Tag Archive for music

Bruce Conducts Symphony in Guggenheim Museum

Neely Bruce, at bottom of photo, conducts "Orbits" inside the Guggenheim Museum. The event was featured in the New York Times. (Photo by Robert Stolarik for the New York Times)

Neely Bruce, at bottom of photo, conducts "Orbits" inside the Guggenheim Museum. The event was featured in The New York Times. (Photo by Robert Stolarik for The New York Times)

Neely Bruce, professor of music, lead 89 trombones, a soprano and an organ in the East Coast premiere of Henry Brant’s “Orbits” in the rotunda of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum June 21, as part of both the museum’s Works & Process series and the citywide festival Make Music New York.

A New York Times article on the event is online here. Henry Brant is a 1998 Honorary Degree recipient.

Alejandro Choreographs Thunderous Light Project

Tesla Place, a “thunderous light project” by Pedro Alejandro, associate professor of dance, was performed May 10 and 11 on the Wesleyan campus. The dance, light and sound-based performance began outside Crowell Concert Hall and ended in the Center for the Arts Courtyard. The theme focused on the inventor/scientist Nikola Tesla (1856-1943).

Tesla Place was created in collaboration with Marcela Oteiza, adjunct assistant professor of theater and faculty fellow; Paul Boylan; Sal Privitera, audio-visual technician; Adam Tinkle; graduate student Rod O’Connor; Dante Brown ’09; Brittany Delany ’09; Aaron Freedman ’10; Spencer Garrod ’09; Shayna Keller ’09; and Samantha Sherman ’09.

Tesla Place was funded by a Mellon Foundation grant and the Office of the Dean of Arts and Humanities.

Photos of the performance are below. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett and Alexandra Portis ’09)

Students Perform West African Dance, Drumming

The dance and music departments of Wesleyan hosted the West African Drumming and Dance Spring Concert showcasing the vibrancy of West African cultures through their music and dance forms. In West Africa, dance is life embodied in rhythm and movement. It celebrates and reinforces life and its various cycles. Right from conception to death, people in West Africa are called upon to honor and celebrate the different stages, achievements and successes of life, as well as to mourn and remember bitter experiences and losses, through music and dances. (Photos by Alexandra Portis ’09)

Jazz Orchestra Performs for Local Public Schools

Elizabeth Gauvey-Kern '11, a music and government double major, sings Duke Ellington's "It don't mean a thing (if it ain't got that swing)" during a Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra performance April 30 at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Middletown.

Elizabeth Gauvey-Kern '11, a music and government double major, sings Duke Ellington's "It don't mean a thing (if it ain't got that swing)" during a Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra performance April 30 at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Middletown.

Wesleyan jazz musicians have been tooting their own horns to the local community.

During spring semester, the 20-member band has performed six times at public elementary, middle and high schools in Middletown. They work under the direction of vibraphonist-composer Jay Hoggard, adjunct associate professor of music.

Jay Hoggard directs the Wesleyan jazz orchestra at Woodrow Wilson Middle School.

Jay Hoggard directs the Wesleyan jazz orchestra at Woodrow Wilson Middle School.

“It’s good for the Wesleyan students to get out of their little shell of the universe according to Momma Wesleyan, go a few blocks away and play for young people who may or may not have been exposed to this type of music before,” Hoggard says. “We’re representing jazz and we’re representing Wesleyan.”

The orchestra’s 2009 repertoire consists of music by Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Thad Jones, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins and Jelly Roll Morton. The group spends the fall semester listening and learning music, and performs select pieces at the schools during the spring semester.

The Wesleyan students dress to impress. On stage, they don black pants, shirts and a Cardinal red vest.

The concerts themselves lasted for about 50 minutes. If time allowed, Hoggard also introduced the Wesleyan musicians and their instruments, which ranged from clarinet to trumpet to piano.

“We sound, and we look, impressive,” Hoggard says. “The audience, especially the elementary-age kids, look at the Wesleyan students as professional artists.”

Baritone saxophonist Bob Gambo ’10 played for a large jazz orchestra in high school and joined the Wesleyan orchestra to continue his musical education, and gain a deeper understanding of jazz music.

“Playing at local schools is a great experience; we learn a lot about ourselves as musicians, the music we play and the community at large,” Gamo says. “Jay emphasized the community-building nature of these concerts, and refers to us as ‘ambassadors’ of jazz music to the children and school faculty that we entertain. The response has been positive and encouraging from the students we perform for.”

Elizabeth Gauvey-Kern ’11, a music and government double major, sings two songs, “It don’t mean a thing (if it ain’t got that swing)” a famous anthem of jazz written by Duke Ellington, and Frank Foster’s arrangement of “In a mellow tone,” another Ellington tune. She also sings in the band, rather than in front of the band, for Charles Mingus’s “Moanin.”

“It’s really an honor for me how Jay makes me part of the band,” Gauvey-Kern says. “As a singer, it is often typical to be the final add-on, the last piece, not really included in the day to day rehearsal process. Jay doesn’t let that happen. I haul equipment and take part in rehearsals. He makes sure I’m one of the band.”

The students travel to the schools in their own vehicles, or a Wesleyan passenger van. They leave campus around 12:20 p.m. and return by 2:30 p.m. But it’s the getting there – and getting back – that teaches the Wesleyan students the most about life as a musician. Hoggard says the prep and take-down account for more than 50 percent of the time at the schools.

“It can become a real madhouse when you have 20 students packing and loading up instruments and equipment, setting them up, getting into place, hurrying up to get ready and finally playing for about an hour,” Hoggard says. “But, that’s what being a musician is. No one cares if you had to break your back carrying a piano up the steps. The audience just wants to hear the music.”

