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Music

Auburn University double-reed studio, spring 2018. Photo credit: Kristin Leitterman

A Little Lunch Music, 2/22/2018: AU Oboes and Bassoons Performing

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On Thursday, February 22, from noon to 1:00 pm in the Grand Gallery, the series will present a free concert by members of the Auburn University double-reed studio. Led by assistant professor of double-reeds, Kristin Leitterman, the group will perform ensemble music and duos with piano. A gift from Bill and Josie Walsh has helped to make this performance possible.

Click here for the full spring schedule and more about the performers.

Performing Thursday will be oboists Aly Bonville, Alyssa Landers, Erica Lovato, Sarah Tanner, and Aaron Thompson with bassoonists Emma Greer, Carlisle Vidourek, and Jacob Webb. The program will feature solo and chamber music including two pieces by the Auburn University Double Reed Ensemble.

The double-reed studio is led by Dr. Kristin Leitterman, Auburn’s Assistant Professor of Double Reeds. A solo artist of oboe and voice, she says that she seeks to defy modern convention, bringing exciting and unusual programs to audiences. In addition to her role at AU, she directs the Bert Lucarelli Oboe Master Class.

Leitterman says though music for oboe and bassoon is not as common as that for the violin or piano, a lot was written in the Baroque period and during the 20th century. Thursday’s recital will include a Baroque solo fantasy by Georg Philipp Telemann and pieces by twentieth-century composers Benjamin Britten, Francis Poulenc, and Paul Hindemith.

The Classical Period produced its share of double-reed music, notably by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven. “We have these great classical composers writing for us,” Leitterman said. Thursday’s concert will feature music by both of them, including a trio for two oboes and English horn by Beethoven.

“He idolized Mozart when he was younger,” Leitterman said of Beethoven. The double-reed trio will play his variations on a theme from Mozart’s opera, “Don Giovanni.”

Robert Schumann’s “Three Romances for Oboe and Piano” is on the program for Thursday. It is likely the most well-known piece for oboe from the Romantic Period. That period saw a decline in published music for double reeds.

Though Leitterman says some think Schumann’s piece is the only one written for oboe during the Romantic Period, virtuosos of the time were touring and performing their own music. Some is now just being discovered and presented again.

Leitterman will conduct the eight-member Double Reed Ensemble on two pieces. The group will play an arrangement of Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” and a satirical piece by still-living composer Stacey Berk titled, “Fanfare for the Common Mandrel.” A mandrel is a reed-making tool used by double-reed players.

Berk’s piece will include arrangements of popular themes including Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” the theme from “The Andy Griffith Show,” Johann Strauss’ “Blue Danube Waltz,” “Turkey in the Straw,” and others. It will also highlight two common orchestral excerpts from the oboe repertoire.

La is instructor and collaborative pianist at AU. She studied at New York University with Eduardus Halim, a Vladimir Horowitz pupil, and won two piano concerto competitions. She is completing a Doctoral degree at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Agostino has given piano recitals throughout much of the US and is an instructor and collaborative pianist at Auburn. She holds degrees from Indiana University and Florida State University, and is the owner of Yogafly Studio in Auburn.

Francesca Andretta. Credit: Cady Studios

A Little Lunch Music, 2/8/2018: AU Flute Studio Performing with Pianist Nicole Agostino

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Members of the Auburn University flute studio with pianist Nicole Agostino will perform a free concert at Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University on Thursday from noon to 1:00 p.m. in the Grand Gallery. The concert is part of the weekly series, “A Little Lunch Music.”

The performance is supported in part by a gift from George Kent and by an anonymous gift.

Click here for more about the performers and for the full A Little Lunch Music schedule for spring 2018.

Flutists performing will be Francesca Andretta, Morgan Mabry, Katie Olszowy, and Gillian Ash. They are all students of flute instructor Alina Windell and perform with university ensembles such as the Symphonic Winds, Marching Band, Flute Ensemble, and Woodwind Quintet.

Featured on Thursday’s program will be music by French composers Gabriel Faure, Cécil Chaminade, and Phillipe Gaubert, and Rumanian composer Georges Enesco, who spent much of his life in France. They wrote music around the turn of the 20th century.

