Sunday, October 28, 2007

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Jazz Combos

HSU student Jazz Combos perform classic and original jazz on Sunday, October 28 at 8 PM in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Produced by HSU Department of Music, Dan Aldag directing. Tickets are $7 general, $3 students and seniors, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. HSU students free with ID.
Three Combos, Three Styles of Jazz

Every semester produces three jazz combos, composed of the best student players, each named after the day of the week they rehearse. But the three that will perform on Sunday, October 28 at the Fulkerson Recital Hall also each have a characteristic style.

The Monday Combo “is the most mainstream,” says Dan Aldag, HSU Music assistant professor who directs the combos. “They’re playing jazz standards such as Errol Garner’s ‘Misty,’ ‘Barbara’ by Horace Silver, and ‘Triste’ by Antonio Carlos Jobim. They will also play an original blues tune by the group’s guitarist, Ali Chaudhary.

The Wednesday Combo “is taking soul and funk tunes like Stevie Wonder’s ‘Boogie On, Reggae Woman’ and Bill Withers’ ‘Use Me,’ and adapting them to the jazz idiom,” Aldag said, “ in the same way that earlier generations of jazz musicians played the pop songs of their time.”

Friday’s Combo “is the most tapped into the leading edge of current jazz. They are performing Steve Swallow's ‘Bend Over Backward’, an original by theirpianist Joel Bettencourt and a contemporary arrangement of John Coltrane's ’Impressions.’"

All three Jazz Combos perform on October 27, beginning at 8pm, at Fulkerson Hall on the HSU campus. Tickets are $7 general, $3 students and seniors, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. HSU students free with ID.

The players in the Monday Combo are Clay Carey (tenor sax), Ali Chaudhary (guitar), Maia Wiitala (bass) and Gabriel Ben-Shalom (drums.) Wednesday Combo is Brian Jones (alto sax and vocals), Trevor Wendel (guitar), Cullen Miller (bass) and Chris Kaller (drums.)The Friday Combo is Sky Miller (tenor sax), Joel Bettencourt (piano), Bobby Amirkhan (bass) andMike Munroe (drums.)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

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Humboldt Bay Brass Band

In its only local appearance this year, the Humboldt Bay Brass Band performs works by Rossini, Vaughan Williams and local composers, including the lost “Redwood Highway March” from the 1930s, on Saturday, October 27 at 8 PM in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $7 general, $3 students and seniors, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. HSU students free with ID. Produced by HSU Department of Music, Gil Cline directing.
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Humboldt Bay Brass Band Brings Back the Lost “Redwood Highway March” in October 27 Concert

In its only local appearance this year, the Humboldt Bay Brass Band will revive a lost work by a local composer from several generations ago. Its title is “The Redwood Highway March.”

“Several weeks ago, the Humboldt County Historical Society received a box of music from someone in Seattle, who found twenty band compositions in storage in an apartment building,” explains band director and HSU Music professor Gil Cline. Titles which included words such as “Eureka” and “Big Lagoon” prompted the Seattle resident to send the music to Humboldt County historians.

“It turned out to be the work of Professor Frank Flowers, who was the Eureka High School band director in the 1920s and 30s,” said Cline. Flowers was also a cornet soloist as well as a composer. The twenty works, Cline believes, “were likely part of the repertory of the Redwood Empire Concert Band, which for many years played weekend concerts at the bandstand in Eureka’s Sequoia Park.”

Gil Cline examined the musical find, and with the Humboldt Historical Society’s blessings, scheduled the revival of one piece, called “The Redwood Highway March.”

This will be a highlight of the Humboldt Bay Band’s fall concert on Saturday, October 27 at the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Because the band will be “on academic break” until the fall of 2008, this will be its only local concert this year. HBBB, a true all-brass band in the British style, is composed of some of the best brass players from North Coast communities as far away as Brookings, Oregon, as well as students.

Besides the Flowers revival, this year’s program features an energetic overture by Rossini, “English Folk Songs” by British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, and two recent works by local composer, Treblig Enilc.

The last remaining copies of the Band’s CD, “Pageantry of Brass” will be on sale at the concert, the final time it will be offered.

