Musicians & Music

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

DEBBIE DURHAM

Debbie Durham

Debbie Durham plays the Clarinet and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 1979. She is a retired band director and lives in Mundelein.

When and why did you start playing?  I started playing when I was 10 years old.

What do you enjoy most about playingI enjoy playing because it challenges me.  It challenges me cognitively, physically, and emotionally.  It is the interaction of these aspects that drew me into music as a profession.  It continues to hold this mystique for me all these many years later.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  One of my most favorite musical memories was playing “The FInal Covenant” with John Paynter conducting.  The sheer richness of sound and emotional context was almost overwhelming.  I remember seeing tears in JPP’s eyes.  Just an awesome experience.

What are your musical influences?  My early mentors were my band director, Jimmy (Scooby) Burns and my clarinet teacher, Curtis Craver.  My undergraduate musical influences were Raymond Gariglio (conductor and clarinetist) and John Weigand (clarinetist).  In graduate school, my greatest influences were John Paynter and Clark Brody.  I continue to be influenced by John Lynch, Mallory Thompson, and other fine musicians that I meet through the Northshore Concert Band.

Who was your most influential music teacher?  It is difficult to just pick one.  For clarinet, my most influential teacher was Clark Brody, who I studied with at Northwestern.  For almost everything else, it would be Barbara Buehlman, whom I affectionately called Auntie Barb.  She was my first boss and mentor.

Does anyone in your family play music?  My brother, who passed away in 2016, also was a musician.  He played guitar and sang. 

What’s on your iPod?  I listen to music when I work out so it is a very eclectic mix.  I have Weather Report; Earth, Wind, and Fire; Eric Clapton; Joni Mitchell; Black Crowes; Take 6; The Beatles; Bruno Mars; Samuel Barber; Sting, Bach, Philip Glass, Berlin Philharmonic, Bobby Caldwell…

Do you have any advice for young musicians?  Practice, listen, observe, and learn.  I can’t say enough about practicing.  It is a mantra for me.  Being recently retired I am relishing in the opportunity to extend my practice time and play with several different types of ensembles.  I love listening to music of all types.  It is important to expand your musical horizons by broadening your listening repertoire.  When I go to conventions or clinic, I like going to rehearsals almost more than the performances.  Watching a great conductor work through a composition and the interaction between conductor and ensemble is very interesting and instructive to me.  I always think you can learn from every experience. Always be open to taking something away

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? The caliber of conductor and musicians in the group and their commitment to excellence makes this very different from other groups. 

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band Dedicated, challenging, evolving

Please add anything else that you would like our audience to know about you. I am a retired band director.  I have taught elementary, middle school, and high school band.  I also taught AP Music Theory.  In my retirement, I am enjoying photography with my husband, Ralph.
Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at http://www.northshoreband.org

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Composer Michael Gandolfi

Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme by composer Michael Gandolfi is a highlight of our Summer 2018 program.

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Mr. Gandolfi describes this work:

‘Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme’ is a set of fantasy-variations, on an anonymous Renaissance lute piece titled ‘Spagnoletta’ that I played on my guitar for decades throughout my youthful years. I chose to write this piece upon being commissioned by the President’s Own United States Marine Band, directed by Michael Colburn, at the time of composition. I intended it to be a showpiece for that ensemble.

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A self-taught guitarist, Michael Gandolfi began playing rock and jazz at age eight and eventually began formal instruction in composition during his teens. He earned his bachelor and master of music degrees from the New England Conservatory and studied with Oliver Knussen at the Tanglewood Music Center. He currently serves on the composition faculty at both institutions. Gandolfi has collaborated with many important figures in contemporary American music, participating in the Composers Conference at Wellesley College with Mario Davidovsky and Ross Lee Finney and teaching composition at Tanglewood with Osvaldo Golijov. His catalog contains several works for orchestra, including Impressions from “The Garden of Cosmic Speculation,” which has been championed by conductor Robert Spano, with recent or upcoming performances by the New World Symphony and the symphony orchestras of Atlanta and Houston. Gandolfi has also written for chamber, theater, and jazz/funk ensembles.

