Results tagged “Music”

tewari.jpgSonoma State University ethnomusicology professor Laxmi Ganesh Tewari announced this week that he will retire at the end this semester after a distinguished, 40-year career at SSU.

A leader in the ancient Gwalior tradition of vocal music, Tewari received extensive training in Hindustani classical vocal music at Banaras Hindu University under the guidance of renowned Indian artists Dr. Lalmani Misra, Pandit Madhav Vaman Thakar and professor B.R. Deodhar. He completed his doctorate in music in 1967.

"All through my life I have tried to combine the three main aspects of my life: performance, which is my worship, scholarship, and teaching," says Tewari.


Sæunn Thorsteinsdottir, Elizabeth Joy Roe, Carol McGonnell have come to live at SSU for a year to provide musical education to a wide range of students.(Photo by Sandy Destiny)

Weill Artists-in-Residence Have Strong Links to Carnegie Hall's Academy

Trio Ariadne, an ensemble comprised of clarinet, cello and piano, is beginning a year long residency at Sonoma State University, serving the campus and wider community as the first Weill Hall Artists-in-Residence. Trio Ariadne members are Carol McGonnell, clarinet, Sæunn Thorsteinsdottir, cello, and Elizabeth Joy Roe, piano.

Already living in residence halls among freshmen and performing arts majors, Sæunn Thorsteinsdottir says, "People are SO welcoming here. Having that feedback and support gives us positive energy."

The trio are alumni of a competitive two-year fellowship at The Academy, an educational initiative of Carnegie Hall, Weill Music Institute, The Juilliard School and the New York City Department of Education.

lincolnshire.jpegRevel in the boisterous ballads and rambunctious rhapsodies of Lincolnshire Posy, Percy Grainger's monumental setting of British folksongs for wind band.

Andy Collinsworth and the Sonoma State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble will perform Lincolnshire Posy on March 8 as they launch their tour to Northern California with a 7:30 p.m. concert in Warren Auditorium.

501.jpgExperience the unforgettable music and poignant story of pioneer life and love on the American Plains. Hear some of Richard Rodgers' most memorable songs, from "Oh What A Beautiful Morning," "The Surrey With The Fringe On Top," "The Farmer and the Cowman" and "People Will Say We're In Love," to the title song, "Oklahoma!" Featuring SSU's talented singers, dancers and actors, this production is an exciting collaboration across disciplines.

Trio Navarro Announces Spring Concerts

February 7, 2012 11:28 AM

trio.jpegThe first of two spring concerts by SSU's Chamber Artists in Residence, the Trio Navarro, happens on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 4 p.m. in GMC 1028 as they perform piano trios written by two, truly best friends for life: Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms.

Joining the group is guest violinist Victor Romasevich. Winner of the Gina Bachauer Prize at the 1985 J.S. Bach International Competition, Romasevich joined the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra as associate principal violist in 1990, and in 1992 moved to the first violin section. He appears frequently in recitals and chamber concerts as a violinist, violist, and keyboard player.

Wesla Whitfield performs on Feb. 1 in Warren Auditorium.

Jazz Forum at Sonoma State University is a unique performance/master class designed to expose jazz majors and guests to a wide variety of jazz styles. Director of Jazz Studies Doug Liebinger hosts the event at 1 p.m. in Green Music Center Room 1029, unless otherwise noted. All forum events are free and the community is invited to attend.

Santa Rosa Symphony Concerts Share Inaugural Opening.

San Francisco Symphony Plans Role in Inaugural Season with Multi-Year Series.

Potential Partnerships Explored with Carnegie Hall.


Internationally-acclaimed Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang opens the inaugural season of The Donald and Maureen Green Music Center and the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall, Lawn, and Commons on the campus of Sonoma State University on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012.

Heralded as the "hottest artist on the classical music planet" by the New York Times, the 29 year-old Lang Lang has played sold out recitals and concerts in every major city in the world and is the first Chinese pianist to be engaged by the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and all the top American orchestras.

Lang Lang's performance will be held in front of 1,400 guests inside Weill Hall and broadcast to 3,000 additional guests on the Weill Lawn through the back door of the hall which will be opened for the first time for an event. It will be followed by a formal opening night dinner.

