Larry Austin (1930-2018) was a man of contradictions, embodying and embracing many strong profiles, some directly opposite. Listening to his music, some sounds gritty and assaulting; some is exquisitely beautiful. He reveled in human improvisation, yet became a leading expert engaging mathematics and computers in his music. He was a radical experimentalist, even revolutionary about his music; yet also a professor who respected and advanced the great body of Western art music and inspired his many talented students to do likewise.
He was passionately driven to advance his music and career; yet he was even more devoted to his large, beautiful family. In both, he built a legacy that is wonderful and perpetual, a body of fascinating compositions that exist for all time, and a family that through already several generations continues his legacy of love.
“I can claim that the weekend here at the School of Music was just another typical weekend, and it was — typically full and awesome, but extraordinarily so.
Friday night: Hill Country Youth Chorus sang at Sights and Sounds; Graduate Composition Recital; Wind Symphony concert.
Saturday: Audition Day for prospective music majors; children from the community playing what they’ve learned in the TXST String Project; University Singers, featuring American choral music; Brahms German Requiem for huge chorus and chamber orchestra, conducted by our Grammy-winner artist-in-residence.
Sunday: Men’s and Women’s Choir joint concert. Major opportunities for our master’s students to conduct these splendid, all-campus groups.
The beauty of the music and the training and passion of the student performers were nothing short of AWESOME!”
“I am tempted to claim that this weekend was a routine success for the School of Music, but it was truly extraordinary. Three spectacular blockbuster performances:
- Saturday night, Bobcat Marching Band‘s dazzling half-time show under the direction of Kyle Glaser for a Homecoming crowd of 15,000 at Jim Wacker Field.
- Sunday afternoon, Texas State Symphony Orchestra under the direction of new maestro Jacob Harrison in Evans Auditorium performed brilliantly the entire 7 movements of The Planets Op. 32 by Holst, a massive, iconic masterpiece of the orchestral repertoire.
- Sunday evening in the Performing Arts Center Recital Hall, professors Ron Ulen, baritone, and Joey Martin, piano, gave a stunningly beautiful duo recital in which Schumann’s beloved 16-song cycle Dichterliebe Op.48 was staged imaginatively as a one-character opera scene.
“Students rose to the height of their growing abilities, led and inspired by our awesome faculty. Wow!”
The Texas State Choirs have launched a new podcast, “Texas State Choirs Today.” Hosted by Associate Director of Choral Activities Jonathan Babcock, the podcast features interviews with guest artists and faculty. This season will include interviews with composers Gwyneth Walker and Jocelyn Hagen; Ralph Allwood, O.B.E. former Precentor and Director of Music at Eton College, UK; as well as faculty artists Marc Reynolds, Craig Hella Johnson and Lynn Brinckmeyer. Episodes are released the first and fifteenth of every month. You can find Texas State Choirs Today on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe today!
Three hundred and sixty-five days go by and it is a year. Ten of those years pass and it is a decade. Ten decades pass and the overwhelming feeling of a hundred years passing by is a century filled with rich memories and evolution. The upcoming year, 2019 – 2020, the Bobcat Bands are planning many events to celebrate the Bands’ hundredth anniversary. The Texas State Bands Centennial Music Project is one of the projects taking part in the annual online giving “Step up for State” campaign, which is occurring October 3 through today for 1,899 minutes (corresponding to the year in which the university was founded). The fund drive is an opportunity to support the commission of a new composition dedicated to the elite TXST Wind Symphony.
John Fleming, the dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, asked Dr. Kevin Mooney to write a decade-by-decade history of the music program at TXST. “I’m proud to be a Bobcat, and, being associated with the School of Music, am honored to have been asked to document its history,” Dr. Kevin Mooney said. While researching, Dr. Mooney has found details that contrast to the modern-day marching band of about 350 students. “The Bobcat Band enjoys a reputation for exciting half-time performances and exhibits an impressive force on the field. This is quite in contrast to its early days,” Dr. Mooney said. “Dr. Robert A. Tampke was the first faculty director of the band, as the band was student directed prior to his arrival in 1923. He recalled in a 1978 interview that when they first played as a college band (there were ten or twelve [students] in the band at the time), they were stopped at the gate when they arrived at the field and asked to pay admission.”
“One interesting thing that I discovered was that among the first seventeen faculty members when the doors first opened to students of that first fall class in 1903 was a music teacher, Miss Mary Stuart Butler. Butler Hall here on campus was named after her. She was primarily a voice teacher, but she taught every college student, since at least one music course was required for all students.”
— story by music-major Jennifer Gutierrez
TC writes: “Always nice to bump into TXST musical alumni as they contribute to their community . . . ”
A recent worship experience at First United Methodist Church of Harlingen was enhanced by the music ministry of alumni Tracy Roberts and Erin Kelleher Roberts.
An op-ed column in today’s paper July 11 by David Brooks reviewed the documentary film “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” about the career and impact of Mr. Rogers and his wonderful children’s TV series, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. The column used the phrase, “radical kindness.” It struck me deeply that this is exactly what our community desperately needs to pour out from its vast supply of human goodness.
The Wall Street Journal on April 28 published an opinion column by Peggy Noonan. Though it was about politics, it contained some wise advice for life in general. Here are some quotes, rearranged into verse:
Don’t lose your composure. Don’t become sour. Maintain your poise.
Maintain your own standards. Keep on your game. Do your best.
Think long-term. Speak your mind.
Share your heart.
TC writes: This month is the third anniversary of our first post at this news blog of the School of Music at Texas State. Some 200 posts have been published since July of 2014.
Previous to July of 2014, the School of Music published monthly electronic newsletters. Back issues of those can be accessed at music.txstate.edu/resources/archive.
The School of Music continues to thrive as a vibrant center of musical and scholarly activity, and our alumni are doing great things as they serve their community.
The Provost has reminded us all of Our Shared Values as a university community, which include valuing . . .
• “A diversity of people and ideas, a spirit of inclusiveness, a global perspective, and a sense of community as essential conditions for campus life”
• “The cultivation of character and the modeling of honesty, integrity, compassion, fairness, respect, and ethical behavior, both in the classroom and beyond”
• “Engaged teaching and learning based on dialogue, student involvement, and the free exchange of ideas”
• “A commitment to public service as a resource for personal, educational, cultural, and economic development”
• “Thoughtful reflection, collaboration, planning”