Grammy-winner and Texas State Artist-in-Residence Craig Hella Johnson and his Austin-based choral ensemble Conspirare gave the first Chicago-area performance of Johnson’s monumental work, Considering Matthew Shepard, at the Ravinia Festival’s Martin Theatre. The performance included TXST instrumental music faculty Ames Asbell and Vanguel Tangarov. The Chicago Tribune published an admiring review of the performance and the piece, describing it as “a stylistically free-ranging score that carried echoes of Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber but also old-fashioned hymnody and raw and cathartic blues. It was dispatched persuasively by choristers, who took turns playing various characters; instrumentalists who provided atmosphere and color . . .” and as an expression that “became much more than just one man’s story. In some respects, it was everyone’s story, a reflection on human travails and heavenly aspirations.”
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!
This summer Dr. Martin McCain took part in a 28-member video collaboration of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” with several trombonists across the globe. Some of those members are Peter Moore (London Symphony), Zoltan Kiss (Mnozil Brass), Paul Pollard (The Met) and jazz artists such as Jiggs Whigham and Marshall Gilkes, just to name a few. The video can be found on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-m8MqIS6VEU.
McCain also taught and performed at summer festivals in Croatia, China, Japan and Taiwan. On September 4, McCain was an artist in residence at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Lisa and Jim Bob Spencer, principal sponsors with Sharon Lockett in the Spencer/Lockett Scholarship Fund, attended a recent Somos Musicos student concert along with Dean John Fleming and School of Music Director Thomas Clark. The concert began with presentation of certificates to 13 of the 20 music students receiving scholarships funded this year by Spencer/Lockett.
Dean Fleming at left, Spencers middle, Clark at right
In an article on-line about Hispanic-serving institutions of higher education, NBC News cites Texas State University as an example. “The university wrote a strategic plan in 2008 to become an HSI by 2011, which it has achieved. It now has over 14,000 Latino students, who are about 38 percent of the students enrolled. ‘We’ve done very significant programmatic activities. We created a climate that is welcoming for students. Our music program has salsa and mariachi that the students actually brought to us and we developed it,’ said T. Jaime Chahin, dean of Texas State University’s College of Applied Arts.”
The on-line piece also shows a video of our proud Mariachi Nueva Generación, which is directed by Prof. John Lopez.
Joseph Raby went to three different music festivals this summer: Rafaél Mendez Brass Institute, Mountain Light Music Festival, Masterworks Festival.
Trombonist Matt Hurtado performed “One Piece Oto Utage” in Tokyo, Japan.
This summer Julia Escobar and Joshua Valdez traveled to Bulgaria for the National Academy of Music flute and clarinet masterclasses, June 21-28 in Sofia, Bulgaria. They received master class instruction from three famous Bulgarian flutists (Lydia Oshavkova, Georgi Spassov, and Ventsislav Kindalov) and interact with high school-age Bulgarian flute students to learn about their music education and their culture.
Julia also attended the Zodiac Music Academy & Festival from July 2-14 in Valdeblore, France (a tiny village in the mountains in the French Riviera). This chamber music festival was hosted by the famous Zodiac Trio. She studied with flutist Sergio Pallottelli and participated in a chamber music ensemble with strings as well as performing a solo.
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.
On Thursday, August 30, 123 incoming freshman and transfer music majors attended New Music Student Orientation in the Music Recital Hall, organized by Dr. Lynn Brinckmeyer, School of Music Associate Director. The new music students are given resources and advice on how to be successful. Students were introduced to student organizations, academic advisors, and service fraternities. They also got a few quick tips from Dr. Thomas Clark, School of Music Director, dubbed “Clark’s Rules for Musician Success” as well as health advice, like staying hydrated, sleeping enough and protecting their hearing.
The next orientation will be on Wednesday, October 3.
— story by music-major Jennifer Gutierrez
Jonah Bahta (MM ’14) has been appointed as an adjunct instructor of music at St. Phillip’s College.
Eliud Garcia (BM ’15) was a featured soloist with the Collegium Musicum Orchestra in Germany where he performed the Vaughan-Williams Tuba Concerto on bass trombone.