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.

Jazz Bassoon — Graham Lyons

My main area of research in the past few years has been the use of the bas­soon in jazz; in fact, I wrote my dis­ser­ta­tion on the sub­ject. But I’ve thus far neglect­ed writ­ing about it here, most­ly because there’s too much infor­ma­tion to con­dense into a sin­gle blog post! I’ll get around to writ­ing a his­tor­i­cal overview at some point, but for now, suf­fice it to say that there have been hun­dreds of jazz record­ings (close to a thou­sand, actu­al­ly) that include bas­soon­ists in var­i­ous roles, dat­ing back to at least the ear­ly 1920s.

Jazz Bassoon Cover

Today, as a start­ing point, I’m going to write about a recent addi­tion to my own record col­lec­tion: a 45rpm sin­gle enti­tled Jazz Bas­soon. The record was pressed in 1967, and fea­tures Gra­ham Lyons on bas­soon (also, as the cov­er points out, on clar­inet, sax, piano, and as arranger). I often hunt for par­tic­u­lar records; this was­n’t one of those. In fact, even though I’ve assem­bled an exten­sive discog­ra­phy of jazz record­ing ses­sions involv­ing bas­soon, I had exact­ly zero knowl­edge of this disc before it popped up on eBay.

I knew a bit about Gra­ham Lyons him­self, though. Among oth­er things, he record­ed a few tunes on bas­soon, clar­inet, and bari sax with the British trad jazz band The Tem­per­ance Sev­en in the ear­ly 60s. Lyons has led a var­ied career as a per­former, com­pos­er, and teacher of mul­ti­ple wood­wind instru­ments. One of his recent endeav­ors is the Clar­inéo, a sim­pli­fied plas­tic clar­inet for young play­ers. But this record­ing of his, released on a tiny label (that may in fact have been owned by Lyons him­self), had flown com­plete­ly under my radar.

Jazz Bassoon Record

The A side of this disc is a Lyons orig­i­nal enti­tled “Bas­soono­va.” This tune has been either re-released or re-record­ed on a CD col­lec­tion of Lyon­s’s works, so I won’t post it here. It is, as you’d expect, a bossa nova. Lyons takes a rel­a­tive­ly lengthy solo on bas­soon in addi­tion to play­ing all the parts in sec­tions of four-part bas­soon har­mo­ny and dual clar­inets. All of this is sup­port­ed by a rhythm sec­tion of Lyons again on piano, Rob Rubin on bass, and Bill Eyden on drums.

The B side, Cole Porter’s “I Love Paris,” has a mul­ti-part intro that starts off with two bas­soons over a piano/bass drone. Once the band hits the tune itself, Lyons plays just a bit of the melody on bas­soon before tak­ing a cho­rus and a half worth of solo. He fol­lows this with brief solos on bari sax, clar­inet, and piano. But here, lis­ten for your­self:

Listen to Graham Lyons - I Love Paris

The back side of the sleeve has actu­al notes — rare on 7″ sin­gles, at least in my expe­ri­ence. These con­firm what we might guess from the title, that Lyons is with this record try­ing to make the point that the bas­soon can be a viable jazz instru­ment. “I want­ed to show the bas­soon in all its reg­is­ters,” Lyons writes, “the dif­fer­ent ways it could be used, and how it would fit in a jazz set­ting.” He also touch­es on what he sees as the main rea­son the bas­soon has­n’t been used more in jazz: “A tricky phrase which might take fif­teen min­utes to prac­tice and get right on a clar­inet or sax­o­phone is sure to take an hour on the bas­soon.” This is a great addi­tion to my quotes file, and echoes pub­lished com­ments by oth­er jazz bas­soon play­ers like Illi­nois Jacquet and Paul Han­son (more on them anoth­er time).

FeNAM Recital Live Stream

My upcom­ing recital (Fri­day, Nov. 9 at 8pm Pacific/11pm East­ern) will be was streamed here live! It was part of the Fes­ti­val of New Amer­i­can Music — check out the whole sched­ule of events.

Down­load the Recital Pro­gram.

See what’s stream­ing now from Sac State http://www.al.csus.edu/music/high.html.

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