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A Little Lunch Music 9/21/2017: Auburn Native Returns to Sing Art Song, Opera, and More

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On Thursday, September 21 from noon to 1:00 pm, the series will present a free concert by soprano Kathleen Buccleugh with pianist Laurie Middaugh. The program will feature music by Joaquín Rodrigo, Gabriel Fauré, Richard Strauss, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Leonard Bernstein, and selections from musical theater and popular music. Thanks to gifts from anonymous friends of the series for helping to make this performance possible.

Click here for our calendar event page with more information about the artists.

Buccleugh (pronounced like Buckley) said a recent search into her music collection resulted in a program covering a wide range of styles. Thursday’s music will feature art songs by Gabriel Fauré, Joaquín Rodrigo, and Richard Strauss. She will sing a Mozart aria, selections from music theater, and a song by Joni Mitchell. “I wanted to show as much diversity of repertoire that I could,” she said.

French composer Gabriel Fauré’s song cycle 5 Mélodies is nicknamed “de Venise,” because his ideas for the songs were developed during a vacation to Venice. Buccleugh said the music is full of lush harmonies, and the melodies are about as romantic as you can get. “It’s just pouring romance musically and with the words.” she said.

The duo will present Cuatro madrigales amatorios by Joaquín Rodrigo, four songs that set a darker mood. Written in 1947, the composer used sixteenth-century poems. The songs highlight an intense and sometimes painful side of love.

Buccleugh will sing three Richard Strauss songs including “Morgen!” translated “Morning!” a song she said she has wanted to do since she was a student at Auburn High.

The aria “In uomini, in soldati” is sung by the character Despina in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera Così fan tutte. It is a role Buccleugh has played before and will revisit next month in her debut with the Mobile Opera. She has also sung roles with Utah Festival Opera, St. Petersburg Opera, Opera Birmingham, New Rochelle Opera and others.

Buccleugh said singing Mozart is a privilege because his melodies are so beautiful. She said while his musical phrases are exquisite and speak for themselves, that doesn’t mean the text should suffer. “That’s my job as an opera singer, to balance telling the story with serving the music,” she said.

Buccleugh said working in a recital format like this allows her to have fun switching between different styles. She will sing “Will He Like Me?” by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick from the musical, She Loves Me. She said the style allows her some looseness when she interprets the music, even with the option of sometimes speaking rather than singing lyrics. “You can’t sing it like Mozart opera,” she said.

Though Buccleugh said she didn’t have in mind a particular theme for Thursday’s recital, she said love is the theme. But she added that love, in some form or other, is almost always the theme, when it comes to a concert of songs.

These selections show many kinds of love, said Buccleugh. Fauré and Rodrigo’s songs present romantic love in its happy, painful, and sexual expressions. She said Mozart’s Despina sings of a kind of disposable love, fickle and playful.

A song by Leonard Bernstein, “Glitter and Be Gay,” from his operetta Candide, sings of a love of possessions. Buccleugh paraphrased the song, “Times are hard, but I’m being covered in jewels and lavish clothing, so things could be worse.”

soprano Kathleen Buccleugh

soprano Kathleen Farrar Buccleugh

baritone Matthew Hoch

A Little Lunch Music 9/14: AU Faculty Will Tackle Schubert’s Final Song Cycle

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On Thursday from noon to 1 p.m., the series will present a free concert featuring baritone singer Matthew Hoch with pianist Jeremy Samolesky in the Grand Gallery. The duo will perform music by Franz Schubert. Gifts from anonymous friends of the series are helping to make this performance possible.

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

In addition to a solo piano piece by Schubert, the duo will perform the composer’s final song cycle. Titled “Shwanengesang” and translated “Swan Song,” the publisher released it a few months after Schubert’s death in 1828.

In 2016, Hoch and Samolesky performed Schubert’s first song cycle “Die schöne Müllerin.” Next year, Hoch said they will learn the composer’s second, “Winterreise,” finishing out the composer’s canon of song cycles. “Jeremy and I view this as a rite of passage,” said Hoch.

Hoch said that Samolesky is a fantastic performer of Romantic music, which he added can be difficult to interpret. He said it has an expressive quality that requires a certain looseness that Samolesky can really pull off. “He just has a great way of communicating a piece to an audience so that it makes sense,” said Hoch.

