Andrew Unger: Spring Music Performances to Help You Forget the Winter Snow!

Andrew Unger, senior Music major, gets you up-to-date with the Department of Music’s events for this Spring 2014 semester! If you haven’t already, make sure you purchase tickets for these great upcoming performances at TCNJ, tcnj.edu/boxoffice.

We’ve had a seemingly endless winter to kick off 2014. When I’m scraping the frozen, stubborn façades of snow from the roof of my car every morning, it seems like there’s not very much to look forward to.

But that’s not the case. Eventually the snow will melt, and we at the music department will most likely celebrate by frolicking in the lawn outside the music building, with metronomes in hand and theory homework crumpled in our back pockets. A well-deserved celebration after a long couple of months.

In reality, we have plenty look forward to in terms of performances and touring. As I mentioned in a previous post, the TCNJ Wind Ensemble will be performing our new program Pulse at the College Band Director’s National Association’s northeastern conference in Boston in March. The hard work in putting together the concert will be showcased with Dr. David Vickerman at the helm in a performance given at TCNJ on February 28th, about a week before the CBDNA trip.

Additionally, I will be lucky enough to join the TCNJ Choirs in two upcoming performances: the third annual Hand-in-Hand concert at Lincoln Center, and the Purcellfest to be held at TCNJ. While I’ve been involved with the TCNJ choirs somewhat regularly throughout my career, I haven’t done so as a chorister since the spring of 2011. Needless to say, this is an exciting and welcome challenge.

At the Hand-in-Hand concert, we will be collaborating with Japanese high school students under the direction of the distinguished Maestro Atsushi Yamada in a performance of Carl Orff’s famous cantata, Carmina Burana. We are delighted about the fact that proceeds go to Eastern Japan’s long-term tsunami recovery efforts. Accompanying the choirs will be the Friends of Japan Orchestra, comprised of members of the New York City Opera Orchestra.

I’m particularly excited for the TCNJ Jazz Band’s Spring concert, featuring an all-Charles Mingus program. Under the direction of Dr. Gary Fienberg, the show will highlight the band’s guest soloist, Lewis Porter.

In the meantime, I will continue to begrudgingly brave the snow in the hopes that the sun will, indeed, come out tomorrow.

For information on these and more upcoming performances given by the TCNJ music department, you can visit: <http://music.pages.tcnj.edu/events/>.

Blogger Bonus!
What was the most exciting thing you did over winter break?

Andrew Unger: Hmm… I did my best to see as many concerts as possible during this winter break. I would say that the most interesting one was Verdi’s Falstaff given at the Met (I was also lucky enough to see Renée Fleming perform in Dvořák’s Rusalka just two days before she was to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl, but that was after winter break was already over).

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Blogging the Brown Bag Series: Round Two by Katharine Callahan

Katharine Callahan, freshman Communication Studies major, reports on the variety of this semester’s Brown Bag Series. Find out more about these special guest presentations, and be sure to catch the last two of the semester in the Mayo Concert Hall, Friday, Nov. 15 and 22, 11:30am to 12:20pm! Bring your lunch and relax!

Dr. Lucas Blair, Little Bird Games

Dr. Lucas Blair, Little Bird Games

Unfortunately I was not able to attend the brown bag on October eleventh, Little Bird Games, which was presented by Dr. Lucas Blair, as I had a schedule conflict with an event I had to attend. However, if you would like to learn more about Dr. Blair’s company, Little Bird Games, which specializes in making educational and therapeutic video, board, and card games, I have attached a link to the company’s website here.

Jeffry Cudlin, Imposters, Interlocutors, and Dilettantes

Jeffry Cudlin, “Imposters, Interlocutors, and Dilettantes”

Finishing up the Brown Bags for the month of October was Jeffry Cudlin with his presentation entitled, Imposters, Interlocutors, and Dilettantes.  Mr. Cudlin is an art curator, art critic, and artist himself. He has written art critiques for the Washington Post, Washington City Paper, and Sculpture Magazine, and worked previously as a curator for the Arlington Arts Center in Virginia. Mr. Cudlin is the first artist we have had present at TCNJ’s Brown Bag Series, and you can view his artwork and read about his process on his website. Mr. Cudlin’s work as an artist relies heavily on collaboration from other trusted artists, and generally takes the form of a parody that takes an awkward turn; especially in his works such as “The Request.”

