Indiana University Bloomington

2017 Indianapolis Matinee Musicale winners


Congratulations to the following Jacobs School of Music students, who won awards in the 2017 Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Scholarship Competition!

Soyoung Kim

Soyoung Kim


FIRST PRIZE: $2,500  Soyoung Kim  (A.D. student of Arnaldo Cohen)
SECOND PRIZE: $1,500  Boyoung Kim  (M.M. student of Arnaldo Cohen)


Michael Day

Michael Day


FIRST PRIZE: $2,500  Michael Day – tenor (P.D. student of Andreas Poulimenos)
SECOND PRIZE: $1,500  Hayley Lipke – soprano (M.M. student of Jane Dutton)


Nikola Begovic

Nikola Begovic


FIRST PRIZE: $2,500  Nikola Begovic – guitar (M.M. student of Ernesto Bitetti)
SECOND PRIZE: $1,500  Beste Toparlak – harp (A.D. student of Elizabeth Hainen and Elzbieta Szmyt)



FIRST PRIZE: $1,250  Bingyu Hu (B.M. student of Norman Krieger)
SECOND PRIZE: $1,000  Adam Coleman (B.M. student of Evelyne Brancart)


FIRST PRIZE: $1,250  Katherine Jones – soprano (B.M. student of Alice Hopper)
SECOND PRIZE: $1,000  Amy Wooster – soprano (B.M. student of Carlos Montané)


FIRST PRIZE: $1,250  Crystal Kim – cello (B.M. student of Peter Stumpf)
SECOND PRIZE: $1,000  Arman Nasrinpay – violin (B.M. student of Simin Ganatra)

The Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Collegiate Scholarship Competition was started in 1958 by Helen Crandall, a renowned voice teacher in Indianapolis. Since that date, more than $353, 800 has been awarded to more than 799 graduate and undergraduate music students in the state of Indiana. Each year, approximately $19, 000 in prizes is allocated. Many winners have gone on to international careers.

Recipients include such noted musicians as Sylvia McNair, Otis Murphy, and Peter Jankovic.

Review: NOTUS, orchestra provide powerful concert

By Peter Jacobi H-T Reviewer |




Programs prepared by Dominick DiOrio for NOTUS Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, the chamber chorus he directs, are always fascinating and beautifully prepared. Sunday afternoon’s concert, titled “O, Fallen Star, Depictions of Death in Air and String,” proved no exception and drew a large audience to Auer Hall.

That audience remained dramatically silent when conductor DiOrio turned the music on and became just as dramatically vociferous when he turned it off, the listeners responding to what was heard with justifiable praise. The afternoon’s fare consisted of two items of scope: Jennifer Higdon’s 2005 ode, “Dooryard Bloom,” and James MacMillan’s harrowing depiction of the “Seven Last Words from the Cross.”

American composer Higdon’s work reflects Walt Whitman’s “Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” the poet’s elegy marking the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. There is sadness in the words and the music. There is anger. There is contemplation. It may be unusual to say for a vocal composition that the instrumental music is more interesting, but so it was to this reviewer’s ears.

For the chamber orchestra, Higdon used an appropriately lyrical yet restrained style that artistically benefits the mournful content. For the vocal line, on the other hand, she reverted to a speech-song method that became popular among composers several decades earlier, around the mid-20th century, in which the musical line often failed to support the verbal content.

The composition’s performance, however, was potent because the vocal soloist, Connor Lidell, so generously lavished the power of his baritone and the conviction in his musicality on what the score asked him to do. So, in fact, did his colleagues. Lidell, the IU Chamber Orchestra and conductor DiOrio gave the music all they could and then some.

With the orchestra reduced to just the strings but with the choral ensemble on stage and Lidell’s presence in the middle of it, Maestro DiOrio turned to MacMillan’s representation of the words attributed in the New Testament to Jesus Christ during his crucifixion.

For each of the sayings — from “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” to “Father, into Thy hands I commend my Spirit” — MacMillan, a proud Scot and loyal Catholic, composed a setting expressive of the words Jesus uttered: calming or beseeching or lamenting or forgiving. The whole of the cantata is passionate, whether quietly or deafeningly, and at the start of the sixth movement, “It is finished,” the music turns shattering with three hammer blows that brutally foretell what’s soon to come.

MacMillan’s music is powerful. Sunday’s reading was powerful, fully in sync with how the composer addressed this grief-rousing biblical tragedy. DiOrio knew what he wanted in way of performance and had his musicians, the orchestral and the choral, immersed, so to capture the startling beauties that the composer ascribed to this momentous story.

