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

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

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.