Olszowy is a sophomore from Huntsville studying both Music Performance and Human Development. She is a member of groups that promote the welfare of college bands.

Ash is a freshman studying both Music Performance and animal sciences pre-vet. In high school, she played in honor bands and also plays trumpet.

Andretta is a Music Education major from Woodstock, Georgia. She recently recorded a demo project with Auburn composers Linda Anderson and Nancy Cleveland.

Mabry is a junior studying both Music Performance and Education. She also plays trombone and illustrates children’s books.

Agostino has given recitals throughout much of the United States, including a lecture-recital tour of the Southeast on Bach’s “Goldberg Variations.” She is adjunct instructor and collaborative pianist at Auburn University and is the owner of Yogafly Studio.

A Little Lunch Music is coordinated by Patrick McCurry. It is an informal, weekly series that features national and international performers as well as the region’s professionals and students. The schedule can be found on the museum’s calendar at jcsm.auburn.edu.

For more information, contact Scott Bishop, university Liaison and curator of Education, at bishogs@auburn.edu or 334-844-7014.

A Little Lunch Music, 2/1/2018: Acclaimed Improvisor Ken Vandermark Performing with His Quintet

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On Thursday, February 1, from noon to 1:00 pm in the Auditorium, the series will present a free concert by Chicago-based improvised-music group Marker, featuring clarinetist/saxophonist/composer Ken Vandermark. The group will perform a live soundtrack to Chris Marker’s short film, La Jetée and a set of original compositions. Gifts from anonymous friends of the series have helped to make this performance possible.

Click here for more about the performers and the full schedule for spring 2018’s A Little Lunch Music.

Marker will also appear at 7:00 p.m. Thursday night at Standard Deluxe, 1015 Mayberry Ave. in Waverly. Tickets for the Waverly performance are $10 at the door or online at standarddeluxe.com.

Marker includes Vandermark on saxophones and clarinets, Andrew Clinkman and Steve Marquette on guitars, Macie Stewart on violin and keyboard, and Phil Sudderberg on drums.

Based in Chicago since 1989, Vandermark works as both performer and organizer. He tours Europe, North America, Russia, South America, Japan, and the U.S., performing and recording to critical acclaim. At home, he co-curates Option, a March-to-October weekly music series at Experimental Sound Studio.

Among Vandermark’s accolades are receiving the MacArthur Foundation’s fellowship award in 1999. He considers his main creative interest to be exploring new music that deals with advanced methods of improvisation. With Marker, he continues on that track with the intent of creating new forms for improvised music.

On Thursday at the museum, Marker will perform some of Vandermark’s original works including a live soundtrack to Chris Marker’s short film, “La Jetée.” The group’s name is connected with the filmmaker only coincidentally. But the quintet’s biography singles the soundtrack out as part of a key series of shows at a Milwaukee residency. The shows led up to a festival in Chicago and subsequent recording of its first album, “Wired for Sound” in 2017.

“I’m a really big fan of Chris Marker as a filmmaker and artist,” Vandermark said. “La Jetée,” a French film with English subtitles, is a sci-fi film about time. Though the music is experimental, Vandermark says the film has a more straightforward storyline than many of the filmmaker’s other works.

Vandermark has performed with films before, but it has always been spontaneously improvised. “This was the first time I’ve written specific music to a specific film,” he said.

For the evening concert at Standard Deluxe, though not performing the soundtrack, Marker will present an extended set of Vandermark’s originals.

The group promotes itself as being inspired by Bernie Worrell’s keyboard work with Parliament Funkadelic and Talking Heads; new classical music; the guitar work of post-punk groups like Wire and The Ex; and grooves from Brazilian music, afrobeat, and funk.

“We’re mixing these things and putting them against each other,” Vandermark said.

Jazz music was a major factor in the birth of the current genre of improvised music. Vandermark said jazz musicians like Miles Davis changed what they created as new styles of music appeared. Vandermark says he is trying to bring conventions of jazz to a new place in 2018.

“We’re bringing improvised music and jazz into a contemporary context,” Vandermark said.

Vandermark’s website is kenvandermark.com.