We contacted Mr. Gandolfi and asked him to share with us his journey in music, musical influences and inspirations, and words of advice that he has for young musicians.

Please tell us a bit about your journey in music and in life.  I was fortunate to have been born into a musical household, with my two older sisters studying classical piano. There were two pianos in the house where I was born and lots of music making there. However, I was more interested in the Beatles than Beethoven, Bach or Brahms in those days. I taught myself to play the guitar and formed rock bands in grade school, blues bands in junior high school and jazz bands in high school. I loved to improvise (and still do). I sought formal lessons in junior high school and was fortunate to find a guitar teacher in my town of Reading Massachusetts, Edward Marino, who was also a composer. He introduced me to music theory and 20th-century music (Bartok, Stravinsky, Hindemith, Schonberg, et al). I always sought the most cutting-edge music then. In high school I met William Thomas McKinley, a fine composer, pianist, and professor of composition at the New England Conservatory of Music. I had lessons with him, became his assistant, and eventually enrolled in the New England Conservatory of Music after briefly studying at the Berklee College of Music. My other mentors were Donald Martino, John Heiss. Malcolm Peyton (all of whom I met at NEC), Ross Lee Finney, Mario Davidovsky, and Oliver Knussen (all of whom I worked with as a fellow at various Summer programs – Yale, the Composers’ Conference, Tanglewood, etc.). After graduation from NEC my musical life revolved around New York City, where groups such as Speculum Musicae, Parnassus, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra commissioned and performed works of mine. I survived in those days on a few commissions and a healthy dose of part-time teaching at Phillips Academy – Andover. I took my first college teaching appointment at Harvard University in 1996 and later joined the faculty at the New England Conservatory. I also joined the faculty of the Tanglewood Music Center in 1997, having been a visiting composer and performer at Tanglewood every year (except one) following my 1986 fellowship year. I was fortunate to have had so many fine musicians and ensembles commissioning, performing and recording my music, starting with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in 1988 and continuing to this day with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. I have had too many fine affiliations to list them all, but I will also credit the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Boston Musica Viva, the Melrose Symphony Orchestra (I also have had very fruitful creative collaborations with community orchestras), The New England Philharmonic, the Grant Park Orchestra, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Houston Symphony, the New World Symphony and the Cabrillo Festival, as among those with whom I have had a lasting relationship. Oddly, I did not write my first wind ensemble or concert band piece until my mid-career. That piece, ‘Vientos y Tangos,’ was commissioned in honor of Frank Battisti’s 70th birthday and received its premiere under the baton of Michael Colburn and the United States marine Band. They subsequently recorded it and toured with it, and on the success of that piece, the President’s Own USMB commissioned what became ‘Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme. As for my non musical life, I have a very keen interest in astronomy, physics, mathematics, and all things technology related. I am an avid baseball fan, love to read (mostly on Kindle these days, which has solved my bookshelf-space problem), and I continue to gain from teaching my students.

What have been some of your musical influences?  The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Allan Holdsworth, Van Halen, Sting, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, John Schofield, Pat Metheny, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Mike Stern, J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Brahms, Shostakovitch, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Ives, Harbison, Bolcom, Knussen, Ruth Crawford- Seeger, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Boulez, Schuller, Joan tower, Donald Martino, Babbitt, Carter, Reich, Glass, John Adams, John Corigliano, Sofia Gubaidulina, etc., etc. I have eclectic tastes, far too numerous to indicate in this short list.

Please share a bit about your favorite musical memory?  I had a masterclass with Leonard Bernstein while I was a fellow at Tanglewood in 1986. It was surreal. It was a pot-luck masterclass, nine fellows, a visiting composer (Robert Saxton) and Oliver Knussen as host. The ‘class’ started at 5:00 PM and was still going-strong at 2:00 AM when I left. The following day I learned that it concluded at 3:00 AM! Later that morning, 10:00 AM to be precise, Maestro Bernstein conducted ‘The Rite of Spring’ with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. Amazing! I learned a great deal that evening and at that rehearsal.

