Q&A with Jeremy Denk: Part II

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Jeremy Denk with sheet music

Q&A with Jeremy Denk: Part II

Q&A with Jeremy Denk
Known to Purdue audiences from 2008’s collaborative recital with Joshua Bell and a 2009 solo appearance, Jeremy Denk will return to Purdue University—with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields—on March 24.

Q&A with Jeremy Denk, Part 2

(read part 1 of our Q&A with Jeremy Denk)

Q: You’ve mentioned that performing and writing engage your imagination in similar ways. When you play a piece like Ives’s “Concord” sonata, inspired by the Transcendentalists, how do you connect with the composer and authors in your performance?

Jeremy Denk: It’s not very difficult for me to connect with the “Concord” sonata, because I’ve always been a fan of Emerson and Thoreau. They’re a huge part of our American heritage, and Emerson is one of the most beautiful users of metaphor. In that way, Ives’s love for Emerson and mine form a mutual admiration society. Schumann was also writing to certain favorite books of his—often pretty experimental books, at least at the time. I enjoy the ways that composers try to capture the quirks and the great qualities of certain authors. Ives was after Emerson’s tendency to reach for immense epiphanies and sort of cast out in every direction—not always in a very organized way, but casting out after inspiration however he could. Ives loved music that reflected this.

 

Q: Places seem to make strong impressions on you, and you often include descriptions of and ruminations on them in your writing. You studied and taught at Indiana University for several years; what does Indiana evoke?

JD: I wrote a lot about my Bloomington time in The New Yorker piece on piano lessons. Of course, a lot of that had to do with Sebők, who was the great lure when I was there. I sort of put the brakes on my life a little bit and sheltered myself away there to study, think about music, and try to get my playing to be better. A lot of my memories of Bloomington are about that, actually: calm summers and also times with friends in Brown County, and fall—because fall is so amazingly gorgeous in Bloomington. It was a happy period in my life. The actual building is a little subterranean feeling. In the way of music buildings, the practice areas tend to be the ugliest they can possibly be, so that you have no temptation to think about anything but the music.

A lot of my memories of Bloomington are about that, actually: calm summers and also times with friends in Brown County, and fall—because fall is so amazingly gorgeous in Bloomington.

Denk on his time in Bloomington, Indiana

 

Q: In that essay for The New Yorker, you also describe the moment when you realized you had to break away from studying with György Sebők to go your own way. Your program includes works by Dvořák and his student and son-in-law Suk. Are there any similar tensions between the compositions of these two, whose lives were so intertwined?

JD: I don’t know that much about Dvořák and Suk’s relationship—pedagogical or otherwise. Generally, the student–teacher relationship is quite fraught and has elements of all kinds of different things, like a parent, child, or elements of a therapist. There’s even some element of love, because a teacher is someone who shows you things that you’ve never seen before. With Sebők, that was an overwhelming feeling—of his having shown me partly how idiotic I had been, but also all kinds of things about music that I somehow knew inside but had never really known consciously. So he showed me part of myself that I had never seen. It’s obviously incredibly fraught and tense. I think that was why I eventually had to leave, in order to digest all the things he had shown me and make an identity for myself.

Interview by Stacey Mickelbart

Tickets

Academy of St. Martin in the FieldsAcademy of St. Martin in the Fields with Jeremy Denk, piano

March 24 / 7:30PM / Elliott Hall of Music / $22-45 / Children & Students: $15

Purchase Online
Jayme Stone and The Lomax Project band

Community Field Recording Open House Participants Announced

Jayme Stone and The Lomax Project: March 28 | 8 PM | Lafayette Theater

The Lomax Project is part of Traditional Music Week in Downtown Lafayette March 27-April 4 (click to enlarge)

We’re pleased to announce the musicians chosen to record during our March 28 Community Field Recording Open House, as part of Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project.

