Thursday, September 29, 2011

Students, Including Pianist with International Awards, to Perform for Museum’s September 29 Lunchtime Concert

Here's the release for the concert at the museum today. In case you read it somewhere else, Alina Sarkisyan from Columbus State was going to perform today, and I suspect will be here in the near future. Instead, CSU pianist Tzu-yi Chen will play about half of the concert. Others will be the AU Chamber Choir and AU student pianist Julia Tucker. See you there.

AUBURN, Ala. – On Thursday, September 29, the weekly classical music series at The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art will feature, among others, a student pianist with an international reputation. The Columbus State University student will share the program with an Auburn University pianist and the AU Chamber Choir. During the free, informal concert from 12-1 p.m., listeners can join a seated audience, have lunch at the Museum Café and visit the museum’s fine art exhibitions.

The Columbus State performer is Tzu-yi Chen. The Auburn pianist is Julia Tucker. Sponsoring this student recital are Charles and Melanie Wright.

Pianist Tzu-yi Chen studied piano in Germany and Paris before coming to Columbus State University. She has performed recitals throughout Taiwan and has appeared in radio and television broadcasts in Hong Kong and Germany.

Chen has performed with major orchestras such as the Saint Petersburg Symphony Orchestra and has won awards in several international and national piano competitions. Among those are first prize at the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Piano Competition in 2007 and first prize at the International Piano Competition of Mauro Paolo Monopoli in Italy in 2001.

Chen is currently working on her Artist Diploma at Columbus State University where she studies with Alexander.

The Auburn University Chamber Choir was established in fall 2008 as the school’s premiere choral ensemble. Under the direction of William Powell, the group has represented the university at New York's Carnegie Hall, in northern Italy, and as an invited ensemble for the prestigious Alabama Music Educators Conference.

The 40-plus member group consists of students from throughout the university who represent a variety of majors and disciplines. They perform advanced choral literature including Renaissance madrigals, multi-movement masterworks, spirituals, jazz, and works by current composers.

Pianist Julia Tucker is an Auburn native and a junior majoring in economics and piano performance under the study of Dr. Jeremy Samolesky. She is assistant organist and scholarship singer at St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church in Auburn and choir accompanist at Trinity Lutheran Church. She also sings renaissance polyphony.

Called “A Little Lunch Music,” the series started its fall season on September 1 with a solo recital by Dr. Josh Pifer, new piano lecturer with Auburn’s music department. Last week, international concert saxophonist James Houlik performed.

Series coordinator Patrick McCurry says that the combination of fine art, gourmet food and classical music creates a unique atmosphere. “One of our sponsors said it was like stepping into another world of high art and culture,” said McCurry. The music and the fine art are free to experience and lunch is priced reasonably.

Since beginning in 2007, the series has grown in popularity. Performers vary. Soloists and small groups are featured. But even large ensembles like the AU chamber winds, roughly a 30-piece band, have played. Students perform, as do local, regional and even international musicians.

Donors give any amount to support the series, but can also sponsor a single performance. McCurry says that people can give $100 for the Student Recital level and up to $1,000 to sponsor a season’s Key Performance. Other sponsorship levels are Local Color, $250; Woodfield Trio, $500; and Chamber Group, $750. Those interested should call Brett Evans, the museum’s Director of Development, at 334-844-7945.

The Café is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Its menu changes weekly and consists of light, freshly prepared salads, Italian Panini sandwiches and seasonal soups and entrees. Menu prices at the Museum Café range from $5 to $9.

Currently, fine art exhibits at the museum include Chinese ceramics from the Silk Road, the ancient trading route that linked East Asia with Southwest Asia and Europe. Also featured is Alabama pottery from the mid-19th and early 20th centuries. Other exhibits include Haitian art from the late 20th century, prints from John James Audubon, and Beleek porcelain pieces from Northern Ireland.

For more information about “A Little Lunch Music,” contact Patrick McCurry at patrick@luncharm.net or go online to bit.ly/lunchmusic for a detailed schedule. For more about the Café or the museum’s fine art exhibitions, contact Colleen Bourdeau at cbourdeau@auburn.edu, visit the museum online at jcsm.auburn.edu or call 844-1484.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Last Pictures and Schedule Archive of Spring 2011 Lunch Music

PIanist Framed Inflamed
Mary Slaton at the piano. Click to view a Flickr slideshow of all my pictures from the spring 2010 lunch music series.
I've recently posted to my Flickr account the shots from the last two performances of the spring 2011 lunch music series. They include a few of pianist Mary Slaton from May 19 and a few of me, Dr. Mary Olson and Dr. Douglas Leonard from a recorder concert on May 12. That was a fun one. I picked up the tenor recorder and got to play with, as far as I know, the two only professional recorder players in the area. Anyone know of others? I think Mary Chapman moved away, but if she's still around, she plays.

Mary Olson I've played with before at church and at other times during this series. She was one of the original three musicians to play at the beginning of the museum series in fall 2007 along with cellist Charles Wright and pianist Arlene Oost-Zinner. She's an enthusiastic player, is very good and seems to enjoy the recorder immensely.

Doug was a surprising find. He's a math professor at Auburn who is studying the Baroque flute and has played the recorder since giving up the tuba in college a while back. He is involved with recorder societies in Birmingham and Atlanta and has played professionally in Atlanta. He has a beautiful collection of instruments and takes the craft of playing the recorder with deep seriousness.

