IU Jazz alumna raises awareness of female jazz musicians

By Alaina Milazzo

 

Even as a child living in Albstadt, Germany,    Monika Herzig wanted to prove her love and devotion to music.

“I was just attracted to those keys, but we didn’t have a piano,” Herzig said. “So I had to learn to play the Melodica. I had to hit those keys just to prove to (my parents) that I was serious. Then we bought a piano, and I got to substitute for the church organist, too, which was a great 
opportunity.”

After showcasing her talents to her parents and church, Herzig attended the pedagogical institute in 
Weingarten, Germany.

In 1988, Herzig and her now-husband left for America when she qualified for an exchange program with the University of Alabama.

Once Herzig received her master’s degree, she then attended IU for her doctorate in music education and jazz from the Jacobs School of Music — and never left.

“We decided to stay in Bloomington because we loved the town and the network we had created,” 
Herzig said.

She is now a faculty member at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs    teaching courses in the music industry, community arts, creative thinking techniques with incorporated group jazz and programming for the 
performing arts.

Herzig is currently collaborating with other world-renowned female performers in her project The Whole World in Her Hands.

Herzig is using Indiegogo, a crowd-funding platform, to gain monetary support for “recouping costs from the project,” along with supporting female jazz 
players.

“(The campaign is going) too slow for my taste,” Herzig said, jokingly. “It’s very difficult to get people’s attention and commitment. We only hear about the success stories but rarely about the hard work it involves.”

Herzig’s Indiegogo campaign began Oct. 6 and will end Dec. 1.    She encouraged listeners to visit    monikaherzig.com    and 
   igg.me/at/monika    for more information and to discover other ways to support her campaign, which focuses on promoting female jazz musicians through a 
CD release.

IDS    How did you become interested in jazz?

HERZIG    Well, when you’re a teenager you always have to play that piano by yourself. I was trying to find a way where I could (play) in a band or a group. So I had the chance to join some groups, then went to a summer jazz camp (in Germany) and got hooked.

IDS   When did you come to America from Germany?

HERZIG    That was in 1988 for an exchange program with the University of Alabama. I got my master’s there and then I came to IU for my doctorate.

IDS   What made you choose IU and the Jacobs School?

HERZIG    David Baker was one of the big attractions at that time. I actually had seen him in Germany when he led one of the camps close to our hometown. I wanted to do a doctoral program where I could have a lot of access to jazz, and IU had one.

IDS   How did that schooling inspire you to become not only a jazz artist but a teacher as well?

HERZIG   Jazz is a tough field these days, and my husband is a (jazz) player, too. So with raising a family on top of that, there’s always a variety of things that I’m doing. And I’ve always loved teaching about music education. In fact, all my degrees are in that field.

IDS   Along with teaching and performing, you’re directing the Indiegogo Campaign. What exactly is this project?

HERZIG    Well, on my last two CDs, I worked for a traditional label that paid for everything — the production, distribution. But these labels don’t exist anymore, and the amount that any label can provide is just getting less and less. So, crowd-funding is one of the current ways to make this possible. It’s saying, “Hey, I have this project. I want to do this.” And if you (as the listener) think it’s a good thing, instead of waiting for the work to be produced, why don’t you go ahead and pre-order it?

IDS   Where do female musicians like you fit into the campaign?

HERZIG   I’m gathering the leading female jazz instrumentalists for recording and videotaping.

The goal is to have an audio product as a documentary of the process, since female musicians have low participation in jazz. It will open more opportunities, create role models and just draw attention to the issue of low female numbers.

IDS   How do you think this campaign will help female jazz musicians?

HERZIG   There are many hidden hurdles for female jazz instrumentalists. Role models are missing, so it is still rare for female instrumentalists to decide to pursue a career as a jazz musician. The goal of this project is to showcase some of the amazing women who managed to overcome these hurdles in order to create role models.

 

© Indiana Daily Student 2014

MUSIC REVIEW: Behind the score ‘Rite of Spring’

All involved in ‘Behind the Score’ enterprise deserve kudos

By Peter Jacobi

 

Quite a crowd came to the Musical Arts Center Wednesday evening, and after the music ended, it erupted with cheers and a long standing ovation.

How different from 101 years ago at a theater in Paris where, during and after the performance of the same music, some in the gathered audience applauded but many hissed and booed. Some laughed, thinking they’d been made butts of a joke. Fistfights also broke out in the theater on that May evening, now remembered as the when of a scandal in the history of music, one of the most notorious.

