Topo’s 403 is pleased to announce “A Taste of Opera”, a musical and culinary special event.  The restaurant will serve … Continue reading

A {well-advised} lunch with James Pellerite and Murray Grodner

THURSDAY, DEC 4 @ 12PM | JS415

Professor of Flute from 1957-1987
Jacobs School of Music

MURRAY GRODNER, double bass
Professor of Double Bass from 1955-1986
Jacobs School of Music

A unique opportunity to benefit from the wisdom and experience of two world-renowned performers, teachers, and entrepreneurs.

Open to all JSoM Students | Limit: 20

Lunch sandwiches will be available for all!


pelleriteFor thirty years (1957-87), James Pellerite served as Professor of Flute at Indiana University.

Since leaving academia, Pellerite, has pursued a new career – that of performing contemporary music on the Native American flute. He has inspired beautiful compositions by an impressive roster of outstanding musicians. His company, Zalo/JP-Publications, produces an important catalog of scores featuring a wide selection of orchestral, chamber and solo works by living composers who share his vision of bringing the Northern Plains instrument firmly into the 21st century. As a soloist with orchestra, he has recorded some of these new compositions with the National Polish Radio Symphony (David Oberg, conductor) and the Moravian Philharmonic (Lawrence Golan, conductor). His performances of other repertoire are included on CDs by Azica, Albany Records and Centaur Records.

As a performer on the modern flute, Pellerite is well-known as an orchestral musician. He succeeded his renowned teacher, William Kincaid, as solo flutist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has held the position of principal flute also with the symphony orchestras of Detroit and Indianapolis, and has performed with many other leading ensembles, including the Chautauqua Symphony(NY), Radio City Music Hall (NYC), L’Orquestra Sinfonica de Puerto Rico, and the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Dallas, and Minnesota under the batons of such legendary conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Pablo Casals, Neville Mariner, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Eugene Ormandy, Leopold Stokowski and Bruno Walter; with Igor Stravinsky conducting, Pellerite also recorded his Octet for Winds. During much of his career as a classical flutist and artist teacher, he has appeared throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and abroad. Numerous residencies have included tours to Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the People’s Republic of China.


grodnerMurray Grodner was Professor of Double Bass at Indiana University from 1955-1986.

His first orchestral position was in 1941, with the New Opera Orchestra under conductor Antal Dorati. He has performed with such organizations as the Ballet Russe from 1941-1942, the Pittsburgh Symphony under Fritz Reiner (Assistant Principal) from 1942-3 and 1946-8, the Houston Symphony (Principal) from 1948-50, and the NBC Symphony under Arturo Toscanini from 1950-54.

Grodner was the president and founder of Lemur Music, a company that served double bassists worldwide with a comprehensive catalog of music, books, recordings, and videos. He is the author of several publications, including the books for the Double Bass and A Double Bassist’s Guide to Refining Performance Practice.

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Upcoming recital to celebrate Edwin Penhorwood’s Birthday

Birthday celebration will be a musical treat for all

By Peter Jacobi


He must be well pleased. Edwin Penhorwood is marking his 75th birthday, and to help him celebrate the occasion, the event, a lengthy list of colleagues from the Jacobs School of Music has readied a recital of his works for organ.

Edwin Penhorwood’s 75th birthday will be marked with a concert featuring his organ music. The concert is 8 p.m. Tuesday in Auer Hall.

Edwin Penhorwood’s 75th birthday will be marked with a concert featuring his organ music. The concert is 8 p.m. Tuesday in Auer Hall.

To be precise, here is the cast for what looks like an extravaganza to be performed in Auer Hall on Tuesday evening at 8: starting with five organists: Colin Andrews, Janette Fishell, Marilyn Keiser, Bruce Neswick and Charles Webb. Add two sopranos, Shannon Love and Riley Svatos; two trumpets, played by John Rommel and Joey Tartell; two horns, Dale Clevenger and Jeff Nelsen; Carl Lenthe on trombone; Daniel Perantoni on tuba; and John Tafoya on timpani. Add a chorus called Lobe den Herren and conductor Dominick DiOrio. It’s a distinguished lineup.

Birthday boy Penhorwood’s compositions, those to be performed, cover a range of decades, from “Psalm 47,” written in 1966, to several written this year. His organ works, he says, are based on well-known hymn tunes, African-American spirituals, and toccatas. The concert concludes with a festive Fantasy on “Praise to the Lord” for organ, brass, timpani and chorus.

The whole event sounds festive and serves as a deserved tribute to a gifted and giving musician: a rich array of local talents and the great Seward Organ paying homage to the man and his music.

A few recordings

I’ll be discussing CDs more extensively in weeks to come, but for now, let me mention three with local ties.

• There’s the CD titled “Joshua Bell BACH,” the violinist’s first major effort to capture on records the music of “the composer who got me hooked on music in the first place” and one of whose concertos was the choice when, as a 7-year-old, he made his first appearance with an orchestra.