What’s on your iPod?  All of the Haydn symphonies (they’re ALL good by the way – no weak ones), all of the symphonies of Nikolai Myaskovsky, and all of the Shostakovich, Bruckner, and Prokofiev symphonies, as well as Alfred Brendel’s complete Beethoven piano sonatas. I place these giant oeuvres on my iPhone and listen to them in a loop whenever I am out-and-about. I rotate the list to other repertoire as time progresses.

Which composer/musician – past or present – would you most like to meet for a coffee and why?  J.S. Bach. My all-time favorite.

What inspires you?  Notes! Physics. Structure. Beauty (defined as anything that creates goosebumps)

What do you do to relax?  ? I’m not sure that I ever do. I love exercise and long vigorous walks that I do on a daily basis. I used to find playing golf relaxing, but then I got too score-conscious and I no longer found it relaxing so I stopped playing. I do go to the range in the summertime at Tanglewood. I find that relaxing.

Do you have any advice for young musicians?Work hard but engage your mind in whatever takes you beyond the ordinary.

Please share any thoughts that you may have about the Northshore Concert Band.  I have known the Northshore Concert Band to be one of our nation’s finest community concert bands. They set the best example of the heights that can be achieved by applying hard work and dedication to the art of music-making. They also show other concert bands the riches and rewards of performing challenging and wide-ranging repertoire.

Please add anything else that you would like our audience to know about youThat I love life, music, and storytelling. I believe that storytelling is the principal expression of being human. It is what separates us from the rest of the work and art (especially music) is the pinnacle of this story-telling.

A special thank you to Mr. Gandolfi for speaking with us and giving permission to reproduce this material.  Please visit his website www.michaelgandolfi.com to learn more about this great composer.

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A Long Time Ago…

Sunday, June 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University

50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois

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

Follow this blog to receive more informative and entertaining interviews.

 

 

Rising Star Andy Hudson

On Sunday, November 5, 2017, the Northshore Concert Band begins it’s 62nd season of musical excellence with Star Wars: A New Hope.  This premiere program will feature Andy Hudson, a virtuosic rising star on clarinet.  He will be featured on Michael Daugherty’s Brooklyn Bridge, a thrilling aural depiction of the New York landmark.

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Performances by clarinetist Andy Hudson have been hailed as “a treat for the listener” and praised for “an uncommon singularity of purpose, technical virtuosity, youthful vigor and a mature sensitivity.” Based in Chicago and active internationally, Andy has performed at the International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest, the World Congress of the International Alliance for Women in Music, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Music Teachers National Association Conference, Constellation Chicago, and regional gatherings of the College Music Society, the Vandoren Clarinet Ensemble Festival, and the North American Saxophone Alliance. A frequent soloist,

Andy has recently performed concerti of Weber, Gandolfi, Mozart, David, and Copland among others. Andy has received invitations to perform at the Lucerne Festival Academy in Switzerland, the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, the Hot Springs Music Festival, and the Belgian Clarinet Academy. Andy was the grand prize winner at the 2008 MTNA National Senior Woodwind Competition, and has also won the Sewanee Summer Music Festival Concerto Competition, the MTNA Southern Chamber Music Competition, and both the Columbus State University and Northwestern University Concerto Competitions.

A fierce advocate for new music, Andy presented at the 2017 New Music Gathering, has premiered and commissioned dozens of works to date, and has performed with Chicago Symphony Orchestra MusicNow, F-PLUS, a.pe.ri.od.ic., earspace, 10th & Broadway, and the Zafa Collective. Andy is currently an Instructor of Music at Northwestern University, where he teaches courses in Music Theory, Aural Skills, and 21st Century Music, and a Lecturer in Music at Lake Forest College. Additionally, each summer he joins the Artist-Faculty of the Tennessee Valley Music Festival in Huntsville, AL. Andy is a current DMA Candidate at Northwestern University, where he also earned the Master of Music degree. He previously earned the Bachelor of Music degree from Columbus State University. Andy’s primary teachers have included Steve Cohen, J. Lawrie Bloom, and Lisa Oberlander.