The music on both occasions was Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.” In Paris, it served as ballet score. In Bloomington, it was meat just for an orchestra, more specifically the Indiana University Symphony Orchestra.

Now considered one of the most significant works of the 20th century, a piece that propelled the art form of music dramatically forward, it was chosen as this year’s candidate for a “Behind the Score” treatment. The instigator of the concept, which last year used another important masterwork, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, as the music so investigated, is violinist Jorja Fleezanis, part of whose responsibilities on the Jacobs School faculty is to enhance orchestral studies by teaching instrumental students how to be successful as symphony orchestra musicians. “Behind the Score” is meant, in one way, to do that: fill the musician’s mind with background on the music being played, to improve performance through clearer understanding.

The musicians of the Symphony Orchestra, in addition to going through the usual round of rehearsals for Wednesday’s concert, were taken “Behind the Score.”  Musicologist Gretchen Horlacher spoke to them about Stravinsky’s musical language and rhythms. Ballet Department chairman Michael Vernon treated them to critical background on “Rite” as a ballet. Russian music and Stravinsky scholar Richard Taruskin came from the University of California, Berkeley, to address them more broadly on the history of the piece as both ballet and concert favorite.

On Wednesday, the audience saw a 10-minute video by Jon Stante highlighting those pre-concert events.  Then, they heard the result: a dazzling performance led by guest conductor Grzegorz Nowak, who was called in after project co-instigator Cliff Colnot fell ill.  The Polish-born Nowak is principal associate conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London and artist-in-residence at Florida International University in Miami.  He came with an extensive professional background, and it showed.

The combination of Maestro Nowak’s conducting skills and briefings for students resulted in a riveting performance. Not many long-established professional orchestras could have improved upon what one heard.  The hundred or more musicians on stage — from Nowak to violinist Fleezanis (seated inconspicuously at the rear of the first violin section) and to the percussionists in the rear — were in the zone.  The wild and shifting rhythms, the severe dissonances, the mounting energy and explosive thrusts, the sudden nervous quiets, the bursts of drum-delivered, brass-supported salvos, the individual and mysterious solos, and the grand sweeps of an orchestra in artistic heat: all the elements above, fully mastered and thrillingly exhibited, were part of this extraordinary performance.

In introducing Wednesday’s program Fleezanis had voiced her belief that “Knowledge is power.” Well, a stage-filling host of knowledge-sharpened musicians with an experienced and knowing veteran conductor proved the point.  This was an exhilarating “Rite of Spring.”

During the ovation, conductor Nowak gently pushed Jorja Fleezanis to center stage with him, so for her to get a share of the audience tribute. The gesture brought another volley of cheers. All involved in this admirable “Behind the Score” enterprise deserve kudos.

 

© Herald Times 2014

 

Grigory Kalinovsky, Joseph Swensen named Starling Professors

BLOOMINGTON — Professors Grigory Kalinovsky and Joseph Swensen have been named the inaugural Starling Professors of Violin by the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

“The two appointments build on a decades-long relationship between the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation and the Jacobs School that has supported the nurturing of gifted violin students, helping them fully realize their potential,” said Jacobs Dean Gwyn Richards in a prepared statement.

The foundation’s support also assists with projects such as the school’s string academy and the Starling Chamber Players.

Kalinovsky joined the Jacobs School of Music faculty in the fall of 2013 and continues to teach at the Pinchas Zukerman Young Artists Program in Canada, Heifetz International Music Institute and Manhattan in the Mountains, where he is also one of the founding artistic directors. Previously a faculty member at Manhattan School of Music, Kalinovsky has taught at many summer music festivals, such as the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Maine, Soesterberg International Music Festival in Holland, Summit Music Festival in New York and Pavel Vernikov’s festival “Il Violino Magico” in Italy.

Swensen joined the Jacobs School of Music faculty in the fall of 2013. A winner of the Leventritt Foundation Sponsorship Award and the Avery Fisher Career Award, he has appeared as violin soloist with orchestras around the world.

 

© Herald Times 2014

Music from Nazi period focus of symposium, concert

Daniel Hope is the guest violinist and director for the Thursday concert.

Daniel Hope is the guest violinist and director for the Thursday concert.

By Peter Jacobi

 

Is the name Robert Dauber known to you? Or Gideon Klein? Or Hans Krasa, Erwin Schulhoff and Ilse Weber?