A Little Lunch Music is coordinated by Patrick McCurry. It is an informal, weekly series that features national and international performers as well as the region’s professionals and students. The schedule can be found on the museum’s calendar at jcsm.auburn.edu.

For more information, contact Scott Bishop, university Liaison and curator of Education, at bishogs@auburn.edu or 334-844-7014.

The evening event at Standard Deluxe will be in the venue’s Pea Ridge Listening Room, often called the Little House. For more information, visit standarddeluxe.com or call 334-826-6423.

Below is audio of Marker performing on August 20, 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Photos of artists Duraski and Dunn Powell

A Little Lunch Music, 1/25/2018: Two AU Faculty Sopranos Leading Mixed Recital

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On Thursday, January 25, from noon to 1:00 pm in the Grand Gallery, the series will present a free concert by soprano Rosephanye Dunn Powell and mezzo-soprano Anne Duraski with pianist Joshua Pifer. The group will present solo and chamber music by composers including Joseph Canteloube, Johannes Brahms, Alexander Scriabin, Jacques Offenbach, and new arrangements by Dr. Powell. A gift from Bob Ekelund and Mark Thornton and an anonymous gift have helped to make this performance possible.

Click here for more about the performers and a full schedule for the spring 2018 season of A Little Lunch Music.

Powell serves as Professor of Voice and Coordinator of Voice Studies at Auburn University. A researcher, interpreter, and performer of the African-American spiritual, she has presented recitals and lecture-recitals around the country, in Europe, and in the Caribbean. Recognized worldwide as a composer of choral music, she is considered to be one of America’s premier women composers.

Powell says Cantaloube, born in France in 1859, was a musicologist as well as a composer. He collected folk songs, and on Thursday, she will perform a set of his arrangements. “These are folk songs that he has elevated to the level of art song,” she said.

Powell says the vocal lines Cantaloube arranged are beautiful, and he composed piano accompaniment to depict sounds of nature. “Nature in art song is a common theme, and parallel with love,” she said. “All of these are within nature, depicting love and experiences of love.”

Duraski is director of Auburn University’s Opera Workshop and teaches Voice and Opera Literature. She served as principal lyric mezzo-soprano for the Schleswig-Hosteinisches Landestheater in Flenburg, Germany, and has appeared in opera houses in Italy, Switzerland, and the United States. She recently performed in the role of Suzuki in Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” with the Mobile Opera.

The singers will perform together two new arrangements by Powell of African-American spirituals. She approaches her arrangements in a similar way as Cantaloube to his folk songs. “To preserve the heritage, I typically try to make sure that I use the original melody,” she said. But she says she uses the piano part to create different colors to help depict the meaning of the words.

Powell says slaveowners would often keep slaves from assembling, so one reason spirituals were used was to express deep emotion to each other. Someone singing “There Is a Balm in Gilead,” which Powell will perform Thursday, would be at a low point, even despondent. She says she wrote a piano part that has a soothing, healing sound, flowing like a balm on the skin and also the soul.

Powell says slaveowners would hear another spiritual, “Every Time I feel the Spirit,” as a song about God. But slaves intended it as very specific to the condition they were in. She says the song gave tremendous hope to slaves for their bodily freedom. It even goes so far as to teach things about how to escape and about the mindset someone should have when seeking freedom.

Pifer is a senior lecturer at Auburn, recently returning from a two-week piano residency in Taiwan. He is an international performer, clinician, and adjudicator, and is a founding member of both Duo Echo with oboist Jennifer Pifer and Plains2 with trombonist Matthew Wood. He released his first solo CD, “Alexander Tcherepnin: My Favorite Piano Works,” in 2015.

Other music on Thursday’s program will be a solo piano work by Scriabin, art song by Brahms, and a comical piece often attributed to Gioachino Rossini.

A Little Lunch Music is coordinated by Patrick McCurry. It is an informal, weekly series that features national and international performers as well as the region’s professionals and students. The schedule can be found on the museum’s calendar at jcsm.auburn.edu.

For more information, contact Scott Bishop, university Liaison and curator of Education, at bishogs@auburn.edu or 334-844-7014.

A Little Lunch Music, 1/18/2018: Montevallo Faculty Performing Music for Soprano and Guitar

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DUE TO THE WEATHER-RELATED DELAYED OPENING, THIS PERFORMANCE WILL START AT 12:15 P.M.

