31 December 2008

New Recital Hall Seats

Over the holiday break our Music Recital Hall has been getting the seats replaced. Thanks to a generous donation, the recital hall floor was replaced last year and this year we are getting beautiful new seats. The Music Building and Stevenson Union were built at the same time and completed in 1972. Whereas the SU has received several remodels an additions over the years, the Music Building has remained relatively unchanged. The recital hall is acoustically beautiful place to perform and to listen to concerts. The changes made this year have updated and replace the well-worn interior.

The original seats mirror the color aesthetics of the 70s.
Contractors began working immediately following the last concert in December. The old seats were removed and donated to several local theatres.The new seats are a beautiful burgundy with wood trim. With silent operation and no squeaks like the old seats, the new seats are firmer and very comfortable. Better support of the seat pan allows patrons to sit a bit higher and not sink into the seat. The new arrangement of the seats offers many different options for patrons with disabilities.

The first chance the public will have to see a concert in the new seats is Chamber Music Concert's presentation of Quaretto Gelato on Saturday, January 10. Unfortunately this popular ensemble has already sold out. If you don't have tickets, you may attend the free Quartetto Gelato presentation at the SOU Music Convocation on January 16th at 1PM-of course in our beautiful recital hall.

11 November 2008

Nick performs Bilik Concertino

Senior performance major Nick Waroff won the Rogue Wind Ensemble annual concerto competition last spring. In addition to the prize money Nick was the featured soloist on their fall concert performing Jared Bilik's Concertino for Alto Saxophone and Band. Nick will have second performance with the Rogue Wind Ensemble on December 4th at the SOU Music Recital Hall.

Rogue Wind Ensemble conductor Bill Norfleet

06 November 2008

Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra November Concert. Happy Birthday Adolphe Sax!

For further information contact:
Rhett Bender

Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra Saxophone Colors

(Ashland, Ore.) –The acclaimed Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra will present the Saxophone Colors on November 14th at 8:00 PM in the SOU Music Recital Hall. Audience members are invited to a cake reception will following the concert.
The eighteen members of the Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra (SSO) and Artistic Director, Dr. Rhett Bender, showcase the artistry of the entire saxophone family. Original music by Arthur Frackenpohl and Walter Hartley will be performed alongside arrangements of the Egmont Overture by Beethoven, Mars by Holst, and Bethena by Joplin. Featured soloist is Rhett Bender performing the Concerto in Eb by Russian composer Alexander Glazounov. Associate Dean Vicki Purslow and SOU Alum, Erin Luce, will be guest conducting.
Last season the SSO traveled to China, where they performed to crowds of admiring music fans. As the guests of Mercury Saxophones, the SSO performed at the China Music Trade Show in Shanghai and at the northern seaside resort city of Yantai. The Siskiyou newspaper quotes audience members from a recent concert: “It was wonderful. I really enjoyed myself.” “They were great. It's amazing that saxophones can have such power. I didn't want it to end.” “It was another great event offered by the music department.” For more information about the Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra, please visit www.sou.edu/music/siskiyousaxophone.
Rhett Bender is a Professor of Music at Southern Oregon University and is sought out internationally as a saxophone artist. He has presented master-classes throughout the United States, Europe, China and Mexico. Bender is a founding member and soprano saxophonist with the Globe Saxophone Quartet and teaches each May at the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu, China.

Tickets for this performance are $10 for general admission and free for students. Tickets and season passes may be purchased by calling 541-552-6101 or at the Music Box Office prior to the performance. For more information, please visit Southern Oregon University’s Music Department website at http://www.sou.edu/music


01 November 2008

Szymanowski Convocation

Yesterday's Convocation was a teaser concert by the exciting Szymanowski String Quartet. They performed a few movements from each of their two concerts to be presented on campus. In addition to performing the quartet spent thirty minutes speaking with the students and answering questions. Students at SOU are very fortunate to have concerts such as Szymanowski on a regular basis. Thank you to Chamber Music Concerts Board and to donors such as Jim Collier for making this possible.

Convocation People's Quartet Returns

It has been almost two months since my last post. This hasn't been for a lack of activity. Jody and I spent nearly a month in Italy–more on this in another post–and on September 29th Fall classes at SOU began.