  • Fergus Daly and Joe Kollman
  • Joe Peters
  • Pearsongs
  • Green Room Rockers
  • Cody Hall and Rachael Yanni
  • Alison Haney
  • Richard Fudge
  • Adam Mackintosh

We’re capturing original songs and stories from our community using a simple, single microphone set up, much like Alan Lomax did over 60 years ago. Historic field recordings were done in one or two takes. There was no multi-tracking or special effects. The same ethos applies here. So using a simple, single condenser microphone, we’ll record the audio as well as lovingly capture it on video, and then make it available for audiences on our website and YouTube channel. What’s more, Jayme Stone and the members of his band will be available for coaching, mentoring, and musical support.

The Community Field Recording Open House takes place downtown at Carnahan Hall on Saturday, March 28. The culmination of Jayme Stone’s two day residency will be a live performance with his band, The Lomax Project, on Saturday night at 8PM in the Lafayette Theater.

Dublin Guitar Quartet

Program Notes: Dublin Guitar Quartet

DUBLIN GUITAR QUARTET

April 10 / 8 PM / Loeb Playhouse

FRIENDS SUPPORT FROM: MIKE & PAM LUENZ

BRIAN BOLGER | PAT BRUNNOCK | REDMOND O’TOOLE | TOMAS O’DURCAIN

Program Note: Regular Dublin Guitar Quartet member Michael O’Toole has been replaced by Redmond O’Toole for this performance.

Dublin Guitar Quartet Philip Glass Quote

PHILIP GLASS (b.1937) String Quartet No. 2 “Company”
LEO BROUWER (b.1939) Cuban Landscape with Rhumba
URMAS SISASK (b.1960) Songs in honour of the Virgin Mary
Sudamlik Ema, oled kaitsjaks Taevas Oh halastuse Emake
Kiitkem sudamest Mariat
Heliseb valjaldel
Hele taht
Sind tervitan
Kaunim meritahit, Ema
NIKITA KOSHKIN (b.1956) Changing the Guard
INTERMISSION
WILLIAM KANENGISER (b.1959) Gongan
PHILIP GLASS (b.1937) String Quartet No.3 “Mishima”
JOHN TAVENER (1944 -2013) The Lamb
CYRILLUS KREEK (1889-1962) Maga, maga Matsikene
CYRILLUS KREEK Mis a sirised, sirtsuke
GYÖRGY LIGETI (1923 -2006) Musica Ricercata
II
III
IV
VI
VIII
X

With respect to the musician and your fellow patrons, we request your participation in the tradition of withholding applause between movements of a selection. To the same end, we also ask that you silence and discontinue use of all electronic devices.

ABOUT

Described as a “quartet with a difference” by the Irish Times, the Dublin Guitar Quartet is a one-of- a-kind classical guitar ensemble that occupies a unique space in the wider chamber music world. It is the first classical guitar quartet devoted to new music. Since its formation at the Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama, DGQ has worked to expand the limited repertoire by commissioning new works and adapting modern masterpieces from outside of the guitar repertoire. Audiences can expect an explosive, entertaining, and completely novel concert experience.

Dublin Guitar Quartet

With the help of eight and eleven-string guitars the quartet has created an original catalogue of arrangements by composers such Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Arvo Part, and Gyorgy Ligeti. DGQ’s work has brought the attention of some of the world’s leading composers. Recent activity includes a forthcoming release on Philip Glass’s Orange Mountain Music label, and a new 25-minute commission by New York’s Michael Gordon. The ensemble is also included on a recent recording performing Arvo Pärt’s Summa. The quartet worked with the composer in making the arrangement and received guidance during the recording process. The arrangement will be published by the composer’s own publisher Universal Edition.

