New Music Festival at ECU set for March 14-18

The 12th Annual New Music Festival begins Wednesday on the campus of East Carolina University and runs through March 18. Sponsored by the ECU School of Music and the Hilton Greenville, the festival features music by contemporary composers.

The New Music Festival brings new musical ideas into the classroom, performance spaces and the community. This year’s event brings together composers from ECU and throughout the world to have compositions performed by acclaimed guest artists and hundreds of School of Music students.

This year’s festival includes performances on piano, tuba, violin, viola, trumpet, percussion, an ECU symphony orchestra and ECU combined choirs concert including a world premiere composition, a wind instrument concert, student composition performances, and a concert by the classical new music group the Jack Quartet.

The festival provides unique opportunities for ECU music students to work closely with world-class performers and composers. Students perform for guest artists in master classes and coaching sessions; guest artists perform student compositions in concerts and in readings, recordings and open rehearsals; and guest composers interact with and instruct students and performers in open rehearsals and private lessons.

Another aspect of the festival is the ECU New Music Festival composition competition, which is open to composers internationally. Each year competition winners have a work rehearsed and recorded by an ensemble of ECU School of Music performers. The 2012 winner is “Seasonal Affective Disorder” by Jessica Rudman of New York City, and her winning composition will be performed by the ECU symphony orchestra.

Since its inception in 2001, the festival has presented more than 300 regional premiere compositions, including 61 world premiere performances.

Here is a schedule of the New Music Festival concerts; all will be in A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall unless otherwise noted:

  • Bugallo-Williams Duo, piano, 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, free.
  • Tom McCaslin, tuba, and Catherine Garner, piano, 7:30 p.m., Thursday, free.
  • JACK Quartet, 7:30 p.m., Friday, ticketed event. Call 1-800-ECU-ARTS
  • ECU NewMusic Camerata: Britt Theurer, trumpet; Chris Nappi, percussion; Melissa Reardon, viola; ECU Wind Ensemble Chamber Players, Scott Carter, Director; Ara Gregorian, violin, 3 p.m., Saturday, free.
  • ECU Symphony Orchestra and combined choirs: Jorge Richter, conductor; Elliot Frank, guitar; John Kramar, baritone, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Wright Auditorium, free.
  • Premiere Performances, 7:30 p.m., Sunday, March 18, free.

For more information, visit www.ecu.edu/music/newmusicfest.

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Annual Tribute to Motown set for Feb. 25

ECU professor Carroll V. Dashiell Jr. is music director for the Tribute to Motown concert Feb. 25.

The ECU School of Music Jazz Studies Program will present its annual Tribute to Motown at 8 p.m. Feb. 25 in Wright Auditorium. Presented as part of Black History Month celebrations on campus, the concert celebrates African-Americans’ contribution to the music world. ECU music professor Carroll V. Dashiell Jr. is music director.

Performances will include such Motown classics as “Respect,” “Dr. Feel Good,” “Dancin’ in the Street,” “Sugar Pie Honey-Bun,” “Kansas City,” “My Girl” and more.

Featured performers include Ronee Martin, blues and jazz vocalist, and Christie Dashiell, Afro Blue vocalist; along with
Dashiell Jr on bass; Bill Ford, special guest piano/synthesizers; Jon Ozment, special guest piano/synthesizers; Jeff Bair, Jeremiah Miller and Vaughn Ambrose, saxophones; Carroll V. Dashiell, III, drums; Joe Phillips, guitar; Joey Stultz, ethnic percussion; Karen Peele, trombone; Steve Peckus, tenor sax; and James Old, trumpet. Background vocals are by “3-D”: Christie Dashiell, Rochelle Rice, Alden Quick and Marvin Thorne.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, available at the door or through the ECU Central Ticket Office at 252-328-4788 or 1-800-ECU-ARTS.

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ECU anthropology professor teaches diversity through music

East Carolina University anthropology professor Dr. Luci Fernandes is using music to teach diversity in her undergraduate global understanding classes through a collaborative project between ECU students and students in partner countries.

Fernandes

The “Teaching Diversity through Music” project uses popular music from around the world to help students develop cultural understanding,”Fernandes said.

The students will identify, collect, analyze and share appropriate examples of popular music, then learn “the many ways in which music relates to its cultural contexts, cultural identity and individual identity,” she said.

Each student in the program selects a song to send to a partner in another country. Along with the song, participants provide details about the song’s lyrics, musical genre, memories the song may engender, dance associated with the song and the cultural roots of the music and instruments used in the piece. Students also include an explanation of why they chose the song and how it relates to them personally or how it reflects the overall culture of their country.

“Through their encounters with the musical forms of other cultures and the analysis of the lyrics, both in the original language and English translation, students learn about the cultural traditions from which the music springs and the cultural themes that it represents,” Fernandes said.

The project is funded in part through a 2011-12 mini grant of $750 from the ECU Office of Equity, Diversity and Community Relations, whose purpose is to prepare students for a multicultural society.

For additional information about the project, contact Fernandes at 252-737-1072 or fernandesl@ecu.edu.