As part of the weekend festivities, the Santa Rosa Symphony, resident orchestra of the Green Music Center, performs a Sunday matinee concert led by Music Director Bruno Ferrandis. It features special appearances by former SRS music directors Corrick Brown and Jeffrey Kahane in addition to a commissioned world premiere from a Sonoma County composer.

Occasionally, University employees submit creative writing pieces that we share with others. Below is one by Lakin Khan, administrative coordinator in the Biology Department.
Back in mid-November, we were slipping into cold weather faster than we'd wanted to; mornings close to freezing; fog icy and brittle. In this chilled quietness, I liked to go out on a mid-afternoon quest for the little birds, so easily over-looked in the noisy bustle of spring and summer. Moseying past the small groves of trees and bushes scattered around campus, scarf snug against my neck, binocs in hand, my mind would be pleasantly off-line, at least in the work-sense. Leaves drifting off branches in lazy spirals or raining down in a brief gust of wind. The sky would now be a high blue; the sun already descending, slanting across the grounds, setting the wide yellow aprons under the gingko trees glowing, the Japanese maples ablaze. Soon enough would come the raspy pretty, pretty bird - pretty bird-bird-bird, then that bit of grey with the perky pointed crest: an oak titmouse in the lower branches of a pine tree. A pure, sweet warble, short and swift, and then movement up the trunk: a brown creeper, hungrily gleaning insects against the long, cold night.

guitar.jpegFrom the Temptations to Donovan to Little Richard and The Byrds, students in John Palmer's "Rock Music: Styles and Contexts" will stand and deliver their own compositions based on the giants of rock n roll history.

The free concert "Electrified" is open to all at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 12 in GMC 1029.

"My thinking was that the best way to learn about a style is to try to re-create it," says SSU's resident musicologist John Palmer.

This year he asked his senior music students to create their own compositions instead of writing term papers on different eras and styles of rock music.

Students will perform their five original compositions as well as five older songs that they studied during the semester and that will likely be familiar to the audience.

frimusic.jpegFor the past three semesters, the University library has turned into a "concert hall" on the first Friday of the month. While the acoustics are nowhere those of GMC's Weill Hall, the concerts provide SSU musical ensembles a chance to preview their upcoming concerts.

ssuchoir7.jpgThe Sonoma State University Chorus, under the direction of Jenny Bent, performs major choruses and solos from Handel's beloved oratorio, Messiah, with the accompaniment of a 15-piece chamber orchestra at its next concert Friday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 3, at 4 p.m. in Rohnert Park's Holy Family Church, 1500 East Cotati Avenue.

Featured choruses will include "And the glory of the Lord," "Glory to God," "Behold the Lamb of God," "Surely He has borne our griefs," "Hallelujah," and others.

knudsen.pngThe third annual Mel Graves Jazz Scholarship concert takes place at Sonoma State University's Warren Auditorium on Thursday, Nov. 3, at 7:30 p.m.

A major fund-raiser for the SSU jazz studies program, the event, subtitled The Knife's Blade, features the faculty jazz ensemble led by program director Doug Leibinger.

Making her SSU debut on alto sax is San Francisco-based saxophonist, composer and educator Kasey Knudsen. Knudsen is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and was recently hired to teach jazz sax at SSU and act as a clinician in the jazz forum.

Brian Wilson - Masterful Music

October 25, 2011 10:10 AM

brian_wilson.jpgFinding inspiration in the music of Igor Stravinsky, Charles Mingus and Edgard Varese, Brian S. Wilson's eclectic compositional style is a masterful blend of classic and jazz idioms that feels simultaneously familiar and new.

A composer and conductor , Wilson is music department chair at SSU. Currently serving as professor of music theory, he has taught classes in nearly every area of the music curriculum since his first year in 2001, as well as conducted the symphonic wind ensemble (which he founded) and jazz ensembles.

Wilson is a native of Lynn, MA, and a graduate of New England Conservatory, the University of Chicago and the University of Arizona. An enthusiastic champion of music education, he co-founded the Sonoma Brass Institute in 2005 to offer brass education and performance opportunities of the highest quality to the North Bay area.