TCNJ Wind Ensemble performing Dr. Stephen Gorbos's "Bounce"

TCNJ Wind Ensemble performing Dr. Stephen Gorbos’s “Bounce”

Another significant work discussed during TCNJ’s Brown Bag Series was Dr. Stephen Gorbos’s “Bounce,” a traditional string-instrumental piece selected by two separate New York City orchestras to be preformed. In his presentation entitled Inside a Composer’s Studio: The Process of Revising a Piece, Dr. Gorbos explains that a traditional string ensemble has a homogeneous sound, while wind ensembles have a heterogeneous sound; for that reason, Dr. Gorbos decided to adapt his work to be played by a wind ensemble. Dr. Gorbos stated that wind ensembles are “a newly emerging orchestral style,” and he transformed his work with the help of TCNJ’s very own Professor David Vickerman. Professor Vickerman led the TCNJ Wind Ensemble in performing excerpts of Gorbos’s wind ensemble-adapted piece “Bounce” while Gorbos outlined the reconstructive process of adapting a string ensemble to a wind ensemble. The entire piece was performed later that night by the TCNJ Wind Ensemble for an audience in the Kendall Main Stage Theatre.

Geandy Pavón, Flying Che, oil on canvas

Geandy Pavón, Flying Che, oil on canvas

The next Brown Bag presentation was given by Geandy Pavón, and was entitled, Vanitas: The Political Still Life.  Pavón was born on the eastern half of the island of Cuba, and began his work as an artist very early in life. After he and his art troupe were expelled from every art university on the island, they took their controversial work to the streets of Cuba. When Pavón came to the United States, it was because Amnesty International granted him a visa on account of his artwork. Pavón focused mainly on his hyper-realistic oil on canvas paintings in his collection called “Wrinkled,” in which Pavón uses the symbolism of his art as a political statement. His collection “Vanitas” is reminiscent of the vanitas style artwork of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that uses skulls to symbolize the shortness of life.

Next week’s Brown Bag on Friday, November 15, This Trenton Life: Screening and Discussion, will be given by Dr. Susan Ryan, TCNJ Associate Professor of Communication Studies who collaborated with TCNJ students on this short documentary. The final Brown Bag on Friday, November 22, Constructing the Past and Shaping the Present in Appalachia Through Dance, will be presented by professors of dance from Radford Univeristy. For more information, please visit www.tcnj.edu/bbs.

Big Moves for the TCNJ Wind Ensemble by Andrew Unger

Senior Music major and TCNJ Wind Ensemble member Andrew Unger is back with his first blog post of the Fall 2013 semester. Check out the major performances that TCNJ student musicians have coming up for this academic year!

Andrew Unger

Andrew Unger, Senior Music Major

Someone attending a performance for the first time may not realize it, but the TCNJ Wind Ensemble is a diverse bunch. It’s like a musical flowerbed. Some, like music education majors and other music majors are well-represented, while singular students from various non-music departments provide valuable accents to the whole.

This year, senior music majors make up the majority; as many as 20 of us could be graduating this May. I’m one of them, and I think I can speak for us all when I say that we have done great things together as a class. These things include performances all over the tri-state area, premieres of pieces by notable composers, recording sessions, collaborations with professional performing groups, and many other exciting engagements and opportunities. We’ve come a long way.

Late this summer, we received even more exciting news. The TCNJ Wind Ensemble was accepted to perform in the March 2014 College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) Eastern Division Conference in Boston! Along with musicians from other high-level music schools like the New England Conservatory, we will be performing for conductors, bandleaders, educators, and high-profile musicians and musical personalities from all over the country. This will give us a chance to distinguish ourselves and our amazing faculty in ways that we have not been able to in years.

The French horn studio also received a piece of sensational news this summer. We, along with our incomparable teacher, Kathy Mehrtens, were invited to play as a horn ensemble at the Northeast Horn Workshop in March 2014. We will be traveling to Rowan University to show the horn world what we can do, and for that we’re as proud as we are grateful.

By this time next year our red dot on the map of America’s music schools will shine even brighter as more and more people learn about the awesome things we’ve done, and the trail we plan to blaze in the future. I have been confident in my class and my school since I first set foot in the music building, and these events will provide further validation of the tremendous value this school has for New Jersey’s musical community.

For more information on the CBDNA Eastern Division Conference and the Eastern Horn Workshop, you can check out these sites, respectively:

http://www.cbdna.org/cgi-bin/div_conf.pl?ea

http://www.hornsociety.org/dp-calendar/43