Hoch said he entered music school in college as a saxophonist, but soon became jealous of the singers’ repertoire. He said as a freshman, he heard a concert by famous Dutch soprano Elly Ameling during her farewell tour. “She sang an all-Schubert recital and I was hooked,” he said. Soon after, he switched to study vocal performance.

“Schubert for me is kind of like Shakespeare might be for the English teacher,” said Hoch. “I just find a richness there that I’m never going to get to the bottom of,” he added.

“Schwanengesang” is a collection of fourteen songs that were unpublished when Schubert died at age 31. Hoch said this has caused some debate on the subject of whether it can, in fact, be called a song cycle. Often, a song cycle is a composer’s musical setting of a collection of the work of one poet. This is true of Schubert’s other two cycles, but “Schwanengesang” includes the poems of three poets.

The song cycle’s poets are Ludwig Rellstab, Heinrich Heine, and Johann Gabriel Seidl. Hoch said though there are different poets, the songs are connected by thematic material. He said many of them are in the voice of a man separated from his beloved. Secondly, the idea of a type of character Hoch calls “the wanderer,” common in Romantic German poetry, appears frequently. He also noted the recurrence of melodic ideas.

Rellstab’s work makes up the first seven songs. This group includes the song titled “Ständchen,” translated “Serenade,” which Hoch said is one of Schubert’s most famous melodies. After Rellstab’s poems, Heine’s work makes up the next six songs. Then the final song is the only setting of Seidl’s poetry. “It’s kind of obvious that the publisher put that in to give it some cyclical unity,” Hoch said.

Hoch defends the publisher’s decision to add the third poet. In his program notes, Hoch uses “sinister” to describe the cycle’s second-to-last song, “Der Doppëlganger,” translated “The Wraith.” He described this setting of Heine’s poetry as delivering “a recitative of thrilling terror.”

In contrast, Hoch wrote that the final song with Seidl’s poem “elegantly reflects a more joyful side of the composer’s spirit.” Hoch said it gives listeners a reprieve from the adventurous harmonic language and dark imagery of “Der Doppëlganger.” He said it nicely ties together the full song cycle, even bringing back thematic ideas from the Rellstab poems.

baritone Matthew Hoch

photo credit: Lesley Foote

pianist Mary Slaton

A Little Lunch Music 9/7/2017: Mary Slaton Will Open Fall Season

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On Thursday, September 7, from noon to 1 p.m., we will present a free concert as part of our weekly A Little Lunch Music series. The event will feature pianist Mary Slaton in the Grand Gallery, performing her arrangements of popular music going back as far as the 1940s.

Gifts from anonymous friends of the series are helping to make this performance possible.

Click here for the event page with more about the performers and the series’s full schedule.

As the museum reopens after renovations, Slaton will kick off the series’ fall schedule. The pianist has had her own re-construction over the summer, having endured a serious injury last March. She said she broke both bones in her forearm and damaged her wrist. For ten weeks, her hand was immobile.

For decades, Slaton has performed and taught piano. She said she specializes in popular music from the 1940s to the 1970s, but her repertoire includes music from the 1930s to present day.

Musician Patrick McCurry coordinates the weekly series. “I was worried when she said she got hurt,” he said. He has heard Slaton many times, sometimes playing saxophone in her trio. He said when he called to book her for the date, she was still unable to play.

But McCurry said Slaton agreed to perform, saying she would use it as a recovery goal. “She plays these rich, lush chords in her arrangements,” said McCurry, adding that piano music like that requires nimble fingers and hands that can stretch far.

But Slaton said practicing turned out to be a good companion to physical therapy. She said the stretching and exercise it requires helped a lot, and she is now able to perform again. “There are certain chords that I still can’t play,” said Slaton. But she added that she is close to a full recovery, and is ready to play Thursday.

Slaton said she built her arsenal of songs from the gigs she played. “When I started playing, a lot of it happened because people would request songs,” she said. If she didn’t know the song, she would say, “Hum a few bars,” and fake it. Then later she would find the music or the recording and learn the tune.

Slaton said when she was playing the most, in the 1970s and 80s in Memphis and then Atlanta, she would try to keep up with the music that was playing on the radio. After that, the requests at her gigs were mostly from those earlier decades.

“I like the oldies,” she said, adding that she is still learning new songs people want to hear.