On Thursday, January 18, from noon to 1:00 pm in the Auditorium, the series will present a free concert by lyric soprano Melanie Williams with guitarist Alan Goldspiel. The duo will present music by Matyas Seiber, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, John W. Duarte, Mordechai Gebirtig, George Gershwin, and Mark Warshawsky, in addition to compositions and arrangements by Dr. Goldspiel. Gifts from anonymous friends of the series have helped to make this performance possible.

Click here for the event page on our calendar with more about the performers and the season’s full schedule.

Williams has received positive reviews for her stage and concert works and for her recordings with the LeBaron Trio. She has appeared in concerts throughout the southeast with symphonies and choral groups and in England with the International Cathedral Music Festival. She is Professor of Music at the University of Montevallo.

The award-winning Goldspiel has performed world premieres at New York’s Carnegie and CAMI Halls, has been featured on National Public Radio, and has performed in the critically acclaimed Goldspiel/Provost Duo. His own music has been performed around the world. He is Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music at Montevallo.

Thursday’s program will feature original music by Matyas Seiber, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, John W. Duarte, Mordechai Gebirtig, George Gershwin, and Mark Warshawsky, in addition to compositions and arrangements by Goldspiel.

Though singing with a guitarist likely started when the guitar was invented, these days art song is more commonly sung with piano. “In a way it’s so different, in a way it’s the same,” Williams said. “When I do things with Alan, it’s softer and more intimate,” she said. As a result, she says she feels like she’s grown as a chamber musician.

Recently, Barbara Bonfield, a University of Montevallo supporter, commissioned Goldspiel to write a piece for her birthday celebration. The result was “With Solitude and Song.” It sets to music three poems by nineteenth-century poet Emma Lazarus. Lazarus was a New Yorker of Jewish lineage whose lines are engraved in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

Goldspiel says Lazarus did a lot to help refugees from Eastern Europe. He made the connection between Lazarus and Bonfield because of Bonfield’s Jewish faith and her personal history of helping others.

Goldspiel arranged another set of three songs that the duo performed at Bonfield’s birthday party. Two are Yiddish melodies for children, written by Mordechai Gebirtig and Mark Warshawsky who lived around the turn of the 20th century. Williams says the two lullabies were very popular in Eastern Europe. She remembers a holocaust survivor at the party who wept, not having heard the songs since childhood.

The third song in Goldspiel’s arrangement is George Gershwin’s “Summertime” from the 1935 opera, “Porgy and Bess.” Though Gershwin was born in the United States, his parents were immigrants from Eastern Europe. Williams says he would have heard the lullabies from family members. “These would’ve been passed down,” she said. “You can hear the influence.”

Goldspiel contributes one other of his works to Thursday’s program. The duo will perform “Twilight,” “Dark Clouds,” and “Windstorm,” three songs from his “Nature Sketches.” “The goal was to really just do a soundscape of those titled nature events,” he said.

“The Divan of Moses-Ibn Ezra” is a collection of medieval poems set to music by twentieth-century composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Williams says they are basically a history of the Jewish people, in and out of exile, being separated from loved ones.

“They’re so sad,” Williams said of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s collection, the full version of which contains nineteen songs. She says for Thursday’s program, they chose the two least sad from the collection’s “Part I, Songs of Wandering.”

Williams says French composer Matyas Seiber’s “Four French Folk Songs” evokes scenes from the lives of colorful people. A young man is coaxing a lover out at midnight. A grandmother is chastising the doctor for suggesting she give up wine. “It’s all kind of veiled references to gossip,” she said. “Something’s going on, but it’s not very overt.”

Williams and Goldspiel will close Thursday’s program with John W. Duarte’s “Hark, Hark, The Ark!” She says they are silly little verses about things like baboons trying to fly to the moon, written by Spike Milligan, a British-Irish comedian, among other things.

A Little Lunch Music is coordinated by Patrick McCurry. It is an informal, weekly series that features national and international performers as well as the region’s professionals and students. The schedule can be found on the museum’s calendar at jcsm.auburn.edu.

