Posts Tagged ‘chamber music’

TuBassoon at U-Nite

TuBassoon at U-Nite

TuBas­soon with mod­ern dancers dur­ing a U-Nite pro­mo shoot for Good Day Sacra­men­to. (Craig Koscho, Sac State Pub­lic Affairs)

On the evening of April 11th, I per­formed as part of the sec­ond annu­al U-Nite, a mini-festival of the arts at Sacramento’s Crock­er Art Muse­um. The event fea­tured fac­ul­ty and stu­dents from the var­i­ous parts of Sacra­men­to State’s Col­lege of Arts and Let­ters. Per­form­ers and exhibitors were sta­tioned around the muse­um, pre­sent­ing short pro­grams of music, dance, film, the­ater, visu­al arts, and the writ­ten word. My col­league Julian Dixon and I played in one of the gal­leries as the duo TuBas­soon.

Sur­round­ed by gor­geous Cal­i­for­nia land­scape paint­ings, we played 25–30 min­utes of music drawn from numer­ous sources. We had pre­vi­ous­ly played P.D.Q. Bach’s “Dutch” Suite for bas­soon and tuba, so that was an easy choice. Although there are at least a cou­ple of oth­er works writ­ten specif­i­cal­ly for bas­soon and tuba, we end­ed up adapt­ing the rest of our reper­toire from oth­er sources. We played the first move­ment of Mozart’s gor­geous Sonata, K. 292 (for bas­soon and cel­lo), one move­ment of a Tele­mann canon­ic sonata, and a suite of short tuba duets by Wal­ter Sear.

The morn­ing of U-Nite, Julian and I were part of a live seg­ment on the morn­ing show Good Day Sacra­men­to. We’re play­ing P.D.Q. Bach’s “Pan­ther Dance” in the back­ground while reporter Court­ney Dempsey inter­views U-Nite’s orga­niz­ers:

Inci­den­tal­ly, if TuBas­soon con­tin­ues, we might just have to make Courtney’s descrip­tion our mot­to. Tubas­soon: A lil’ tuba, a lil’ bas­soon.

After our evening per­for­mance, I was able to catch City­wa­ter’s per­for­mance of a new piece by Stephen Blum­berg, which was great. But unfor­tu­nate­ly, between grab­bing a bite to eat from the muse­um café, get­ting set up, and talk­ing to audi­ence mem­bers after our per­for­mance, that was all I was able to take in. But this video col­lage from Sac State’s Office of Pub­lic Affairs pro­vides an excel­lent overview of what I missed, and shows off the excel­lent range and diver­si­ty of the event:

Recital — California State University, Stanislaus

CSU Stanislaus

Two weeks from today, I’ll be giv­ing my first fac­ul­ty recital at Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­si­ty, Stanis­laus. I joined the fac­ul­ty there last fall, and this will be my first offi­cial per­for­mance at the school. Two of my col­leagues there, Jean­nine Den­nis and Daniel Davies, will per­form with me, along with friends/colleagues from Sacra­men­to State and Uni­ver­si­ty of the Paci­fic. The pro­gram is a bit of an odd one. There’s not a par­tic­u­lar the­me — it’s sim­ply a col­lec­tion of pieces I want­ed to play and peo­ple with whom I want­ed to col­lab­o­rate. Four of the pieces are 20th or 21st cen­tu­ry duos, three of which are by liv­ing com­posers. This pre­pon­der­ance of new­ness is off­set a bit by one of my favorite Vivaldi con­cer­ti.

The details:

Thurs­day, Feb­ru­ary 21, 7:30pm
Snider Recital Hall, CSU Stanis­laus, Tur­lock, CA (map)
$12 gen­er­al admis­sion; $8 students/seniors/faculty (buy tick­ets)

Stephen Blum­bergDesert Rains for clar­inet and bas­soon
Pier­re Max Dubois — Petite Suite for flute and bas­soon
Bruce ReiprichWhen the Pines Sleep it is Autumn for two bas­soons
Anto­nio Vivaldi — Con­cer­to in G Minor, RV 495
Ger­not Wolf­gangCom­mon Ground for cel­lo and bas­soon

With:
Daniel Davies, cel­lo
Jean­nine Den­nis, flute
Nico­lasa Kuster, bas­soon
San­dra McPher­son, clar­inet
Faythe Voll­rath, harp­si­chord

Spring Events at Sacramento State

Sacramento State logo

Today begins an excit­ing semes­ter full of bas­soon events at Sacra­men­to State. Most events are free, and all are open to the pub­lic. We’ve got stu­dent per­for­mances, guest artists, a mas­ter­class or two, and I’m play­ing both a baro­que con­cer­to and two pro­grams of new and recent music. See the Music Depart­ment Cal­en­dar for park­ing and tick­et infor­ma­tion and oth­er details.

Tay­lor Haug­land with John Coz­za, piano
Junior Recital
Thurs­day, Feb­ru­ary 28, 4pm (Capis­tra­no Hall Room 151, free)

Junior Performace/Music Edu­ca­tion major Tay­lor Haug­land will per­form works by Camille Saint-Saëns, Carl Maria von Weber, Jean Daniel Braun, and Carl Nielsen.