Slaton worked briefly for a pest control company in Atlanta and for the IRS in Memphis, the worst job she said has ever had. But her lifetime career has been music. After graduating from the University of Montevallo, she taught piano, chorus, and band at Beauregard School and in Tuskegee before moving to Memphis.

As a single mom with a young son, Slaton was earning her Master’s degree at Memphis State University and playing at the Hilton and Hyatt hotels. She would need babysitters when she played at night, and said she once hired Kerrie McCarver, who would become Jerry Lee Lewis’s sixth wife.

Slaton moved to Atlanta to be closer to family, and played for years there at venues like the Omni Hotel, the Hilton, the Atlanta Country Club, and others.

Now living in Opelika since 1995, she is near the Lazenby family farm where she grew up in Beauregard. She has appeared at venues like the now-closed Terra Cotta, the Saugahatchee Country Club, and the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center at Grand National among others. She teaches a private studio and plays at churches and events when called on.

Slaton said being in the music business for so long, she has met a lot of famous and colorful characters. She said people ask her, “Why don’t you write a book,” and she answers, “I’m afraid my son would read it.”

pianist Mary Slaton

On September 7, pianist Mary Slaton will return to present classic songs from 1940s and later.

Visiting Soprano Will Bring Cabaret Music to Museum Series

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Loralee Songer and Perry Mears from Iowa Will Perform

On Thursday, April 6 from noon to 1:00 pm, the series will present a free concert in the Auditorium featuring soprano Loralee Songer with pianist Perry Mears. The duo will present a program of cabaret songs by Benjamin Britten, Arnold Schoenberg, and still-living composers William Bolcom and Dominick Argento.
A gift from an anonymous friends of the series has helped to make this concert possible.
Cabaret, from a French word for nightclub, is a form of musical entertainment that gained popularity throughout the 19th century in Europe and into the beginning of the 20th century in the United States. “We could think French, we could think New York,” said Songer, who is developing a repertoire of cabaret songs.
Though Songer said she is often called on to sing operatic roles, she loves the intimacy of performing art-song recitals. “I like to be able to see people and communicate that way,” she said, pointing out that cabaret is similar. She said it was meant to be sung in small rooms to an up-close audience. But unlike at most art-song concerts, cabaret’s listeners are usually dining or drinking.
Songer doesn’t consider herself a lifelong cabaret specialist, but rather came upon the genre organically. “I started collecting music and sort of stumbled on a theme,” she said. “It’s a really fun program.”
Composer William Bolcom won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1988 and is famous for writing new cabaret songs. She said she met him at a training festival, and was able to work and even perform with him on his music.
Thursday, Songer and Mears will perform Bolcom’s “Over the Piano” and a set of songs called “Minicabs”. “Minicabs” lasts about five minutes and contains eleven very short songs. “They’re very humorous and clever,” said Songer. A big part of cabaret’s entertainment value is in the humor.
Though Songer said there are a lot of different kinds of humor in Bolcom’s music, the short format of the songs in “Minicabs” lends itself to a simple type. “It’s not hard to get the joke,” she said. “Over the Piano” leans perhaps more toward burlesque, she said, adding “It’s nightclub-appropriate.”
Arnold Schoenberg, who lived during cabaret’s turn-of-the-century golden age, was known for being a pioneer in serial music. Serial music is composed based on strict mathematical patterns and rules that were very different from what came before.
Songer said those who know Schoenberg’s serial works may get a little bit of a surprise when they hear his cabaret songs. She and Mears will perform three from his song cycle, “Brettl-Lieder”. Songer said she finds these enjoyable, melodic, and very much tonal. “I think you expect something different,” she said.
The duo will close the program with three songs from still-living composer Dominick Argento’s “Cabaret Songs”. Argento was also a Pulitzer prizewinner.
In 2014, Songer was a vocal fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and was a 2013 Stern Fellow at SongFest. Roman & Littlefield recently published her book, “Songs of the Second Viennese School: A Performer’s Guide to Selected Vocal Works.” She is on the music faculty at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and can be found online at www.loraleesonger.com
Mears’ recent performances include recitals at the University of Alabama with Songer, at Sneed State College with the Poplar Wind Trio, and in Memphis with the Luna Nova ensemble. Previously on the faculty at Lee University, he has also been on the musical staff of the Schumann Liederfest in Zwickau, Germany, and Ash Lawn Festival Opera. He currently resides in Davenport, Iowa and serves as the music director for St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Bettendorf.