The likelihood is slim, but they’ll be celebrated this coming Thursday in a day-long symposium, “Terezin: Music and Memory During the Nazi Period,” that culminates with an evening concert at 8 in Auer Hall titled “The Music of Terezin: Forbidden Music.”

Dauber was a German composer; the rest were Czech. The five were among the many Jewish artists, musical and otherwise, who went through the concentration camp Terezin (Theresienstadt) to extermination elsewhere. While at Terezin, they helped to create a tradition for the arts. Most apparently became well aware that post-Terezin they faced death. While in the camp, however, they sought to keep their spirits up by engaging in work they loved and, thereby, lift some of the gloom at that notorious Holocaust way station. Their camp commanders, for the most part, encouraged the activity and benefited from the performances that resulted.

Returning to Bloomington as director and violinist of Thursday’s program is Daniel Hope who — in the late and last years of the Beaux Arts Trio — came here as its violinist, establishing friendships that still exist. “I’m really happy to come back,” he says, “and to see Menahem Pressler, a best of friends and avid supporter of my career and this project. I’m so glad to know he’s thriving.”

Hope says performances of music from Terezin, on CD and live, “led to research and immersion. Listening to the music became a journey for me into the world of Theresienstadt. I, at first, had heard none of the music, but when I did, it fascinated me. It was new. It was fresh. I really liked the music and what intrigued me was the tragic history that came with it. There was such promise in the music, promise that remains unfulfilled. Well, I began to play what was mine to play as violinist, and I began to seek out colleagues who could collaborate, among them a longtime friend, your Eric Kim, such a wonderful cellist. Through him, I could bring it to IU. And now, here we are.”

Kim had first heard Gideon Klein’s String Trio in 2000 and was “intrigued by the sound and the complexity of the composition. I almost immediately became interested in it. I became disturbed, listening and knowing the conditions under which Klein wrote the music. That music, of such value and beauty, should languish was wrong. I began to learn it and discovered that to play the trio was awkward, physically different. There were strange patterns in the bowing. The music was written apparently by a composer not that familiar with the strings, and yet, it was so interesting.”

Kim has done four “Music at Terezin” concerts. The effort to bring the concept here has been long standing. “The stars finally aligned, which pleases me. I want others, the avid fans here in Bloomington, to learn more about this troubling part of cultural history.” He recruited his brother Benny, a violinist and violist who teaches at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, to participate in the concert. Another cellist, Keith Robinson, founding member of the Miami String Quartet, will be here, recruited by Hope. Also on stage, you’ll see two members of the resident Pacifica quartet, violinist Sibbi Berhardsson and violist Masumi Rostad. They’ll all join in for a performance of Erwin Schulhoff’s Sextet for Strings, which Hope says is “possibly the most interesting and developed of all the music on the program.”

British pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips will contribute the necessary keyboard parts. And for three songs by Ilse Weber, at the invitation of Eric Kim, one of our favorite mezzos Marietta Simpson will provide her artistry and intensity of feeling. “I was initially interested in the project,” she says, “because I was very excited to have an opportunity to collaborate with my colleagues on the Jacobs faculty. I was unfamiliar with the music of Terezin when Eric invited me. After researching the story of the camp and the culture and art that was created within its gates, reading about the composer and listening to the music, I was deeply moved and wanted to be part of the performance.

“Each of the three songs I’ll be singing,” Simpson continues, “describes a different scene of life in the camp. In the first, “Ich wandere durch Theresienstadt,” the singer wanders the streets of the camp, thinking of home and wondering when the suffering will end. In the second, “Und Regen rinnt,” the rain falls continuously. The singer’s heart is heavy because her child, who will never carol or see misery, is far away. In the final song, “Wiegala,” I sing a cradle song to her child. The moon is the lantern to the dark world, and there is no sound to disturb the sweet repose. The melodic lines of all the songs, which are strophic, are beautiful and show no trace of the sorrow or hardships that must have touched the life of the composer in the camp.”

Violinist Hope expresses hope those of us who come to the concert will “listen with open ears and discover new music written under such adversity but rarely contains feeling of strife. Some is quite upbeat and inspirational. I think some who attend will go away in awe.”