The musicians of the Humboldt Bay Brass Band are: Cornets - Chris Cox, Tristan Kadish, William Zoller, Jennifer Sisk, Clara Navarro, Joyce Carter, John Ferriera, Gary Ross;E flat Tenors - Matt Morgan, Leon Hamilton, Anwyn Halliday; Trombones - Bodie Pfost, Melissa Gussin, Toshi Noguchi; Baritones – Phil Sams, Dick LaForge; Euphonium - George Ritscher, Matt Sullivan; E flat Tubas - Gregg Moore, Joe Eckert; B flat Tubas - Jerry Carter, Damien Adams, Elizabeth Cruz; Percussion – Jessica Bishop, Grace Kerr, and Julia Chase.

Media: KIEM-TV news, Arcata Eye, Eureka Times-Standard, Eureka Reporter.
The Program

La Gazza Ladra (overture) by Gioacchino Rossini
John Peel-- traditional. Arranged by Fred Mortimer.
English Folk Songs by R. Vaughan Williams. Arranged by Frank Wright Montreal Citadel by J.N. Audoire
The Pied Pipers by Treblig Enilc
633 Squadron by Ron Goodwin. Arranged by F. BryceFour.
Dot Flourish by Gil Cline

- interval -

The Cossack by William Rimmer
Clok Tok by Gil Cline
Amazing Grace Arranged by William Hines
Toldedo (trombone trio) by T. L. Sharpe
The Redwood Highway by Frank Flowers
Dodge City by Jeff Smallman

Sunday, October 21, 2007

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Jay Crone

Trombonist and former HSU faculty member Jay Crone performs works by David Ott, Alec Wilder, Robert Suderburg and Eric Ewazen in concert with pianist Tracy Cowden in the HSU Music Guest Artist series on Sunday, October 21 at 8PM in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $8 general, $3 students and seniors, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door.
Jay Crone Returns to HSU

Trombonist and former HSU faculty member Jay Crone performs in the HSU Music Guest Artist series on Sunday, October 21 at 8PM in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata.

Jay Crone taught at HSU for the 1992-93 and 1993-4 academic years. “I know there are people in town who remember Jay,” said current HSU Music faculty member Dan Aldag. These days, Crone is head of the Music Department at Virginia Tech, where he has taught trombone, euphonium and tuba for the past 14 years. He returns home to California for three concert dates, including Sunday, October 21 at HSU. He will be accompanied by pianist Tracy Cowden, who also teaches at Virginia Tech. She performs and lectures widely on the subject of collaborative piano.

This HSU Guest Artist Series concert features four works that straddle lines between classical, jazz and other genres. Alec Wilder's Sonata for Trombone and Piano was written for John Swallow, a founding member of the New York Brass Quintet. Swallow recorded it as the entire first side of his solo trombone album in the 1950s, “the first such trombone recording of its kind,” Crone notes.

Another Sonata for Trombone and Piano is by David Ott, who Crone calls “one of America's most sought-after and critically acclaimed symphonic composers.” Palmetto Suite, a 2004 work for alto trombone by Eric Ewazen, was inspired by coastal South Carolina and includes blues rhythms and other iconic sounds of Americana. Robert Suderburg’s Chamber Music III is more jazz-oriented, inspired by memories of the composer’s jazz trombonist father.

Tickets for the Jay Crone concert are $8 general, $3 students and seniors, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door.
The Program and Performer's Notes

Palmetto Suite (2004) by Eric Ewazen (b. 1954)
I. Wild Dunes
II. Lowcountry Sweetgrass
III. Isle of Palms

Sonata for Trombone and Piano (1986) by David Ott (b. 1947)
I. Allegro
II. Quarter note =76
III. Andante cantabile
IV. Driving, relentless

INTERMISSION

Sonata for Trombone and Piano by Alec Wilder (1907-1980)
I. Moderato
II. Andante cantabile
III. Allegro guisto
IV. Allegro comodo
V. Grandioso

Chamber Music III (1972) by Robert Suderburg (b. 1936)
I. cry, man
II. it’s been a long, long time
III. brother Devil


Notes

Eric Ewazen offers the following about Palmetto Suite:

"Palmetto Suite is gratefully dedicated to my friend Ronald Barron (Principal Trombone, Boston Symphony) whom I have known for several years. He has recorded, conducted and performed various pieces of mine-so it was with great enthusiasm that I accepted his commission for a new piece for alto trombone-the first work I have written expressly for this instrument.

