American Composer Steven Bryant

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On June 4, 2017, the Northshore Concert Band concludes its 61st season with On the Town. This lively musical program features In This Broad Earth by acclaimed American composer Steven Bryant.

Mr. Bryant offers up this description of his work:

In This Broad Earth is a short fanfare written for and dedicated to Kevin Sedatole and the Michigan State University Wind Symphony. Inspired by beauty I witness when hiking in the Austrian Alps with my wife, Verena, the music celebrates the earth, our only home (for now).

The fanfare embodies the numerous threads that have connected my life with Michigan State University over the past decade. Verena was one of Dr. Sedatole’s first conducting students at MSU, which coincided with the beginning of our relationship. I spent a great deal of time at Verena’s apartment in Spartan Village where I wrote the opening section of my Concerto for Wind Ensemble on a makeshift desk (a card table given to her by Director of Bands Emeritus John Whitwell). Over the years since, the MSU bands have performed many of my works, always at the very highest level, and though I was never a student there, I have great affection and loyalty to this extraordinary school on the banks of the Red Cedar.

COME, said the Muse,
Sing me a song no poet yet has chanted,
Sing me the Universal.

In this broad Earth of ours,
Amid the measureless grossness and the slag,
Enclosed and safe within its central heart,
Nestles the seed Perfection.

from Walt Whitman’s Song of the Universal from Leaves of Grass

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Steven Bryant’s music is chiseled in its structure and intent, fusing lyricism, dissonance, silence, technology, and humor into lean, skillfully-crafted works that enthrall listeners and performers alike.  The son of a professional trumpeter and music educator, he strongly values music education, and his creative output includes a number of works for young and developing musicians.

We contacted Mr. Bryant in Austria and asked him to share with us his thoughts on In This Broad Earth, his musical influences and words of advice that he has for young musicians.

About In This Broad Earth:

“I don’t have much to add about the piece that’s not already on my website. I wanted to create a euphoric fanfare and took my time in Austria (coincidentally, where I am at this moment writing this to you!) as inspiration.”
What are your Musical Influences?
“Stravinsky, Nine Inch Nails, Webern, Mr. Bungle, and my teachers, Francis McBeth, Cindy McTee, and John Corigliano”
Do you have any words of advice for young musicians?
“The hours of persistence in learning your craft will bring ongoing rewards throughout the rest of your life. Regardless of whether or not you plan to become a professional musician, continute to make music throughout your life, such as in a community band or orchestra. You will be a happier human being if you do.”

Steven Bryant studied composition with John Corigliano at The Juilliard School, Cindy McTee at the University of North Texas, and Francis McBeth at Ouachita University.  As he states on his website, he also trained for one summer in the mid-1980s as a break-dancer (i.e. was forced into lessons by his mother), was the 1987 radio-controlled car racing Arkansas state champion, has a Bacon Number of 1, and has played saxophone with Branford Marsalis on Sleigh Ride. He resides in Durham, NC with his wife, Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant who is an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Music and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Music Department  at Duke University, Director of the Duke University Wind Symphony, and conductor of the Durham Medical Orchestra.

His seminal work Ecstatic Waters, for wind ensemble and electronics, has become one of the most performed works of its kind in the world, receiving over 250 performances in its first five seasons. Recently, the orchestral version was premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra to unanimous, rapturous acclaim.

John Corigliano states Bryant’s “compositional virtuosity is evident in every bar” of his 34’ Concerto for Wind Ensemble. Bryant’s first orchestral work, Loose Id for Orchestra, hailed by composer Samuel Adler as “orchestrated like a virtuoso,” was premiered by The Juilliard Symphony and is featured on a CD release by the Bowling Green Philharmonia on Albany Records. Alchemy in Silent Spaces, commissioned by James DePreist and The Juilliard School, was premiered by the Juilliard Orchestra in May 2006. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW series featured his brass quintet, Loose Id, conducted by Cliff Colnot, on its 2012-13 concert series.

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Notable upcoming projects include an orchestral work for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (April, 2018), an evening-length dramatic work for the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, a choral work for the BBC Singers (July, 2017), a work for FivE for Euphonium Quartet and wind ensemble (2019), and a large work to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the University of Illinois Bands. Recent works include a Concerto for Alto Saxophone for Joseph Lulloff and the Michigan State University Wind Symphony (winner of the 2014 American Bandmasters Sousa Ostwald Award), and a Concerto for Trombone for Joseph Alessi and the Dallas Wind Symphony. Other commissions have come from the Gaudete Brass Quintet (Chicago), cellist Caroline Stinson (Lark Quartet), pianist Pamela Mia Paul, the Amherst Saxophone Quartet (funded by the American Composers Jerome Composers Commissioning Program), the University of Texas – Austin Wind Ensemble, the US Air Force Band of Mid-America, the Japanese Wind Ensemble Conductors Conference, and the Calgary Stampede Band, as well as many others.