It was a really great experience learning the horn from these two very different players with two very different personalities. Doug's kind of a recorder fascist, but in a good way, while Mary's more of a recorder hippie, but also in a good way. Both are pretty dedicated to their approaches, as you might imagine, but luckily there was no violence during rehearsals. I like the tenor recorder and will hopefully get to play it again with them.

Mary Slaton's lovely piano-lounge pops recital was enhanced by some Mozart and also an impromptu sing-along by three friends of hers who were diners at the café that day. One of them was Hope Elliot's (we went to Auburn High together) mom who told me never to tell Hope that I saw here there doing that. Mums the word. I may have a video of it on my camera.

I'm going to post last spring's lunch music schedule here in the blog for posterity's sake. You're welcome, posterity. Current schedule should be here.



Spring 2011 Season
 

January 13: The Woodfield Trio (www.woodfieldtrio.com)
January 20: The Woodfield Trio
January 27: flutist Mina Chung with pianist Laurelie Gheesling
February 3: pianist Dr. Jeremy Samolesky
February 10: The Woodfield Trio with guest cellist Callie Gedig
February 17: The Woodfield Trio with guest cellist Callie Gedig
February 24: rescheduled to Friday, 2/25
February 25: The Woodfield Trio
March 3: The Woodfield Trio with guest cellist Callie Gedig
March 10: recorder player Dr. Mary Olson and pianist Laurelie Gheesling
March 17: no performance for Spring Break
March 24: flutist Nancy Vinson and pianist Laurelie Gheesling
March 31: piano students of Dr. Jeremy Samolesky and Dr. Henning Vauth
April 7: The Woodfield Trio
April 14: Auburn Indian Music Ensemble
April 21: AU percussion students of Dr. Doug Rosener
April 28: AU Student Saxophone Quartet and Bassoon Ensemble
May 5: The Woodfield Trio
May 12: Recorder and Flute Chamber Music
May 19: pianist Mary Slaton


Thursday, January 27, 12-1 PM: A Little Lunch Music at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents an informal, free concert by flutist Mina Chung and pianist Laurelie Gheesling. Miss Chung is a senior at Auburn High School and a student of Nancy Vinson. She is preparing to compete in the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra's concerto competition. She will play from a repertoire of pieces by Bach, Mozart, Fauré, Hue and Reinecke.

Before becoming accompanist and Alexander Technique teacher at Auburn University, Laurelie Gheesling served in the School of Music at Louisiana State University. She was the musical director for the LSU Opera Outreach Program and for fifteen years accompanied the Baton Rouge Symphony Chorus. Ms. Gheesling performed at the 7th International Alexander Technique Congress in Oxford, England, and in 2003 was the recipient of the James Ronald Brothers Achievement in Accompanying Award of the Southern Division of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She has been involved frequently as a recitalist, leader and collaborator at Loyola and Tulane Universities in New Orleans and with the Louisiana Vocal Arts Chorale.

The Museum Café will be open as usual serving gourmet food for less than $10, and the fine art exhibitions at the museum are free. Contact Colleen Bourdeau at cst0001@auburn.edu or Patrick McCurry at patrick@luncharm.net for more info. Address is 901 S. College St., Auburn. [top]


Thursday, February 3, 12-1 PM: A Little Lunch Music at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents an informal, free concert by pianist Dr. Jeremy Samolesky. A native of Manitoba, Canada, Dr. Samolesky has been Assistant Professor of Piano at Auburn University’s Music Department since 2007. He has performed throughout the world as soloist and as collaborative artist, including a solo recital performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, which was nationally broadcast on National Public Radio's "Performance Today." He has achieved the rare distinction of holding two doctoral degrees from the Eastman School of Music as well as multiple honors, awards and scholarships from that school. This performance will be a preview of Dr. Samolesky's recital on Monday, February 28 at Goodwin Hall.

The Museum Café will be open as usual serving gourmet food for less than $10, and the fine art exhibitions at the museum are free. Contact Colleen Bourdeau at cst0001@auburn.edu or Patrick McCurry at patrick@luncharm.net for more info. Address is 901 S. College St., Auburn. [top]


Thursday, February 10, 12-1 PM: A Little Lunch Music at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents an informal, free concert by The Woodfield Trio (www.woodfieldtrio.com). The trio includes Patrick McCurry on woodwinds and Barbara Acker-Mills on piano. For this performance, cellist Callie Gedig will be sitting in for regular cellist Charles Wright. The Woodfield Trio performs works by composers such as Bruch, Bolling, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Clementi, Haydn, Beethoven and others. The Museum Café will be open as usual serving gourmet food for less than $10, and the fine art exhibitions at the museum are free. Contact Colleen Bourdeau at cst0001@auburn.edu or Patrick McCurry at patrick@luncharm.net for more info. Address is 901 S. College St., Auburn. [top]


Thursday, February 17, 12-1 PM: A Little Lunch Music at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents an informal, free concert by The Woodfield Trio (www.woodfieldtrio.com). The trio includes Patrick McCurry on woodwinds and Barbara Acker-Mills on piano. For this performance, cellist Callie Gedig will be sitting in for regular cellist Charles Wright. The Woodfield Trio performs works by composers such as Bruch, Bolling, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Clementi, Haydn, Beethoven and others. The Museum Café will be open as usual serving gourmet food for less than $10, and the fine art exhibitions at the museum are free. Contact Colleen Bourdeau at cst0001@auburn.edu or Patrick McCurry at patrick@luncharm.net for more info. Address is 901 S. College St., Auburn. [top]


Thursday, February 24, 12-1 PM: Due to educational programing at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, A Little Lunch Music for this week has been rescheduled to Friday, February 25, 12-1 PM. The Museum Café and the museum's fine art exhibits remain open as usual. [top]