Each Friday the Department of Music presents Convocation. The October 24th Convocation featured a piece by composition student Federico Behnke and the return of the People's Quartet. The photo below show Associate Professor Terry Longshore performing Federico's piece.

The People's Quartet has been on and off for three years with core members Nick Waroff, Tang Di and Keith Smelcer trying out a third member. In the past it has always been the tenor saxophone chair with a new person. This year I decided to try something different. Sean Goff has enthusiastically joined the quartet and rather than plugging him on tenor I asked him to play baritone and moved Keith to tenor. The formula seems to be working as the People's Quartet has become a first-rate ensemble. At convocation they performed Suite Hellénique–watch for the youtube video. They are also working on Grave et Presto by Rivier and the Gotkovsky Saxophone Quartet.

During the recital tenor saxophonist, Keith Smelcer, discovered the recital hall's magic stand. This is the new music stand that has a loose top. Each Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra rehearsal has one member finding they are using the magic stand. Typically one pulls the top off the stand to adjust to an appropriate height when the entire top comes off and throws music all over the stage. It is particurly affective during a recital as Keith shows in the photo. With the orchestra it has become a type of "musical chairs." We have a pool to guess the date in which the magic stand will be fixed.

03 September 2008

29 August 2008

2008-2009 Season

Rehearsals for the new season of the Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra begin on September 30th. Concerts at the SOU Music Recital Hall will be November 14th, February 20th and May 15th.

Music for this season will include Devil's Rag by Jean Matitia, a Gabrieli Canzona, and Celluloid by Randall Snyder featuring our new Selmer Bass Saxophone–yet to arrive. In the spring will be the world premiere of an Elegy for the victims of the Sichuan Earthquake commissioned by the Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra composed by Todd Barton. July is the XVth World Saxophone Congress in Bangkok Thailand. Will we be going?

November's concert will feature Rhett Bender performing the Glazounov Concerto for alto saxophone arranged for saxophone ensemble and conducted by Vicki Purslow. Also featured is Purslow's arrangement of Joplin's Bethena and guest conductor, SOU graduate Erin Luce leading the ensemble in an arrangement of Beethoven's Egmont Overture. Music for 12 Saxophones by Walter Hartley and Intrada by Arthur Frackenpohl will demonstrate east coast, American-style compositions for saxophone orchestra.

Orchestra members, music is now available. See Dr. Bender for your part and begin practicing.

28 August 2008

Globe Saxophone Quartet

, originally uploaded by bendersaxophone.

Above is the Globe Saxophone Quartet's publicity photo from July. We will use this for our upcoming season. John and his wife Linda are leaving next week to teach in Taipei, Taiwan–both on Fulbright Fellowships. I am trying to arrange my schedule to guest lecture at their host school this November.

The Globe's performances the season will probably include a return trip to Georgia in March. The details of the tour are being worked out. We also hope to perform at the XVth World Saxophone Congress this July in Thailand.

18 August 2008

2008 Crater Lake Century

2008 Crater Lake Century, originally uploaded by bendersaxophone.

Summer school ended Friday. We have nearly a month break before school resumes in the Fall. Many of you know that Jody and I spend time bike riding and racing. Two weeks ago we road Cycle Oregon Weekend in Astoria. This Saturday we road 80 miles from Fort Klamath around Crater Lake and back to Fort Klamath. With 7000 feet of climbing and 90 degree heat it was a tough ride.

Jody and I have been using rides like Crater Lake and some local races to get in shape for our September vacation to Italy. We will be spending my fortieth birthday at the Italian Bicycling Center outside of Venice. I'll be using the weeks before we leave for Italy training, preparing for fall classes, winterizing the house and splitting a lot of firewood.

16 August 2008

ACMW Week 2 Day 5

Here are images from the last day of the 2008 Ashland Chamber Music Workshop.

Thank you all for a great week!

24 July 2008

ACMW Week 2 Day 4

Scences from the ACMW HQ--the library. Coaches and librarians at work.

Performance from Thursday's recital.

23 July 2008

ACMW Week 2 Day 3

Today's board. Every participant is represented by a card. The cards are grouped by ensemble.

Images from today's rehearsal in the Hinkle Room.

21 July 2008

ACMW Week 2 Day 1

Coaches work with ensembles on the first day of week 2.