© Herald Times 2017

PBS show ‘A Craftsman’s Legacy’ films episode about local horn maker

By Marcela Creps 812-331-4375 |

Natural horn maker Rick Seraphinoff (left) and “A Craftman’s Legacy” host Eric Gorges chat between filming. The PBS show visited Bloomington over the weekend for an upcoming segment featuring Seraphinoff. Marcela Creps | Herald-Times

Natural horns in various states of completion are shown inside Rick Seraphinoff’s studio. The film crew for “A Craftsman’s Legacy” visited Bloomington recently to film an upcoming segment that will feature Seraphinoff and his natural horns. Marcela Creps | Herald-Times

Natural horns in various states of completion are shown inside Rick Seraphinoff’s studio. The film crew for “A Craftsman’s Legacy” visited Bloomington recently to film an upcoming segment that will feature Seraphinoff and his natural horns. Marcela Creps | Herald-Times

How many different ways can you invite someone inside your workshop?

Rick Seraphinoff is a natural horn maker who lives in eastern Monroe County. This past weekend, he had an opportunity to showcase his craft as he filmed an upcoming episode of “A Craftsman’s Legacy.”

Eric Gorges, host of the PBS show, stood outside Seraphinoff’s workshop on Sunday morning. Although the two had already met, the first filming of the day was to capture Gorges arriving at the shop.

“Wanna come in and see where the horns are made?” Seraphinoff asked during one of the takes.

Through the multiple takes, Seraphinoff and his wife, Celeste Holler-Seraphinoff, exit the workshop and greet Gorges.

Once filming outside is done, the trio head inside the workshop where filming has been happening since Saturday.

The film crew for “A Craftsman’s Legacy” set up cameras to shoot a segment for the show. The crew was in town to film horn maker Richard Seraphinoff. Marcela Creps | Herald-Times

Gorges, who hails from Michigan, is currently traveling around the country to film the show’s fourth season. In previous episodes, they have featured musical instrument makers but also woodworkers, soap makers, ceramic artists and sculptors.

Gorges is a metal shaper and motorcycle builder who appreciates craftspeople. This show allows him an opportunity to learn about those people and tell their stories to a larger audience.

“I have a blessed life, and I tell people that every day,” Gorges said.

Prior to arriving in Bloomington, the team behind the show has been busy working out all the details. During the planning, Seraphinoff was able to offer up potential steps in the process that could be filmed since there wouldn’t be time to show the entire process from start to finish.

Gorges said it probably takes hundreds of hours to get everything set up and shot for the show.

“Some people don’t realize how much time it takes to shoot a show,” Gorges said.

For the next scene shot on Sunday, Gorges had an opportunity to weld a piece of brass. The previously flat piece has been rolled into a cylinder shape and now the seam needs to be welded shut.

“I really like working with a torch,” Gorges said.

Seraphinoff demonstrates the process then hands it over to Gorges. There is little discussion as Seraphinoff watches Gorges work.

“You might make it all the way to the end,” Seraphinoff said. When Gorges is done, Seraphinoff praises the work.

“He catches on really fast,” Seraphinoff said.

For the Seraphinoffs, it’s been fun to participate in the show that will air sometime this fall. The two had a lot to prepare for before the film crews arrived including getting the shop cleaned up and camera ready.

“Don’t look too close,” Celeste Holler-Seraphinoff said, adding that they didn’t worry so much about items stashed underneath the tables as they figured the camera wouldn’t catch that.

With no prior television experience, the two are impressed by the number of hours it takes to film a half-hour program. There’s also been a lot of lingo spoken that they are starting to understand.

“It’s been amazing. We’ve learned so much,” Rick Seraphinoff said.

More Information

“A Craftsman’s Legacy” airs on WTIU’s Family Channel at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday and on its main channel at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. It airs on WFYI at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and WFYI Plus at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday. It also airs on WIPB Create from 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday and its main channel at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Learn more about the show online at

© Herald Times 2017

Organ student Hansol Kim wins national competition for organists

Indiana University Jacobs School of Music student Hansol Kim won first place in the Fox Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists Scholarship Competition February 18 in Chicago. Ms. Kim, who is currently pursuing a Performer’s Diploma in Organ, has been as a student of Dr. Janette Fishell, chair of the Jacobs School Organ Department. The prize includes a cash award and a winner’s recital on April 28 in Chicago.

Ms. Kim has been awarded many prizes including first place in the Strader Competition, the Mokwon University Competition, the Korea Baptist Theological University Competition, the Keimyung University Competition, the Daeshin University Competition and Joint Second Place in the Naeil Organ competition.

Hope for the Future of Classical Music

Peter Jacobi

By Peter Jacobi H-T Columnist

On his blog, Greg Sandow wrote: “This week I’m flying out to visit the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, which, of course, is one of the biggest and most important conservatories in the US.