Redmond O'Toole

Regular Dublin Guitar Quartet member Michael O’Toole has been replaced by Redmond O’Toole (pictured) for this performance

In 2010 the quartet were involved in a very special performance of Repentance for Cello, Guitar Trio and Double Bass by celebrated Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina. The composer was present as they joined the amazing Russian cellist Ivan Monighetti in a concert in St. Peter’s Church, Drogheda. DGQ’s recording of this work was released on the LCMS label in March 2012. In 2008, the quartet was honored to share the stage with legendary American composer Philip Glass in St. Patrick’s Cathederal, Dundalk. After hearing the quartet’s arrangements of two of his string quartets, the composer described them as “quite beautiful.” In 2010, DGQ performed the entire set of Philip Glass quartets to great acclaim.

Other performance highlights include the opening concert at the inaugural Guitar Festival of Ireland in 2004, which included performances by John Williams and Louis Stewart. In 2004, the premiere of Four Guitars by internationally acclaimed composer Kevin Volans was broadcast on RTÉ Lyric FM, Ireland’s leading classical music and arts radio station. A premiere of Tilt by Donnacha Dennehy at the National Concert Hall as part of the 2006 Dublin Electronic Arts Festival (D.E.A.F.) was also broadcast on RTÉ Lyric FM.

Dublin Guitar Quartet has been successful in bringing new music to new audiences. It has played alongside rock groups such as The Redneck Manifesto (Dublin) and Final Fantasy (Canada); performing in venues such as Vicar St., Whelan’s of Wexford Street, Project Arts Centre, Crawdaddy, and the Roisin Dubh in Galway. The quartet was also invited to perform at the Crash Ensemble’s ten-year anniversary concert in 2010.

The DGQ are also developing the electric side of the guitar quartet repertoire with works like Nagoya Guitars and Electric Counterpoint by Steve Reich, and a forthcoming commission for electric guitar quartet by Michael Gordon.

The Dublin Guitar Quartet is supported by Music Network and the Arts Council of Ireland.

Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

Program Notes: Academy of St. Martin in the Fields with Jeremy Denk, piano

Program Notes

Academy of St. Martin in the Fields with Jeremy Denk, piano
March 24 / 7:30PM / Elliott Hall of Music

Serenade in E-flat major, Op. 6 (1892)

by Josef Suk (Křečovice, Bohemia, 1874 – Benešov, 1935)

Josef Sui was 18 years old

Josef Suk was 18 years old when he composed Serenade in E-flat major, Op. 6 (1892)

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as orchestras got larger and larger and symphonies longer and longer, composers sometimes felt the need to go in the opposite direction and reduce performing forces as well as work durations. The string orchestra represented a welcome change from the full symphonic ensemble, and inspired a revival of the classical serenade-divertimento tradition, which had largely fallen into neglect during the first half of the 19th century.

That was the tradition the eighteen-year-old Josef Suk, Dvořák’s favorite student and future son-in-law, claimed as his own in his Serenade, op. 6 (1892) which launched his career. (Dvořák’s own popular Serenade for Strings, Op. 22, which will close tonight’s concert, was written in 1875, when Suk was one year old.) Suk went on to have a distinguished career as a composer, violinist and teacher. He was a founding member of the Bohemian String Quartet and served as the director of the Prague Conservatory. One of his greatest works, his Symphony No. 2 (‟Asrael”), was written after the premature death of his wife Otilie (Dvořák’s daughter). Their young son, also named Josef, became the father of the famous violinist Josef Suk III (1929-2011).

Dvořák’s influence on Josef Suk I’s Serenade is evident at every turn; yet the young man had a different temperament, and was drawn to darker emotions. Dvořák sensed this when he told Suk to write “something cheerful for a change.” This Serenade is certainly not cheerful all the way; its longest movement is an Adagio, standing in third place, whose lyrical opening cello melody soon develops an emotional intensity not often encountered in serenades. This movement is preceded by a nostalgic “Andante con moto,” not an Allegro as one might expect and a second movement that begins as a gentle waltz yet contains an unexpected, if brief, dramatic outburst in the middle. Even the closing ‟Allegro giocoso” has its serious moments, recalling the nostalgic opening theme of the first movement before finally settling into the happy mood Dr. Dvořák had ordered.