Pianist Perry Mears

Soprano Loralee Songer

Solo Cellist Will Feature Works Created to Pair with Bach Suite

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Former MSO Fellow Laura Usiskin Will Perform for Museum Series

On March 2 from noon to 1:00 pm, the series will present a free concert in the Grand Gallery by cellist Laura Usiskin. The concert will feature Johann Sebastian Bach’s third cello suite and two pieces commissioned by the performer to complement it.
A gift from Bill and Josie Walsh has helped to make this concert possible.
Composer Peter Susser is on faculty at Columbia University, and was there when Usiskin was earning her undergraduate degree. Composer Patrick Greene wrote “abstractEXTRACTION” a chamber piece Usiskin once played and really liked. Johann Sebastian Bach is arguably the most famous composer in all of western music. Now, the three composers have Usiskin in common.
Motivated by the desire to bring about more music for solo cello, Usiskin contacted Susser and Greene to commission a new piece from each of them. She asked them to use Bach’s third cello suite as inspiration, with the intent to use the new works as companion pieces to the suite. “I wanted to make a cohesive program,” said Usiskin.
Usiskin said it was really interesting how the two new composers were inspired by Bach’s music in similar ways. She said they both used ostinato, which is a note or short sequence of notes that is repeated while harmonic and melodic material change around it.
Also like Bach, Usiskin said the new composers used repeated rhythmic ideas and changed their rhythms, often suggesting a different basic pulse, or meter, from what came before. She said since the new pieces are modern concert pieces, the composers took more liberties with rhythm than Bach did. Bach’s suites were Baroque dance pieces, and so required a more consistent meter for people to dance to.
Usiskin said Susser somewhat paired his six short movements with the six dances in Bach’s third suite. The new composer pays homage in his own Prelude to the famous Prelude from Bach’s first cello suite. Greene’s four movements were less connected to the original structure of Bach’s suites.
Usiskin said she has recently recorded Bach’s third suite and will do the same with Susser and Greene’s pieces as part of a new CD to be released by the end of summer.
A regular performer for A Little Lunch Music since 2010, Usiskin has performed throughout North America and Europe in such venues as Alice Tully Hall, Weill Hall, Palazzo Chigi Saracini, Barge Music, and many others. Recent performances include concertos with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and performances of the complete Bach Suites in Los Angeles and Connecticut. She has held orchestral positions with the New Haven Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, and is currently Principal Cello of the Orchestra Iowa.
From 2011-2013, Usiskin served as Founder and Executive Director of the Montgomery Music Project, a program that provides intensive string-music instruction to underserved children in Montgomery. Based in Birmingham, She is on faculty at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Birmingham Southern College, and STEP Birmingham. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and Behavior from Columbia University, Master of Music from The Juilliard School, and Doctor of Musical Arts from the Yale School of Music.

Pianist Brings Beethoven’s “New” Music to Museum Series

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Lawrence Quinnett Returns to A Little Lunch Music

On February 23 from noon to 1:00 pm, the series will present a free concert in the Grand Gallery by pianist Lawrence Quinnett. The concert will feature Ludwig van Beethoven’s first three piano sonatas. Thanks to Bob Ekelund & Mark Thornton for helping to make this concert possible.

Gifts from Bob Ekelund & Mark Thornton have helped to make this concert possible.

When Beethoven wrote his first sonatas, committing full piano concerts to memory was well on its way to becoming standard practice for pianists. But the music Beethoven wrote was so new and different that many performers refused to do it, said Quinnett. The idea was that no wrong note would be played, honoring the genius of the composer.

Quinnett said even the renowned composer Clara Schumann, who championed Beethoven’s works in her late career, was disparaged by critics for playing his music from memory.

Musicians had good reason to put Beethoven on a pedestal, said Quinnett. Many things about these pieces were markedly different from what came before, challenging music conventions of the time.

And Quinnett said he enjoys challenging himself with the pieces. “All these sonatas are new to me,” he said.

Quinnett said Beethoven had a brilliant mind, and was known for his ability to play difficult music at high tempos. He said Beethoven’s compositions showcased these abilities and that the sonatas display this technique clearly. “They tend to land better at slightly quicker tempos,” said Quinnett.