For more information, contact Scott Bishop, Curator of Education and University Liaison, at bishogs@auburn.edu or 334-844-7014.

baritone Matthew Hoch

A Little Lunch Music, 1/11/2018: Auburn Faculty Performing Vocal Music by Women

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On Thursday, January 11, from noon to 1:00 pm in the Auditorium, the series will present a free concert in the Auditorium by baritone Matthew Hoch with pianist Jeremy Samolesky. The duo will present a program of music by women composers, including Clara Schumann, Nadia Boulanger, and Jocelyne Binet. Gifts from anonymous friends of the series have helped to make this performance possible.

Click here for more about the performers and the series’ full spring schedule.

Hoch is Associate Professor of Voice and Coordinator of Voice Studies at Auburn University. He is the 2016 winner of the Van L. Lawrence Fellowship. His books include “A Dictionary for the Modern Singer,” “Welcome to Church Music & The Hymnal 1982,” and “Voice Secrets: 100 Performance Strategies for the Advanced Singer.”

For Thursday’s program, the duo will choose music from composers such as Clara Schumann, Francesca Caccini, Nadia Boulanger, and others. “These are some of the biggest names among women composers,” Hoch said.

Hoch’s decision to create a program featuring music by women is timely. The university’s alumni association recently announced its campaign celebrating 125 years of Auburn women. And Hoch says this past fall, he founded and taught the school’s first ever Women in Music course.

Also noteworthy is Hoch’s upcoming performance tour that will include a stop in the United Arab Emirates. Though Hoch says UAE is among the more liberal of the Arab nations, women there still face great challenges. He says programs like Thursday’s are uncommon there.

In researching women composers, Hoch says he read about famous French baritone Gérard Souzay’s premiere of Jocelyne Binet’s “Cycle de mélodies,” written in 1955. He discovered that the piece was never published, and that there are no professional recordings available.

Hoch says with the help of Liza Weisbrod at the university’s library, he found Binet’s manuscript in Quebec’s national library and archives. He is now working to have the set of six songs published. “I’m giving the first performances of it in sixty years,” Hoch said.

Samolesky is Professor of Piano and Coordinator of Piano Studies at Auburn. His debut solo CD was released by Centaur Records in 2015. He is a winner of The American Prize Competition in Piano Performance, Professional Division, and Auburn University’s Excellence in Teaching award.

A Little Lunch Music is coordinated by Patrick McCurry. It is an informal, weekly series that features national and international performers as well as the region’s professionals and students. McCurry says the series has been increasing in popularity, with weekly attendance numbers adding up to almost 1,000 in fall 2017.

Hoch and Samolesky’s performance will be one of the series’ five spring vocal recitals including one by New York Metropolitan Opera veteran Janet Hopkins on April 12. The season will also feature solo piano performances by Vadim Serebryany on February 15 and Lawrence Quinnett on March 22.

Marker, a Chicago-based improvised-music group led by MacArthur Foundation grant recipient Ken Vandermark, will perform on February 1. Other dates will feature instrumental chamber music, gospel jazz, and Irish music. The full schedule can be found on the museum’s calendar at jcsm.auburn.edu.

For more information, contact Scott Bishop, university Liaison and curator of Education at bishogs@auburn.edu or 334-844-7014.

Phyllis Gauker, director of the Auburn Music Club Singers. Photo credit Patrick McCurry.

A Little Lunch Music, 12/14/2017: Auburn Music Club Singers Presenting Christmas Concert

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On Thursday, December 15 from noon to 1:00 pm, the series will present a free concert in the Auditorium by the Auburn Music Club Singers. The group will present a choral program of traditional Christmas music and featuring composers including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Wesley D. Peters, Emmett Kennedy, Victor C. Johnson, Herbert Chappel, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Peter Gruber. Pianist Mary Slaton will take requests from the audience for Christmas carols. Gifts from Bill Wilson and anonymous friends of the series have helped to make this performance possible.

The group’s director, Phyllis Gauker, has degrees in music from Auburn and from William & Mary. She studied voice and conducting and taught high school choral music in Virginia and the U.S. Virgin Islands before moving back to Auburn. There she worked for the city until retiring.