Keyboard Concerto No. 2 in E major, BWV 1053

Keyboard Concerto No. 4 in A major, BWV 1055

by Johann Sebastian Bach (Eisenach, 1685 – Leipzig, 1750)

Café Zimmermann in Leipzig

Café Zimmermann in Leipzig, the backdrop of Bach’s secular cantatas

As far as we know, J. S. Bach was the first composer to write concertos for a keyboard instrument. Before him, many concertos were written for strings or winds, but the harpsichord had been relegated to the role of Cinderella: always present, its role was merely to provide harmonic support as a member of the continuo group. All that changed in the 1730s, when Bach took over the direction of the Leipzig Collegium Musicum, a concert series started many years earlier by his colleague Georg Philipp Telemann. At these concerts, which took place at Zimmermann’s coffee house in Leipzig, Bach performed as keyboard soloist and also wished to feature his two grown sons, Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philipp Emanuel, both accomplished harpsichordists.      In addition to seven concertos for one harpsichord, there are also three for two harpsichords, two for three harpsichords, and even one for four harpsichords (the latter based on a work by Vivaldi). The solo concertos are all arrangements of works originally written for other instruments, although the originals are known for only three out of seven—the early versions of the other concertos are lost.

The Concerto in E major (BWV 1053) is thought to be the transcription of a now-lost oboe concerto. Bach also recycled the same music in two of his church cantatas: the first two movements in No. 169, and third in No. 49 (both written in 1731). It is the longest of the concertos, and structurally the most forward-looking one. The most adventurous modulations and motivic transformations occur towards the middle of the movement, and the return to the home key is set of by a single measure of Adagio. These features create the impression of what would later evolve into a development section and a recapitulation, foreshadowing the sonata forms of the classical era.

The slow movement is an almost romantically lyrical siciliano (a favorite Baroque aria type) in the rarely used key of C-sharp minor. The string orchestra begins the melody as the soloist plays an accompaniment made up of broken chords—a truly ‟proto-Romantic” feature. The soloist then takes over the melody, only to return it to the orchestra at the end of the movement.

The final Allegro is one of Bach’s most virtuosic concerto movements, with a solo part that frequently and unpredictably alternates between fast sixteenth-notes and even faster sixteenth-triplets. Once again, the musical material is developed at considerable length and is subjected to rather subtle transformations.

A thorough examination of the Concerto in A major (BWV 1055) led scholars to the assumption that this work was originally a concerto for the oboe d’amore, the lower-pitched cousin of the oboe. It is a relatively brief and compact work. The first movement is based on a single rhythmic motive that is heard almost without interruption. The second movement is a lavishly ornamented aria, in siciliano rhythm as in the previous concerto, over a chromatically descending bass line that served as the basis of countless sets of variations during the Baroque era. Finally, the third movement surprises us with a cascade of thirty-second notes in the solo keyboard while the accompaniment maintains a steady dance rhythm. The thirty-seconds later alternate with slightly slower sixteenth-triplets; thus, the music moves back and forth between two different speeds, constantly challenging the performer and delighting the listener.

Serenade for Strings in E major, Op. 22 (1875)

by Antonín Dvořák (Nelahozeves, Bohemia, 1841 – Prague, 1904)

Like most composers in the early stages of their careers, the young Antonín Dvořák was struggling to make ends meet. From 1862 to 1871, he was principal violist at the new Provisional Theatre in Prague; he also taught music privately. In 1874, when he applied for the newly instituted Austrian State Stipendium for young artists, his file read: ‟Anton DWORAK of Prague, 33 years old, music teacher, completely without means.”

