Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Concert/Master Class at Longwood University

This past Sunday afternoon, WSaxQ performed at Longwood University. It was our third visit in the last 12 years or so and we had a great audience, even though the Olympic Hockey final game with USA vs. Canada was at the same time. While that sort of thing shouldn't make a difference, we still wondered.
We were hosted by Charles Kinzer, the Dept. Chair and saxophone professor. His wife, Lisa, who teaches piano and other classes was there as well. We particularly enjoyed their comments, which included the power of music to communicate. One of the sections of the program, which we have been presenting this season, features the pairing of Michael Nyman's "Song for Tony-1" and the "Adagio" by Samuel Barber. These are both very emotional pieces, one intentional and the other has evolved after it's composition. Nyman conveyed very directly and vividly, the anger he felt after the death of a close friend. It is a piece constructed in such an energetic way that after the nearly 4 minutes of performance, there is a sense of exhaustion for players and listeners alike. The Barber is very well known, but never seems to stop evoking deep feelings. Audience response has been very good and encouraging. Some are able to convey exactly the way they feel, while others just allow themselves to "get lost" in the sounds.
The language of music is something our group has been exploring with very young listeners as well and the range of thoughtful emotional response has been nothing short of remarkable. As scientists say...there is some evidence that we are "wired" for music very early in life.

Later Sunday night we conducted a master class and heard some very good playing from the saxophone students at Longwood. Lisa Kinzer played piano (at the last minute) and did a wonderful job of collaborating with the saxophonists. Again, in the process of hearing various pieces and talking about the music, the subject of communicating with the instrument came up, over and over. Music does that so well, it makes you wonder why music teaching budgets are in jeopardy all over the country. It is so vital to education in general. We heard very promising group of students, many of whom plan to teach. We hope that whatever happens in their careers, that they will keep music in their lives. They are off to a good start.

More later...Phoenix, AZ on March 26th

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