I’ll be the guest of their Office of Entrepreneurship and Career Development. I’ll meet with the people who run it, see what they’re doing. And I’ll have other meetings with faculty and administration. … I’ll also attend performances, most notably — since the school is famous for its opera department — a production of Handel’s ‘Rodelinda.’”

Among Sandow’s other doings while here in Bloomington this past week was “a talk on the future of classical music.” I attended that event. It proved informative and provocative.

And just who is Greg Sandow?

Greg Sandow

He is a composer with four operas to his credit, including “Frankenstein.” He is a highly productive writer on music, both classical and pop, and he’s been an influential critic, too. Sandow’s byline has appeared in the Village Voice, New York Times Book Review, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Opera News and Entertainment Weekly. He’s done consulting. He now teaches at the Juilliard School and provides blogs about the future of classical music on the website. His bio also notes he’s written extensively about unidentified flying objects.

Sandow’s major efforts these days, however, concern the future of classical music; it’s the subject of a graduate course he teaches at Juilliard and, as noted above, was the reason for his visit to IU.

From what I heard lecturer Sandow say, he believes classical music has a future. What gets in the way, he argues, are dusty traditions and an inflexibility stemming from blind loyalty to those traditions. He played a tenor aria from Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” one that is followed by a famous love duet. The tenor: Ivan Kozlovsky, Ukrainian-born, a favorite of Stalin, and longtime star at the Bolshoi in Moscow.

Kozlovsky sings beautifully, lyrically, effortlessly but holds on to the high notes, a habit of his. Sandow asked: “Would we in the West tolerate those long high notes?” Probably not, thanks to most present-day conductors, but fans in Soviet Russia went wild hearing their beloved tenor show off.

Later in his lecture, Sandow turned to another tenor, Franco Corelli, who held on and on and on to the final phrase of “E lucevan le stelle” (“And the stars shone”), Cavaradossi’s pre-death aria longing for his beloved Tosca in Puccini’s opera.

Audience response on that recording came as an explosion of bravos, an acknowledgement of a magnificent voice and a tenor’s decision to use rhythmic liberties for a thrilling effect. There were young people in that audience, young people who — it is often claimed — reject classical music. These obviously didn’t. Fans accept things special, daring, different, unexpected. Practitioners of the classics, Sandow was arguing, need to consider more dangerous performance options to award listeners with an element of surprise.

On the other hand, following a listen to a dose of classic chamber music, Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio as played by violinist Jacques Thibaud, pianist Alfred Cortot and cellist Pablo Casals, one sensed the winning trait was just magnificence and honesty of performance tied to music artists don’t or shouldn’t interpretively distort for effect. And, Sandow pointed out, following a recorded performance by Patricia Kopatchinskaya and the ensemble Musica Aeterna of the third movement from Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, that when a masterpiece is played with such brilliance, no matter who the audience, the reaction will be “Wow!”

Using Bob Dylan’s pop anthem, “Duquesne Whistle,” Sandow illustrated another lesson: message. For today’s younger fans of music, art with something to say has become a critical factor: offer a strong message set to music that fits. While for those of us who’ve been around for a multitude of years, the beauty in a piece of music added to beauty of performance can be sufficient to make us weep or smile or turn angry or be inspired, that’s less likely a newcomer’s reaction.

Even just seeing a cellist amidst an orchestra’s body of cellists smiling through a passage, believe me, can strike a chord and bring a smile; it happened to me at the University Orchestra concert a week ago. Even a gorgeous ending, again, believe me, can bring tears to the eyes. “How can anything be so beautiful?” I’ll ask myself and weep.

Younger fans often require more to become convinced that a musical work outside the boundaries of pop can be important, can be emotionally entangling. But that is what’s required for classical music to stay around and prosper with broader acceptance. “Classical music won’t die,” Greg Sandow predicts, “but it will be reborn, reconnecting with our larger cultural life to become a truly contemporary art.

“That will bring great changes,” Sandow continues, “including — and I think this is crucial — much less emphasis on our old, beloved masterworks, which now lie at the heart of our repertoire. Is that a drastic change? I’m sure it will be for some of us. But classical music can’t connect with the current world if it is lost in the past. Once we do reconnect, I think we’ll find we’ve been missing a lot. We’ll explode with new life, becoming not just more relevant but also more vital, more diverse, and more deeply artistic.”

Sandow’s “we” refers, I think, to those not yet committed, to those who dismiss the importance of the classics. I think the “we” also refers to those of us already deeply committed to the classics but who resist change and must come to accept it, lest we lose what we so love.

