On with the show

Sally
Sally Cole
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Music department members are enthusiastic about the second half of the UPEI Recital Series, which starts Jan. 22 at the Dr. Steel Recital Hall on the university campus. From left are Susan Stensch, Greg Irvine, Andrew Zinck, Frances Gray and Sung Ha Shin-Bouey. Missing from the photo is Susan Williams.

When the curtain rises next week on the second half of the UPEI Recital Series, audience members will be in for some musical treats.

“I’m absolutely thrilled with the lineup of performers this winter,” says professor Andrew M. Zinck.

From the popular UPEI Wind Symphony concert to the Spring Concert, featuring the UPEI concert choir, the repertoire covers a wide array of instruments, styles and genres.

“Island audiences are going to get to enjoy musical excellence presented by faculty, distinguished alumni, student ensembles and a number of fabulous guest artists,” says Zinck, music department chair.

The second half of the series will open with a performance by Myriad at the Dr. Steel Recital Hall on Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m. The Toronto-based jazz trio, consisting of Chris Donnelly, piano, Dan Fortin, bass and Ernesto Cervini, drums, was formed by accident. Band members had never played together until good fortune put them on stage together for the first time in 2010. Since then, the trio has performed music in many Toronto jazz clubs.

UPEI music professor Greg Irvine is pumped to have them.

“They will offer a variety of styles in their program. So there should be something for every jazz lover,” says Irvine, noting one of the band members is familiar to Island audiences.

“Music lovers will recognize the group’s drummer from last year when he performed here with his group, the Ernesto Cervini Quartet. It was a great concert, and we’re expecting the same this year,” says Irvine, adding Myriad also will be giving a workshop for the UPEI jazz band on Monday night.

“It will be a great opportunity for the students to connect with players who are performing it all the time,” he says.

Enthusiasm is also running high for music students as they wait to hear whether or not they will perform in the UPEI Music Competition Final concert on Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m.

“This year it’s an open category repertoire and we have 13 entries. We’re looking forward to paring them down to six finalists who will be featured that night,” says administrative assistant Susan Stensch, who looks after publicity for the series along with Susan Williams.

But because no one has any idea who the final six will be, there’s lots of anticipation.

“Everyone is excited and everything is popping,” Stensch says.

The excitement continues Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m. when award-winning Canadian pianist Julien LeBlanc graces the stage for Poetic Impulses. The solo recital features the works of Scarlatti, Schumann and Ravel.

“It’s a wonderful program. And it’s wonderful to offer this concert, not only for our students, but for the public,” says music professor Frances Gray, adding LeBlanc will also give a two-hour master class for piano majors.

Then on Feb. 2 the teachers will turn the tables on their students during the Faculty Gala at 7:30 p.m.

“The gala represents an evening of musical celebration by talented faculty members and sessional instructors who work so hard to mentor their students throughout the year,” says Zinck.

“That night they step outside their studios and onto the stage to share their tremendous love of the arts with the community and their students.

“A number of crowd-pleasing competitions are sure to be on the program for the gala,” he says.

On Feb. 12, Debut Atlantic will present rising star Todd Yaniw at 7:30 p.m. The 25-year-old Edmonton pianist is a two-time national winner of the Canadian Music Competition, silver medalist at the Eastman International Piano Competition and a recipient of the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation Award.

The Low Brass Extravaganza follows on March 10 at 2:30 p.m. This concert will showcase music for trombones, tubas and euphoniums.

“A variety of different sized ensembles, as well as solo repertoire will be presented,” says Irvine, adding Michael Grose, a tuba player from the University of Oregon, will be the special guest artist.

“He will be featured in some solo works as well as ensembles,” he says.

The concert will also showcase three trombonists who will be doubling on euphonium and tuba. Then, as trombonists, they will be playing a trio by American composer Ray Premru.

“Finally, Bob Nicholson, my sabbatical replacement, will also be playing a solo, as will I,” says Irvine, who hopes to premiere a piece by Scott Whetham, a tuba player in the Edmonton Symphony.

“If he finishes composing it on time, I’ll be playing it. It’s something I’m looking forward to,” he says.

The music continues March 22 at 7:30 p.m. with Contemporary Works for Saxophone and Piano, featuring Kevin MacLean, saxophone, and Frances McBurnie, piano. Then on March 26, it’s the UPEI Jazz Ensemble directed by David Shephard at 7:30 p.m., followed by the UPEI Wind Symphony directed by Karem J. Simon taking the stage on March 28 at 7:30 p.m.

The music series concludes April 4 with Spring Concert, featuring the UPEI concert choir, directed by Pam Campbell.

Going over the program brochure, Zinck is pleased.

“We’ve definitely got something for everyone this semester,” he says.

However, while the music program is cheerful and bright, the future of the recital series is uncertain.

“This is the last year of continued sponsorship that the series has received. We’re certainly on the lookout for anybody who might like to step up to help. Putting on performances costs money. And we’d like to continue offering the high quality musical performances that we have in the past. We hope someone will help,” says Zinck.

 

AT A GLANCE

If you are going

All performances take place in the Dr. Steel Recital Hall.

A semester pass for seven concerts is available at a 20 per cent discount. For more information, contact Susan Stensch at 566-0507 or music@upei.ca.

Organizations: UPEI Recital Series, Sylva Gelber Music Foundation Award.The Low Brass Extravaganza, University of Oregon Contemporary Works for Saxophone

Geographic location: Toronto, Edmonton

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