Faculty Spotlight

Sabbatical gives time for new compositions

Theory professor and department chair Brian S. Wilson returns from his Winter 2014 sabbatical with a suitcase, or at least, laptop, of new compositions. Wilson spent a month in San Ramon, Costa Rica, as composer in residence at the town El Sistema music school. As a volunteer for the national music education program, SINEM, he gave composition lessons, conducted the choir and orchestra and performed with the jazz ensemble. Piano instructor Alvaro Rojas Espinoza said, “Our choir conductor, Carmen, is very motivated since Dr. Wilson arrived. The students are very motivated also.” During his residency Wilson completed six works, among them Guanabana, inspired by the local fruit and premiered by the SSU Faculty Jazz Ensemble during Schroeder opening weekend.
Wilson spent the winter months in Latvia and Estonia where saxophonist Ryszard Zoledziewski commissioned Nocturne for alto saxophone and piano. Zoledziewski will premiere the work in his home country of Poland, where it has been published by Contra Publishers. Other new publications include Aamer August and Estonian Folk Song Suite for band, commissioned by and dedicated to the students at the Music School in Viljandii, Estonia and their fine conductor Bert Langolier.
In honor of the opening of Schroeder Hall, Wilson composed Stood the Seraphim, a fanfare for brass choir and organ. He conducted the August 24 premiere by the university brass ensemble with guest organist Julian Wachner. The work was repeated on November 16 in Schroeder Hall.
During a retreat in the Roquefère region of southern France, Brian revised his opera Agamemnon, which was performed in Schroeder Hall on November 14. On November 25 the Trio Ariadne performed The Mixed Multitude, a quintet for violin, cello, clarinet, horn and piano, with Jenny Cho, violin, and Alex Camphouse, horn. Visit Brian's website for his full catalog.

Living the dream

Kudos to Studio Trumpet instructor Dave Len Scott who spent the summer of 2014 playing with drummer Tommy Igoe's Groove Conspiracy at Yoshi’s in San Francisco. The engagement, touted as the most popular weekly music event in the city, culminated in the recording of the Tommy Igoe Groove Conspiracy CD, released on September 23.
“Tommy’s tough. He has that New York vibe,” says Dave. “It’s like a breath of fresh air.” The group that Igoe – winner of this year’s Modern Drummer Readers Poll – calls “a rock band in a jazz band’s body” features such veteran players as Tom Politzer on tenor sax (Tower of Power); Marc Russo, alto sax (Aretha Franklin, Doobie Brothers); Chrissi Poland, vocals (Sting, Nile Rogers); Drew Zingg, guitar (Steely Dan); Karl Perazzo, percussion (Santana) and Tony Linsday, vocals (Santana).
Dave recalls one of the highlights of the experience when the "phenomenal" Doc Severinsen joined the band for an exclusive performance at SF JAZZ. The 87-year-old, Grammy-winning trumpeter formerly with Johnny Carson and The Tonight Show practices hours every day, Dave said.
Check out the Tommy Igoe Groove Conspiracy here – Dave’s on at :34!

Lynne Morrow guest conducts, records Brubeck CDs

Lynne Morrow, Opera and Musical Theatre program director, recently conducted the Fauré Requiem at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre with the Oakland East Bay Symphony. Lynne is the conductor of the Oakland Symphony Chorus, where her duties include preparing the singers for their regular appearances with the OEBS under music director Michael Morgan. Morrow dedicated her performance to the memory of her uncle, Charles Darden, who conducted the Oakland Symphony and San Francisco Symphony. “He was a great musician and an exemplar for me,” Morrow said. Lynne was named music director of the Oakland Symphony Chorus in 2005, the same year that she was picked to lead another Bay Area chorus, the Pacific Mozart Ensemble. PME under Lynne’s direction has recorded two CDs of Dave Brubeck’s choral music and in 2006 received a Grammy nomination for “Best Choral Performance” for its recording of Bernstein’s Mass. Currently, PME is commissioning two Cuban artists – composer Roberto Valera and dance master Manuel Suarez ­– to make a performance work called “To Cuba With Love.” Lynne launched the project with a trip to Cuba to learn folkloric dance movements.

Studio Instructors in Jazz

The music department welcomes pianist Ken Cook and trumpeter Dave Len Scott to its studio adjunct faculty.

Cook, who teaches jazz piano, studied at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, and received a master of music degree in jazz performance – piano from the New England Conservatory of Music. He has over 25 years of experience performing with jazz, blues, Latin, Brazilian, soul and funk bands. Ken has recorded with Michelle Willson (Evil Gal Blues), Bullseye Blues (Cool Christmas Tunes) and guitarist Bruce McLeod’s quartet.