In 2002, Gauker accepted the volunteer director position, promising every year to expose its members to serious choral repertoire. Each year, she and the Singers work up programs for a spring concert and a Christmas concert.

On Thursday, the singers will present traditional and new Christmas music, with solos by Jacquiruth Kemp Stover and flutist Janet H. Sanders. Pianist Elizabeth Rutledge will accompany the choir. Pianist Mary Slaton will close the program with carols requested by the audience.

“I don’t think that we’re preparing a program just for an audience,” Gauker said. “We’re doing it for ourselves as well.” The all-women group rehearses weekly on Tuesday mornings. Currently at twelve singers, they are open to accepting new members.

Slaton, who also has music degrees, says she has sung with the group off-and-on for about five years. “Some of it gets kind of tough,” Slaton said. “It’s hard music.” But she said most people in the group have experience or training in music. She said Gauker can be demanding, but that’s ok. “She is knowledgable,” Slaton said. “She knows what she’s talking about.”

Gauker says Thursday’s first two pieces will show the variety of music the group performs. She says Joseph M. Martin’s “Sing! Shout! Alleluia!” is a new piece with contemporary rhythms that is a lot of fun. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Alleluia Canon” follows, composed in the late 1700s. “In contrast it is so wonderful,” she said.

Gauker says her mission is to foster the experience of singing in an ensemble. She says a professional approach to rehearsing choral repertoire gives a real feeling of accomplishment, and that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. “They get the satisfaction of the soloist who could do it alone without having to do it alone,” she said.

“Equally important is having fun,” said Gauker. “That’s why we don’t get as much done as we want, because we’re having such a good time.”

For information about joining the Auburn Music Club Singers, contact Gauker at 334-887-7261.

Auburn Music Club Singers. Photo credit Patrick McCurry.
Dr. William Schaffer. Photo credit Auburn University Photographic Services.

A Little Lunch Music: AU Faculty and Students Performing Music for Horn and Piano

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On Thursday, December 7 from noon to 1:00 pm, the series will present a free concert in the Grand Gallery. Featured will be music for horn-piano duo and music for horn trio. The duo is hornist William Schaffer and pianist Joshua Pifer. Members of the Auburn University Horn Ensemble playing trio music are Andrew Kirk, Jonythan Tribble, Tripp Gulledge, and Sam Becker, all students of Dr. Schaffer. The program will include music by Anton Reicha, Eugène Bozza, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Peter Schickele. Gifts from anonymous friends of the series have helped to make this performance possible.

Click here for the calendar event page with more about the performers and the full schedule for fall 2017.

Schaffer is assistant professor of Horn and Music Theory at Auburn and serves as principal horn in Florida’s Sinfonia Gulf Coast. He has published original, arranged, and historical works for horn and brass ensembles.

Schaffer says Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Horn Concerto No. 4,” is the biggest work on Thursday’s program and was the second one composed by Mozart. “They numbered them after his death, and they got them out of order,” Schaffer said. He says it was probably written for Mozart’s good friend and horn virtuoso Joseph Leutgeb. Its third movement contains the hunting themes common in horn music.

“The horn made its way into Western music by its use in the hunt,” Schaffer said. “It was a signaling instrument, essentially.” He said the curved shape allowed it to be carried on a horseman’s shoulder, and it was designed so that the bell pointed behind the rider and away from the horse’s sensitive ears. He says it first showed up in concert music during hunting scenes in operas in the 1600s, possibly earlier.

Even after its transition from the hunting trail to the formal concert venue, the horn didn’t gain full acceptance into the world of art-music for centuries. “They didn’t hire a valve horn teacher until 1902 at Paris Conservatory,” Schaffer said.

Thursday’s program will also feature French composer Eugène Bozza’s “En Foret,” written in 1941 for horn and piano. “It was a [Paris] conservatory contest piece,” Schaffer said. “If you won, you actually got a cash prize and a job.”

Bozza designed “En Foret” to showcase what the instrument can do. “It uses every single timbre of the horn,” Schaffer said. Open horn is the normal unaltered sound, echo horn is when the player uses the hand to cover most of the bell’s opening, stopped horn refers to using the hand to completely cover the bell, and muted horn makes use of a mute inserted into the bell. Each technique produces a different tone color.