A special thank you to Mr. Bryant for generously speaking with us and for giving permission to reproduce this material.  Please visit his website at http://www.stevenbryant.com to learn more about this American composer.

On the Town

Sunday, June 4, 2017, 3:00 pm

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois

 

 

Peter Lograsso: Fiddler on the Loose!

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Our Spring concert, Giving Voice to the Silenced, honors Holocaust Remembrance Day and Earth Day through a musical program that offers a story of vitality, loss, contemplation, and possibility.

The centerpiece of the first half of this program is a specially constructed “Remembrance Suite” that includes Jack Stamp’s Scenes from Terezin, which is based upon the poems of Ava Scholsova and Fronta Bas, both of whom died in the Auschwitz concentration camp.  Our Suite also includes John William’s dramatic Theme from Schindler’s List, which features one of our own members, Peter Lograsso, on violin.

Peter, an orchestra director, has played the tuba with the Northshore Concert Band for 28 years.

We asked him share his thoughts on playing both the violin and the tuba.

The violin is actually my major instrument, not the tuba. I started playing the violin in first grade after hearing a performance by members of the Cleveland Orchestra at my elementary school. Shortly after that my parents enrolled me in a Suzuki violin program at our church. It wasn’t until the 5th grade that band lessons were offered at my school. I started learning the trumpet so I could be in the band with all my friends. During my years in school I played the french horn, trombone, and eventually the tuba. My band director needed someone to play the tuba and I figured, why not?

I’ve always enjoyed the dichotomy of playing the violin and the tuba. The two instruments play such different roles in an ensemble. As a music educator, I really feel that my experience with both instruments has helped me develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of the importance of every section of the band or orchestra. The violin is the soprano, the “diva” of the orchestra. In an orchestra the violin carries the melody the majority of the time, much like the flutes and clarinets in a band. The tuba is the bass, the “rock.” It provides the fundamental sound that everyone else must listen to and build upon.

I always ask my orchestra students, “What is the most important instrument in the orchestra?” Their answer is almost always the violin. I say to them “No, the violins just think they’re the most important!” It’s the bass that is the most vital instrument of all. Without a strong, stable foundation, you won’t have a strong ensemble.

We also asked Peter to share this thoughts on performing a solo with the Northshore Concert Band.

It’s a real thrill to play a solo with the Northshore Band. This is the second time that I’ve had the opportunity. In the Summer of 2001 the band toured the South of France and I played “Highlights from Fiddler on the Roof.”

I have such respect and admiration for all of my colleagues in the Northshore Band. I’ve been a member of the band for my entire adult life. John Paynter invited me to join the tuba section right after I graduated from Northwestern, and I’ve been here ever since.

Many of the closest friends in my life are members of the Northshore Band. We make music together every Wednesday night, but we share so much more.

Don’t miss Peter Lograsso’s solo violin performance during Giving Voice to the Silenced, 3:00 pm April 23, 2017 concert at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on the beautiful Northwestern University campus in Evanston, Illinois.

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Be sure to check out Peter in the NCB Tuba’s “Baseball Card” in the Giving Voice to the Silenced concert program book (pp 23-24)!

American Composer David Maslanka

On April 23, 2017, the Northshore Concert Band continues its 61st season with Giving Voice to the Silenced. This powerful musical program features two works by acclaimed American composer David Maslanka; California and A Child’s Garden of Dreams.

A Child’s Garden of Dreams  was commissioned by and dedicated to Northshore Concert Band founder John P. Paynter and his wife Marietta Paynter and the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble. The Northshore Concert Band will perform A Child’s Garden of Dreams at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall at Northwestern University in Evanston where it was first performed 35 years ago.  Mr. Maslanka offers up this description of his work:

“A Child’s Garden of Dreams” came about through a commission from John Paynter of Northwestern University. The music was composed in 1981, and the premiere performance was at Northwestern in 1982. Paynter had asked me to write a piece that was the wind equivalent of Bartok’s “Concerto for Orchestra.” This was a daunting challenge but I said “Sure!” The five movements of “A Child’s Garden” are based on dreams of a young girl who, unknown to her, was at the end of her life. The dreams were presented and discussed by the psychologist, Carl Jung, in his book, “Man and His Symbols.” The dreams are about transition and transformation, a prefiguring of her passing. Jung found it both disturbing and fascinating that such dreams could come through a child. I have long been fascinated by ideas of transformation, in this life, and beyond, and my music is an attempt to capture the central energy of each of the dreams. Sometimes there is graphic illustration as in the third dream where animals grow to an enormous size and devour the girl, and sometimes there is a subtle parallel flow of music and philosophical thought, as in the second dream: “A drunken woman falls into the water and comes out renewed and sober.” What is evoked by both the dreams and the music is a much larger view of life and death than we normally have.”