By this time, Dvořák was already married and the father of an infant boy; thus he had much at stake in this competition. Fortunately for him, the selection committee, whose members were conductor Johann Herbeck, music critic Eduard Hanslick, and Brahms, decided in his favor. As the report stated:

He has submitted 15 compositions, among them symphonies and overtures for full orchestra which display an undoubted talent, but in a way which as yet remains formless and unbridled….The fact that Dvořák’s choral and orchestral compositions have been performed frequently at big public concerts made a favorable impression. The applicant, who has never yet been able to acquire a piano of his own, deserves a grant to ease his straitened circumstances and free him from anxiety in his creative work.

Dvořák won an award of 400 gulden; in addition, he had attracted the attention of some of the greatest musical luminaries in the Monarchy’s capital. The young composer had made his first step towards fame and recognition.

Buoyed by his success, Dvořák launched into a series of new projects. During the spring and summer of 1875, he finished three chamber works, a song cycle, a symphony (No. 5), and the Serenade for Strings, an impressive output that reflects the composer’s new-found confidence.

In the five-movement Serenade, Dvořák demonstrated the high level of compositional virtuosity he had attained by his early thirties. Using simple forms (four of the five movements follow plain A-B-A structures with contrasting middle sections followed by a return of the opening material), he nevertheless achieved considerable melodic and harmonic variety.

The Moderato first movement has a short legato theme with a range of only four notes, using imitation, followed by a second theme that has no imitation, and is introduced by a very audible jump into a new, and not closely related, key.

The charming opening theme of the second-movement Tempo di Valse is built of asymmetrical five-bar phrases, but is fairly simple harmonically. Conversely, the movement’s Trio, which is no less attractive melodically, has regular four-bar phrases but contains some highly unusual modulations.

Imitative techniques reappear in the lively Scherzo; the central Trio section has broader phrases and slower note-values, though the composer insisted that it must be played ‟in tempo” (that is, the beat remains the same). The ending of this movement is especially beautiful as both the Scherzo and the Trio themes are recalled as if in a dream, cut short by a sudden return to the more agitated tone of the beginning.

The fourth-movement Larghetto presents a lyrical, harmonically stable opening melody and a more rhythmical and constantly modulating middle section. The concluding movement, the only one in sonata form, is the most complex of the five. Starting ‟off-key” (not in the main tonality which it only reaches later on), it has a normal exposition with three themes and a regular recapitulation, but no real development. Instead, there is a short and quite unusual middle section. After a few measure of suspense in which the first violins repeat two notes in highly unpredictable rhythmic patterns, the cellos surprise us with a replay of the Larghetto melody (fourth movement). The recapitulation is followed by a return of the first movement’s opening. A brief Presto coda, combining the first and third themes of the Finale, closes this remarkable work.

Notes by Peter Laki

Visiting Associate Professor, Bard College

 

Jeremy Denk with sheet music

Q&A with Jeremy Denk

Q&A with Jeremy DenkUPDATE: Read Part II of our Q&A with Jeremy Denk

Known to Purdue audiences from 2008’s collaborative recital with Joshua Bell and a 2009 solo appearance, Jeremy Denk will return to Purdue University—with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields—on March 24.

Q: This is your first series of engagements with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. What excites you about conducting them?

JEREMY DENK: I grew up with their records, and it’s an amazing tradition. That’s definitely part of it: the thrill of playing with a famous and storied ensemble. I’m looking forward to that music; the Bach keyboard concertos are some of my most-beloved music. It’s a lot closer to chamber music than a concerto, and the whole ensemble has to be unified in a way that’s even more profound than with Mozart or Beethoven. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to rehearse this music and find the groove of it with them—to find a way to talk together about Bach that makes sense on the modern piano in the 21st century.

They’re unstoppable, they also have all kinds of wonderful quirks and not exactly wrong turns, but strange turns and surprises and curlicues.

-Denk, on the Bach concertos

Q: Most instrumentalists perfect their repertoire on their own personal instrument. How do you prepare to perform on a piano that you barely know for each performance?