The alto trombone, with its wonderfully rich colors is an instrument that composers can write for with great expressivity. This piece was inspired by a visit I made to the coastal region of Charleston, South Carolina in the spring of 2004. A long time friend of mine, Ann Stephens, was holding a celebration for her mother's 80th birthday and she gathered together friends who were living throughout the United States to come to this very special area. We were all amazed by the beauty, gracefulness, and charm of the Lowcountry of South Carolina, with its dramatic seashore, its historical architecture and its spectacular flora. Palmetto Suite is a description of this very beautiful part of the country. One windy night, walking along the coast's sand dunes, I walked right up to the ocean, and was so taken with inexorable pounding of the waves. It was energetic, almost rhythmic, and somewhat exhilarating.

The first movement, "Wild Dunes" describes this wonderful scene. The second movement, "Lowcountry Sweetgrass" is influenced by the centuries-old African-American art form of the woven sweeetgrass baskets that one sees throughout the islands near Charleston. They are sold outside at these very picturesque markets- and the fragrant smell of the sweet grass-gentle, aromatic- becomes almost intoxicating. This movement has the sound of an old time blues harmony and rhythm to convey this image of traditional Americana. The final movement, "The Isle of Palms," depicts the large, graceful, and impressive Palmetto trees, standing majestically with the clear blue sky as a backdrop. The music is full and rich-describing the sensation one feels when one sees such impressive trees. A final reflection of the nearby coastal waves brings the piece to a close."

David Ott is one of America's most sought-after and critically acclaimed symphonic composers. He earned graduate degrees from the University of Indiana and the University of Kentucky, and has served on the faculties of Houghton College, Pfeiffer College, and DePauw University. In 1991 he was named Composer-in-Residence of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, a position he held until 1997. His catalog includes four symphonies, fifteen concerti, numerous overtures, fanfares and ceremonial music, film scores, and a host of chamber pieces.

David Manson, instructor of trombone at Indiana State University during the 1980’s, commissioned David Ott’s Sonata for Trombone and Piano. The piano is an equal partner to the trombone in Ott’s sonata. The four movements range in style from agitated to melancholy, while the second movement employs the use of sympathetic vibrations inside the piano.

Alec Wilder, a Rochester, New York native, studied briefly at the Eastman School of Music, but was largely self-taught as a composer. His primary residence during his adulthood was the Algonquin Hotel in New York City, though he traveled extensively during his lifetime. Aside from his many compositions for obscure instruments such as the euphonium and marimba, Wilder is primarily remembered for his contributions to American popular song. The following excerpts from Alec Wilder-An Introduction to the Man and His Music, published by Margun Music, perhaps best describe Alec Wilder's music:

"Alec Wilder's music is a unique blend of American musical traditions-among them, jazz and the American popular song-the basic 'classical' European forms and techniques. As such it fiercely resists all labeling. Although it often pained Alec that his music was not more widely accepted by either jazz or classical performers, undeterred he wrote a great deal of music of remarkable originality in many forms: sonatas, suites, concertos, operas, ballets, art songs, woodwind quintets, brass quintets, jazz suites- and hundreds of popular songs…"

"Wilder, at his best, represents a fascinating amalgam of three quite different composer-archetypes, here all rolled into one: Gershwin, Poulenc, Villa-Lobos. In its baldest outlines, Wilder's oeuvre is unusually diverse and characteristically American, a synthesis of the brilliant song writer (Gershwin); the not-too-intellectual, traditional and determinedly conservative composer of easily accessible American-style Gebrauchsmusik, making use of popular and jazz elements as a matter of course (Poulenc); and a sometimes uncritical, too-casual writer who writes too much too easily-like Shakespeare's old bromide about loving too well but not wisely. (Villa-Lobos)….

"…What those who knew him well respected in Alec Wilder was his absolute independence and incorruptible aesthetic integrity as an artist. For years Alec wrote music of taste and quality with that personal melodic touch that was all his own, unaffected by musical fashion or fads, and never accepting any form of remuneration…It was almost a mission in Alec's life to assuage the thirst for good music for the so-called underdog instruments: bass, tuba, euphonium horn, marimba, etc. Alec was truly the musician's friend-an American original."

Alec Wilder's Sonata for Trombone and Piano was written for John Swallow, a founding member of the New York Brass Quintet, longtime faculty member of the Yale School of Music, and an important figure in the contemporary music scene of New York City for many years. This work made up the entire first side of Swallow's solo trombone long play recording from the 1950's, the first such trombone recording of its kind.