Every kind of “we” is necessary, advises composer/critic/writer/teacher Greg Sandow, for the best of all possible future for classical music. He’s betting that it will live. I’m hoping it will.

In the meantime, happy birthday, happy 90th, to soprano Leontyne Price! Her birthday was this past Friday. Her “classical” artistry fits past, present and future.

Contact Peter Jacobi at

Historical Performance Institute calls for papers: second-annual international conference

The Historical Performance Institute of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music invites the submission of abstracts for its second-annual international conference – Historical Performance: Theory, Practice, and Interdisciplinarity – to be convened 19-21 May 2017, on the IU Bloomington campus.

The three-day event will bring together scholar-performers (and performer-scholars) to present new research findings and hypotheses, engage in conversation, and consider emergent areas in historical performance research. Scholars and practitioners working within arts or humanities disciplines adjacent to the field of music are particularly encouraged to contribute.

Plenary speakers to include:
Margaret Bent (All Souls College, Oxford)
Davitt Moroney (University of California, Berkeley)
Laurie Stras (University of Southampton)
Claire Holden, Eric Clarke (University of Oxford)
* Holden/Clarke C19th Performance Practice Project – learn more
Nick Wilson (King’s College, London) – learn more
Guest speakers/performers:
Kenneth Slowik (Smithsonian Institution)
Catalina Vicens (Leiden University)
Convened by Jacobs Professor Dana Marsh (Director, Historical Performance Institute)

Margaret Bent

Davitt Moroney













Please send abstracts via email with the subject line – HPI Conference Abstract – to Mr Sung Lee ( no later than February 25, 2017. Receipt of all submissions will be acknowledged, with final notifications sent by March 3. Abstracts may focus on any subject germane to historical performance practice, from the Middle Ages through to the early-twentieth century, including but not limited to:

• Interdisciplinary studies
• Memory and improvisation
• Gaps/links between historical literature/theory and modern interpretation
• Source studies and methodology
• Early music theory: interpretation and performance
• Unnotated elements of style and practice
• Anniversary studies – e.g., Monteverdi, Isaac, the Lutheran Reformation, etc.
• Organology
• Performance practice and early recorded sound
• Ethnography and critical theory in historical performance research
• HIP: modern relevance, entrepreneurship, and cultural production

Especially welcome will be abstracts (maximum 250 words) that are cogent and concise, intelligible to non-specialists, and

• put forward an evidence-based argument with particular relevance to performance practice procedures;
• take fully into account previous research linked with the topic at hand;
• articulate the broader implications and significance of the argument for historical performance research and practice more generally.

Submissions will be screened anonymously. Accepted papers may be considered for publication in the second annual issue of the journal, Historical Performance, IU Press, 2018.

This conference is open to the public and free of charge, thanks to the generous support of the Indiana University Institute for Advanced Study, and the Jacobs School of Music.

The inaugural conference program (May 2016) can be viewed by clicking here.

Composers LaRosa, Stang and Recio named winners of 2017 NOTUS contest

Christopher LaRosa, Nathan Stang, and Matthew Recio have been named the first-, second- and third-prize winners, respectively, of this year’s NOTUS Student Composition Contest. All are current doctoral students majoring in composition at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

LaRosa’s first-prize work is Jesus Wept for mixed chorus a cappella. LaRosa is currently pursuing a Doctor of Music degree in composition at the Jacobs School, where he also serves as an associate instructor in the music theory department. His composition teachers have included Claude Baker, John Gibson, Jeffrey Hass, P.Q. Phan, John Wallace and Dana Wilson. LaRosa was the second-prize winner of last year’s NOTUS contest.

LaRosa offers that there is no program note for his work outside of the text and that the text and music will speak for itself when heard at the NOTUS concert in the spring. The text reads “Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, ‘See how He loved him!”

Stang’s second-prize work is O Felix Anima for mixed chorus and organ. He says of his work, “The text of O felix anima has its source in Hildegard von Bingen’s morality play Ordo Virtutum. Melodic material from Hildegard’s own setting of this text is used in the present composition, wherein phrases from the chant are introduced in the organ. Melodic cells and motives from the phrases exposed are then taken up and developed by the choir.”

Finally, composer Recio is this year’s third-prize winner for his work Echo. Recio completed his M.M. in composition from the Jacobs School last year, and he is currently in his first year of doctoral coursework. In addition to being the first-prize winner of the 2016 NOTUS contest, Recio has been a baritone in NOTUS for the last three years.