Beethoven also used a new approach to tempo, said Quinnett. He said though the composer included conventional tempo markings in his music, he didn’t use them in the same way. Not only did Beethoven usually intend the music to be played a bit faster than the tempo markings instructed, he also took liberties with the tempo. When he performed, he made tempo adjustments even during the course of a short musical phrase.

“Contemporaries of Beethoven would say than he rarely played a couple bars the same tempo,” said Quinnett. “He had a sense of freedom with his performances.”

Beethoven’s music is complex, said Quinnett. It makes use of harmonic shifts that hadn’t been heard before and cadenzas, or extended virtuosic passages. Quinnett said Beethoven had a penchant for playing impressive improvised solos, and that the cadenzas he wrote sounded like the music he improvised. Though cadenzas are mostly found in his concertos, Beethoven included one in his third sonata.

Quinnett said in Beethoven’s time, it was commonplace for classical performers to improvise. “There was a culture of improvisation,” he said, adding that it was found not only with Beethoven, but in earlier music as well.

Born in Montserrat, Quinnett has played solo and chamber music in the Caribbean, United Kingdom, and United States. He has judged competitions, given masterclasses, and been featured as performer and pedagogue in festivals including the 2015 Montserrat Music Festival, the Colour of Music Festival, the 2013 Ligeti Symposium, and the Fayetteville Piano Festival. He holds a doctorate from Florida State University and teaches as professor at Livingstone College in Salisbury, NC.

AU Faculty Will Perform for A Little Lunch Music

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Museum Series Will Feature Brahms Chamber Music

On January 19, from noon to 1:00 pm, the series will present a free concert in the auditorium featuring pianist Jeremy Samolesky, baritone Matthew Hoch, soprano Anne Duraski, violinist Guy Harrison, and clarinetist David Odom. The program will feature chamber music by Johannes Brahms. Thanks to anonymous friends of the series for helping to make this performance possible.
Thursday’s program will include three pieces by Johannes Brahms, one of the defining composers of western music’s Romantic Period. Brahms lived from 1833 to 1897. Samolesky said he began playing Brahms’ music in undergraduate school. He said he was struck by the melodies, how expressive and singable they are.
“It’s incredibly satisfying to play, physically as well as emotionally,” said Samolesky. He said he has experienced everything from extreme fragile intimacy to full-blown passionate drama in Brahms’ music.
Samolesky has played all of Brahms’ solo piano music and much of his chamber music. Thursday’s program will highlight the composer’s chamber music. Featured will be a set of vocal duets, a violin sonata and a clarinet sonata.
“All of these pieces are extremely difficult,” said Samolesky, adding that everyone’s part is equally hard to perform. He said this is true not only in a technical sense, but also in communicating the musical essence. But he said with Brahms, the virtuosity always serves a musical purpose, and doesn’t exist only to show off a performer’s talent.

Pictured: Jeremy Samolesky

“All of his chamber music is musical conversations between all the instruments,” said Samolesky. He contrasted this with earlier works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose trios are melodically dominated by the piano and whose string quartets showcase the first violin. In Brahms’ music, Samolesky said each voice carries the same importance.
The conversational aspect of the music is most evident in Brahms’ “Vier Duette (Four Duets), Op. 28,” for soprano, baritone and piano. In this set of four pieces, each scene is a conversation between two characters. And Samolesky said even in this relatively short piece, the emotions range from bright and joyful to tragic despair.
Samolesky said Brahms wrote three very different violin sonatas and two very different clarinet sonatas. But he said the violin and clarinet sonatas they will perform Thursday happen to be very similar. He said that in a way, they represent Brahms’ later style of writing, which was more subdued and reflective. He said they are not without passion, however, including long, rich melodies that are singing and beautiful.
Samolesky said Brahms’ chamber music has left an indelible impression on him, and colleagues have expressed the same. “I do remember every single time I played Brahms chamber music,” he said. “I remember where I was and who I played it with.”

Museum to Host Violin and Piano Music for Final 2016 Noon Concert

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Museum to Host Violin and Piano Music for Final 2016 Noon Concert

On December 15, from noon to 1:00 pm, A Little Lunch Music will present a free concert in the auditorium featuring violinist Elzbieta Tokarska with pianist Ksenia Kurenysheva. The duo will present music by Francis Poulenc, César Franck, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

A gift from Jim & Sue Haygood is helping to make the concert possible.