Night Set for Trombone and Piano was commissioned by the trombonist Stuart Dempster and premiered by Dempster and Robert Suderburg in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1972. The work is dedicated to the composer's jazz-trombonist father with the following note:

"Being the son of a jazz and club trombonist, one recalls a childhood filled with the coming and going of all types of musicians at all varieties of hour. Most of all, however, it guaranteed that the instrument itself and the way R.A. Suderburg played it would produce sound and sight images never to be forgotten. Thus, when commissioned by Stuart Dempster for a Night Set for trombone, the musical occasion was offered to let out those hot-licks and sliding-styles which were the jazz trombonist's stock and trade during the thirties and forties as he wandered from indoor dance hall to outdoor bandstand and from club date to stage show. Hopefully, nurtured by Dempster's unique performance art, these styles and scenes can live again in NIGHT SET, fusing memory with bit-of-the-devil and sweetness with satire. Thus the work is dedicated to my father who-along with Stuart Dempster-should take a bow, at least for those portions of the work which may please or amuse."


Performer biographies

Jay Crone, associate professor of music, is in his fourteenth year as professor of low brass at Virginia Tech. Originally from California, Crone received degrees from the University of Southern California, the Yale School of Music, and California State University at Fresno. In addition to his duties as professor of trombone, euphonium and tuba, Crone was the assistant director of Virginia Tech's marching band, the Marching Virginians for ten years. Currently, Mr. Crone is the Head of the Department of Music at Virginia Tech.

Mr. Crone has performed on trombone and euphonium with many symphony orchestras and bands throughout the United States, including the Fresno Philharmonic, the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and Opera Roanoke. During the summers he performs with the orchestras of the Wintergreen Performing Arts Festival and the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival.

As a trombone and euphonium soloist Crone has appeared with the University of Southern California Symphonic Winds, CSU Fresno Wind Ensemble, the Virginia Wind Symphony, Virginia Tech Symphonic Wind Ensemble, CSU Humboldt Wind Ensemble, Virginia Tech Wind Symphony, and the West Georgia State University Wind Ensemble. Crone also performs with Virginia Tech's Faculty Brass Trio, and is a founding member of the Appalachian Trombone Quartet. In June of 2006 he premiered Dr. James Sochinski’s Fantasie-Variations on a Dowland Ayre for trombone and band with the CSU Fresno Alumni Wind Ensemble during their tour of England under the direction of Dr. Lawrence Sutherland.

A unique aspect of Mr. Crone's musical career has been his dual role as both trombonist and pianist. He has been a collaborative pianist in voice and instrumental recitals throughout the United States, most recently performing Eric Ewazen’s Palmetto Suite for Alto Trombone and Piano with Ronald Barron of the Boston Symphony. Before coming to Virginia Tech Crone was a visiting assistant professor of music at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California.

Tracy Cowden joined the music department faculty at Virginia Tech as Assistant Professor of Piano and Vocal Coach in 2004. She received the D.M.A. and M.M. degrees in Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music from the Eastman School of Music, and a B.M. degree in Piano Performance from Western Michigan University.

As a collaborative pianist, Tracy has performed with the Cavani Quartet, the Audubon Quartet, and the Marble Cliff Chamber Players, and in recitals with principal musicians from the Montreal, Vancouver, Boston, and Columbus symphony orchestras. She has been featured as a concerto soloist with the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Southwest Virginia, the Ohio Wesleyan University Chamber Orchestra, and the Virginia Tech Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

Tracy has presented lectures on the art of collaborative piano in Ohio, Michigan, and Virginia, and she was selected to present at the College Music Society National Conference in Qu├ębec City and at the Music Teachers National Association National Conferences in Seattle, Washington (2005) and Austin, Texas (2006).

In collaboration with Dr. Nancy Gamso from Ohio Wesleyan University, Tracy released a CD entitled “With Blackwood and Silver,” which features modern duo repertoire for flute with piano and clarinet with piano. She also can be heard with the Eastman Wind Ensemble in its 50th anniversary recording, released in 2002.