NOTUS will perform LaRosa’s prize-winning work during their final concert of the semester: This View of Life: Serendipity in Song on Saturday, April 1, 2017, in Auer Concert Hall at 8pm. They will also perform this work at Anderson University on Thursday, March 23, 2017. These concerts will feature a world premiere of Don Freund’s new commissioned work Popping Bubbles, and performances of music by composers Shawn Crouch, Chen Yi, Lansing McLoskey, Wilma Alba Cal, Hyo-Won Woo and Luciano Berio. NOTUS will perform the works by Stang and Recio during the 2017-18 academic year.

The judges also awarded two honorable mentions, for John William Griffith’s Comme Je Trouve and Kathryn Jorgensen’s Un Paseo Por La Oscuridad.

The contest is an initiative of Dominick DiOrio, associate professor of music and director of NOTUS: IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble. The annual competition is open to all current undergraduate and graduate students at the Jacobs School of Music.

Judges for the competition included Claude Baker, Class of 1956 Chancellor’s professor of music (composition), Duane Davis, adjunct lecturer in music (choral conducting/jazz studies), and Maria Hagan, member of NOTUS and associate instructor/doctoral student in choral conducting. DiOrio did not take part in the judging panel. The submission of scores was anonymous and the judges did not see names or identifying information until after final decisions were made.


Christopher LaRosa

Christopher LaRosa

Christopher LaRosa’s music displays a fascination for temporal perception, human aggression and compassion, natural phenomena and technological advancements. His music has been described as “deftly crafted” by the Boston Classical Review and “charismatic, well scored, and positively received” by the Hartford Courant.  His experience in the electronic music studio permeates his acoustic compositions, where texture, timbre and spatialization gain equal footing with melody, harmony and counterpoint.  LaRosa has received commissions from the American Guild of Organists, Atlantic Coast Conference Band Directors Association and Hartford Symphony Orchestra.  His music has been performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia by ensembles such as the United States Marine Band, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, the Boston New Music Initiative, CEPROMUSIC, the Genesis Chamber Singers and NOTUS. LaRosa is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he serves as an associate instructor for the theory department. During the summer of 2016, he studied electronic music creation and critique at IRCAM in Paris. In 2015, he earned a master’s degree from Boston University. LaRosa completed his undergraduate studies at Ithaca College. He has studied with Claude Baker, John Gibson, Jeffrey Hass, P.Q. Phan, John Wallace and Dana Wilson.


Nathan Stang

Nathan Stang

Nathan Stang is a composer, teacher, cat lover and organist currently pursuing a Doctor of Music degree at the Jacobs School of Music. He often finds inspiration for his music in visual art and film but counts the sounds, tunes and rhythms of video game soundtracks among his principal influences. Much of his music is marked by a distinct lightness and humor, and, preferring to compose in short-form, his output contains many suites and multi-movement works. Stang has received much recognition for his work as a composer, including an award from the Rochester Society of Chamber Music for his brass quintet Moments Musicaux, and, most recently, the Howard Hanson Prize for his Undertow for wind orchestra. Additional recognition came with the awarding of a grant from Stetson University for the composition of his Missa Brevis, as well as a scholarship for continued study from the Presser Foundation. A native of central Florida, he holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Theory and Composition from Stetson University and a Master of Music degree in Composition from the Eastman School of Music. Future projects include plans to adapt Sherwood Anderson’s short story Death in the Woods as a monodrama for tenor and chamber ensemble.


Matthew Recio

Matthew Recio

Composer of various mediums, Matthew Recio’s evocative compositions generate a vivid imagistic experience for listeners. His collaborations with dancers, artists, writers and filmmakers offer a full spectrum of auditory and visual sensations. He is a graduate of Ithaca College, with a B.M. in composition and music education, and is pursuing his D.M. at Indiana this fall where he also received his M.M. in composition. The past two years, he represented Indiana at the Midwest Festival and collaborated in the Hammer and Nail project, the Double Exposure Live Film Scoring Initiative and the String Quartet Collaboration Project. As an active choral singer and writer, he was a winner of the 2016 NOTUS competition, 2016 Cincinnati Camerata competition and New Voices Opera competition (2017 premiere), and finalist for Michael Kerschner’s Young New Yorker’s Chorus competition and 2016 Morton Gould Award, and chosen for the 2016 ACDA master class with Ēriks Ešenvalds featuring the C4 choir. His instrumental works have won him the 2015 IMTA Opus Young Artist competition, featured composer of the UNK Contemporary Festival and the 2015 Quartet Nouveau competition. His choral works have placed him as a semi-finalist in the American Prize Competition. This past summer, he was excited to have been awarded a fellowship composer position at the Norfolk Chamber Series hosted by the Yale School of Music. He was also selected as a composition and choral fellow for Donald Nally’s award winning choir, The Crossing.