JD: You get used to, in the hours or time in the hall that you have, understanding the instrument’s strengths and limitations—what you can say on it and how to bring the sounds that you want out of it. Sometimes it’s frustrating and sometimes you’re surprised by how it’s possible to say new things. It’s part of the pianist’s life; you have to constantly communicate in public on an instrument that is basically a blind date. I know pianos all look the same to everyone, but they’re made of so much wood and there are so many millions of little parts. They’re very sensitive and finicky instruments, and small changes can make big effects.

Q: You do a lot of interviews; what do you wish people would ask you that they never do?

JD: They ask me a lot of things, but usually what I want to talk about is whatever piece I’m playing or fascinated by at the moment. Usually, what I’d love to do most of all is sit down at the piano with someone and talk through some magical passage. That’s what I try to do on the blog when I get into the workings of certain pieces. Maybe, in a way, that’s why the blog was such a natural fit for me. It allows me to speak about music exactly the way that I want to at any given moment, and sometimes that’s wry and humorous, or reflective, or analytical. What’s so extraordinary about the Bach concertos is the rhythmic en- ergy that they represent—a moto perpetuo in some ways because once they get started, they click or hum along. But at the same time that they’re unstoppable, they also have all kinds of wonderful quirks and not exactly wrong turns, but strange turns and surprises and curlicues. Bach is the great genius of doing that—of keeping you jogging along this rhythmic track of the wonderful energy he’s set up, and yet, at the same time, anything and everything can happen while you’re going.

Interview by Stacey Mickelbart

UPDATE: Read Part II of our Q&A with Jeremy Denk

Tickets

Academy of St. Martin in the FieldsAcademy of St. Martin in the Fields with Jeremy Denk, piano

March 24 / 7:30PM / Elliott Hall of Music / $22-45 / Children & Students: $15

Purchase Online
davidscc1_n

Meet the Members of SCC: David LaVanne

David La Vanne

David LaVanne

Year: Junior

Major: Supply Chain Management Technology, Industrial Systems Technology, Theatre Design & Production

Position in SCC: President

Hometown: Lake Zurich, IL

Favorite SCC Memory: The opportunity to spray the crowd with gallons of paint at Life In Color 2014 remains my favorite SCC memory. Seeing the countless smiles amongst the sea of people and feeling the incredible energy at an SCC event gave me a whole new appreciation for live entertainment. It also reminded me of the huge impact the Student Concert Committee can have on Purdue’s campus.

Favorite concert you’ve been to: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Purdue University

Favorite Musician: This question is not fair because I listen to everything.. but if I had to choose- Akon.
Favorite Song: “Same Love”- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Mary Lambert

David La VanneWhat do you love about SCC: It is a great liberty and responsibility to represent the musical tastes of the entire student body, but I have the pleasure of working with an incredible committee of fellow devoted students to achieve this common goal. The endless hours of work for each concert are immediately blotted out when I witness a singular event bring the Purdue community together. The people I have met, experiences I have gained, and outrageous amounts of fun I have had is what I love about SCC.

What is one of your favorite songs to jam out to that you wouldn’t want other people knowing about?: The entire Lion King soundtrack… that’s not much of a secret though..

More about Purdue Student Concert Committee

Student Concert Committee is the application and interview based organization that brings popular entertainment right to campus for Purdue students. The 16 member team experiences the equivalent of an internship in the entertainment industry, planning and marketing for concerts and working with artist. This new bi-weekly feature gives you a closer look into the faces behind the team.