Tracy has previously served as a faculty member at Ohio Wesleyan University, and as an adjunct faculty member at Kalamazoo College and Hope College in western Michigan. Her principal teachers have included Jean Barr, Douglas Humpherys, Fernando Laires, Phyllis Rappeport, and Marilyn Sluka.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

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Timothy Smith

Pianist Timothy Smith, a Steinway Concert Artist, performs selections from Liszt, Scriabin and Coray in a Guest Artist Concert on Saturday, October 13 at 8 PM in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $10 general, $3 students and seniors, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door.
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Liszt and Sky Spirit at HSU by Pianist Timothy Smith

Appearing in the HSU Guest Artist Series, pianist Timothy Smith performs pieces included on his latest recording of Franz Liszt, and a work by a contemporary Alaska composer incorporating Native themes, on Saturday, October 13 in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata.

Timothy Smith is Professor of Piano and head of Piano Studies at the University of Alaska Anchorage. As a performer, Smith won the Artists International Competition and made his New York debut in Carnegie Recital Hall. He is currently a Steinway Concert Artist.

Raised in Seattle, Smith was attending the Julliard School of Music at age 10, and made his orchestral debut at 15. He has appeared with many orchestras in the U.S., Canada and in Asia, where he has given more than 50 concerts. He has recently returned from a month-long concert tour of China.

At HSU, Smith will play several pieces by Franz Liszt. Of his Liszt recording, Fanfare Magazine wrote: “…impressive and towering…one of the more gripping accounts of the (Liszt) sonata in recent memory.”

Smith’s program begins with “Silam Inua,” a 1992 work by Alaska composer Craig Coray, based on Native music recorded in Alaska and northern Canada between 1940 and 1960. The title translates as “Sky Spirit,” representing the Inupiat concept of the spirit that governs all things above the earth: the sky, the weather, the universe.

At HSU, Smith will also play “Sonata No 5 in F# major, Op. 53” by early 20th century Russian pianist and composer Alexander Scriabin, and a work by Chinese composer Chen Peixun.

A celebrated teacher, Timothy Smith will also conduct a free piano workshop on Sunday, October 14, from 10 AM until noon, also in Fulkerson Recital Hall.

The Timothy Smith concert will begin at 8PM on Saturday, October 13 in Fulkerson Recital Hall. Tickets are $10 general, $3 students and seniors, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door.

Media: Arcata Eye.
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Notes on“Silam Inua” by Craig Coray

Silam Inua:
Ceremonial Song
Shaman’s Power Song
Calling the Walrus
Rhythmic Breathing
Hunting for Musk Ox
Women’s Dance Song
Weather Song
Dance Song

Anchorage Composer Craig Coray, a graduate of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and the State University of New York, Buffalo, has incorporated native Alaskan songs as thematic material in his music since 1973, reflecting the influence of his childhood in bush Alaska.

Silam Inua (“Sky Spirit”), composed in 1992, was funded by a grant from the Alaska State Council on the Arts. The Inupiat title represents the spirit that governs all things above the earth; the sky, weather, and universe. The eight movements evolved from original Eskimo material recorded in Alaska and northern Canada between 1940 and 1960.

Coray describes the work as follows: “In Ceremonial Song (Kotzebue), a free introduction becomes the countermelody to an Eskimo song in a different key. The left hand begins drumming and the music is repeated fortissimo. In Shaman’s Power Song (Hooper Bay) an unusual form of the pentatonic scale is disguised within the large melodic leaps and 7/4 meter. The music gains power through the repetition of a single chord. In Calling the Walrus (Southampton Island) an Eskimo hunter seems to sing as he speaks the language of the walrus.

On the piano, many overtones convey a feeling of space; the “silence that can be heard.” A stalking motive creeps into the lower register. In Rhythmic Breathing (Baker Lake) two girls breathe gustily into a kettle, causing the sound to bounce back. The piano mimics the reverberation; everything in the right hand is repeated upside down by the left hand. Other sounds represent the babble of geese on the tundra.

Hunting for Musk Ox (Chesterfield Inlet) is based on a minor pentatonic scale with one “blue” note. The left hand becomes a drum; true to the original, it’s in a different meter than the melody. Women’s Dance Song (Kobuk Valley) employs vigorous drumming in a metric division of 2 plus 3 – a forceful piano figure emerges. What sounds like an improvisation is actually a four-note Eskimo melody. The drumming and dancing intensify.