Wilson is equally at home whether writing for orchestra, chamber ensemble, klezmer band, opera, wind symphony or jazz ensemble. His jazz-inflected harmonies, free borrowings from the Jewish liturgy and exciting rhythmic turns are hallmarks of his distinctive style.

Wilson's breakthrough piece for solo trombone and percussion, The Avanti (the full title is: The Avanti Feels Glued To The Road Even When Cruising at 100 Miles Per Hour!), captured first prize in the International Trombone Association composition competition and has gone on to receive performances worldwide.

Wilson's latest commission is Byron Songs, which will receive its premiere at SSU on Nov. 9. This song cycle is based on settings from Lord Byron's Hebrew Melodies and will be performed by soprano Carol Menke and pianist Marilyn Thompson. Wilson is currently working on a trio for violin, horn and piano, commissioned by Music in the Mishkan at Congregation Sha'ar Zahav in San Francisco.

An inveterate traveller, Wilson served for 20 years as music director of the University of Detroit Classic Theatre study abroad program on the Greek island of Spetses. More recently he has conducted, given clinics and lectured about his music in Taiwan, Colombia (SA), Russia, Italy and Israel.

Among his awards and honors are several New York State Decentralization Grants, the ASCAP Standard Award, College Music Society Pacific Central chapter and National composition awards and the U.S. Department of Education Ensuring Access Through Collaboration And Technology (EnACT) Grant.

Wilson says, "My background is in trombone, piano, music education, composition and conducting and thus I have taught just about every course in the curriculum. Versatility is my curse! I love teaching music theory and conducting groups for special projects. I teach Diatonic Harmony, Chromatic Harmony, Form and Analysis and Private Instruction in Composition. I also have been known to sweep the floors, wash the windows and take out the trash!"

ruthannswenson.jpegAn extraordinary voice master class lies in store for six local vocal students who will be guided by opera singer Ruth Ann Swenson, one of the finest coloratura sopranos in the world today. The public is invited to attend the event from 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17 in Warren Auditorium. Seating is limited. Cost is $20 for adults and $10 for students with IDs and those under 18.

Six singers selected from both Sonoma State University and students of the teachers of the Redwood Empire chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing will perform and benefit from the insights of this exceptional artist.

Swenson is recognized as one of the leading operatic artists of our day and has won critical and public accolades in major theaters around the world. She is praised as a singer with an instrument of uncommon warmth and beauty matched by dazzling technical abilities.

headshot_collinswortha.jpgAndy 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.

jennybent.jpgBrian Wilson, chair of the music department, has announced the hiring of Dr. Jenny Bent as assistant professor of music. Bent will join the SSU full-time faculty next fall as director of choral activities. She replaces longtime director Bob Worth.

Bent, who was one of six semi-finalists in a national search, comes with a wealth of training and experience in teaching choral music. In addition she is a seasoned voice teacher and director of jazz choir. She is a resident of Petaluma.

May is performance month for the Sonoma State University music department, and with 23 events happening over 15 days, it's a great opportunity to take a break, feed your creative side and support live music. Most concerts are free and everything is free to SSU students with ID.

For a complete list of concerts as well as student recitals to which the public is always welcome to attend, visit

Here's a bird's eye view of the major performing ensembles:

Classic and Contemporary Jazz Ensembles - Doug Leibinger, director, swings through the history of jazz with combos dedicated to classic and modern charts. 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 5. Ives Hall, Warren Auditorium. Free.

julianlage.jpgWhile there's little spending money to go around, you don't need much to enjoy great music at Sonoma State University. The music department's recently released spring lineup includes a residency by Santa Rosa guitar prodigy Julian Lage, original music from our prolific composer-professors and a multi-cultural celebration from the chorus and chamber singers. There is also a happy assortment of free student concerts to which the public is always welcome.

Most events take place in Music Education Hall, adjacent to the Green Music Center on the campus north entrance. For information or to buy tickets, visit or call the School of Performing Arts Box Office at (707) 664-2325.

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