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The program also features California, premiered February 13, 2016 by the California All-State Wind Symphony and was conducted by Northshore Concert Band’s Conductor and Artistic Director Dr. Mallory Thompson. Mr. Maslanka describes this piece:

“California” was written for the the 2016 California All-State Band, and the premiere performance was conducted in San Jose by Mallory Thompson. Music education in California had seen a revival after years of funding cuts, and there was a renewed statewide sense of possibility in public school music teachers. I was asked to write a piece that might reflect some of that new-found energy and purpose. My thinking went deeper to touch some fundamental element of the strength of the California land and its people. The music is quietly and beautifully expressive at the outset, and rises to moments of great intensity before settling once more to a quiet close.”

 

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Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts David Maslanka attended the Oberlin College Conservatory where he studied composition with Joseph Wood. He spent a year at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and did masters and doctoral study in composition at Michigan State University where his principal teacher was H. Owen Reed.

Maslanka’s music for winds has become especially well known. Among his more than 130 works are forty pieces for wind ensemble, including seven symphonies, fifteen concertos, a Mass, and many concert pieces. His chamber music includes four wind quintets, five saxophone quartets, and many works for solo instrument and piano. In addition, he has written a variety of orchestral and choral pieces.

David Maslanka’s compositions are published by Maslanka Press, Carl Fischer, Kjos Music, Marimba Productions, and OU Percussion Press. They have been recorded on Albany, Reference Recordings, BIS (Sweden), Naxos, Cambria, CRI, Mark, Novisse, AUR, Cafua (Japan), Brain Music (Japan), Barking Dog, and Klavier labels. He has served on the faculties of the State University of New York at Geneseo, Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, and Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York, and since 1990 has been a freelance composer. He now lives in Missoula, Montana. David Maslanka is a member of ASCAP.

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A special thank you to Mr. Maslanka for generously offering us his thoughts on his two beautiful works and for giving permission to reproduce this material.  Please visit his website at www.davidmaslanka.com to learn more about this American composer.

Giving Voice to the Silenced

Sunday, April 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois

Hear the Music. See the Music. Feel the Music.

When you go to a concert hall you will hear the music, you will see the music and you will feel it come alive!

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It is important that children develop an appreciation of the arts!  It develops their language and listening skills, increases their attentions span, and teaches them creativity, discipline and self-esteem. Taking children to live concerts helps them gain an appreciation for music. They are given the opportunity to see musicians that love performing music! There is an “event” quality to a live concert at a concert hall that children realize and appreciate.

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The Lifetime of Music event, now in its 15th year, is designed to introduce young musicians to the idea that “music is for a lifetime”.  It is an extraordinary opportunity for students to gain the experience of being a part of a large symphonic sound as they join the members of the world-renowned Northshore Concert Band to perform on the stage of the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. It is also an extraordinary opportunity for children to sit in an audience and see other children performing on stage.

This was such an amazing experience. I truly appreciated every part and it was an honor playing with a very well-known band. It’s my dream to eventually conduct a band as great as this one. I hope to come back and perform again!”                 –Alex Damato, Lifetime of Music student, Westchester, IL

This musical performance is a highlight of every season. In this year’s concert, titled Youthful Spirit, students and band members combine to perform exuberant music that expresses a cheerful American spirit with heartfelt optimism!

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The students truly enjoyed everything about the event and were inspired by the dedication of adults to the continuation of their musical journeys.  My seniors involved in this concert expressed their interest in signing up for band in college and continuing to play in a community band in the future because of the experience they had.”   –2016 Lifetime of Music participating band director

The Northshore Concert Band has brought music to the Chicago metropolitan area for 61 years. Their engaging music education programs demonstrate to younger musicians that there are opportunities for them to play and enjoy their instruments their entire lives, regardless of whether they choose a musical vocation.

 


 

Concert Information: Youthful Spirit Sunday, February 12, 2017, 3:00 pm Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois

Ticket Information: Individual concert tickets are $20 each, seniors $15, students/children $10. Tickets are available in advance or at the box office on the day of the concert. The box office opens at 2:00 pm on the day of the concert. Online Tickets are available here.