In Weather Song (Kotzebue) a single repeated chord hangs in the air like fog; the booming sound on the open strings suggests an unseen power. Somewhere a lone voice floats over the tundra in a prayer to Silam Inua for good weather. Dance Song (Barrow) – A village dance begins tentatively then builds as more singers, drummers, and dancers join in. An undefined celebration is underway; perhaps the people are rejoicing for the return of daylight in spring.”

Friday, October 12, 2007

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Humboldt Symphony

The Humboldt Symphony plays Bach, Elgar, Saint-Saens and Edvard Grieg’s “Symphonic Dances” in honor of his centennial, on Friday, October 12 and Sunday, October 14 at 8 PM in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $7 general, $3 students and seniors, from HSU Ticket Office 826-3928) or at the door. HSU students free with ID. Produced by HSU Department of Music, Paul Cummings conducting.
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Humboldt Symphony Features Grieg’s “Symphonic Dances”

The Humboldt Symphony pays tribute to the centennial year of composer Edvard Grieg with one of his signature compositions, the “Symphonic Dances,” in its fall concert on Friday, October 12, and Sunday, October 14 in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata.

Conducted by HSU assistant professor Paul Cummings, the Symphony will also perform short pieces by Bach, Edward Elgar and Camille Saint-Saens.

The centennial of Grieg’s death in 1907 is being noted by orchestras around the world. The Norwegian composer wrote the “Symphonic Dance” around 1896, based on folk songs and dances of his native country. Several of Grieg’s works synthesized folklore and European concert music. With four “dances” like the four movements of a symphony, together with the unity of the composition, the “Symphonic Dances” is aptly named.

The preceding pieces on the program are “Marche Militaire Francaise,” by Grieg’s contemporary in France, Camille Saint-Saens; “Nimrod,” a section of the “Enigma Variations” by British composer Edward Elgar (also written in Grieg’s lifetime), and the chorale prelude of “Wachet Auf” (“Sleepers, Wake”) by J. S. Bach, as arranged for orchestra by Eugene Ormandy.

The Humboldt Symphony, conducted by Paul Cummings, performs in Fulkerson Recital Hall on Friday, October 12 and Sunday, October 14 at 8PM.Tickets are $7 general, $3 students and seniors, from HSU Ticket Office 826-3928) or at the door. HSU students free with ID.

Media: Arcata Eye, Eureka Times-Standard Northern Lights.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

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HSU Symphonic Band and Jazz Orchestra

Music from Europe to hip-hop is featured in the HSU Symphonic Band and Jazz Orchestra joint concert on Saturday, October 6 at 8 PM in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $7 general, $3 students and seniors, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. HSU students free with ID.
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From Europe to Hip-Hop: Symphonic Band to Jazz Orchestra

The first half is all Europe,and the second half is jazz, from Count Basie to blues with a hip-hop beat, when the HSU Symphonic Band and Jazz Orchestra present a joint concert on Saturday, October 6 at the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata.

The HSU Symphonic Band joins the worldwide recognition of Norwegian composer and pianist Edvard Grieg’s centennial with Grieg’s “Funeral Music for Rikard Nordraak.” Also on the program are works by Richard Strauss (“Koenigsmarsch”), Ralph Vaughan Williams (English Folk Song Suite) and Arthur Sullivan, of the famed operatic team of Gilbert and Sullivan (“Pineapple Poll.”)

“This represents an all-European program, which is somewhat unusual for a modern American concert band to do,” said Paul Cummings, director of the Symphonic Band and HSU Assistant Professor of Music. “But we especially wanted to honor the centennial year of Grieg’s death by performing some of this great Norwegian composer’s music.”

The second half of the concert will be performed by the HSU Jazz Orchestra, directed by Assistant Professor of Music Dan Aldag. The program ranges from traditional to contemporary jazz. It begins with a tune from today: “Blues Opening” by New York City jazz bassist Ike Sturn, which Aldag describes as combining “blues harmonies with a hip-hop beat, creating something that is simultaneously old and raw, and new and sleek.” “Prodigal Son Revisited” by Seattle-based composer and electronic musician Wayne Horvitz continues the avant-garde theme.