Thursday’s concert will mark Kurenysheva’s fifth performance at the museum. Her first was in 2012, her first year in the United States. Appearing in the series, She has performed as a soloist and with Auburn violinist Lorna Wood.

The Russian Kurenysheva and the Polish Tokarska are both winners of top prizes in international festivals. They met at Columbus State University’s Schwob school of music. They started out with a lot of classes together and soon began working on chamber music. Now, Kurenysheva is working on a doctorate at the University of Georgia in Athens, and Tokarska is doing graduate work at CSU. Making music together is still very important to them.

The duo will perform a violin sonata by Poulenc, a French composer. Kurenysheva compares his music to that of the Russian Sergei Prokofiev. She said as 20th-century music, it is adventurous in its harmonic structure, but never moves into serial music, using certain patterns and techniques that ignore traditional harmony and melody.

As an example of French music, she said Poulenc’s music is not as romantic or melodic as Claude Debussy’s or Maurice Ravel’s, but it is still entertaining. As an example of neoclassical music, it is well-organized, like Prokofiev. “You will understand themes and how they develop throughout the piece,” she added.

Though Kurenysheva said the Belgian composer Franck would perhaps not have appreciated the complement, she believes that his Sonata for Violin and Piano is a great example of typical French music. “Franck is very open and expressive,” she said.

Like many pieces, the violin part of the Franck sonata has been transcribed for other instruments. As a collaborative pianist, Kurenysheva has played it many times. “Everybody wants to play this piece,” she said, adding that no matter what the arrangement, the piece never suffers. She said this is not true of all music.

“The thematic material is interesting, it’s so sincere,” said Kurenysheva. “Everything is absolutely perfect.”

About Tokarska’s playing, Kurenysheva said she is a leader whose strength is in the music’s drive. “Her sound is very expressive,” she said, adding, “Her lower range is really dense and singing like a human voice. I love to play with her.”

The program will close with Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz of the Flower” from his “The Nutcracker Suite.”

JCSM After Hours

On Thursday night from 5-8 p.m., the museum will be open for its weekly JCSM After Hours. The exhibitions are free to the public and the cafe and gift shop are open. This week will be Holiday Family Night with pianist Mary Slaton performing Christmas music. There will be an art activity for kids, snacks, and discounts in the shop.

A Little Lunch Music Welcomes Andrew Wilder; AU Cultural Music Society Performs in Evening

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On December 1, from noon to 1:00 pm, the series will present a free concert featuring classical guitarist Andrew Wilder. Andrew will present music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Juan Antonio Sanchez.

The concert will be in the Auditorium. Thanks to anonymous friends of the series for helping to make this performance possible.

Much of classical guitar’s repertoire is transcriptions. One of the two Mozart pieces Wilder will play was originally written for clavichord, a stringed keyboard instrument. Another was written for the glass harmonium which uses a series of spinning bowls and finger friction to make pitches.

Bach transcribed some of his own cello suites for a guitar-like instrument, but not Suite No. 3 which is on Thursday’s program. Even without an original version for guitar, Wilder said it works very well on the instrument.

Wilder said he is inspired by Bach’s devotion, not only to his faith, but also to  his attention to detail and his groundbreaking counterpoint style. Counterpoint is basically multiple independent melodies happening at the same time. “It’s amazing writing,” said Wilder, “I listen to Bach almost every day.” Wilder said Bach had a great ability to see his strength in writing this style, and didn’t stop writing it even after other Baroque composers had moved away from it.

A senior now at Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music, Wilder said that as a freshman he met Chilean guitarist Jose Antonio Escobar when Escobar visited the school as a clinician. Through that contact, he became aware of the music of still-living Chilean composer Juan Antonio Sanchez. Sanchez wrote “Sonata Para Guitar” for Escobar.

Escobar is a virtuoso, and Wilder said Sanchez’s “Sonata” is extremely difficult. Wilder has wanted to perform it since he heard the piece. “I was obsessed with it,” he said. He would listen to it over and over again. Three years later, he has taken it on for himself, and has received good feedback from the composer who heard a recording online.

Wilder said “Sonata para Guitarra” is new, difficult, and obscure. Besides Escobar, Wilder said he is the only person playing it right now. But he hopes listeners won’t hear the difficulty. He said it is full of singable melodies, percussive Chilean rhythms and jazz influences.