 

© Herald Times 2014

MUSIC REVIEW: New Music Ensemble and David Rakowki

By Peter Jacobi

 

With assistance from the magnanimous Georgina Joshi Foundation and its support for the Five Friends Master Class Series, the New Music Ensemble was able to bring composer David Rakowski to campus for a busy week with composition students in the Indiana University Jacobs School.

The gig ended Thursday evening in Auer Hall with a concert by the ensemble that included two of Rakowski’s works, along with the premiere of a warmhearted and attractive piece by Jacobs School faculty composer Don Freund, titled “Use Your Inside Voice: Moderate Music for 17 Players.”

Rakowski is a Vermont-born-and-raised fellow who first studied trombone and then composing at the New England Conservatory, Princeton and Tanglewood. That has led to a busy life of creating and teaching music. Currently, he serves as Naumburg Professor of Composition at Brandeis University.

He and New Music Ensemble director David Dzubay chose two works of Rakowski, one called “Stolen Moments” for the ensemble, the other a package of three items from his Piano Etudes. For those, Kathy Tai-Hsuan, a doctoral candidate in piano performance, took the stage and created a stir with her deft handling of the music.

“Stolen Moments” moves cleverly, elegantly through four brief movements, with five winds sometimes contrasting, sometimes joining a string quartet. The piano has been carefully tossed in as a complicating third orchestral element. The content features, all subtly interwoven, jazz, the tango and what is definitely chamber music, contemporary and not so. The whole makes one listen for the spice and variety built in and for the loveliness and aural uniqueness of what one hears. The music sounds fresh, welcomes thinking about one’s own stolen moments, and indicates that the composer has found his voice.

Rakowski’s three etudes are titled “Diminishing Returns,” “Quietude” and “Narcissitude.” The first hints at minimalism, with repeated patterns of notes, but here starting from a diminished state, building force, then diminishing again. “Quietude” is restoratively quiet. “Narcissitude” is a showpiece requiring the pianist to deal with ever intensifying speed. Lee truly aced the challenge.

Thursday’s Don Freund premiere celebrates music, the composer says, that “is not terribly loud or blazingly fast or mysteriously quiet or remarkably insistent.” Indeed, the 17 New Music Ensemble players retained a moderation that relaxed this listener and gave him pleasure. Freund referred to the piece as “sweet.” It turned out to be that, thanks to Freund’s imagination, the ensemble’s excellent and sensitive musicians, and ensemble director Dzubay’s contributing interpretation. Everyone performing worked to capture the proper flavor and they did.

To open the concert, Dzubay chose Otto Ketting’s 1972 rather frequently performed “Time Machine.” Its reading, led by Dzubay, had plenty of intended drive and brassiness. I commend the playing. The music itself did not thrill me because of the excessive brassiness and because, for all its drive, it seemed not to go anywhere.

 

© Herald Times 2014

MUSIC REVIEW: Percussion Ensemble

By Peter Jacobi

 

All the sound softening panels hung low earlier on Sunday afternoon in Auer Hall for an IU Percussion Ensemble concert.

Good thing, for immediately, six drummers lined up stage front to pepper the air with rolling volleys of sound, sometimes in perfect unison, sometimes in counterpoint, but all carefully prepared to give IU alum Bruce Hamilton’s noisy yet compelling exercise, “Raptures of Undream,” a worthy reading.

As would be the case with the other four compositions on the program, “Raptures of Undream” was performed without benefit of conductor. Ensemble directors John Tafoya and Kevin Bobo were very much present but, on this occasion, did not conduct. The students led themselves, most successfully, meaning that not only were the musicians in the ensemble gifted as percussionists but as team players.

The stage had been set shrewdly so that delays between numbers were briefer than usual at these affairs. The program moved along smoothly, from Jonathan Leshnoff’s gentler “without a chance,” for three players on marimba and such, to Ivan Travino’s “Six,” a cleverly designed and complex-to-play mallet sextet. Paul Elwood’s “A Bowl of Light,” written for a quartet of very busy, move-around percussionists, gave way to another challenge for four, “Deep Carving,” by Jacobs School faculty composer Aaron Travers, inspired by carvings of the Northwest Coast First Nations people and creatively scored for unusual, mostly wood and skin, instruments.

The Percussion Ensemble boasts a dozen-and-a-half musicians. They’re all very good, and a very good show they gave Sunday’s audience.

 

© Herald Times 2014

 

MUSIC REVIEW: University Orchestra

By Peter Jacobi

 

Michael Palmer is here for a pair of performances.