Purists seeking a historically informed performance on period instruments will probably not be satisfied with the new recording.

The soloist explains his approach: “I believe that the early music movement has revolutionized the way the world listens to Baroque music, in a very good way. While I have incorporated in my musical philosophy much of what I have learned from this movement, I have also tried to retain in my approach to Bach some of the ‘modern sensibilities’ that are so rooted in the way I was taught to play the violin. The result is, I hope, a melding of the old and the new, which I suppose sums up what it is to be a classical musician in the modern world.”

Well, when the performing violinist is as good as Bloomington native Josh Bell, I bend, not that I am an unbending purist to begin with. I can enjoy those who play Bach the way virtuosi used to. And I enjoyed listening to this recording. One hears first the Violin Concertos No. 1 and 2 beautifully articulated, as one would expect, with the violinist’s Academy of St. Martin in the Fields as the comfortably collaborating chamber orchestra.

The most controversial element on the CD is the Bach Chaccone from his second Partita, surely one of the most challenging solo piano pieces ever written, a work severe, unyielding and powerful. To it, for it, Mendelssohn once prepared a piano accompaniment, which Bell decided to use but in a re-arrangement for orchestra by Julian Milone. The result is a definite softening of the original, not my preference but interesting and still a vehicle for violin virtuoso. Bell supplies the virtuosity, as he does for the remaining items on the CD: the famous Air on a G String and the Gavotte en Rondeau. (Sony Classical)

• We’ve been immersed the past couple of years with Shostakovich on a series of CDs issued by Cedille featuring IU’s resident string quartet, the Pacifica. Those of you who have listened to the group’s cycle of the Shostakovich quartets and those who have come to its periodic recitals in Auer Hall know how remarkable is the quality of the Pacifica’s music making. Well, now comes another CD, this one featuring the Pacifica plus the very fine Anthony McGill, first clarinetist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

The content of the new disc: Mozart and Brahms Clarinet Quintets. First, let me say that the pairing of the musicians is someone’s genius decision.

The Mozart quintet is exquisite to hear. I like the phrasing. I like the subtlety of approach. I like the beauty of tone the five musicians produce and the balance between the clarinet and the four strings. I love the music, of course, and appreciate the taste, the musicality, and elegance of style the performers bring to their assignment.

Perhaps even better than the Mozart is the Brahms. McGill must produce tones that range from almost not there in volume to stormy fortissimos. There are emotions to declare in this music. Clarinetist McGill does, and so do his string collaborators. The reading exudes great passion, just as Brahms undoubtedly wanted. Both the Mozart and the Brahms make for listening that excites. (Cedille)

• The cover of the third item I want to share states: “Lawrence Brownlee, Virtuoso Rossini Arias.” Well, virtuoso they certainly are, as Rossini written and as tenor Brownlee sung.

For the past 10 years or so, Brownlee and the perhaps still more famous Juan Diego Florez have shared the world stage as outstanding exponents of the bel canto music left by Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti. My own choice between the two, not because he is an IU grad but because I prefer the quality of his voice, has been Brownlee. The instrument is less nasal, of a purer quality and equally flexible. Both have enviable tops.

If you like the bel canto operas, in this case those of Rossini, I urge you to listen to Brownlee. He sings one aria each from eight operas, some of them not very well known: “La Gazza Ladra,” “Le Comte Ory,” “LOccasione fa il Ladro,” “Otello,” “Semiramide,” “Il Turco in Italia,” “La Donna del Lago” and “Zelmira.”

Each task is formidable, with gobs of flashy passages. Brownlee tosses everything off as if done easily. And throughout, one hears a voice of beauty attached to a musician of taste and the ability to conquer even the most florid passages. (Delos)

More to come.

Contact Peter Jacobi at pjacobi@heraldt.com.

If you go

WHAT AND WHO: 75th birthday celebration for Edwin Penhorwood, focused on his organ music. Performers include current and former Jacobs School faculty members (five of them organists), a chorus, and two student sopranos.

WHERE: Auer Hall on the Bloomington IU campus.

WHEN: Tuesday evening at 8.


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Live stream this weeekend of an opera you have never seen on screen!

Indiana University Opera Theater is live-streaming Giancarlo Menotti’s The Last Savage this coming weekend, Nov 14 & 15, in an … Continue reading


Effron and company allows us to share the comfort and joy

By Peter Jacobi


The set-up on Wednesday evening looked strange for an Indiana University Chamber Orchestra concert.  Before the music started, all one saw on stage in Auer Hall was a Steinway grand front and center, surrounded by a few music stands, these extended for standing rather than seated musicians.

At 8, the musicians entered, 11 students, each a string player; they took positions behind those music stands.  Joining them on stage were three prominent Jacobs School faculty members: Kathryn Lukas on flute, Jorja Fleezanis on violin, and David Effron at the piano rather than on the podium.