Friday, February 25, 12-1 PM: A Little Lunch Music at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents an informal, free concert by The Woodfield Trio (www.woodfieldtrio.com). Made up of Patrick McCurry on woodwinds, Charles Wright on cello and Barbara Acker-Mills on piano, The Woodfield Trio will perform works by composers such as Bruch, Bolling, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Clementi, Haydn, Beethoven and others. The Museum Café will be open as usual serving gourmet food for less than $10, and the fine art exhibitions at the museum are free. Contact Colleen Bourdeau at cst0001@auburn.edu or Patrick McCurry at patrick@luncharm.net for more info. Address is 901 S. College St., Auburn. [top]


Thursday, March 3, 12-1 PM: A Little Lunch Music at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents an informal, free concert by The Woodfield Trio (www.woodfieldtrio.com). Made up of Patrick McCurry on woodwinds and Barbara Acker-Mills on piano. For this performance, cellist Callie Gedig will be sitting in for regular cellist Charles Wright. The Woodfield Trio will perform works by composers such as Bruch, Bolling, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Clementi, Haydn, Beethoven and others. The Museum Café will be open as usual serving gourmet food for less than $10, and the fine art exhibitions at the museum are free. Contact Colleen Bourdeau at cst0001@auburn.edu or Patrick McCurry at patrick@luncharm.net for more info. Address is 901 S. College St., Auburn. [top]


Thursday, March 10, 12-1 PM: A Little Lunch Music at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents an informal, free concert by recorder player Dr. Mary Olson and pianist Arlene Oost-Zinner (see note below). Dr. Olson is an Associate Professor of English at Tuskegee University. She holds a Ph.D. in medieval languages and literature from Purdue University. She studied recorder with the late George Olson of the American Conservatory of Music and is a former member of the Oak Park-River Forest Recorder Society. She lives in the country with her husband and two dogs.

Pianist Arlene Oost-Zinner is an academic translator from German. She has done graduate work in Gregorian chant pedagogy at the Catholic University of America, and is currently program director for the Church Music Association of America. She is a frequent presenter at chant workshops around the country, and is the chant director of the St. Cecilia Schola Cantorum in Auburn.

NOTE [3/10/2011] - Arlene Oost-Zinner was unfortunately unable to participate in today's performance. Pianist Laurelie Gheesling will accompany Dr. Olson. Before becoming piano accompanist and Alexander Technique teacher at Auburn University, Laurelie Gheesling served in the School of Music at Louisiana State University. She was the musical director for the LSU Opera Outreach Program and for fifteen years accompanied the Baton Rouge Symphony Chorus. Ms. Gheesling performed at the 7th International Alexander Technique Congress in Oxford, England, and in 2003 was the recipient of the James Ronald Brothers Achievement in Accompanying Award of the Southern Division of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She has been involved frequently as a recitalist, leader and collaborator at Loyola and Tulane Universities in New Orleans and with the Louisiana Vocal Arts Chorale.

The Museum Café will be open as usual serving gourmet food for less than $10, and the fine art exhibitions at the museum are free. Contact Colleen Bourdeau at cst0001@auburn.edu or Patrick McCurry at patrick@luncharm.net for more info. Address is 901 S. College St., Auburn. [top]


Thursday, March 17: There will be no performance during the week of Spring Break, and the Museum Café will be closed. The Museum's exhibits will be open, however, and are free to enjoy. [top]


Thursday, March 24, 12-1 PM: A Little Lunch Music at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents an informal, free concert by flutist Nancy Vinson and pianist Laurelie Gheesling. A native of Auburn, Mrs. Vinson is Principal Flutist in the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra. Her active schedule includes teaching classes in Music Appreciation at Auburn University and Applied Flute and Flute Ensemble at Huntingdon College in Montgomery. She has placed numerous students in the Alabama All-State Bands including four of the top high school flutists in Alabama. Eight of her students have been chosen to perform at National Flute Association conventions and four have been state winners in competitions sponsored by the Music Teachers National Association. Mrs. Vinson holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Auburn University and a Master of Music degree from the University of Mississippi.

Before becoming piano accompanist and Alexander Technique teacher at Auburn University, Laurelie Gheesling served in the School of Music at Louisiana State University. She was the musical director for the LSU Opera Outreach Program and for fifteen years accompanied the Baton Rouge Symphony Chorus. Ms. Gheesling performed at the 7th International Alexander Technique Congress in Oxford, England, and in 2003 was the recipient of the James Ronald Brothers Achievement in Accompanying Award of the Southern Division of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She has been involved frequently as a recitalist, leader and collaborator at Loyola and Tulane Universities in New Orleans and with the Louisiana Vocal Arts Chorale.

The Museum Café will be open as usual serving gourmet food for less than $10, and the fine art exhibitions at the museum are free. Contact Colleen Bourdeau at cst0001@auburn.edu or Patrick McCurry at patrick@luncharm.net for more info. Address is 901 S. College St., Auburn. [top]


Thursday, March 31, 12-1 PM: A Little Lunch Music at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents an informal, free concert by piano students of Auburn University professors Dr. Jeremy Samolesky and Dr. Henning Vauth. Performers will be Thomas Harbin, Meredith Szabo and Julia Tucker. These soloists will perform works by Ravel, Scarlotti, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schubert and Bach.

Thomas Harbin is a junior at Auburn and a student of Dr. Vauth. Originally from Mobile, Alabama, Mr. Harbin is earning a double major in piano performance and Spanish. He also plays lead guitar in his band, The Riverside Worship Project, which released its first LP, So Sing, in 2010. He has played saxophone in the AU marching band since 2009, and performs playing piano and singing at local events.

AU senior Meredith Szabo studies with Dr. Samolesky and hails from Birmingham, Alabama. She is earning a double major in piano performance and English and plans to go on to graduate school in the fall for a masters in piano pedagogy. She is president of the Auburn collegiate chapter of the Music Teacher's National Association and will soon be inducted as a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, a national music honor society. She will perform her senior recital on April 7 at 6:00 PM at Goodwin Hall.

Julia Tucker is an auburn native and a sophomore majoring in economics and piano performance under the study of Dr. Samolesky. She is assistant organist and scholarship singer at St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church in Auburn and choir accompanist at Trinity Lutheran Church. She sings renaissance polyphony and enjoys drinking coffee and solving puzzles.

The Museum Café will be open as usual serving gourmet food for less than $10, and the fine art exhibitions at the museum are free. Contact Colleen Bourdeau at cst0001@auburn.edu or Patrick McCurry at patrick@luncharm.net for more info. Address is 901 S. College St., Auburn. [top]


Thursday, April 7, 12-1 PM: A Little Lunch Music at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents an informal, free concert by The Woodfield Trio (www.woodfieldtrio.com). Made up of Patrick McCurry on woodwinds, Charles Wright on cello and Barbara Acker-Mills on piano, The Woodfield Trio will perform works by composers such as Bruch, Bolling, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Clementi, Haydn, Beethoven and others. The Museum Café will be open as usual serving gourmet food for less than $10, and the fine art exhibitions at the museum are free. Contact Colleen Bourdeau at cst0001@auburn.edu or Patrick McCurry at patrick@luncharm.net for more info. Address is 901 S. College St., Auburn. [top]


Thursday, April 14, 12-1 PM: On the date of the Indian New Year, A Little Lunch Music at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents an informal, free concert by the Auburn Indian Music Ensemble directed by Dr. Raj Chaudhury. The ensemble comprises students in a semester long class where they learn fundamentals of Indian classical and semi-classical music. This music is based on the system of ragas (melodies) and talas (rhythms). The vocal performances of the group feature a variety of traditional instruments such as harmonium (organ), tabla (drums) and tanpura (drone). In Spring 2011, the class is learning Raga Bhairav (an early morning melody) and Raga Yaman (evening melody).

Trained in classical and semi-classical traditions of North Indian music, Dr. S. Raj Chaudhury has been performing and teaching college students for over 20 years. He has directed Indian music student ensembles at UCLA, Kansas State University and Christopher Newport University. A vocalist by training, Dr. Chaudhury also plays harmonium, tabla, and tanpura.

The Museum Café will be open as usual serving gourmet food for less than $10, and the fine art exhibitions at the museum are free. Contact Colleen Bourdeau at cst0001@auburn.edu or Patrick McCurry at patrick@luncharm.net for more info. Address is 901 S. College St., Auburn. [top]


Thursday, April 21, 12-1 PM: A Little Lunch Music at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents an informal, free concert by members of the Auburn University percussion studio of Dr. Doug Rosener.

Freshman percussion student and music performance major Aaron Locklear is originally from Prattville, AL, where in high school he studied with Dr. Jeff Grant. Mr. Locklear started playing percussion as a freshman in high school, later than most. Being around music his whole life allowed him to catch on quickly, and during his sophomore year, he made second chair percussionist in the All-State Band. He entered the Auburn music program after playing for only four years.

Auburn University sophomore and music education major Shelby Blezinger hails from Sulphur Springs, TX. She continues a family tradition, having grown up with other percussionists in her family. A member of the Percussive Arts Society since 2007, she has competed nationally since high school. Having performed with Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps, she will continue her involvement with Drum Corps International this summer, joining Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps. Miss Blezinger intends to pursue a graduate degree after completing her studies at Auburn.

Other percussionists performing will be Hunter Jackson and Sarah Collins. The program will include a marimba trio, marimba solos and a multi-percussion piece joined by flutist Taylor Keeton and pianist Nicole Agostino.

The Museum Café will be open as usual serving gourmet food for less than $10, and the fine art exhibitions at the museum are free. Contact Colleen Bourdeau at cst0001@auburn.edu or Patrick McCurry at patrick@luncharm.net for more info. Address is 901 S. College St., Auburn. [top]


Thursday, April 28, 12-1 PM: A Little Lunch Music at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents an informal, free concert by the student saxophone quartet and the student bassoon ensemble from Auburn University's music department. The performers study under Dr. Russell Haight (saxophone) and Shane Dickerson (bassoon).

The saxophone quartet will choose from a repertoire that includes pieces by Singelée, Barker, Frackenpohl, and Albéniz. Quartet members are Sarah O'Keefe on soprano saxophone, Orie Cecil on alto saxophone, Paige Lenssen on tenor saxophone and Lee Richert on baritone saxophone.

The bassoon ensemble will select from pieces by Liszt, Bach, Handel, Telemann, and Vivaldi and an arrangement of an American folksong. Members of the bassoon ensemble are Ben Wehtje, Patrick Donnan, Matthew Keyton, Daniel Myers, Lauren Frazer and Kyle Cunningham.

The Museum Café will be open as usual serving gourmet food for less than $10, and the fine art exhibitions at the museum are free. Contact Colleen Bourdeau at cst0001@auburn.edu or Patrick McCurry at patrick@luncharm.net for more info. Address is 901 S. College St., Auburn. [top]


Thursday, May 5, 12-1 PM: A Little Lunch Music at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents an informal, free concert by The Woodfield Trio (www.woodfieldtrio.com). Made up of Patrick McCurry on woodwinds, Charles Wright on cello and Barbara Acker-Mills on piano, The Woodfield Trio will perform works by composers such as Bruch, Bolling, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Clementi, Haydn, Beethoven and others. The Museum Café will be open as usual serving gourmet food for less than $10, and the fine art exhibitions at the museum are free. Contact Colleen Bourdeau at cst0001@auburn.edu or Patrick McCurry at patrick@luncharm.net for more info. Address is 901 S. College St., Auburn. [top]


Thursday, May 12, 12-1 PM: A Little Lunch Music at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents an informal, free concert of recorder and flute music featuring Dr. Mary Olson, Dr. Doug Leonard and Patrick McCurry.

Dr. Olson is an Associate Professor of English at Tuskegee University. She holds a Ph.D. in medieval languages and literature from Purdue University. She studied recorder with the late George Olson of the American Conservatory of Music and is a former member of the Oak Park-River Forest Recorder Society. She lives in the country with her husband and two dogs.

Dr. Leonard is professor of mathematics at Auburn University and is involved in early music and recorder societies in Birmingham and Atlanta.

Patrick McCurry holds a Masters degree in Chamber Music Performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. There, his instructor and mentor was James Houlik, international concert saxophone maestro. He studied jazz improvisation, composition and arranging while earning his undergraduate degree from Loyola University in New Orleans. Besides performing jazz and chamber music, McCurry composes in jazz and classical idioms, he writes songs and teaches. He performs in sacred and secular venues, specializing in saxophone, flute and clarinet.

The Museum Café will be open as usual serving gourmet food for less than $10, and the fine art exhibitions at the museum are free. Contact Colleen Bourdeau at cst0001@auburn.edu or Patrick McCurry at patrick@luncharm.net for more info. Address is 901 S. College St., Auburn. [top]


Thursday, May 19, 12-1 PM: A Little Lunch Music at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents an informal, free concert by Mary Slaton, pianist. Ms. Slaton is known throughout the southeast as one of the region's premier soloists in the piano-lounge style. Her extensive knowledge of popular music from every era has impressed and entertained for years. Mary has performed in the Memphis area at the Hilton and the Hyatt Regency. In Atlanta, she has performed at the Omni Hotel, the Hilton, the Atlanta Country Club, the Marietta Country Club, the Atlanta Athletic Club and the 1848 Restaurant where she had a standing gig with her trio every New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day for ten years. She has played the Terra Cotta in Auburn, Alabama; the Saugahatchee Country Club; and Opelika's Marriott Hotel and Conference Center at Grand National. Mary holds a master's degree in piano performance from Memphis State University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Montevallo. She is currently based in Opelika, Alabama, where she teaches privately and at Southern Union Community College.

The Museum Café will be open as usual serving gourmet food for less than $10, and the fine art exhibitions at the museum are free. Contact Colleen Bourdeau at cst0001@auburn.edu or Patrick McCurry at patrick@luncharm.net for more info. Address is 901 S. College St., Auburn. [top]

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

James Houlik, Concert Saxophone Pioneer, Performs September 22, 23

So just to remind you all, James Houlik, or "The world's great saxophone virtuoso," according to The London Daily Mail, will be performing tomorrow (9/22) at 12:00 PM for a free concert at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art in Auburn.

If you want to experience, according to The Washington Post, "A performance that might exhaust one's supply of superlatives," then you should come.

But don't take my word for it. The New York Times has said, "With his genial commentary and virtuoso performing talents, Mr. Houlik could probably convince any doubter that the saxophone deserves a prominent place in any concertgoer's heart."

This "genuinely brilliant player" (New York Magazine) will be appearing four times publicly in the next two days. Here is his schedule:
  • Thursday (9/22) at the museum, 12-1 PM. This concert is free.
  • Thursday for a masterclass at Auburn University, 6 PM, Rm. 102, Goodwin Hall
  • Friday (9/23) for a masterclass at Legacy Hall in RiverCenter, Columbus, Georgia, 2:30 - 4 PM Eastern Time. Contact Amy Griffiths at griffiths_amy@columbusstate.edu if you will attend.
  • Friday at Legacy Hall again to perform at 7:30 PM Eastern Time. This concert is free.
See you there.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jonathan Freilich's Engaging Interviews of New Orleans Musicians

Jonathan Freilich. Photo by Zach Smith.
Earlier this summer I started listening to some interviews of New Orleans musicians by guitarist, composer and multi-band leader Jonathan Freilich. I got into them because he interviewed a friend of mine, Jeff Albert. Jeff is (not only*, but for sake of staying on topic) a trombonist and founder-organizer of a weekly concert series that showcases "interesting music, often of the improvised variety" (openearsmusic.org).

I listened to Jeff's interview, which was cool, though he didn't mention me even once, and then went about my life for a few weeks. For some reason, I wanted to know something or other, and went back to the site: www.jonathanfreilich.com/music-interviews.

When I was in Nola in April 2010 recording a shotgun demo (like a shotgun wedding, not like shotgun music, which isn't a thing as far as I know), I visited Open Ears for the first time. I heard a group led by reed player Rex Gregory performing what were essentially his chamber music compositions, but with mics and improvisation and jazz harmonies and an accordion, among other things. While there, I briefly met saxophonist Aurora Nealand, who could speak Jeff's electro-acoustic (*see what I mean?) language and catch most of the names he drops. She and I talked about Stevie Wonder. I also met Helen Gillet, an improvising cellist who played with Gregory's group that night.

So I'm back on Freilich's site, and notice that he's interviewed Gregory and Nealand and Gillet, and that his interviews are up on iTunes. I subscribe and begin a brief carnival ride into obsession.

It was one of the very few times in my life that I was able to almost completely escape into something abstract. I've identified a few things, personally significant things, that would make these interviews so important to me in particular, so they may not have the same impact on anyone else. But I think that the honesty and the intrigue of the people involved and the intimacy of the interviews themselves in that distinct American subculture's subculture that is the New Orleans music scene added to the depth to which he reaches for something that Freilich himself seems to need to know are going to be compelling to any listener.

These aren't your father's Jason Crane interviews. They are unedited, and so they are too long, too short, too jokey, too vulgar, too rambling, whatever. And noisy. They are peppered with ambient sounds from the locations where he's plopped down his hand-held digital recorder to do them. These are beautiful noises of people yelling to each other in the New Orleans streets, of the impolite New Orleans breeze blowing into the recorder's microphone, of a fastener on some New Orleans blue jeans knocking again and again against the inside of the subject's clothes dryer in the next room. It's like New Orleans herself is not going to let Freilich interview her musicians without manifesting like a ghost, trying like hell to tell her real story to anybody who will listen so she can finally rest.

And maybe, with Freilich's help, she is getting through. The New Orleans music scene is different to me, now. For one thing it wasn't like I thought it was when I was there. But more than that, I see it like the land around an unleveed river that over time gets flooded and stripped, revived and nourished, engorged and washed away. It changes. And I guess even more basic than that, for me, I am just now seeing it as a thing that can, in fact, change--an alive thing that has to.

Technical note: Some of the interviews' audio quality makes them difficult to hear. It's mainly a compression issue. I have worked on a few and can send you files if you want. Let me know.

Friday, September 16, 2011

I'm at Piccolo Tonight (9/16/11), New Jam Session Sunday, James Houlik Coming to Museum, More

I'm past due on an event post, though there's a pretty good list of September's events at the end of this previous post in case I leave anything out here, which I will. I'll leave out a lot of it. Like I left out Return to Forever playing in Atlanta last weekend at the Fox.

I'm at Piccolo, and There's a New Jam Session in Town

I would love for you all to come out to Piccolo tonight (9/16) and hear me play jazz with Patrick Bruce and Sidney Simmons. We'll go for three sets, 8-11. There's no cover or drink minimum, and the food is good. Try the pizza. Under 21? No problem. On Saturday (9/17) at Piccolo, Columbus saxophonist Stan Murray will play, same times.

Then on Sunday (9/18) from 7-11 (What? No. Not 4 hours. I meant to say 7-9, but we've moved it to 8-10 PM.), Auburn-Opelika's first frequently regular, open jazz jam in I don't know how long will start up at Auburn's Balcony Bar, upstairs at 114 West Magnolia Ave. Piccolo's jam session led by Jane Drake on the Thursday night before the Auburn Knights reunion has been very well attended the last couple of years. But a session a year is not enough to give budding and established talent the chance to learn from each other. This one will be every first and third Sunday night.

The owner, Louis Williams and I went to Auburn High together. He loves jazz and used to play it (and will again), owned a bar in New Orleans, barely got out when the levees broke, and eventually made his way back here. We have been talking about doing something since he opened last year, and now it's on. Lest anyone think the jam-session idea was mine, it was Louis's. Bravo to him. This is as much a community service as it is a hopefully profitable draw for his business. Core personnel this week will be me, drummer David Zuwiyya, bassist Sidney Simmons and pianist Jonathan Lynn. Come out. Bring your ax.

James Houlik
James Houlik on September 22

With all of my stuff going on, I'll say that if you can only go to one thing in the next 7 days or so, you need to hear a free concert next Thursday (9/22) at the museum from 12-1. Internationally acclaimed concert tenor saxophone virtuoso James Houlik will perform for the weekly lunchtime series. He'll be playing some beautiful music with Armenian mutant empath pianist, Vahan Sargsayn (pronounced VAH-hahn Sark-SAH-in, I think). I just say that about Sargsayn because he's so deeply responsive and plays effortlessly. As far as I know, he's not a mutant.

Houlik was my saxophone professor in grad school at The University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He was one who really opened the door for me to the world of chamber music, and more than that, melody itself. His approach to a musical phrase opened my eyes to the stuff that lives and breathes inside of it. It changed the way I played all kinds of music.

For those of you who are not familiar with the saxophone as a classical, concert instrument, this will be a tremendous introduction. Houlik has had over 80 pieces written for him by composers of great stature like Morton Gould, Robert Ward, Russell Peck and Eric Ewazen. He studied with Sigurd Rascher himself (wiki), and performs worldwide with some of the best orchestras and in some of the biggest halls. There's more bio material on the schedule page for both great artists, and Houlik's website is jameshoulik.net.

You'll hear more from me about Houlik. If I were you, and wanted to eat that day at the Museum Café, I'd call and make a lunch reservation. The number at the museum is 334-844-1484. Here's a link to the menu.

He will do a masterclass in room 102 at Goodwin Hall at 6:00 PM on 9/22 which is open to the public. He will play in Columbus, Georgia, the next night (9/23) in Legacy Hall at RiverCenter. Here's the event page for that concert. He will also do a masterclass in the same place earlier that day, 2:30 to 4:00. Contact CSU sax instructor Amy Griffiths at griffiths_amy@columbusstate.edu if you want to attend the masterclass.

There's more that I hope to highlight, like an AU Music Faculty Showcase, also on 9/22. That should be very, very good. I'll try to get some details. Event page here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Montgomery Symphony Clarinetist to Perform for Museum's Lunch Music Series

I don't see that anyone has picked this up, so I'll post another news-release style post for today's free concert at the museum.

AUBURN, Ala. – On Thursday, September 15, the weekly classical music series at The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art will feature Montgomery Symphony clarinetist Gary Smith. Accompanying Smith will be Opelika’s Nicole Agostino on piano. During the free, informal recital from 12-1 p.m., listeners can join a seated audience, have lunch at the Museum Café and visit the museum’s fine art exhibitions.

Sponsoring the Smith-Agostino performance on September 15 is the law firm of Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Mattson, and Thompson, LLC.

Smith and Agostino will present a program spanning the history of clarinet music. There will be an excerpt from a concerto by Carl Stamitz, an early composer of clarinet music. They will perform pieces by Robert Schumann and Carl Maria von Weber from western music’s Romantic period. The program will also feature music by Twentieth-century composers Wilson Osborne and Reinhold Glière among others.

Smith said that his program would be a good introduction to the instrument’s basic repertoire. “I would sort of call it the Whitman-Sampler approach to accessible clarinet literature,” said Smith.

Smith has played clarinet and bass clarinet for the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra (MSO) since 2004. Though he played in high school, his education and career path took him away from music until age 25, when he began playing more seriously. Since then, he has studied with Tim Phillips from Troy Univeristy and Bill Bigham, former member of both the MSO and the music faculty at Morehead State University.

Opelika-based Nicole Agostino is a doctoral candidate in piano performance at Florida State University. She is married to Mark Degoti, AU trumpet instructor who performed “Taps” at last Sunday’s Auburn football pregame show. Agostino studied at Indiana University and is an active teacher, soloist and chamber musician with national exposure.

Called “A Little Lunch Music,” the series started its fall season on September 1 with a solo recital by Dr. Josh Pifer, new piano lecturer with Auburn’s music department. Last week, Auburn-based group The Woodfield Trio performed.

Series coordinator Patrick McCurry says that the combination of fine art, gourmet food and classical music creates a unique atmosphere. “Last week, one of our regular visitors told me it was like stepping into another world of high art and culture,” said McCurry. The music and the fine art are free to experience and lunch is reasonably priced.

Since beginning in 2007, the series has grown in popularity. Performers vary. Soloists and small groups like The Woodfield Trio are featured. But even large ensembles like the AU chamber winds, roughly a 30-piece band, have played. Students perform, as do local, regional and even international musicians.

On September 22, the series will welcome James Houlik. “He is truly a world-class performer,” said McCurry, speaking of the concert tenor saxophonist, who has had over 80 works written for him and has been hailed throughout the world as a pioneer on his instrument. “His touring schedule happened to match up with ours, and a generous sponsor stepped up to make this the Key Performance for the fall series.”

Donors give any amount to support the series, but can also sponsor a single performance. McCurry says that people can give $100 for the Student Recital level and up to $1,000 to sponsor a season’s Key Performance. Other sponsorship levels are Local Color, $250; Woodfield Trio, $500; and Chamber Group, $750. Those interested should call Brett Evans, the museum’s Director of Development, at 334-844-7945.

The Café is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Its menu changes weekly and consists of light, freshly prepared salads, Italian Panini sandwiches and seasonal soups and entrees. Menu prices at the Museum Café range from $5 to $9.

Currently, fine art exhibits at the museum include Chinese ceramics from the Silk Road, the ancient trading route that linked east Asia with southwest Asia and Europe. Also featured is Alabama pottery from the mid-19th and early 20th centuries. Other exhibits include Haitian art from the late 20th century, prints from John James Audubon, and Beleek porcelain pieces from Northern Ireland.

For more information about “A Little Lunch Music,” contact Patrick McCurry at patrick@luncharm.net or go online to bit.ly/lunchmusic for a detailed schedule. For more about the Café or the museum’s fine art exhibitions, contact Colleen Bourdeau at cbourdeau@auburn.edu, visit the museum online at jcsm.auburn.edu, or call 844-1484.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lunch Music, Woodfield Trio Press with Video

Below is a link to some good press about A Little Lunch Music at the museum. It's from an AU student project blog, The Lovliest Village. There's video of The Woodfield Trio playing a short bit of Part. 2, "Sentimentale," from Claude Bolling's Suite for Flute and Piano. Our cellist Charles Wright is playing the bass part, Barbara Acker-Mills is on piano, and that's me on flute. I did not know she was recording it, which is probably why I seem so relaxed.

==> Brittany Gibson's "Music with Your Munchies" at The Loveliest Village <==

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Woodfield Trio to Perform for Museum Lunchtime Series

Instead of a normal blogger-style post, I'm just going to post my news release for the free concert tomorrow (9/8) at the museum. The full schedule is here. Do come out and join us, won't you?


AUBURN, Ala. – On Thursday, September 8, the weekly classical music series at The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art will feature Auburn-based chamber group, the Woodfield Trio, from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. The concert is free and informal. Listeners can sit with an audience, dine at the Museum Café or visit the museum’s fine art exhibits while the music plays.

The Woodfield Trio was formed in 2010 as the series’ regular performing group. Made up of Patrick McCurry on saxophones and flute, cellist Charles Wright and pianist Barbara Acker-Mills, the trio plays music from Baroque to Modern periods.