Brett Van Gans­beke, baro­que bas­soon
Guest Artist Recital and Mas­ter­class
Thurs­day, March 14, 4pm (Capis­tra­no Hall Room 151, free)

Brett Van Gans­beke holds the Doc­tor of Music degree from Indi­ana University’s Jacobs School of Music, where he stud­ied with one of the world’s pre­em­i­nent Baro­que bas­soon­ists, Michael McCraw. Dr. Van Gans­beke will per­form a short recital of works by Baro­que com­posers, and then work with Sac State bas­soon­ists in a mas­ter­class for­mat.

Scott Pool, bas­soon and Steven Caplan, oboe with Nat­suki Fuku­sawa, piano and Robin Fish­er, sopra­no
Guest Artist Recital
Tues­day, April 2, 7:30pm (Capis­tra­no Music Recital Hall, $10 gen­er­al, $7 senior, $5 stu­dent)

Guests Scott Pool (Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor of Bas­soon, Uni­ver­si­ty of Tex­as at Arling­ton) and Stephen Caplan (Pro­fes­sor of Oboe, Uni­ver­si­ty of Nevada Las Veg­as) are joined by pianist Nat­suki Fuku­sawa and sopra­no Robin Fish­er in a recital of works by Rach­mani­nov, Sun­ny Knable, Jen­ni Bran­don, Miguel del Aguila, and oth­ers.

TuBas­soon (Julian Dixon, tuba and David A. Wells, bas­soon)
U-Nite at the Crock­er Art Muse­um
Thurs­day, April 11, 5-9pm (216 O Street, Sacra­men­to, CA, free with muse­um admis­sion or Sac State ID)

This low-down duo will per­form numer­ous short works as part of an evening of music, dance, the­ater, pho­tog­ra­phy, design, art, film, and poet­ry at the Crock­er Art Muse­um.

Ohne Name (Dana Jessen and David A. Wells, bas­soons)
Faculty/Guest Artist Recital
Thurs­day, April 25, 4pm (Capis­tra­no Hall Room 151, free)

Ohne Name per­forms 20th and 21st cen­tu­ry reper­toire writ­ten or adapt­ed for two bas­soons. This con­cert will include works by Igor Stravin­sky, Sofia Gubaiduli­na, Marc Mel­lits, and William Davis.

Sac State Bas­soon Stu­dio Recital with John Coz­za, piano
Tues­day, May 7, 8pm (Capis­tra­no Music Recital Hall, free)

Fea­tur­ing indi­vid­u­al per­for­mances by the mem­bers of the bas­soon stu­dio plus the antics of the Sac State Bas­soon Quar­tet.

David A. Wells with Cam­er­ata Capis­tra­no, under the direc­tion of Lor­na Peters
Vivaldi’s Bas­soon Con­cer­to in G Minor, RV 495
Sun­day, May 12, 4pm (Capis­tra­no Hall Room 151, $10 gen­er­al, $7 senior, $5 stu­dent)

Anto­nio Vivaldi wrote a stag­ger­ing 39 con­cer­tos for bas­soon, of which 37 exist in com­plete form. The Con­cer­to in G minor (RV 495) is one of the most intense of the­se, and dis­plays the composer’s mas­ter­ful grasp of both the tech­ni­cal vir­tu­os­i­ty and emo­tion­al depth attain­able on the bas­soon. Oth­er works TBA.

Recital — Festival of New American Music

2012 FeNAM Poster

2012 FeNAM Poster (larg­er image/pdf)

On Fri­day, Novem­ber 9, I’ll be giv­ing a recital as part of Sacra­men­to State’s 35th annu­al Fes­ti­val of New Amer­i­can Music. The fes­ti­val itself runs from Novem­ber 1 until Novem­ber 10 and includes numer­ous con­certs, mas­ter class­es, composer’s forums, and per­for­mances in local schools. Augus­ta Read Thomas is this year’s keynote speak­er, and oth­er guests include Third Coast Per­cus­sion, City­wa­ter, Cal­liope Duo, JACK Quar­tet, Trav­is Brass, Allen Viz­zu­ti, and Root­stock Per­cus­sion. And amaz­ing­ly, all the events are free and open to the pub­lic. See the poster at right for the full sched­ule.

The idea for this con­cert came to me last year. While plan­ning for my April recital, I real­ized that I had a whole stack of recent music by Amer­i­can com­posers that I want­ed to per­form. So, I set much of that aside for this fall. In its now final form my pro­gram con­sists of five pieces, which I think do a good job of demon­strat­ing the wide vari­ety of music that has recent­ly been writ­ten for bas­soon. Four of the five pieces were writ­ten in the last five years; the “old stan­dard” of the pro­gram is André Previn’s Sonata, pub­lished way back in 1999. I’m excit­ed to be play­ing works by three com­posers who I know per­son­al­ly, and to be giv­ing the pre­miere of a work by one of them, my Sac State col­league Stephen Blum­berg. My recital (and many of the oth­er FeNAM con­certs) will be broad­cast live via the school’s Livestream Chan­nel.