The Liberation Music Collective

by Scott Gotschall

Students in the Jacobs School of Music Jazz Studies Department benefit from a world class education and working with faculty at the top of their field. An equally important benefit is being in an environment of talented peers with diverse musical interests and the opportunity to collaborate with these peers. One student group that has now been together for more than a year and has displayed discipline and creativity in both their music and their message is the Liberation Music Collective. Founded as a musical outlet to process recent events in Ferguson, MO and the Black Lives Matter movement, the LMC was formed with an entrepreneurial spirit and social awareness that echoes the significant statements of Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra.

The Liberation Music Collective was founded in 2015 by bassist and vocalist Hannah Fidler, and trumpeter Matt Riggen. In their own words:

Hannah Fidler

Hannah Fidler

We bring a fresh 21st-century approach to the tradition of protest music in jazz, following in the footsteps of Charlie Haden, Max Roach, Charles Mingus, and many others. In addition to the jazz canon, we draw from the plurality of genres present in America, including hip-hop, Afro-Cuban music, Sacred Harp hymns, Islamic liturgy, and post-modern classical music. By focusing on social issues and embracing this plurality of styles within a jazz context, we hope to bring jazz back into the socially provocative music of our era.

In their beginning stages, the LMC looked to IU Jazz Professor Wayne Wallace as a mentor. A band leader himself with decades of experience, Wallace also runs his own record label, Patois Records. With Wallace’s guidance the initial idea started to take form. Wallace embraces the idea of music as social commentary that Fidler and Riggen are presenting. He notes, “Improvisational music constantly looks for inspiration from, not only new ideas, but re-examining the roots of what has come before. I believe this is the direction that young jazz musicians are embracing wholeheartedly. The Liberation Music Collective is a prime example of this growing movement.”

Matt Riggen

Matt Riggen

Liberation Music Collective released their first album, Siglo XXI, in 2015, and they have been performing regularly in Bloomington and beyond, spreading their music and their message. Last February, LMC collaborated with Yaël Ksander and the Brown County Writers, Readers and Poets Society (WRAPS) for their Utopia project, which explored the history of “perfect communities” that were founded in Indiana. Fidler remarked that she particularly enjoyed the experience, “It was phenomenal to work with Yaël Ksander and the writers from WRAPS. That was a very fruitful collaboration. I think there was also something uniquely rewarding about staging a full-length jazz drama.” The Utopia project was also sponsored by Project Jumpstart within the Office of Entrepreneurship and Career Development at the Jacobs School of Music. Alain Barker, the director of OECD, also mentors the group.

Liberation Music Collective

The Liberation Music Collective has also found the surrounding community to be supportive of their performances. Some of the venues LMC has been featured include the Jazz Fables series at Bear’s Place, Bloomington Cooperative Living (as part of a fundraiser for Middle Way House Domestic Violence Shelter), Merriman’s Playhouse in South Bend, IN, the B’town Jazzfest, IU’s First Thursdays Arts & Humanities Festival, and The Blockhouse.

Currently, the group is filming their first music video, planning to work with a local high school running a composition workshop, composing their own jazz suite about the election, and planning to record their second album. To stay informed on the group’s performances, visit their website and their Facebook page. Hear the Liberation Music Collective and learn more about their music on their Youtube channel.

New Release: Basically Baker, Vol. 2: The Big Band Music of David Baker

by Scott Gotschall

Basically Baker, Vol. 2: The Big Band Music of David Baker, the latest CD from the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra, was released September 23 on Patois Records. A sequel to the celebrated 2007 release Basically Baker, the new double-CD album received a four-star review in December issue of DownBeat Magazine and made the list of Best Albums of 2016 in the January 2017 issue. Doug Ramsey selected it for his “Monday Recommendation” on his Rifftides blog on November 7, and it broke into the top 50 of the JazzWeek radio charts for November 14, reaching number 33 on the December 5 chart. The album is available on Amazon and iTunes.

Basically Baker 2Basically Baker, Vol. 2 features ten of David Baker’s original compositions plus his arrangement of Dizzy Gillespie’s “Bebop” performed by a band that includes many IU Jazz faculty and alums. The band was joined by New York saxophonist Rich Perry and lead trumpeter Tony Kadleck. Guest soloists include IU alum Randy Brecker and faculty members Wayne Wallace and Dave Stryker. The project is funded in part through Indiegogo and proceeds from sales of the album will go to help support the David N. Baker Scholarship fund to benefit students of the Jacobs School of Music Jazz Studies Program.