Pentatonix Group Image

Numerous 2015 Grammy award winners have performed at Purdue

57th Grammy Awards The winners of this year’s Grammy awards were announced on Sunday, February 8th. Newcomer Sam Smith took home 4 awards, Beyoncé won 3, and Beck surprised everyone with his win for “Album of the Year.” While a few new faces won some awards, there were also some familiar artists that won Grammys, including some that have performed at Purdue in the past. These artists include Lady Gaga, The Band Perry, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Pentatonix, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Buddy Guy.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett at the 2015 GrammysGaga won her 6th Grammy alongside Tony Bennett (his 18th) for “Best Pop Vocal Album.” “Cheek to Cheek,” their compilation album, was released in September of 2014 and consists of jazz standards from composers such as George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin. Lady Gaga performed at Elliott Hall of Music in January of 2010 and has since gone on to have 3 number 1 albums and multiple chart-topping singles.

The Band Perry

The Band Perry at PurdueThis group received their 3rd Grammy nomination and 1st win in the “Best Country Duo/Group Performance” category for their song “Gentle on My Mind.” This song was featured on the soundtrack for the Glen Campbell documentary “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.” Since performing at Purdue in 2012, the group has released a number 1 selling album and 3 top 10 singles.

“Weird Al” Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic at PurdueFor the 2nd time in his nearly 40 year career, “Weird Al” won the Grammy for “Best Comedy Album” for “Mandatory Fun.” The master of parody, “Weird Al’s” decades-spanning career has seen him parody more than 150 songs, release over 50 music videos, and release 14 studio albums, including “Mandatory Fun,” his first number 1 on the Billboard 200. Yankovic has also played over 1000 live shows, one of which happened at Elliott Hall of Music in October of 2013.

Pentatonix

2015 Grammy award winners have performed at PurdueOriginating from Arlington, Texas, this a cappella group won the third season of NBC’s “The Sing-Off.” Since claiming the show’s top prize the 5 members have covered a range of artists including Imagine Dragons, Lorde, Gotye, and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. They’ve also released multiple extended play albums, as well as a full-length and a Christmas album and won the Grammy for “Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella.” Using no instruments and only their voices makes for an interesting concert experience, especially for a venue the size of Elliott Hall of Music.

Old Crow Medicine Show

This Americana string band from Nashville, Tennessee won the Grammy award for “Best Folk Album” for 2014’s “Remedy.” Originating in 1998, this group has influenced acts such as “Mumford & Sons” and has also contributed to banjo-picking string bands to revive the playing of Americana music. The group came to Purdue in 2012 with Garrison Keillor as a part of “A Prairie Home Companion.”

Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy at Purdue UniversityHe received a “Lifetime Achievement” Grammy this year, make his total number of Grammys 6. Considered one of the greatest guitar players of all time, his career spans more than 60 years, and he helped to build the bridge between blues and rock ‘n’ roll. He is also a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and has influenced musical legends such as Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Jimi Hendrix. Guy performed in October of 2012 at Loeb Playhouse .

Convocations Soirée Brightens Winter Spirits

ConvosSoiree2015-44

In the dark of winter, bright spots of good food, good friends, and good theater go a long way toward creating warmth when the temperatures outside are anything but!ConvosSoiree2015-29

The Friends of Convocations annual Soirée managed this on a cold Tuesday evening last month, with a catered dinner and a private performance downtown Lafayette. The location varies each year and our choice of the Lafayette Theater was a new experience for a lot of guests. Everyone loved the chance to see this historic Lafayette landmark all dressed for the occasion, with shining linens mimicking the colors of the sea, centerpieces from Rubia Flower Market, and lighting designed by the Hall of Music.

ConvosSoiree2015-5ConvosSoiree2015-47Guests gathered for appetizers and drinks before viewing Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer – the first performance of the week-long Three Stories High Theatre Festival. Afterward, the conversation and coffee flowed freely as everyone gathered to discuss the show (great!) and the meal (superb!). Jane’s Gourmet exceeded expectations with a delicious meal including a smoked salmon appetizer, plated dinner, and sumptuous mini dessert buffet.

It was the perfect kick-off to a week of theater. Guests left on a high note knowing they’d just had an invigorating Tuesday evening of food, fun, and culture.