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Interest rising in music therapy

Dr. Barbara Memory (right), ECU Director of Music Therapy, with ECU Music Therapy students in session with client class. (Contributed photo)

A Raleigh News and Observer news story highlighted rising interest in music therapy as a way to calm patients and enhance medical care, citing music therapy work that helped U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords recover from a gunshot wound to the brain.

ECU offers undergraduate and graduate options in music therapy and hosts an ECU chapter of the American Music Therapy Association.

Dr. Barbara Memory is director of ECU’s music therapy program. Memory is a board certified registered music therapist and a member of the American Association of Music Therapy. She earned her Ph.D. from Michigan State University, a master of music from Florida State University, and a bachelor of science and bachelor of music from Michigan State University.

For additional information about ECU’s music therapy program visit the program’s web site at http://www.ecu.edu/cs-cfac/music/musictherapy.cfm

Read the News and Observer article at http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/01/18/1786114/spotlight-falls-on-music-therapists.html.

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American Voices founder to speak at ECU

East Carolina University will host John Ferguson, founder and executive director of American Voices, Oct. 25 and 26 at A.J. Fletcher Music Center on campus.

Ferguson will present, “Becoming a Cultural Diplomat: Global Leadership in Music.” The goal of the presentation is to help make students aware of best practices in cultural engagement programs and international career opportunities in the performing arts. Fletcher will also present a workshop on how young American university students might design and implement such programs on their own.

Presentations on Tuesday will include “Winning Hearts and Minds,” 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.; “Why Do They Love Us So Much,” 4 – 5:30 p.m.; and a film, Camp Unity, 7:30 – 9 p.m.  On Wednesday, “Becoming a Cultural Diplomat” will be held from 10 a.m. to noon.

The event is sponsored by the BB&T Leadership Institute, the ECU School of Music and the ECU Collegiate Music Educators National Conference Chapter.

American Voices aspires to train new generations to reach areas of the world emerging from isolation or conflict through cultural engagement and diplomacy. Members of American Voices work to engage with youth through performing arts in countries emerging from conflict and isolation, including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Thailand, and Burma. One of the signature programs of American Voices is the YES (Youth Excellence on Stage) Academies in which students participate in American art forms such as orchestra, hip hop, choir, Broadway, and jazz.

The organization was named one of America’s Top Ten Cultural Diplomacy Organizations in 2010.

For more information contact Dr. Jay Juchniewicz at 252- 328-1251 or by e-mail at juchniewiczj@ecu.edu

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ECU community gets first choice at piano sale

The East Carolina University School of Music will host a piano sale from noon to 5 p.m. Aug. 6 and 7 at the A.J. Fletcher Music Center on campus.

ECU faculty, alumni, staff and students may make a private appointment for Aug. 4, 5 or 6 to view and select an instrument before the sale opens to the public. Call 252-328-6019 to make the appointment. Calls will be returned in the order received beginning Aug. 1.

The sale will include a large selection of Steinway & Sons, Boston, Essex and Taylor grands and verticals, as well as Roland digitals and used pianos.Deliveries, warranties and follow-up services will be handled by Hopper Piano & Organ.

Proceeds will benefit the School of Music.

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Billy Taylor Jazz Festival Set for April 15, 16

The East Carolina University School of Music and ECU Jazz Studies Program will present the annual Billy Taylor Jazz Festival April 15 and 16.

Featured performers include Connaitre Miller, associate professor of music and coordinator of jazz vocal studies at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and the award-winning vocal jazz ensemble she directs, Afro Blue. Also appearing is jazz master drummer Winard Harper, along with ECU jazz ensembles led by bass professor and festival artistic director Carroll V. Dashiell Jr.

ECU Jazz Combos will perform at 8 p.m. April 15 at Christinne’s in the Hilton Greenville. Miller, Afro Blue, Harper and Jazz Ensemble A will perform at 8 p.m. April 16 in Wright Auditorium.

Also on April 16, the festival invites middle and high school jazz bands to participate in the festival’s Middle and High School Performance day, which includes stage performances followed by clinics conducted by Harper and the ECU jazz studies faculty. Outstanding soloist and musicianship awards are presented at the evening concert.

This year’s festival is the first since the passing of jazz great and festival namesake Dr. Billy Taylor.

Tickets are required. For additional information, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-cfac/music/jazz/jazz-festival/index.cfm or call 252-328-6851.

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Music faculty on podcasts

ECU School of Music faculty performances and commentary are featured on “Treasured Tunes” podcasts linked from the university homepage.

The podcasts include audio music recordings by faculty, question-and-answer sessions with the performers and written podcast transcripts. The public may subscribe to the podcasts through a link to ECU’s iTunes U on the website. There are also links to information about the performers and the School of Music. Faculty performers will rotate through the site.

The first podcast features Elliot Frank, ECU guitar professor. The link to the podcast is http://www.ecu.edu/cs-admin/mktg/treasured_tunes_elliot_frank_podcast.cfm or through the ECU homepage at www.ecu.edu.

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