And then, they played.  They played Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto Number 5 in a fashion stylistically situated somewhere between period pure (standing, without conductor, in smaller numbers, vibrato held in check) and romanticized (piano versus harpsichord, strings not period strung).  But once settled in, they offered a spirited reading, pleasant to listen to and in honest service of Bach.  The faculty soloists, in particular, brought a welcome intensity to the music.

After the Bach, with stage restored to normal orchestral set-up, David Effron became the maestro again, wielding a baton while sitting on a stool to conduct fuller contingents of the Chamber Orchestra.  Their material: the Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestra by Jacobs faculty violist and composer Atar Arad and Schubert’s Symphony Number 3.

Arad soloed in his own concerto, and to technically master the solo part surely takes someone as accomplished as he.  Composer Arad has packed every sort of challenge into this 2005 work.  He has said of his goal for the piece: “I wanted the viola to run as fast and jump as high as a violin.  I wanted it to pirouette, to ricochet, to staccato.  I wanted it to dazzle with double-stops and to sing with double harmonics.”

Well, he put all that to paper musically and, on stage, he realized the intention fully.  In mood, much of the score is flavored in Arad’s oft-favored mode: melancholic, hinting at sad thoughts, restless.  One often hears dissonance, as if soloist or orchestra is out of tune.  One experiences more than occasional whip lashings in jarring shifts of rhythm and volume.  One also hears sweet tones during which the composer seems to express his love for the instrument.  All the while, the viola is in the glow of a musical spotlight and, as Arad explains, “echoes music from far away [his native Israel] and another time in my life, music that I greatly treasure and from which I cannot escape.”

The concert-ending Third Symphony of Schubert, in substance and style, pays homage to Haydn, Mozart, and early Beethoven but also strongly reveals the composer’s singular voice.  The music sings, oozes Viennese charm, and bulges with energy.  Effron and company bathed in its delights, allowing us to share the comfort and joy.
© Herald Times 2014


Concert a beautiful memorial to Ik-Hwan Bae

By Peter Jacobi


“A Concert in Remembrance of Ik-Hwan Bae” brought family, friends, colleagues and students to Auer Hall Sunday afternoon. Those who came heard praise for a gentle and giving man; they heard music performed by musicians from here and elsewhere, musicians who played concerts with him across the years.

Officially at the Jacobs School, Ik-Hwan Bae, until his far-to-early death last July, was a professor of violin and chamber music. That was his title, reflecting his duties and passions: to share with young talents a craft of inspired violin playing and his experience performing chamber music. The latter he served with fervor by drawing multitudes of students into string quartets that rehearsed their way toward always interesting concerts in the Musical Arts Center lobby.

What helped make him special, as personally observed and as attested to during Sunday’s memorial by those who spoke and knew him best, was a generous personality marked with geniality and yet serious drive, marked with an intense devotion to those who made music with him and to the young, striving to follow in his footsteps.

Throughout the concert, photographs of a life lived fully flashed onto the large screen lowered in front of the organ. Fellow musicians from the school played works that Bae loved or had some special meaning: pianist Sung-Mi Im, Chopin’s Nocturne in G Minor; violist Atar Arad, Ravel’s “Sonate posthume;” pianist Reiko Shigeoka-Neriki, Schumann’s Romance in F-Sharp Minor; pianist Shigeo Neriki, portions from a very contemporary, very somber Requiem by Masahiro Ishijima.

Faculty colleague and cellist Eric Kim led 20 students of an Ik-Hwan String Ensemble in a moving performance of Dvorak’s Nocturne in B Major. And to conclude, five friends from afar contributed two movements from Mozart’s Quintet in A Major, the Larghetto and the Allegretto. The distinguished performers, each with an amazing list of accomplishments, were clarinetist David Shifrin, violinists Theodore Arm and Carmit Zori, violist Paul Neubauer and cellist Fred Sherry. One could but hope that the glorious music so beautifully performed might somehow reach Ik-Hwan Bae. It would certainly please him.

As would the whole of a remembrance that cast such warmth. Those who gathered on Sunday afternoon made it clear that Ik-Hwan Bae was much loved and that he leaves a legacy of good teaching, good playing and good will.


© Herald Times 2014


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Emile Naoumoff & Yau Cheng release new album

Gouvy: Sonatas for Piano Four Hands

Emile Naoumoff & Yau Cheng


emile naoumoffFeaturing pianists Emile Naoumoff and Yau Chang, this Grand Piano release showcases three Sonatas for piano four hands by the prolific composer and eminent member of Frances musical establishment in the later 19th c., Louis Theodore Gouvy (1819-98).  These works, all written in the 1860s, reveal considerable technical command as well as flowing elegance, some of it reminiscent of Schubert and Schumann.  Gouvys considerable uvre, including a large body of four-hand piano music, has been undergoing critical reconsideration and something of a revival on record in recent years.


iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/gouvy-sonatas-for-piano-4/id925502930

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Louis-Theodore-Gouvy-Sonatas-Piano/dp/B00NWZIQ4M

Naxos: http://www.naxos.com/ecard/grandpiano/GP676/