To learn how you can receive an invitation to the Soirée, call (765) 494-9712 to speak with the Development Associate. Photo credits: Michael Dick/IS Photographic.

Johannes Brahms in 1853

Why does Brahms’ Piano Trio in B Major list two dates?

Johannes Brahms in 1853

Brahms at age 20 in 1853

At the dawn of 1854, after his soaring fortunes at age 21, Johannes Brahms set out to write Trio in B major for Piano, Violin and Cello. The trio was originally issued in November 1854 after the young Brahms experienced a series of emotional highs and personal tragedy.

Thirty five years later:

Brahms wrote to Clara (Schumann) on September 3, 1889, “With what childish amusement I whiled away the beautiful summer days you will never guess. I have rewritten my B major Trio…. It will not be as wild as before – but will it be better?” Simrock issued the revised score in February 1891, but Brahms did not formally withdraw the original, allowing both versions to exist, thereby providing a rare glimpse into the compositional workshop of one of the most secretive of all the great composers.

-Richard Rodda, The Kennedy Center

Read the rest of Brahms’ story in Rodda’s Program Notes on Brahms’ Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8 (1854/1889)

Trio Voce at Purdue University

triovoice_2Trio Voce will perform Brahms’ piano trio along with Arvo Pärt’s Mozart-Adagio, and Rebecca Clarke’s Trio at Loeb Playhouse on February 12, 7:30PM.

Peter and the Starcatcher: Peter and Molly

Peter Pan Prequel Has Heart and Humor

Peter and the Starcatcher

Peter and Molly: Peter and the StarcatcherFor 12 actors to be able to portray 100 different characters and conjure spectacular locales with low-tech sets and props, it takes enormous talent, ingenious stagecraft, the limitless possibilities of imagination—and a trunkload of pixie dust.

So it is with Peter and the Starcatcher, the Tony Award-winning Broadway show based on the 2004 children’s novel by humorist Dave Barry and suspense writer Ridley Pearson.

Just as the hit musical Wicked provides a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, Peter and the Starcatcher imagines a backstory to J.M Barrie’s classic Peter Pan, and explains how Peter ended up on an island, where he got his name, how Hook lost his hand and how the croc swallowed a clock. But while Wicked is all about the slick and showy special effects, the cast of Peter and the Starcatcher needs only spirit and spunk to share this story.

As the curtain rises, 13-year-old Molly and her father, Lord Aster, set sail for the exotic island of Rundoon with a trunk containing a mysterious and precious cargo. Lord Aster will sail on the Wasp on a perilous secret mission for Queen Victoria to dispose of whatever is in the trunk; for her safety, Molly must travel on a different ship, the Never Land.

Black Stache and Peter in Peter and the StarcatcherAt sea, pirates led by the outrageous Black Stache (so named for his prominent facial hair) hijack the Wasp; meanwhile, Molly encounters a trio of orphans destined for slavery in Rundoon, then discovers that her father’s precious trunk was mistakenly loaded onto her ship. It is Molly and her new friends who must look after its contents through all the madcap adventures that ensue.

Combining elements of Vaudeville, British “Panto,” and old-timey musical theater, including slapstick comedy, knee-slapping wordplay, tongue twisters, and droll anachronisms, the show careens along at a breakneck pace while a dozen actors portray squadrons of salty sailors, cross-dressing mermaids, rag-tag orphans, and restless island natives, and, using simple props and innovative theatrics, summon such magical locations as a tempest-tossed tropical island and the dungeon of a Victorian-era frigate.
The result is at once hilarious and heartwarming—a visually stunning celebration of imagination that is silly, snarky, and screwball, and yet sincerely, sweetly sentimental, with plenty to please kids (the show is geared toward age 10 and up) and the kids-who-won’t-grow-up in all of us.

-Amy Long

Tickets

Peter and the Starcatcher
April 9, 2015, 7PM
Elliott Hall of Music
Purchase Online