The young musicians are given a sample of the touring life in a way that few of them have ever experienced.

“Jay emphasized these practical aspects of the concerts just as much as the musical aspects, teaching us lessons of responsibility and leadership at the same time,” Gambo explains. “We became used to moving, unpacking and setting our equipment up quickly so as to maximize our time playing for the students.”

This is Hoggard’s 17th year directing the Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra at local schools. He started the program in 1992, when his own children were enrolled in the Middletown Public School system. He’s maintained the connection with the schools ever since.

In Spring 2009, Hoggard directed the Jazz Orchestra at, Keigwin Middle School, Wesley Elementary School, Moody School, Middletown High School and Woodrow Wilson Middle School.

“As a band-leader and professor, Jay cultivates the responsibility, independence and humility that are essential components to life at and beyond Wesleyan,” Gambo says. “Few other professors have the ability to do this so effectively.”

Photos of the orchestra below by Bill Burkhart.

Wesleyan Steel Band Performs Outdoor Concert

The Wesleyan Steel Band performed a concert May 9 behind Usdan University Center.

The Wesleyan Steel Band performed a concert May 9 behind Usdan University Center.

The concert featured classic calypsos and steel band pieces as well as newer material.

The concert featured classic calypsos and steel band pieces as well as newer material. A newly-formed staff and faculty steel band also performed at the concert.

Student performers are taking the class MUSC 450, taught by William Carbone, private lessons teacher. In addition to performing on steel band instruments, the students study , historical and cultural context of the ensemble. (Photos by Alexandra Portis '09)

Student performers are taking the class MUSC 450, taught by William Carbone, private lessons teacher. In addition to performing on steel band instruments, the students study , historical and cultural context of the ensemble. (Photos by Alexandra Portis '09)

Wesleyan Choir Joins Middletown Chorale for Performance

Keith Lee '09, a member of the Wesleyan Concert Choir, sings amongst Greater Middletown Chorale members during a rehearsal March 10 at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Middletown. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Keith Lee '09, a member of the Wesleyan Concert Choir, sings with Greater Middletown Chorale members during a rehearsal March 10 at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Middletown. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Twenty-four Wesleyan students will hit a high note in their singing careers April 19, when they perform with one of the preeminent choral groups in Connecticut.

The Wesleyan Concert Choir is teaming up with Greater Middletown Chorale, the region’s 32 year-old community chorus, and a 22-piece string orchestra of professional instrumentalists drawn from the New Haven Symphony and Yale Symphony Orchestras for a concert to be held at Crowell Concert Hall.

“On measure eight, energize it, not with volume but with energy,” says director Joseph D’Eugenio, during a March 10 group practice. “And be very anticipatory of the diminuendo

Mateus’s Music, Awards Featured in Middletown Press

Jorge Arevalo Mateus.

Jorge Arevalo Mateus.

Jorge Arevalo Mateus, a Ph.D candidate in ethnomusicology, was featured in the March 5 edition of The Middletown Press in an article titled “Global music, culture student in residence at Wesleyan.”

Mateus, a music archivist, ethnomusicologist, scholar, musician, composer and audio installation artist, is a Grammy-winning producer for Best Historical Recording.

In 2008, Mateus won an award for writing from the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award, CD Liner Notes, and he has published many essays, articles and reviews in academic and popular journals, edited volumes, and other publications such as New York Archives Magazine, Ethnomusicology, Journal of Popular Music Studies; and Centro, The Journal of Puerto Rican Studies.

In the article, Mateus says Wesleyan has one of the best ethnomusicology programs in the nation.

Gil-Ordonez Named Artist of the Week

Angel Gil-Ordonez

Angel Gil-Ordonez

Angel Gil-Ordóñez, adjunct professor of music, was named “Artist of the Week” by classical music label Naxos.

The former associate conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Spain, Gil-Ordóñez has conducted symphonic music, opera and ballet throughout Europe, the United States and Latin America. He conducted the music for the newly-released DVD, The City, a classic 1939 documentary film.

Alden, Imai, Starr Awarded Tenure

The Wesleyan University Board of Trustees affirmed the promotion with tenure, effective July 1, 2009, of the following members of the faculty:

Jane Alden.

Jane Alden.

Jane Alden, associate professor of music, was appointed assistant professor of music at Wesleyan in 2001. Prior, she was an acting assistant professor at Stanford University, and an instructor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Alden was awarded a Wesleyan Center for the Humanities Fellowship and was a visiting research associate at Harvard University. She has been the recipient of a Mellon Center Mini-Grant, a Wesleyan University seed grant, and Wesleyan University Snowdon funding for a symposium.

Her research and teaching interest include manuscript production and music books in the 15th century; historiography of chanson in the late 19th and 20th centuries; The “New York School” of American experimental

Slobin Honored with Yiddish Studies Award

Mark Slobin, professor of music

Mark Slobin, professor of music

Mark Slobin, professor of music, received honorable mention for the Fenia and Yaakov Leviant Memorial Prize in Yiddish Studies Dec. 2 by the Modern Language Association of America. Slobin and was honored for his work on Yiddish Folksongs from the Ruth Rubin Archive, published by Wayne State University Press.

The prize is awarded each even-numbered year and is awarded alternately to an outstanding translation of a Yiddish literary work or an outstanding scholarly work in English in the field of Yiddish. Slobin will receive a certificate for the achievement Dec. 28 during the Modern Language Association of America’s annual convention in San Francisco, Calif.

Slobin has taught music at Wesleyan since 1971. He has been president of the Society for Ethnomusicology and of the Society for Asian Music.