Wilder was born into a musical family with 10 brothers and sisters who have all studied classical music extensively, and with parents who are both professional classical musicians. He has performed and studied throughout Europe, the United States, and South America.

As a soloist, Wilder has been the recipient of awards including first prizes in the Senior Guitar competition of the Society of American Musicians, the International Tennessee Guitar Competition, and the Art of Strings international competition.

He was a prizewinner in the East Carolina University Guitar competition and the Troy University Guitar competition and was a recipient of the Koch Cultural Trust grant.

JCSM After Hours

Separate from the noon series is another music offering at the museum. Each  Thursday night, the museum’s cafe, exhibitions, and gift shop are open from 5-8 pm for JCSM After Hours. Live music is featured each week, often with the house band being the jazz trio, Cullars improvisational Rotation.

This week instead of jazz, the Auburn University Cultural Music Society will perform a mix of music. In addition to traditional Indian music and Indian-Western fusion, the group will bring in American gospel, blues, and old-time folk. Its members will present some original songs and spoken word pieces.

The Society is an Auburn University student organization that was founded in spring 2014 with the mission of bringing awareness to the Auburn community about the importance of cultural diversity through music. It was formed with the understanding that each culture has a different perspective on the uses of music and the sounds produced by its instruments. Members are guided by the idea that music has a way of unifying people with different nationalities and ideologies.

Museum Series Will Feature Flutist Alina Windell

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On October 27 from noon to 1:00 pm, “A Little Lunch Music Series” will present a free concert by flutist Alina Windell with oboist Sue Tomkiewicz and pianist Jeremy Samolesky. The program will feature music by Sergei Prokofieff, and still-living composers Martin Kennedy, and Dana Wilson. Anonymous friends of the series have helped make this possible.

Anonymous friends of the series are helping to support the concert.

Composer Martin Kennedy is now Director of Theory and Composition at Central Washington University. He was a grad student at Indiana University when Windell was there earning her Bachelors Degree. At that time, she heard his piece, “Four Songs,” and said since then she’s been waiting for a chance to play it.

Now, two degrees later and teaching at Auburn and Southern Union, Windell has been able to program the piece for A Little Lunch Music.

A piece of music often ebbs and flows, offering its climax at or near its end. Windell said the four-movement Kennedy piece is different. “Everything just really calms down as the piece goes on,” she said.

Windell said the first movement, “Ferocious,” is the most intense. It is the most dissonant, is louder, and has really complex textures, she said. “The last piece is the most relaxed, kind of like a loose, free feeling,” she added.

In between, Windell said Kennedy’s second movement is fun and playful and reminds her of Aaron Copland’s music at times. She said the third is a sweet love song with hints of Disney music. She said the composer is a pianist, and the piano part to “Four Songs” is really virtuosic.

They will perform “Sonata” by the Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953). Though Windell said it is a staple of the flute’s repertoire, this will be the first time she’s had the chance to play all of its four movements together. Windell said that though Prokofieff’s music can be fairly adventurous, this is one of his more consonant sounding pieces.

“I just like it,” said Windell.

Thursday’s program will also feature a trio by still-living composer Dana Wilson, “Gold Mosaic.” Oboist Tomkiewicz was involved in its commission, and frequently plays with Windell for the Springer Theatre orchestra in Columbus.

Windell said they will repeat the program at Columbus State University on Nov. 10.

Windell has performed throughout the USA and abroad and is a member of the LaGrange Symphony. In the summer of 2016, she performed at the National Flute Association Convention in San Diego, CA; at the Orfeo Music Festival, in Vipiteno, Italy; and at the International Double Reed Society conference at Columbus State University. In 2015, she was a soloist in a concert tour of Malaysia.

Tomkiewicz is the Associate Professor of Oboe at Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music and the Director of Honors on the school’s RiverPark campus. She has commissioned, premiered and recorded new works for oboe and English horn by such composers as Brian Cherney, Brooke Joyce, Bruce Pennycook and Nancy Galbraith. She is currently the English hornist with the Columbus Symphony.

Samolesky serves as Associate Professor of Piano and Piano Area Coordinator at Auburn University. Recent concert tours and performances include China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Colombia, and Ecuador, with regular appearances as performer and teacher throughout the US. His Kennedy Center recital was broadcast on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today.” Praised by critics as “brilliant,” “distinguished,” and “full of intensity and drama,” Samolesky’s debut solo CD was released by Centaur Records in 2015.

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