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Composers of color featured in SOU concert

“Splinter” woodwind concert features composers of color

The SOU Music Program will present “Splinter”  – a woodwind concert featuring composers of color and directed by SOU’s Rhett Bender – at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 22, in the SOU Music Recital Hall. Tickets are $10 for general seating, and SOU students, faculty and staff are free.

Three SOU woodwind groups will perform: Quintet of 7 Reeds, saxophone quartet Saxistential and newly the formed clarinet quartet Panic in the Practice Room. The small ensembles are made up of SOU music faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and alumni.

The performance will open with Piotr Tchaikovsky’s “Album of Music” with “Winter Morning” and “Russian Dances,” followed by Rodgers and Harts’ “My Funny Valentine.”

The Saxistential Quartet – made up of Amanda Esser, Jack Kovaleski, Reese Lanier and Randy Nguyen – will perform “Ragtime Dance” from African-American composer Scott Joplin (aka, the “King of Ragtime). Joplin is well known for more than 50 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet and two operas. Joplin grew up in a musical family of railway laborers in Texarkana, Arkansas, and developed his own musical knowledge with the help of local teachers. He left his job as a railroad laborer in the 1880s and traveled as a musician, visiting Chicago for the World’s Fair of 1893 – which played a major part in making ragtime a national craze by 1897. Joplin moved to Sedalia, Missouri, in 1894 and earned a living as a piano teacher. He began publishing music in 1895, and publication of his “Maple Leaf Rag” in 1899 brought him fame. The piece had a profound influence on writers of ragtime.

“Royal Garden Blues,” by African-American composers Clarence Williams and Spencer Williams (not related), will make up the middle of the program. The two collaborated in 1919 on the piece, which was popularized in jazz by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and has since been recorded by numerous artists and has become a jazz standard. The song is considered one of the first popular songs based on a riff. Clarinet quartet “Panic in the Practice Room” – made up of Jack Boulter, Randy Nguyen, Martin Bichinsky and Jackie Lu – will perform the work.

Also featured during the program will be composure David Bennett and his “Prelude and Scherzo.”

Written for reed quintet, Marc Mellits’ “Splinter” will wrap up the program and feature eight movements that convey the musical characteristics of different majestic hardwood trees – including red oak, sugar maple and weeping willow – which gives the concert its title. The piece will be performed by Quintet for 7 Reeds, is made up of music faculty Lorin Groshong and Rhett Bender, students Jack Boulter and Randy Nguyen, and SOU alumus Travis Muñoz.

To learn more about concerts and performances at the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University, visit https://oca.sou.edu. For tickets, contact the OCA Box Office at 541-552-6348 or by email at boxoffice@sou.edu, or purchase tickets online at https://sou.universitytickets.com.

Story courtesy of the Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU