Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fine Art, Fine Food and Jerry Springer

Sorry for the title. More on that later.

We have not done anything like this for A Little Lunch Music since it began. Most performances have presented on the lite side of classical music, or if not lite, then pretty traditional. Also, not much of it has been new music, that is, newly composed "classical" music.

Everything that will be performed tomorrow will be by composers who are still the time of this far as I know.

Josh Pifer played some new music when he performed in September. Some of Houlik's recital was new (duh). Tzu-yi did a fiery Prokofiev piece, but he died in 1953. And come to think of it, at two different times, I played my part in a great little canon composed in 2010 by Friedrich Kühn for three recorders.

That's about it, I think, unless I've forgotten something. And even if it was new, it was still pretty conventional. The closest we've come to tomorrow's performance was Doug Rosener's percussion students last spring. Remember that one "out" piece with mixed percussion and flute? Sure you do.

The instrumentation of the Fountain City Ensemble (website) is flute, clarinet, saxophone (I know, there it is again) and percussion. Just reading it makes me see a fantastic mix of colors in my mind. They pride themselves on offering choices to composers. Each wind player brings in tow a family of instruments with voices from bass to piccolo, and percussionists come with lots of toys.

They've commissioned works, one they'll do tomorrow by Georgia composer J. M. David, Found Objects, that they world premiered in Japan in 2005. They are preparing to premier a chamber opera (so cool) by Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon in 2013, maybe in Mexico City. Zohn-Muldoon was a Pulitzer nominee. Did I mention these guys are based in Columbus? Georgia?

The performance will be in the museum's auditorium, reason being that some of the music they will play requires a bit of sound reinforcement and also video. This will not change the informal nature of the performance. Visitors will be able to come and go as needed, and we may even keep the doors open so people will wonder what the heck is going on down the hall.

Another piece, Heartbreakers, by Jacob Ter Veldhuis who goes by JacobTV, will feature video audio clips from the Jerry Springer Show (see, the sensationalist title is technically accurate) with some stylized video. They are edited to present a rhythmic structure onto which the composer has laid music for the live performers. Do check out JacobTV's website. It's social commentary. Some of it is pretty funny.

You can hear a good bit of their music on the Ensemble's website, linked above. If you can't come, do listen. It's a fantastic chamber group and it is making a name for itself right here in our extended community.

Many thanks to great friends of the series Nick and Carolyn Davis for sponsoring the performance. Incidentally, check out their son Nathan's website. He's a percussionist himself and a composer of some note, living in New York. I'm hoping we can make a love connection here.

The Café will be open from 11-2 serving Ursula's delicious fare, and it's so reasonably priced. See you there!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Former Auburn Resident Returns for Chamber Music Society Series, New Music at the Museum, Me at Balcony Bar, More

I'll quickly list a few things you should know about. Tomorrow night (10/26) at Goodwin Hall, the Auburn Chamber Music Society (ACMS) will present violinist Kristin Lee with clarinetist Romie de Guise-Langlois and pianist Conor Hanick. This is the first of its three concerts this season. Here's an O-A News article about the performance. Lee is actually a former Auburn resident. Embedded here at right is her playing solo thanks to YouTube user WQXRclassical.

You can see the full concert series for ACMS here.

On Thursday (10/27), as part of the museum series I coordinate, the Fountain City Ensemble (website) will perform a free concert from 12-1, thanks to sponsors Nick and Carolyn Davis. There's not time right now for too many details here, but you can read more about them on my schedule page for the series. Here's a video from 2009 of the group performing a piece by Louis Andriessen called Workers Union. They'll do this piece on Thursday and at least one other that will use video. Jerry Springer. That's all I'm sayin'.

Below is embedded an interview I did about A Little Lunch Music that aired on Troy Public Radio yesterday (10/24). It's an episode of that station's Community Focus with Kyle Gassoit (pronounced GAS-it, if you were wondering) hosting. There's more in it about the Fountain City Ensemble and some of the other performances. Thanks to East Alabama Arts for making it available on it's SoundCloud feed.

Thursday night's (10/27) Sounds of Auburn concert at the Auburn Arena looks to be a big show and I'll bet pretty good. Here's the event page. Most of the large ensembles at AU will perform including the Jazz Ensemble under its new director and AU's new saxophone/jazz instructor, Mike Pendowski. Also, the AU Chamber Choir is on the bill, and they sounded fabulous at the museum a few weeks back.

After it's over, go hear the Jane Drake Trio at Piccolo until 11:00 PM. Jane is actually on vacation this week, but you can still hear Thursday-night jazz at Piccolo from 8-111 PM with saxophonist Jimmy Johnson, pianist Jonathan Lynn and bassist Sam Altonji. You won't hear jazz Friday and Saturday night at Piccolo because of Homecoming. But come out to Auburn's Balcony Bar Friday (10/28) early evening (5-7 PM) for some sunset jazz. You'll hear me, actually, with bassist Patrick Bruce, Jonathan again on piano and drummer David Zuwiyya. If the weather is iffy, we'll be inside imagining the beautiful sunset that we have seen up there for the last three weeks.

Oh, and I've heard that the Carmike Wynnsong 16 has started back with its ballet and opera simulcasts. We may have just missed one for tonight. I'll try to get more on that soon.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Jazz Tonight in Auburn, Four-Hand Piano Recital at the Museum, More

Tonight (10/16), we'll be back at Auburn's Balcony Bar (114 W. Magnolia Ave., Auburn) for the third installment of the 1st-and-3rd-Sunday Jazz Jam or whatever name it will eventually find. There's a Flickr slide show embedded at right of the first session we did on September 18.

Official times are 8-10 PM, but it's open ended if the music compels. Core personnel this time around is me, Sidney Simmons on bass, John Norton on piano and Tim Chambliss on drums. I'm looking at this as an opportunity for people to come out and play things they're working on, try new tunes, play their own tunes, step out of their comfort zone a bit or a lot. All players are invited to sit in, whatever your skill.

Balcony Bar is also doing a weekly jazz event on Fridays now, 5-7 PM. More of a listening event than a jam session (at least for now). I played this past Friday. It is around sunset, and it is really a nice setting. One of the best things was that I got to meet Taylor Pierce and hear him play. He's a young guitarist from Auburn who spent some time at North Texas and is back now, for a while at least. He has a great feel and sticks hard to the changes (that is, his improvised solos adeptly reflect the tune's harmonies), in a good way. We got some very nice feedback from the patrons including some Florida fans. The sunset really was awfully pretty. I'll be back there next Friday (10/21), 5-7 PM. Personnel TBA.

Thursday (10/20) will bring a four-hand piano recital to the museum. This is a free concert that's part of the weekly series I coordinate. Times are 12-1 PM, and performing will be Dr. Bill Summerville and Helene Burkart. I actually have never heard a whole recital of four-hand piano music, so I'm looking forward to it. If you want to get email notification on the day to remind you about these concerts, drop me a line at The series has really picked up this season, in large part due to the involvement of performance sponsors. This one coming up is as yet unsponsored. I know you want to do it. Email me right now for details. Click the Lunch Music Schedule tab above for more.

When I learn some details, I'll try to post more about the upcoming Auburn Indian Music Ensemble concert on Friday (10/21) and Friday-Saturday jazz at Piccolo. The Jane Drake Trio will be back at Piccolo for their regular weekly jazz performance there, 8-11 PM. Personnel is Sidney Simmons on bass and Jonathan Lynn on piano.

In Columbus this week, Columbus State Associate Professor of Trumpet Dr. Robert Murray will be giving a recital with other CSU faculty and regional musicians. Here's the event page and here's Murray's bio, which sounds impressive. Please check out the other upcoming events on the CSU calendar. It's not a far drive to some great music.

See you there.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pianist Tzu-yi Chen Returns to Museum Today (10/6) for Lunch Music

Tzu-yi Chen at the museum on September 29, 2011.
Today at the museum, pianist Tzu-yi Chen from Taiwan via Paris; Germany; and Columbus, Georgia, will return for the second week in a row to perform a new program of Beethoven, Liszt and Prokofiev.

You may have read on an Auburn news release that it was going to be Alina Sarkisyan, also a Columbus State student. She will get here, and I can't wait, but unavoidable things occur, as they say, and we had to make this change.

Tzu-yi performed during the mixed recital last week that also featured a too-short performance by the AU Chamber Choir and AU student pianist Julia Tucker who will return next week with others for a big Liszt Feszt (made that up) preview concert. The real Liszt Feszt will be at Goodwin Hall on October 25 (event page).

Tzu-yi was something really special. I don't recall ever hearing Beethoven (32 Variations in C minor) played so deeply. I really heard Ludwig on a level I rarely hear any composer. She spoke to me afterward of the depth of Beethoven's struggle in life, and how his music reflects that. She'll do another of his works, Sonata No. 15 in D major, today, along with Liszt's Après une Lecture de Dante (pretty sure that's what Dr. Samolesky played last February) and Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6. Not light fare. The café, on the other hand...

Here's a detailed schedule for the series that I keep updated as things change. Be a sponsor! It's awesome.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Arrangement by Auburn Professor, Composition by Huntingdon Professor Featured in Montgomery Choral Concert

Flowers Hall Chapel from Balcony
Ligon Chapel inside Flowers Hall. Photo courtesy of sunsurfr on Flickr.
Below is edited copy from an email I got from the Montgomery Symphony. Note an arranger mentioned is Dr. Rosephanye Powell who teaches at Auburn, and a piece is composed by Dr. Jennifer K. Canfield who teaches at Huntingdon. Flowers Hall is the big building right there in the middle at the main entrance to Huntingdon.

The Huntingdon College Concert Choir and vocal ensembles will present their first full concert of the season Sunday, October 9, at 2:00 p.m. in Ligon Chapel, Flowers Hall on campus at Huntingdon College in Montgomery. The address is 3022 Huntingdon College Drive.

Music will include arrangements by the composers Rosephanye Powell, Paul Manz, John Helgen, Eric Whitacre, Sigmund Spaeth, Val Hicks, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney, as well as a composition by Huntingdon Department of Music associate professor Dr. Jennifer K. Canfield.

The concert is free and open to the public and caps a weekend of activities planned for Homecoming and Family Weekend. The concert will feature performances by the College's B Natural Quartet and new show choir, Huntingdon Harmony.

Huntingdon Harmony was formed in response to popular demand, according to Canfield, who directs the ensemble. The group will perform vocal jazz and show choir music and will incorporate dance movements in performances.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

New AU Jazz Instructor at Piccolo Tonight (10/1), Jazz Jam Tomorrow, Museum, More

Here are some upcoming events I know about without having to do any web searching or make any phone calls or emails. No embedded audio or video and very little editing even. It's hard for a narcissistic perfectionist like myself, to do it this way, but I'm a bit stretched at the moment.

Tonight (Saturday, 10/1) at Piccolo in Auburn, Mike Pendowski will be playing jazz from 8-11. He's the new Auburn jazz/sax instructor, and as far as I know, this is his first public performance locally. I tried to find some video online or something a while back, but was unsuccessful. If you know of anything, comment.

Tomorrow (Sunday, 10/2) starting at 8 PM will be the second jazz jam at Balcony Bar in Auburn. I'll be there with guitarist Patrick Bruce, drummer David Zuwiyya and bassist Jason Deblanc. It was great fun a couple weeks ago. All jazz musicians at any level are welcome to play. I'll have a keyboard there.

Monday, I'm at Hamilton's on Magnolia (Auburn) again with guitarist Patrick Bruce. Half-price martinis, no-cover jazz and good food. We play from 6:30 to 9 PM.

Next Thursday (10/6), CSU student and, more importantly, international performer and award-winning pianist Alina Sarkisyan will be playing a free recital at the museum, 12-1 PM. She's a student of Alexander Kobrin as is Tzu-yi Chen who performed last Thursday and really blew us all away. Check the lunch music schedule tab above for more on upcoming performances at the museum. Alina's info will be up there soon.

Then that Thursday night (10/6), Jane Drake will be back at Piccolo as she is every Thursday night from 8-11. As far as I know, this is the only place you'll hear about this gig unless you like her group on Facebook (search for Jane Drake Trio) or you ask around at the AU Hotel and Conference Center. They might know. I say this because I think it's a little weird. She's worth hearing and she's worth promoting.

There's a ton of really great stuff going on in October on the AU music event calendar. Not including a link here, but you should be able to find it without too much trouble. If not, check out some of my most recent event posts, and you'll see a link.

I'll try to be a little more thorough in future posts. I'll feel freer to do so once I get a newsletter out for the Auburn Knights alum.