 

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We know that you will enjoy this exclusive NCB interview with Mr. Hudson.

Please tell us a bit about your journey in music and in life.  I was born into a family with a Choir Director for a mother and a recovering-hippie Bass Guitarist for a father. Because of this, I learned to love a wide variety of musical styles from an early age, and I still maintain a deep love for both the classical and popular music realms! I took up the clarinet and the guitar in elementary school, and I can honestly say I never dreamed I would be lucky enough to still be performing.

What have been some of your musical influences?  I think most often of those who have poured themselves into me throughout the course of my career. I’ve had so many great mentors, people like Mallory Thompson, Steve Cohen, Lisa Oberlander, Eric Mandat, and Lawrie Bloom. I feel a deep desire to honor their investments in me and to pay it forward by empowering future generations of musicians to realize their potential.

Please share a bit about your favorite musical memory?  There are too many to count! However, one recent performance I found very meaningful was Northwestern SWE’s performance at the CBDNA National Convention in Kansas City. We performed a powerful program of repertoire that dealt with themes of identity, love, loss, hope, and innocence. To share this moment in a beautiful concert hall, surrounded by people I love, was truly stirring.

What’s on your iPod?  A little bit of everything! Recently, I’ve been listening to Bartok, Bon Iver, Kendrick Lamar, Debussy, Brand New, Caroline Shaw, and The War on Drugs. I also love folk music and Americana, but I’m always looking for something new to inspire me. New music is like fresh air!

Which composer/musician – past or present – would you most like to meet for a coffee and why?  Igor Stravinsky. As far as I can tell, The Rite of Spring is musical perfection, and The Soldier’s Tale is one of my all-time favorite pieces. Stravinsky worked in a vocabulary wholly distinct from his contemporaries, and his music still feels remarkably fresh to this day.

What does music mean to you?  Music is not meant to terminate on itself, but rather it must be leveraged to enact as much good in the world as it can. While I take tremendous joy in my own practicing and performance, I feel that music is something I can offer the world. It can bring peace or beauty into a world that desperately needs it, or it can provide a vessel for interacting with and processing the pain we encounter. Music can be a tremendous force for healing and for good. As the saying goes: “Perhaps it is music that will save the world.”

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What do you do to relax?  I love to bicycle, run (distances from 5k to the Marathon), and hike whenever possible. I find that enjoying a physical hobby allows me to channel the intensity of the music process in a way that energizes and refocuses me. I also try to spend as much time as I can with my wife and two kids! Together, we love to listen to records, cook, and watch movies – especially Finding Dory.

Do you have any advice for young musiciansLearn to love the grind! Music is a process, and even as we progress, we never really arrive. Each day we must strive to be better than the day before, and if we can learn to love the process – not just the results – then we have a real shot to love and make music for our whole lives.

Please share any thoughts that you may have about the Northshore Concert Band.  The Northshore Concert Band is amazing! During my Master’s Degree at Northwestern many years ago (I won’t tell you just how many!), we had the opportunity to perform a side-by-side of “Dionysiaques” with SWE and NCB. The love of music, excellence in performance, and community dynamic that NCB embodied have made that performance a treasured memory. I’m simply delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with Mallory Thompson & the NCB for this upcoming concert!


A special thank you to Mr. Hudson for generously sharing with us his thoughts and experiences! Please visit his website at www.theandyhudson.com to learn more about this rising star!


Don’t miss Andy Hudson’s solo clarinet performance during Star Wars: A New Hope, 3:00 pm November 5, 2017 concert at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on the beautiful Northwestern University campus in Evanston, Illinois.  Reserve your seat today!

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