Bring A Group! To make these unforgettable performances accessible for music lovers of all ages we offer special group rates to groups of 10 or more.  Call us at 847-432-2263 or email adam@northshoreband.org  to customize your group ticket package today!

 

Experience the Musical Excellence of Northshore Concert Band www.northshoreband.org 

info@northshoreband.org

The Northshore Concert Band 11th Annual Silent Auction

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The Northshore Concert Band is thrilled to announce our 11th Annual Silent Auction!

Proceeds from our Silent Auction, held on Sunday February 12, 2017 in connection with our Winter concert Youthful Spirit, will benefit our Lifetime of Music education and outreach initiatives.

Our 10th annual Silent Auction, held on January 31, 2016, was a roaring success thanks to the generous support of the community, area businesses, arts organizations, band members, family members, friends, and others who support our mission! Please consider donating to this year’s popular annual event!  Gift certificates and tickets from your business and organization will not only enable you to support the Northshore Concert Band, it will allow you to gain new business!

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Last year’s exciting auction items included a backstage tour of the Civic Opera House, a family pass to the Kohl Children’s Museum, and a day at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Sports fans were eager to bid on a variety of tickets to sporting events including the Chicago White Sox, Loyola University Chicago basketball and Northwestern University football.

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Also up for bid were many amazing performance tickets including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Center and at Ravinia Festival, Chicago Sinfonietta, The Joffrey Ballet, Music of the Baroque, Giordano Dance Chicago at Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, comedy improv, a performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago or the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, a play at the Goodman Theatre or Broadway In Chicago or the opening night of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.

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There were many music-themed items as well, including dance class certificates for Lou Conte Dance Studio and American Rhythm Center, private music lessons and instrument repairs, a membership with the Old Town School of Folk Music, a unique violin art piece and a gift certificate towards the purchase of a piano. Notably, the Paynter family generously donated two pieces of music history; a John P. Paynter autographed Northwestern Wildcats album and an inscribed conducting baton used by Barbara Buehlman!donor-logo-image3

As a thank you for your generous donation, the Northshore Concert Band would like to offer you two complimentary tickets to our Winter concert Youthful Spirit on February 12, 2017. We will also acknowledge your contribution in our Spring concert program book as well as on our social media channels.

Follow this link to the donation form  https://goo.gl/LDd7E

If you have any questions about what you should donate or need help with your donation, one of our Silent Auction committee members would be happy to help!                                        Email us at info@northshoreband.org or phone 847-432-2263.

11th Annual Silent Auction
February 12, 2017
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall lobby, Northwestern University campus, Evanston
Bidding begins at 2:00 pm!

The Northshore Concert Band is a not-for-profit (501c3) organization. Donations may be eligible for a tax deduction.

Thank you for supporting the Northshore Concert Band!

Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at http://www.northshoreband.org

Follow this blog to receive the most up-to-date Northshore Concert Band news including  informative entertaining interviews of NCB musicians!

Make a Difference This Holiday Season!

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Charitable giving  continues its upward trend!  This increase is testament to the growing role that charitable organizations play in our society.Make a difference this holiday season by giving to the Northshore Concert Band!

Here are 9 positive effects of giving.

1. You Will Feel Good!

Donating money makes you feel better.  It makes you realize that even if you don’t have much, you have enough to share with others.  A Harvard Business School study suggests that giving to others is directly correlated with an increased sense of happiness.

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2.You Will Help Those In Need!

When you donate to charities that truly make a difference, you will feel the satisfaction that only giving can bring.  You will know that your donation has made a positive impact on that organization and the lives that it touches.

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3. You Will Be A Part Of Something Bigger!

Even if you are only able to donate a small amount of money, your gift will be joined with the gifts of others and become something much bigger! A small donation really can make a big difference!

4. You Will Get a Tax Deduction!

A gift to a qualified charitable organization may entitle you to a charitable contribution deduction against your income tax if you itemize deductions. Be sure to consult your tax advisor for the federal, state, and local tax consequences of a charitable contribution.

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5. You Can Support Something That is Close to Your Heart!

Everyone is passionate about something.  Making a donation to an organization that inspires you shows your support of their efforts and of their mission. Supporting a cause can give your life a greater purpose. This is one of the most valuable aspects of charitable giving. Everyone needs passion in their life.

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6. Your Support Will Set An Example

Donating to a charitable organization shows everyone that you want to make the world a better place.  It will set an example to your children, grandchildren, friends and family and instill in them a desire to share and serve.  Those around you will be inspired and influenced by your generosity.