The seasoned and knowing conductor, who graduated from the Indiana University Jacobs School, went on to gather all sorts of professional and academic credentials and now serves as distinguished professor of orchestral studies at Georgia State University, returned to guest conduct Sunday afternoon’s University Orchestra program in the Musical Arts Center.

Next Tuesday, he picks up the baton again for a performance of Benjamin Britten’s grand plea for peace, the remarkable “War Requiem.”

Installment 1 of his obligations, Sunday’s concert, revealed Maestro Palmer as someone who can coalesce a stage-filling assemblage of young musicians and cause them to play with commendable unity and a grasp of what the music they’re playing is meant to convey. He impressed.

Four minutes of Stravinsky in wild rhythm mode and good humor, his “Scherzo a la russe,” got the concert underway boldly and energetically. Palmer had the players in full control, to make a statement about the impact of unity.

He followed with a premiere, a doctoral dissertation piece by Benjamin Taylor, “Worlds without End,” music, the composer says, “stands as a tribute to God” and the infinitude of His creations. The one-movement composition shows a skill for orchestration and an imagination at work. One discerns a spaciousness in the score, a sense of distances and wonder for the reality of the cosmos, wonder about a beckoning universe. Taylor’s mind, the music tells us, has been touched by “Star Wars” and Wagner, by Stravinsky and a here-and-there contemporary American composer (take your choice), as he sought to shape his vivid soundscape, one probably still in a state of flux but already capable of provoking the ears. Palmer and company gave the piece a well-prepared introduction.

The performance of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7 was lush and lovely, appropriate for a lush and lovely work meant to reflect and celebrate the composer’s nationalistic feeling for his Czech homeland.

 

© Herald Times 2014

Trae Blanco declared a finalist in The American Prize in Conducting – Band/Wind Ensemble Division

Trae Blanco, MM in Wind Conducting 2014, was declared a finalist in The American Prize in Conducting – Band/Wind Ensemble Division. The American Prize recognizes and celebrates excellence in the arts.  A student of Professor of Music Stephen Pratt, Trae was a student at the Jacobs School of Music from 2013-2014 and is currently pursuing a doctorate in music at Arizona State University.

 

http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/conductor-winner-runners-up-band.html?m=1

 

http://www.theamericanprize.org/

Conductor Paul Mauffray awarded an Honorable Mention in The American Prize competition

Paul paul hMauffray, conductor, Hradec Kralove Philharmonic, Czech Republic, has been awarded an Honorable Mentionin the professional orchestra division of The American Prize in Conducting.Maestro Mauffray was selected from applications reviewed this year from all across the United States. The American Prizeis a series of new, non-profit competitions unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States based on submitted recordings. The American Prize was founded in 2009 and is awarded annually in many areas of the performing arts. Complete information on the website: www.theamericanprize.org.
 
Conductor Paul Mauffray began his music studies at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and Louisiana State University. He was awarded 2nd Prize in the 2007 Bartok Conducting Competition and has 20 years of professional conducting experience with European orchestras and operas in Prague, Brno, Bratislava, Lyon, Salzburg, and Vienna. After studying musicology in Germany and in the Czech Republic, he earned his master’s degree in orchestral conducting at Indiana University where he was engaged as Associate Instructor. Recently he conducted at the Bucharest National Opera, Slovak National Opera, Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg, and appeared frequently as conductor with violin-soloist Tomas Vinklat from the Vienna Philharmonic. Paul Mauffray has also been a frequent guest conductor with the Hradec Kralove Philharmonic, Janacek Philharmonic, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Zlin, and with the Schoenbrunn Palace Orchestra in Vienna.  He is currently reconstructing and performing the 1894 opera “Tabasco” by George W. Chadwick.

Dale Hedding (BM ’86) Joins Arts Consulting Group

Dale-Hedding-3383041_220Nonprofit fundraising expert Dale C. Hedding (BM ’86) has joined Arts Consulting Group as vice president. Mr. Hedding will lead the firm’s growing revenue enhancement practice, working with arts and culture organizations throughout North America. Most recently, Mr. Hedding served as vice president of development of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Hedding served four years as principal trombone in the U.S. Air Force Band of New England. Mr. Hedding received his Bachelor of Music from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and Master of Business Administration in Arts Administration from Binghamton University School of Management, State University of New York.

More Information Here:                 http://www.artsconsulting.com/pdf_acg_news/hedding_acg_release.pdf