Schaffer says “En Foret” is episodic, presenting one melodic idea after another, returning at the end to the original theme. He said it uses harmonies common to Western musical tradition, but like the melodies, it exhibits sections with different tonal centers. “When I was in school, we used to refer to these [pieces] as quasi-tonal,” Schaffer said.

The student horn ensemble will perform three trios by Anton Reicha, a court musician who was a contemporary of Ludvig van Beethoven. “These trios are really well known to horn players, but I’m not sure anyone else knows about them,” Schaffer said.

Hornist Thomas Bacon once asked his young grandson a question. In 1992, the result inspired a piece that Bacon commissioned composer and parodist Peter Schickele to write entitled “What Did You Do Today at Jeffy’s House?” Schaffer says the work is really short and cute with movements titled after the child’s answers. Schaffer and Pifer will end the program with this piece.

Pifer is a senior lecturer at Auburn, recently returning from a two-week piano residency in Taiwan. He is an international performer, clinician, and adjudicator, and is a founding member of both Duo Echo with oboist Jennifer Pifer and Plains2 with trombonist Matthew Wood. He released his first solo CD, “Alexander Tcherepnin My Favorite Piano Works,” in 2015.

Musician Kevin Manderville plays guitar.

A Little Lunch Music, 11/30/2017: Award-Winning Classical Guitarist Performing

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On Thursday, December 30 from noon to 1:00 pm, the series will present a free concert in the Grand Gallery by classical guitarist Kevin Manderville. The program will feature music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Gerardo Tamez, Phillip Houghton, John Doan, Pieter Van der Staak, and others. Gifts from Jack & Jane Brown and from anonymous friends of the series have helped to make this performance possible.

Click here for the event page on our calendar with the full fall schedule.

Manderville has won top prizes in competitions including first prize at the Montreal International Classical Guitar Festival. He has performed throughout North America and Europe and has premiered works including some written for him.

Thursday’s program will include Scottish lute pieces from the late Renaissance period, a transcription of cello music by Johann Sebastian Bach from the Baroque Period, and a series of pieces composed in the late twentieth-century.

Manderville will perform two pieces by Phillip Houghton, an Australian composer who died in October. Manderville says the composer had many influences and listed rock, jazz, new age, mythology, world music, and classical music among them. Furthermore, the piece “God of the Northern Forest” was inspired by Australia’s Northern Territory and a painting of the same name by Swiss artist Paul Klee.

Manderville says the wildness of “God of the Northern Forest” contrasts with Houghton’s “Kinkachoo, I Love You,” which is quiet, meditative, and ambient. “It’s flowing, with a sense of weightlessness,” Manderville said. Both pieces are featured on Manderville’s 2010 debut CD, “Through the Centuries” released on the Clear Note label. Click here to see and purchase the CD on Clear Note’s website.

Gerardo Tamez is a still-living composer born in 1948. Manderville says he is not well-known in the U.S., and found Tamez’s work, “Aires de Son,” doing internet searches for ideas. “I fell in love with this piece,” Manderville said. “It’s got a little bit of everything.”

Manderville says “Aires de Son” includes very beautiful lyricism, a dance written in an odd meter, and things that remind him of music Andres Segovia would play. Segovia was a twentieth-century guitarist, iconic to the classical guitar genre.

Thursday’s program will include Pieter Van der Staak’s “Three Moods from the Song of Solomon.” Manderville says it is a profound work, though under five minutes long. “There’s more music than the length,” he said, adding that it was inspired by the Biblical Song of Soloman and has Middle Eastern influences.

Manderville says he heard John Doan’s piece, “Farewell,” many years ago in graduate school, but it didn’t fit into any category of music expected of a graduate student. “It’s something a little different than what a classical musician would typically play,” Manderville said, citing its simplicity, beautiful melodies, and Celtic flavors. “As I’ve gotten older and have played more, it’s nice to play something that’s beautiful as opposed to academic or substantial…There’s a lot of just beautiful lyricism in this program.”

With degrees from Stetson University and Florida State University, Manderville has served on college faculties in Georgia, New York, Florida, and Alabama. Currently based in Montgomery, he directs the classical guitar program at Carver Elementary Arts Magnet School and is on the faculty at Huntingdon College.