7. You Can Honor A Loved One

Making a financial contribution is an excellent way to honor someone in your life or to celebrate the memory of someone who has passed.

8. Your Generosity is Valued

Donors truly make a difference!  You can not underestimate how important you are to the organizations that you support. The financial generosity of individuals like you makes our many musical and educational activities possible.

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9. You Can Donate Today!

While the act of giving is immediate, your relationship with the organizations that you support will be long-term!

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Please make a generous contribution to the Northshore Concert Band so the music will continue to inspire, engage, and excite our audiences.  Your support in any amount is greatly appreciated.

Thank you for joining us in ensuring the ongoing success of the Northshore Concert Band.

Students Meet NCB Tuba Players & Gene Pokorny!

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The Northshore Concert Band tuba players met with a group of over 3 dozen students and their parents before Sunday’s season opening concert, for a lively meet and greet.  They shared stories about their experiences, answered questions and passed out souvenir keepsakes.

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Northshore Concert Band artistic director and conductor, Dr. Mallory Thompson stopped in to say hi to everyone as well!

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Those attending this fun and informal gathering were thrilled when Gene Pokorny, principal tuba with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra joined the group and shared stories about his musical background and offered encouraging words to the student musicians in attendance!  The event ended with a group photo that included the students, the NCB Tubas and Gene Pokorny.  Students were given a copy of this photo as a memento of this unforgettable experience!

We were honored to welcome Mr. Pokorny for his first solo performance with NCB!

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The Northshore Concert Band tuba players include John Harshey, a band director from Mundelein who has been with NCB for 31 years,  Rodney Owens, a band director from Lake Forest, who has also been with NCB for 31 years, Peter Lograsso, an orchestra director from Westchester who has been with the band for 28 years, Kevin Baldwin, a mechanical engineer from Des Plaines and NCB member for 10 years and Eric Weisseg, and IT manager from Chicago who has been an NCB member for 9 years.


The next Northshore Concert Band concert is our highly anticipated annual “Lifetime of Music” program.  In a highlight of the season, we are joined on stage by some of the most talented young musicians in the Chicagoland area!

Youthful Spirit

Sunday, February 12, 2017, 3:00 pm

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois

For More Information:
Visit www.northshoreband.org or call (847) 432-2263.

 

Images: Courtesy of Douglas Boehm

Musicians & Music

Meet the extraordinary men and women of Northshore Concert Band who have dedicated their lives to making music!

DEBORAH HAWES

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Deborah Hawes plays Percussion and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 1966. She is a retired Physician and lives in Northfield, Illinois. Deborah is also the treasurer for Northshore Concert Band.

When and why did you start playing? When I was 4 my mother started teaching me piano; when I was 8 the school band director was looking for someone who could read music and whose father had a truck to move percussion equipment. I volunteered myself and my father and now 62 years later I’m still a drummer.

What do you enjoy most about playing? Music is an essential part of life. Listening to it can be transcending. Playing it joins you to the music; you become part of creating the musical experience and then it will always be with you.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  Some time ago at one of the NCB Adult Band Conferences, Colonel John Bourgeois of the US Marine Band was conducting the conference massed band. I missed the initial Friday night rehearsal because I had to work, but when I showed up Saturday morning (after the rehearsal had started because I was coming right from work) I was met by three anxious percussionists pleading,”Please tell us you can play snare drum!” There was one overture with a snare drum intro and Col. Bourgeois had brought his medley of Sousa marches with cadence interludes and I was on my own. After the concert while I was moving equipment, the colonel sought me out, thanked me, and gave me a big hug and a kiss.

What are your musical influences? Music is like reading for me – I will read anything: fiction, nonfiction, advertising, even soup cans – because I like the way words are put together. Likewise, I listen to all types of music, and although I don’t have the necessary training to analyze its construction I can savor it.

Who was your most influential music teacher? John P. Paynter

Does anyone in your family play music? My husband taught instrumental music for 32 years and he still plays. Our daughter plays French Horn and our son plays trumpet.

What’s on your iPod? My son playing Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez on flugelhorn with the UCSD wind ensemble; Sibelius Symphony #2; Movie soundtracks by Richard Rodney Bennett, Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, and Ennio Morricone

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Listen to professionals who play your instrument so that you know what sound to strive for. Never give up playing; music will grow with you, help you learn valuable life lessons, be there when you need emotional support, and always give you other musicians to hang out with.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different from performing with other groups? The combined missions of musical excellence, educational programs, and community entertainment.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Unparalleled, dedicated, family

 

 

Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at http://www.northshoreband.org

Follow this blog to receive more informative and entertaining interviews of Northshore Concert Band members in this Musicians & Music series!