At long last, my solo CD has finally been released! Vocalise features music that combines voice and bassoon or music for bassoon that has been vocally “inspired”. It features my dear friends Natsuki Fukasawa on piano and Wanda Brister, mezzo-soprano. I’ve created a special page on this site with a link for purchase. You will soon be able to find it at all major CD venues, iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby etc., but purchasing directly from me will get it to you sooner and maybe save a buck or two. Plus, all proceeds will go to fund my next CD project, I (one).
Of interest to the young bassoonists of Texas, the recordings of this year’s TMEA District/Region/All-State etudes have now been posted! Look under the TMEA tab on this site to access them.
In addition to the release of the CD, plenty has been happening around UT-Arlington and the bassoon studio. On September 16, bassoonist Terry Ewell, along with his wife Laurel (flute) and oboist Doris DeLoach, visited UTA for a master class and recital by their group, SpiritWind. Ewell’s master class was quite informative, and the recital featured some of his original compositions.
Terry Ewell coaches Rich Brownell
SpiritWind in Recital
On September 26, I will perform a new piece by UT-Arlington percussion professor, Michael Varner. He has written a great new work, which pairs the bassoon with the African Talking Drum of Yoruba. The two solo voices are also accompanied by a quartet of additional African drums. In order to balance the bassoon with the drums, we’ve decided to amplify the instrument and add effects to enhance the piece. It will be my first venture into the world of “electric bassoon”, and the preliminary rehearsals have been quite exciting. Many thanks to Trent Jacobs at Midwest Musical Imports for outfitting my bassoon with the pickup necessary to amplify the instrument. The next blog will have pictures from the performance and hopefully a recording as well.
October 2 will bring another set of guest artists to the UT-Arlington campus. Bassoonist Susan Nelson and the Silver Keys Trio will present a concert, and Susan Nelson will present a bassoon master class in the afternoon. The events are free of charge and open to the public; details from the concert will be in the next blog. Come on by for a great concert!
Later in October (13-15) I will be presenting two recitals in the Southeastern US, one at Georgia’s Columbus State University (10/13) and the other at the University of South Carolina in Columbia (10/15). If you’re in the area, come enjoy some bassoon music.
First, the future: I’ll keep this confined to just the fall and announce spring events at a later date, even with the boundary, there will be a lot happening. As I write this, my solo CD is near the printing stage. There will certainly be a big announcement when it is released, but “Vocalise” will soon be available to the public. This CD has been a major endeavor, highlighting music for bassoon and voice or vocally “inspired” bassoon works. It will be released on Mark Records in the early fall.
Along with the release of the CD, there will be solo performances throughout the USA (see exact dates on the home page), including New York City and the Festival of New American Music in California. Here at UTA, we are proud to host bassoonists Terry Ewell (with his trio in September) and Susan Nelson (with her trio in October).
And now, a recollection of the past: At the time of this writing, I have just returned from the Orfeo International Music Festival in the Dolomites of Northern Italy. The festival, which retains a focus on chamber music, is always a great experience. I encourage bassoonists and other musicians to “find” the money to attend next summer. The cost is minimal compared to the priceless memories of performing in the ancient churches of Europe. Music has never been more alive!
Prior to leaving for Europe, I attended and performed at the International Double Reed Society’s annual conference, which was held this year in Redlands, California. This is another annual event, which I highly encourage bassoonists to attend. The opportunity to meet other professional performers and hear wonderful concerts is well worth the costs of attendance. Below is a picture of my performance with Maria Widhaber and her arrangements of Bulgarian folk songs for two bassoons.
A recount of the spring 2013 semester includes a successful Bassoon Week IV in February, with guest artist, Carl Rath and a number of national recitals for myself, including dates in California, Indiana, Alabama and Georgia.
Members of the bassoon studio after Carl Rath’s guest recital.
A shot from a guest recital at Valdosta State University in March.
As for other exciting news since the last post, there’s been lots of excitement here in Arlington.
On January 19, the bassoon studio got together for our semester reed-a-thon. So many reeds were made! It must have been the BBQ ribs we had for lunch that gave students the energy for so much productivity.
Prior to our semester starting this spring, I had the opportunity to play a concert at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. One of the highlights was getting to perform with my past teacher, Will Dietz on a piece for two bassoons and piano by composer Brady McElligott. We will be performing this piece again at the IDRS conference in Redlands, CA in June. Revisiting the campus at UA and working with the students of the current bassoon studio was a great joy, despite record low temperatures.
In December, the final tracks were recorded for my upcoming CD, Vocalise. Vocalist, Wanda Brister was on campus to record in studio 301 for the piece, I Never Saw Another Butterfly by Lori Laitman. With these final tracks recorded, the CD should be released soon. Look for a press release in the next few weeks.
On November 20, the UTA Double Reed studios combined for a double reed studio recital. Students performed their jury pieces along with a variety of chamber works including Ibert’s trio for Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon.
UTA will host a workshop for ALL instruments over this year’s Texas All-State/Region etudes on November 17th. Click here for registration!
On November 20th the UTA Double Reed Studios will present a recital at the First Baptist Church of Arlington, which is adjacent to the UTA campus on the corner of Center Street and UTA Blvd. The recital will start at 5:30PM, and will be billed as a “Beat the Rush” recital for those battling rush hour down Center Street.
And about that past fun…
This picture is from a special concert collaboration by the top wind bands from UT Arlington and SMU. The two groups combined to highlight the music of guest composer Augusta Reed Thomas. The concert was presented both at SMU and on the campus of UTA.
In October, I had the opportunity to present a private recital of chamber music in New York City. While there, I was able to meet some wonderful musicians, including composers who had studied and worked with legends including Aaron Copland and Vincent Persichetti. As a result of the recital, I hope to be presenting the bassoon music of these new composers in the near future. During the New York trip, I was able to drive down to Maryland and visit bassoon colleague, Terry Ewell at Towson University. At Towson, I presented a lecture on vibrato and had the opportunity to work closely with Dr. Ewell’s students in chamber coaching. We hope to have Terry Ewell visit the UTA campus in the fall of 2013.
Earlier in the month, the UTA bassoon studio was delighted to host bassoonist Jeffrey McCray (Bassoon Professor at the University of Nebraska) for a master class. His work with the students of UTA was quite informative as he worked with each of the students in the bassoon studio. Thanks, Dr. McCray for your visit!
McCray works with Rich Brownell on the Weber concerto.
Still earlier in the month of October, The Becerro Bassoon Ensemble was busy with a couple of early performances. Becerro was featured on the UTA Honors recital with two selections they played at the IDRS conference in Ohio the previous summer. And, more importantly, Becerro was a featured performing group at the Society of Composers, INC. regional conference at West Texas A&M in Canyon, TX. Be sure to check out the new “Becerro Bassoon Ensemble” page on this web site. It will be published for the first time along with this blog post, and includes recordings from the recent past.
The 2012 Becerro Bassoon Ensemble
As for current news, I am writing this entry from the cooler lands of Michigan. As part of a year focussed on concertizing, I am visiting Central Michigan University, Western Michigan University, and finally Grand Valley State University in the month of September. This comes about a week after a fun visit to Wichita State University. The picture below is with WSU’s bassoon professor , Scott Oakes. I’d like to thank Marybeth Minnis (CMU), Wendy Rose (WMU) and John Clapp (GVSU), the bassoon professors at these great institutions for hosting me and introducing me to their fine students.
New blogs will come soon, but check the welcome page for the list of upcoming events. I’ll be in New York City and Towson, Maryland in just a couple of weeks. I hope to see some of you in the audience!