Kevin Manderville (photo credit: Susan Stripling)

photo credit: Susan Stripling

Headshot of the artist, Vijay Venkatesh

A Little Lunch Music, 11/16/2017: Acclaimed Pianist Performing Music by Granados, Chopin, Beethoven

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On Thursday, November 16 from noon to 1:00 pm, the series will present a free concert in the Auditorium by pianist Vijay Venkatesh, in collaboration with the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta. The program will feature music by Enrique Granados, Frederic Chopin, and Ludwig van Beethoven. Gifts from Virginia Transue, Patricia Giordano, and anonymous friends of the series have helped to make this performance possible.

Click here for our calendar page for the event which includes the series’ fall schedule and more about its performers.

The critically acclaimed Venkatesh is a native of Orange County, California. At age 14, he made his orchestral debut with the South Coast Symphony and since then has performed with orchestras in the United States and Austria.

A winner of first prizes in competitions around the U.S., he was named a Davidson Fellow and honored with an award ceremony and reception at the Library of Congress. He is a 2009 alumnus of National Public Radio’s “From the Top.”

Thursday’s program will feature music by Enrique Granados, Frederic Chopin, and Ludwig van Beethoven.

“Goyescas” is a piano suite by Granados, who lived around the turn of the 20th century. Venkatesh says paintings by Francisco Goya inspired the music. Thursday’s program will include the suite’s first movement, “The Maiden and the Nightengale.”

“It’s actually one of my favorite pieces,” Venkatesh said of the movement. “I try to play it at every concert.”

Venkatesh says Granados later composed an opera based on the piano suite. In the opera version, this movement is an aria. In the scene, two men are sword-fighting for the love of the character Rosario. She flees from the fight to a courtyard where she sings to a nightingale about her distress.

“It’s a Spanish love piece that is full of Spanish themes of Machismo,” Venkatesh said. “There’s a lot of machismo in this scene.”

Venkatesh says he tries to let his own life experiences affect the way he interprets the music he plays. Playing different pieces and immersing himself in other cultures can often reveal things hidden within a piece of music. “Every time I play a piece, there are intrinsic seeds of DNA that are there to be discovered,” he said.

Venkatesh says Chopin’s scherzo, programmed for Thursday, is technically demanding and full of patriotic themes connected to Poland, the composer’s homeland. Though scherzo means joke, he says Chopin’s scherzos are very serious pieces.

Chopin died at 39, sick with tuberculosis and what was likely heart disease. Historians have speculated that he also suffered poor mental health. But Venkatesh says Chopin’s music remained strong.

“I don’t think he let that sickness translate into his music,” Venkatesh said. “‘It’s guns covered in roses,’ is what a lot of people say.”

Venkatesh will also perform one of Chopin’s nocturnes, a genre Chopin made famous. In contrast to the scherzo, nocturne means “night song” or “love song” and is often filled with languid, lyrical melodies.

“Chopin is actually one of the greatest melody composers,” Venkatesh said. “He was great at expressing unrequited love. A lot of these love songs I think are speaking about himself in the third person.”

Also on Thursday’s program will be Beethoven’s final piano sonata, “Sonata No. 32 in C Major.”

By the time Beethoven was writing his last three piano sonatas, he had gone completely deaf. In these pieces, compared to the composer’s earlier sonatas, Venkatesh hears what is possibly a more inward source of inspiration. He says their chromatic harmonies and sudden changes in volume and mood possibly reflect Beethoven’s state of mind and his frustration as he faced the struggles at the end of his life.

“It’s all culminating in this [final] two-movement sonata,” said Venkatesh. He describes the first movement as tempestuous and majestic, the second as spiritual and relinquishing. “It’s almost as if Beethoven’s soul is transitioning from this world to the next.”

A Little Lunch Music is coordinated by Patrick McCurry. It is an informal, weekly series that features national and international performers as well as the region’s professionals and students. The schedule can be found on the museum’s calendar at jcsm.auburn.edu.

For more information, contact Scott Bishop, Curator of Education and University Liaison, at bishogs@auburn.edu or 334-844-7014.

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