Dawe’s Cracked Orlando, presented by Juilliard’s Center for Innovation in the Arts at the Rosemary and Meredith Willson Theater (seen March 24). The answer was everywhere, both visually and aurally. John Erickson’s projections played across jagged screens that suggested Orlando’s altered state (the result of enchantment by the sorceress Alcina) and offered hope of his restoration via Pangaea-like fusion were they to connect. The screens also played home to the rocky coastal landscape of Alcina’s island, as well as to a corps of dancers, filmed months earlier, who impersonated shipwreck victims swimming to freedom as well as cavorting statuary at Angelica and Medoro’s wedding. At one point, they stood in for Orlando himself, rushing from one screen to the next as he tried to escape Angelica’s cave. In a show of true theatrical sorcery, Alcina was an avatar vanishing and reappearing on the screens, animated by mezzo Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek’s physical movements, which were picked up by motion sensors as she sang in a room across the hall. In addition to controlling the projections, video artist Phoebe Dunn manipulated a hologram representing the torch Alcina used to bewitch Orlando, making it wax, wane and change colors with graceful hand movements.
Dawe’s score is like Handel in a blender, framing melismatic vocal lines against a dissonant, fragmented instrumental soundscape. Singing in both Italian and English, the fearless singers managed to make Dawe’s thorny score sound like their natural mode of expression, despite the paucity of pitch reference. The singers were miked in order to create echo effects and to match Kwiatek’s piped in vocal presence. This made all their voices sound edgy in the small space, but countertenor Brennan Hall, an alternately sorrowful and unhinged Orlando, found moments of sweetness, especially in his affecting final aria. (Hall is a veteran of another adventurous Orlando: R.B. Schlather’s WhiteBox Art Center exhibition of the Handel opera, in which he played Medoro as a strutting pimp.) Soprano Sharon Harms made a regal Angelica, and it was her facial expressions that set the emotional stakes. She executed the score’s most florid passages with shiny confidence and empowering chest tones. Brian Jeffers offered a heroic, flexible tenor as Medoro. With so much musical and visual cacophony, director Kerry Warren wisely kept the staging simple. Conductor Ryan McAdams brought out the lyrical moments in Dawe’s fractal score while maintaining a precise rhythmic engine. —Joanne Sydney Lessner
Anita Breckbill, professor at University Libraries and head of the music library, wrote a research article that earned a place on the cover of September 2017 issue of The Flutist Quarterly. The article, “Dismal Sounds: Flute Playing in the Fiction of Charles Dickens,” examines the way Dickens portrays flutists in four different stories. The National Flute Association publishes The Flutist Quarterly.
National NATS Student Auditions
Seven Glenn Korff School of Music Voice Majors were named one of the top 14 young artists in their gender/age category(s) of entry in the National NATS Student Auditions. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has national semi-finalists in five of the eight collegiate categories and one of the two graduate categories. Each singer listed below has been judged by 18 professionals in six rounds of auditions to reach this national level.
COLLEGE Freshmen/Sophomores Women's MUSICAL THEATRE
Victoria Handford (Alisa Belflower's studio)
Liza Piccoli (Alisa Belflower's studio)
COLLEGE Freshmen/Sophomores Men's MUSICAL THEATRE
Matthew Carter (Alisa Belflower's studio)
Tyler Cox (Alisa Belflower's studio)
COLLEGE Freshmen/Sophomores Men's CLASSICAL
Matthew Carter (Alisa Belflower's studio)
COLLEGE Freshmen/Sophomores Women's CLASSICAL
Alison Gillespie (Kate Butler's studio)
COLLEGE Junior/Senior WOMEN
Kate Johnson (Kate Butler's studio)
Arica Coleman (Alisa Belflower's studio)
The NATS National Student Auditions Semifinals and Finals will take place in Boulder, Colorado on July 20-21, 2017.
JUSTIN LEPARD RELEASES HIS DEBUT CD, THE CHRONIC CONDITION #PSYCHEDELICCELLO, ON JUNE 1
Justin Lepard, an improvising cellist who is both a virtuoso and a genre-crossing creative force, makes his recording debut on The Chronic Condition #PsychedelicCello.
When one thinks of the cello, it is generally of its warm presence in classical music, or sometimes of its use as an upper register bass in jazz. But when one listens to Justin Lepard, it is important to put away all preconceptions. He breaks the sound barrier on his instrument, and his electronic designs and patterns on The Chronic Condition make him a one-man orchestra.
Very much a solo album since the cellist plays all of the instruments (up to a dozen cello layers in spots) and wrote the eight originals, The Chronic Condition is filled with surprising and colorful music. Its opener, “In The Garden Of Earthly Delights,” has otherworldly sounds, a rockish feel, and Lepard’s vocal alternating with cello solos over a menacing-sounding background. “Cold Fearing People” features infectious rhythmic patterns filled with unusual sounds while utilizing Lepard’s voice as part of the ensemble along with the cellos.
The three-part “Cello Song,” which is titled “Wind,” “Sea” and “Fire,” displays the cellist’s classical background while offering eerie musical depictions of the wind, the sea (one can feel the waves) and a fast-moving fire. The other performances include the ominous strut “Start Over” which has some narration along with a rocking groove, the moody and atmospheric “1999,” and the unique electronic patterns of “Land Among The Stars.”
But in reality the music and sounds on Justin Lepard’s debut are beyond simple description. His career as a cellist is as wide-ranging as his music. He has extensive classical training and also studied jazz cello with Darryl White. In addition to classical ensembles, Lepard has performed with singer-songwriters, jazz groups, and with such conductors as Keith Lockhart and Jeff Tyzik. Justin Lepard has also toured with the Lucerne Young Performance Ensemble, premiered new music with members of the JACK Quartet, and in 2016 worked with experimental musicians in six different countries. Whether performing contemporary classical music, jazz, or his own original work, he always displays a distinctive and adventurous musical personality.
Justin Lepard’s brilliant playing and high energy cello flights are on display throughout The Chronic Condition #PsychedelicCello, a remarkable debut from a cellist who clearly has a very significant future in the creative music world.