The details:

Fes­ti­val Ensem­ble: David A. Wells, bas­soon and friends
FeNAM 2012
Fri­day, Novem­ber 9, 8pm
Capis­tra­no Hall, Sacra­men­to State (map)

Stephen Blum­bergDesert Rains for clar­inet and bas­soon (World Pre­miere)
David DiesKai-‘r/xhqt(i)s (West Coast Pre­miere)
André PrevinSonata for Bas­soon and Piano
Erik Span­glera fire­fly in the bel­ly for bas­soon and elec­tron­ics (West Coast Pre­miere)
Ger­not Wolf­gangLow Agen­da

With:
John Coz­za, piano
Thomas Derthick, bass
San­dra Moats McPher­son, clar­inet

Sequoia Chamber Music Workshop

I spent the last two weeks teach­ing at the Sequoia Cham­ber Music Fes­ti­val at Hum­boldt State Uni­ver­si­ty. This was the Workshop’s for­ti­eth year, but only my first. It was an exhil­a­rat­ing, inspir­ing — and thor­ough­ly exhaust­ing — expe­ri­ence.

In a typ­i­cal day at Sequoia, stu­dents (ages 12–20) are assigned to new cham­ber groups in the morn­ing, read and select music, spend the day rehears­ing and prac­tic­ing, and give a pub­lic per­for­mance of the cho­sen piece in the evening. With four con­certs (plus a Fri­day Forum which the stu­dents pro­gram entire­ly them­selves) in five and a half days, the play­ers make their way through quite a bit of reper­toire in each ses­sion. The coach­es also work hard to ensure that every­one gets expe­ri­ence in a vari­ety of ensem­bles: large, small, winds/strings only, mixed instru­men­ta­tion, with piano, etc. The assign­ments are also designed to have stu­dents work­ing with as many dif­fer­ent col­leagues and coach­es as pos­si­ble through­out the week.

I coached a total of eight groups/pieces dur­ing Sequoia, rang­ing from Gwyneth Walk­er’s Con­cer­to for Bas­soon and Strings to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Quin­tet in B-flat Major for piano and winds to the Grand Nonet­to by Louis Spohr. Every day I had the great plea­sure of watch­ing my already tal­ent­ed young play­ers grow, becom­ing bet­ter at their instru­ments, more sen­si­tive as ensem­ble mem­bers, and just gen­er­al­ly more expe­ri­enced musi­cians. Some com­bi­na­tions of play­ers and pieces took longer to gel, but I was proud of each and every per­for­mance by my groups.

This fast-paced sched­ule cer­tain­ly has its pure­ly musi­cal ben­e­fits, but I saw oth­er pos­i­tive effects on the stu­dents. For one, play­ing with dif­fer­ent peo­ple every day (and rotat­ing between parts) seems to cre­ate a tru­ly col­le­gial and inclu­sive atmos­phere. This group of stu­dents was far less cliquey than at oth­er sum­mer music pro­grams I’ve expe­ri­enced. Also, between this sup­port­ive atmos­phere and the dai­ly musi­cal improve­ment, I saw stu­dents’ con­fi­dence lev­els grow through the week. At the begin­ning of a ses­sion, I could often tell who’d been to Sequoia before — return­ing stu­dents were more like­ly to want to rip into hard reper­toire. But by the end of each ses­sion, most every­one was game for a real chal­lenge.

Besides get­ting to work with so many enthu­si­as­tic young musi­cians, Sequoia offered me the oppor­tu­ni­ty to work, hang out, and per­form with the sev­en­teen oth­er great coach­es. In the course of the two fac­ul­ty con­certs, I played wood­wind quin­tets by Jean Françaix and Elliott Carter; Carl Nielsen’s Ser­e­nata in Vano for clar­inet, horn, bas­soon, cel­lo, and bass; and Albert Roussel’s Duo for bas­soon and bass. The Nielsen was the only one I’d actu­al­ly per­formed before, so it was nice to be able to add some things to my own cham­ber reper­toire.

I could go on and on about how great my Sequoia expe­ri­ence was — my won­der­ful host fam­i­ly, the silli­ness of the Fri­day Forums, the var­i­ous birth­day cel­e­bra­tions, etc., etc. — but I think I’ll just leave you with some pho­tos. There are a few pic­tures in the gallery below that don’t seem to fit with the oth­ers. Between the two ses­sions, a few of us coach­es had a real­ly fun gig: play­ing the nation­al anthem at a Hum­boldt Crabs minor league base­ball game! Charles DeR­a­mus, who loves both bass and base­ball, set that up for us.

Pho­tos tak­en by Sequoia Asso­ciate Direc­tor Ethan Fil­ner, Sequoia Counselor/Theory Teacher Dar­ryl Tol­liv­er, and Hum­boldt Crabs Pho­tog­ra­pher Erik Fraser.