But tradition is also served, beginning with "Meetin'Time" by legendary alto saxophonist and composer Benny Carter, using the exact arrangement played by the Count Basie Orchestra. The classic Miles Davis “Milestones” is followed by “Fables of Faubus” by jazz great Charles Mingus, which Aldag calls “a caustic and uproarious ‘tribute’ to Orval Faubus,” the Arkansas governor who tried to defy integration in the Civil Rights era. The HSU Symphonic Band and Jazz Orchestra concert begins at 8PM in Fulkerson Recital Hall. Tickets are $7 general, $3 students and seniors, from HSU Ticket Office 826-3928) or at the door. HSU students free with ID.
Director's Notes: Paul Cummings on the Symphonic Band

For the first half of the concert, the Symphonic Band is performing “Koenigsmarsch” by Richard Strauss, “Funeral Music for Rikard Nordraak” by Edvard Grieg, “English Folk Song Suite” by Ralph Vaughan Williams, and “Pineapple Poll” by Arthur Sullivan. This represents an all-European program which is somewhat unusual for amodern American concert band to do. This is the centennial year of Grieg's death (1907), so we are joining the bandwagon, so to speak, of groups performing this great Norwegian composer's music.

The work we’re doing by Edvard Grieg, "Funeral Music for Rikard Nordraak," has an interesting story behind it. Rikard Nordraak, in whose memory the piece was composed, was a close friend of Grieg. Nordraakis remembered today primarily as the composer of the Norwegian national anthem, which he composed when he was only 17 years old.


While visiting Rome, Grieg heard of Nordraak's premature death, and immediately composed the funeral music. It was originally written for piano, but Grieg transcribed it for winds and percussion, since many funeral marches of this era were to be played outdoors. At the interment for Nordraak in Bergen, the town band apparently was not quite up to the task of performing the wind band version of the piece. Instead, an orchestral version was hastily cobbled together by a local composer to suit the Bergen musicians. Ironically, the band setting was played at Grieg's own funeral which occurred three years later.


The English Folk Song Suite is a staple of the wind band repertoire, and Gordon Jacob's transcription for orchestra is also quite popular, thoughthe band version came first. Vaughan Williams employs nine different English folk songs in the suite, mostly drawn from the collections of Cecil Sharpe. What was originally a group of rugged tunes from the English countryside was transformed by Vaughan Williams into a beautifully crafted, elegant artwork. The pristine settings require Mozartean precision from the ensemble, and depict an incredibly wide range of emotion, from lovesick sadness to carefree glee.
Director’s Notes: Dan Aldag on the Jazz Orchestra

The Jazz Orchestra will perform the second half of the concert, playing "Blue Opening," "Milestones," "Meetin' Time," "Prodigal Son Revisited" and"Fables of Faubus."

"Blue Opening," composed by Ike Sturm, combines blues harmonies and inflections with a hip-hop beat, creating something that is simultaneously both old and raw and new and sleek. It was composed by Ike Sturm, a young bassist who is the music director for jazz at St. Peter's Church in Manhattan, the famed "jazz church," where he composes and performsoriginal music for weekly jazz services. "Blue Opening" was arranged for jazz orchestra by Ike Sturm's father Fred, a noted jazz arranger and educator.

"Prodigal Son Revisited" was composed by Wayne Horvitz, a Seattle-based composer, pianist and electronic musician who has performed with many ofthe leading lights of the jazz avant-garde and composed music for everyone from the Kronos Quartet and choreographer Paul Taylor to Gus Van Sandt'sremake of "Psycho."

Besides these two contemporary works, the Jazz Orchestra will play three pieces that, each in their own way, deal with the jazz tradition. "Meetin' Time" is the exact arrangement played by the Count Basie Orchestra on their 1960 album Kansas City Suite. All of the music on that album was composed by the legendary alto saxophonist and composer Benny Carter, and was about some place or event in Kansas City, where the Basie band got its start. "Meetin' Time" evokes the sounds of a church service.

"Milestones" is a classic Miles Davis tune in a brand-new arrangement by Mike Tomaro.

"Fables of Faubus" is Charles Mingus's caustic and uproarious "tribute" to Orval Faubus, the Arkansas governor of the mid-1950s who, in 1957, defied the United States Supreme Court by ordering the Arkansas National Guard to stop African American youngsters from desegregating Central High School in Little Rock. The Jazz Orchestra will perform the arrangement created for the Mingus Big Band, a group formed after Mingus's death by his widow Sue,which is dedicated to keeping Mingus's music alive.

Featured soloists on the concert will include saxophonists Sky Miller and Steve Alton, trombonist Talon Nansel, trumpeters Ari Davie and TristanKadish and pianist Jeff Kroeger.