“Our music is pretty accessible for most audiences,” says McCurry, who also coordinates the series. The trio’s repertoire includes pieces by Handel, Ozi, Bach, Corelli, Bolling, Bruch and others.

Called “A Little Lunch Music,” the series started its fall season on September 1 with a solo recital by Dr. Josh Pifer, new piano lecturer with Auburn’s music department. On September 14, Gary Smith, clarinetist with the Montgomery Symphony, will perform with local pianist Nicole Agostino.

Since beginning in 2007, the performances have grown in popularity. “There’s really nothing like this in Auburn,” says McCurry. “It‘s a great way to combine three great passions—fine art, gourmet food and classical music.”

Performers vary. Soloists and small groups like the Woodfield Trio are featured. But even large ensembles like the AU chamber winds, roughly a 30-piece band, have played. Students perform, as do local, regional and even international musicians.

On September 22, the series will welcome James Houlik. “He is truly a world-class performer,” said McCurry, speaking of the concert tenor saxophonist, who has had over 80 works written for him and has been hailed throughout the world as a pioneer on his instrument. “His touring schedule happened to match up with ours, and a generous sponsor stepped up to make this the Key Performance for the fall series.”

Donors give any amount to support the series, but can also become a named sponsor for a single performance. McCurry says that people can give $100 for the Student Recital level and up to $1,000 to sponsor a Key Performance. Other sponsorship levels are Local Color, $250; Woodfield Trio, $500; and Chamber Group, $750. Those interested should contact Brett Evans, the museum’s Director of Development, at bevans@auburn.edu or call 334-844-7945.

The September 8 performance is sponsored by Ursula’s Catering and the Museum Café.

The Café is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The menu, which changes weekly, consists of light, freshly prepared salads, Italian Panini sandwiches and seasonal soups and entrees. Menu prices at the Museum Café range from $5 to $9.

Currently, fine art exhibits at the museum include Chinese ceramics from the Silk Road, the ancient trading route that linked east Asia with southwest Asia and Europe. Also featured is Alabama pottery from the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, Haitian art from the late 20th century, prints from John James Audubon, and Beleek porcelain pieces from Northern Ireland.

For more information about “A Little Lunch Music,” contact Patrick McCurry at patrick@lunchcharm.net or visit jcsm.auburn.edu.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Jane Drake Reviews August 14 Tyrone Jackson Concert in Columbus

Jane Drake, who sings with her trio on Thursday nights at Piccolo in Auburn, went to Tyrone Jackson's performance at the Liberty Theatre in Columbus, Georgia, on August 14, 2011. She posted a review on her Facebook page, and with her permission, I'll post most of it here, with just the tiniest bit of editing.
I got out of my comfort zone recently and traveled to Columbus, Georgia, to hear a friend and musical colleague, Tyrone Jackson, play at the Liberty Theatre. Tyrone was the guest artist of the Columbus Jazz Society. I know him as a fantastic pianist/keyboardist. He did not disappoint. In fact, he was better than ever. What a delicious night of listening I experienced!

Tyrone classifies his style as a blend of straight ahead, contemporary, funk and fusion jazz. His musical influences include Herbie Hancock; Oscar Peterson; Joe Sample; George Duke; McCoy Tyner; and Earth, Wind & Fire.

A talented composer as well, Tyrone showcased his writing chops throughout the evening. In fact, he started off with one of his own called Another Voyage, which is also the title track of his latest CD.

“It was written with Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage and Kenny Barron's Voyage in mind,” he said.

The group then played that blues favorite, Thelonious Monk‘s Straight, No Chaser. A Bob Reynolds tune entitled What She Didn't Say followed. Then Tyrone and the group dazzled with a cooking version of Chick Corea’s Spain.

Throughout this energizing concert, the musicians on stage were in complete control of rhythmic complexities, scintillating improvisations, and perfectly placed dynamics. Tyrone occasionally sprinkled his creative solos with [lightning-speed licks]. He showed his softer side with one of his own compositions inspired by experiencing insomnia while watching his wife peacefully sleeping, called Where's My Lovely Day? 

At one point, he surprised with an electronic device called, "jazz scat." Tyrone explained that the keys act like a trigger to certain sounds which are actual sampled voices. It’s hard to describe, but it is slightly mind-blowing if you’ve never heard it before. I had not.

Tyrone was joined by a marvelous [band featuring] Michael Hoskins, sax; Alexander Pershounin, bass; and Justin Chesarek, drums. Each was completely at ease with all the rhythmic challenges, and each put on a veritable exhibition with their numerous solos, displaying a fine mastery of their instruments.

Words are inadequate to describe the inspiration one gets from hearing such a superior performance live. I simply wish all of you could have been there. I got the feeling of being in a first-rate jazz club in New York City, the Mecca of jazz. The sophisticated CJS audience, which is used to hearing fine jazz in person, showed their love with ringing applause throughout the night.

Afterwards, Tyrone and his group joined in a jam session, which always follows the CJS concert. I don’t know which segment excited me most, but why should I have to choose when the jazz is this excellent?

The Columbus Jazz Society holds a concert and jam session the 2nd Sunday of every month from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the Liberty Theatre and Cultural Center, 813 8th Ave Columbus, GA 31901, 706-649-7291. I recommend it highly.
Read more about Tyrone Jackson on his website, www.tyronejackson.com.
Jane's website is www.janedrakemusic.com.
The Columbus Jazz Society is online at www.columbusjazzsociety.com.