The impetus for the first Basically Baker album was the fact that, although David Baker had composed hundreds of pieces for big band, very little of that repertoire had ever been recorded or even heard outside of the Bloomington campus. The desire to “get the music out there” led to recording Basically Baker, which was named by Downbeat one of the top 100 albums of the 2000s.

The current album has a somewhat different but no less monumental purpose – to honor David Baker himself. After Baker’s passing in March, Brent Wallarab and Mark Buselli wanted to honor the man and his music. Wallarab spent a month in the archives of the Jacobs School of Music library combing through recordings of Baker’s student big bands from the past five decades. The songs that were eventually chosen mostly came from between 1965 and 1975. These, says Wallarab, represent Baker at perhaps his most experimental. Three compositions – “Georgia Peach” (based on “Sweet Georgia Brown”), “Harlem Pipes” (a tribute to Baker’s friend and jazz pianist Marian McPartland), and “Kirsten’s First Song” (written in 1990 for his granddaughter) – represent disparate styles yet are all equally remarkable and brilliant songs featured on the album.

Wallarab noted during the preparation and recording of the first Basically Baker album the level of trust Baker placed in him and his band. With the new project, David’s wife, Lida, was involved in every aspect of the process. “As humbling and flattering was the trust David placed in us to produce the first recording, we still made sure to run every decision by him to get his blessing. Lida was an incredible source of advice and guidance for Volume 2 and we cannot underestimate the value of her intimate insight into David’s music.” Always the educator, David Baker helped inspire the confidence throughout the process of creating Basically Baker, allowing for creative, superior, and unique results. For Basically Baker Vol.2, Lida Baker put the same amount of faith in the musicians, all of whom were eager to honor the educator and composer so many of them had known, studied under, and worked with.

The Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra in the studio

The Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra in the studio

Perhaps the most remarkable part of Basically Baker 2 (aside from the music itself), is not only the opportunity to honor David Baker and his musical compositions, but also the musicians he educated and inspired in the five decades he taught at Indiana University. Wallarab recounts looking around the recording studio, and noticing something extraordinary, “It’s not unusual to look at a group of musicians and see vast age differences. In fact, one of the unique aspects of the music business is the tradition of multiple generations working together as peers. What was unique about this situation however, was that this wide age spread, from a trombonist in his early 20’s to veterans in their 70’s, were all students or colleagues of David Baker’s. It’s amazing to know not only how many generations were directly influenced by him, but how many more will continue to be touched by his gifts through the thousands of artist teachers he produced.” David Baker lives on not only through the music on Basically Baker 2, but also through the musicians that continue to educate and make music themselves.


Basically Baker, Vol. 2 Personnel:

Saxophones: Tom Walsh, Bill Sears, Rich Perry, Rob Dixon, Ned Boyd

Trombones: Tim Coffman, Freddie Mendoza, Brennan Johns, Rich Dole

Horn: Celeste Holler   Tuba: Dan Perantoni

Trumpets: Tony Kadleck, Scott Belck, Graham Breedlove, Jeff Conrad, Mark Buselli, Pat Harbison

Piano: Luke Gillespie   Bass: Jeremy Allen   Drums: Steve Houghton

Vibes: Mitch Shiner  Celeste: Monika Herzig

Guest Soloists: Randy Brecker, trumpet; Dave Stryker, guitar


Basically Baker, Vol. 2 Track List:

Disc 1

  1. The Harlem Pipes
  2. The Georgia Peach
  3. Walt’s Barbershop
  4. Soft Summer Rain
  5. Black Thursday
  6. Shima 13

Disc 2

  1. Bebop
  2. Honesty
  3. 25th and Martindale
  4. Kirsten’s First Song
  5. Terrible T

IU Jazz Welcomes Dr. Jeremy Fox to Lead IU Vocal Jazz Ensembles

by Scott Gotschall

The IU Jazz Studies Department and Jacobs School of Music welcomed Dr. Jeremy Fox this fall as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Vocal Jazz. Jeremy brings a depth and understanding of vocal jazz ensemble performance and arranging that is highly regarded. We were able to “sit down” with him and further explore his initial thoughts, expectations, and experiences on campus and in Bloomington.

Dr. Jeremy Fox

Dr. Jeremy Fox

Grammy-nominated Dr. Jeremy Fox is a highly in-demand clinician, and has presented clinics and served as guest conductor of All-State and Honor choral and instrumental ensembles throughout the U.S. and Canada.  He earned his B.M. degree in Piano-Jazz Studies from Western Michigan University, and his M.M. and D.M.A. in Jazz Composition from the University of Miami.