Scott received a bachelor of music degree in instrumental music education from the University of Michigan and a master of music in trumpet performance from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley. He studied trumpet with Armando Ghitalla of the Boston Symphony orchestra. Currently a faculty member at The JazzSchool in Berkeley, Scott is active as a trumpeter, pianist, jazz teacher, lecturer and trumpet teacher in jazz and classical styles.

Teaching upright and electric bass at SSU, Cliff Hugo brings a breadth of playing, touring and recording experience to the music department – from Ray Charles to Supertramp, Carl Verheyen and the Beach Boys.
To get the flavor of funk’s distinctive beat, think about James Brown singing “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.” “The main premise that I want to get across,” Hugo says, “is that jazz in its purest sense is a process and not a style.” While jazz includes things like swing, R&B, and funk, the process goes beyond knowing the style to actually communicating through it. For the piano, bass and rhythm players, the art of “comping” a soloist means composing, arranging and orchestrating – in real time – their parts relative to the soloist. “Taking an idea and putting it through your own muse – that’s been going on for thousands of years.”

Marcia Bauman, Studio Composition Instructor

Joining the composition faculty at SSU is Marcia Bauman who brings a diverse range of talents to the program. Marcia teaches studio composition and helps with the weekly composer’s forum, led by Will Johnson. Check out her music!

Compositionally fluent in both acoustic and electronic media, she created the International Digital ElectroAcoustic Music Archive (IDEAMA) at Stanford to collect, preserve and disseminate historically significant computer and electronic musical works.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in psychology, Marcia studied music, attaining master’s degrees in theory and composition from SFSU and the PhD in composition from the Eastman School of Music.

In addition to composing, Marcia’s private studio includes piano, music theory and songwriting. She is a facilitator for the Helen Bonny method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) – a music-assisted therapy used to explore and work on significant life issues.

Dan Levitan, Studio Harp Instructor

Dan Levitan is the principal harpist with the Marin Symphony (since 1984), Santa Rosa Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley and San Jose Ballet orchestra. In addition to having performed with San Jose Symphony as principal harpist from 1978 until its closure in 2002, Dan has performed with the San Francisco Symphony, Opera, and Ballet orchestras, and is sought after as a soloist with orchestras, choirs, and other ensembles throughout Northern California.

Born and educated in Philadelphia, Mr. Levitan received bachelor degrees in Music Performance and in Music Education from Temple University, both magna cum laude, and was named "Most Promising Musician" on graduation. He has studied with Margarita Montanaro, Co-Principal Harpist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, internationally acclaimed harpists Susann McDonald and Susanna Mildonian, and well-known San Francisco Bay Area harpists Anne Adams, Marcella DeCray, and the late Phyllis Schlomovitz.

Laxmi G. Tewari, Presenter at ICTM

Pandit Laxmi Ganesh Tewari presented his field research of Trinidad at the 2nd Symposium of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM), Study Group for Multipart Music, held April 22-29, 2012 in Tiranë and Vlorë, Albania.

Tewari presented a video and songs on the theme of Biraha/Loneliness. Biraha is an Indian folk genre present in Trinidad and Tobago that dates back to British colonial rule when poor Indian farmers were transported to British colonies in the Caribbean to work on the sugar plantations.

The conference was cosponsored by the Ulysses Foundation of Albania and the Institute for Folk Music Research and Ethnomusicology at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna.

The ICTM was founded in London in 1947 as the International Folk Music Council. Tewari has been on the faculty of Sonoma State University since 1974. Today he is one of the leading ethnomusicologists with an exemplary body of work on Indian, Buddhist, Arabian and Gamelan music.


Brian Wilson, ELIXIR Case Study

gggBrian Wilson, Professor of Music, is featured in a case study, Universal Design for Learning in Music Theory, on Merlot Elixir. The multimedia case study includes video of Brian using UDL principles in the classroom, experiences in a Faculty Learning Community, and interviews with his students.

Andy Collinsworth, Educator Award

Andy Collinsworth, Professor of Music, has received the 2011 Byron Hoyt/Don Schmeer Band Educator Award honoring excellence in instrumental instruction and performance. California Association for Music Education (CMEA) President Norm Dea says that Collinsworth was nominated by his peers in music education and selected by the CMEA state board. "It's clear he is a musician and teacher of the highest caliber," Dea said.

Director of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and head of music education at SSU since 2008, Collinsworth is active as a guest conductor, clinician and festival adjudicator throughout California and the Western states. Next year, he will guest conduct the high school honor bands from Contra Costa and Solano counties and the California All-State Junior High Concert Band in Fresno.

Collinsworth says his goal is to make SSU a leading center for music education in Northern California.