Jeremy has received 10 awards from Downbeat magazine, including Best Written Song, Best Arrangement, Studio Engineering, and for his small vocal ensemble. Jeremy’s arrangements are published with Sound Music Publications, UNC Jazz Press, Alfred Music, as well as on his website.  He has written for such artists as John Secada, Theo Bleckmann, Cadence, m-pact, Terence Blanchard, and Metropolitan Opera singers Eric Owens and Denyce Graves.

Jeremy’s inaugural album “With Love” (Jazzbill Records) was released on iTunes and Amazon in April 2014 to rave reviews (All About Jazz ,  Jazz Times).  It features his big band and orchestral arrangements for a phenomenal line-up of singers, including Rose Max and Ramatis Moraes, Kevin Mahogany, Kate Reid, Kate McGarry, Lauren Kinhan and Peter Eldridge (from the New York Voices), Anders Edenroth, Derek Fawcett, Wendy Pedersen, and Sunny Wilkinson.


I understand the two vocal jazz ensembles you lead in the Jacobs School of Music just performed their first concert, which featured Sunny Wilkinson, on November 3rd. How do you feel things are going with the groups?

JF: Both Vocal Jazz Ensemble 1 and IUnison hit their peak in our Fall Concert with Sunny Wilkinson, who was a huge inspiration to the singers.  All semester, I have thrown a steady stream of challenging literature in front of each ensemble, and I couldn’t be prouder of their individual and collective growth so far.  It aided the ensembles to have had a couple of informal performances earlier in the semester, such as singing for the Boys & Girls Club in Ellettsville. Now that their Fall Concert has passed, the rest of the semester is being spent in the studio to professionally record some of their repertoire.  This serves as a powerful educational tool for the students, allowing them to re-create their music in a manner other than traditional performance.​


What have you been doing professionally prior to joining the IU Jacobs School of Music faculty (performing/recording/writing/teaching)?

JF: For eight years, I co-led the collegiate music program at The School for Music Vocations in Creston, Iowa.  There I directed and wrote for choral, vocal jazz, and instrumental ensembles – and taught classes in jazz literature, recording studio production, Baroque and 20th-century music theory, instrumental and vocal arranging, and jazz piano.  I then returned to the University of Miami to earn a doctorate in Jazz Composition, with a concentration in vocal jazz.  During this time, I also released my debut album project called “With Love” of my arrangements for jazz singers – which was lucky to be awarded a nomination in “Best Arrangement for Instruments and Vocals” at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards.  The past few years, I have been busy writing commissions for professional and scholastic ensembles, serving as a clinician at international festivals, and conducting All-State and Honor ensembles.  Also, since 2008, I have co-directed a summer Jazz Harmony Retreat for high school and college music directors – and for 14 years, have directed a series of vocal jazz summer camps around the United States and Canada.


What are your first impressions of teaching at the Jacobs School of Music? How are you enjoying working with the vocal jazz ensembles?

JF: I am enjoying every single day here.  The faculty (both in and outside of the jazz department) have been so cordial to me. And the jazz voice students at the Jacobs School of Music are uniquely passionate, hard-working, and extremely talented.  They seem to realize that being here is both an honor and a responsibility – a view that I share with them.  More importantly, the students seem to be acting on that realization every day.  I look forward to helping these students move forward in their education, and help them pave the way for their future successes.  For the vocal jazz ensembles, I hope to honor the past by setting the bar continually higher each day.  It is important to me that I do everything possible to enable this art form to flourish at Indiana University.  Though the IU vocal jazz ensembles as they stand are only in their fifth year, there is no reason why Jacobs should not be on par quality-wise with the most successful and longstanding collegiate vocal jazz ensembles around the country.


Do you plan to write for the vocal jazz ensembles? How has Bloomington been advantageous for your composition work?

JF: Yes, some of my newest arrangements are among the pieces the vocal jazz ensembles are singing.  And now that the craziness from the start of the school year has begun to subside, I plan to keep writing new pieces for each ensemble.  I also enjoy writing choral and orchestral pieces, and hope to find outlets for that as well while I am here, perhaps collaborating with other faculty members or ensembles.  It is great fun to stretch the boundaries of music-making through these types of collaborations!


How are you enjoying Bloomington?

JF: My fiancée Kathryn and I enjoy it – we love the overall warmth of everyone here.  We also enjoy the cultural offerings on and off campus, and the fantastic coffeeshops and restaurants.  My childhood was spent in Fort Wayne, though admittedly it has been over 20 years since I last lived in this state.  It may sound cliché, but it really is nice to be back home again in Indiana!


Is there anything else you’d like to add?

JF: If people would like to keep track of vocal jazz at the Jacobs School of Music, they should feel free to follow us on social media through our “Vocal Jazz at IU Jacobs School of Music” Facebook page.