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School of Music’s Top Soloists to Present a Night of Concertos at ASU Gammage

February 03, 2015

Mark your calendars for Feb. 4, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. for the annual Concert of Soloists at ASU Gammage. This free concert comprises performances by the winners of the ASU Concert of Soloists Finalists Program, accompanied by the ASU Symphony Orchestra, and features graduate student conductors.

These five soloists represent the ASU School of Music’s top talent. To compete in the finalist program in the fall, two students are chosen from each performance area: woodwinds, brass, strings, voice, keyboard and guitar, harp and percussion. A jury made up of faculty from the School of Music’s four divisions (ensembles, performance, music education and therapy and musicology, music theory and composition) adjudicated the final round and selected the winners.

Timothy Russell, professor of music and director of orchestras, began these solo concerts over 21 years ago and also established the Student Composition Competition.

The 2015 winner is doctoral student in music composition Chris Lamb, whose original work “Blue Amberol” premiers as part of the concert. Inspiration for his wild fanfare comes from the blue amberol, one of the first devices to record sound, which only held 4.5 minutes of music. Lamb’s short piece is a commentary on the average American’s short attention span, which he believes is directly related to the prevalence of technology in our lives. Lamb says that the piece “utilizes aspects of minimalism, rock, pop, metal and jazz to reflect as many different styles as possible.” He also says that he wanted to create the feeling of “someone channel flipping through the radio.”

Performing the second movement of Henri Tomasi’s romantic “Concerto for Alto Saxophone” under the direction of doctoral conducting student Trae Blanco is Tyler Flowers, a Master of Music in Saxophone Performance student. “In addition to being selected for this year’s Concert of Soloists, [Flowers] also won the AZMEA Young Artist Competition (winds), placed second in the MTNA Southwest Division Young Artist Competition (winds), and second in the Gordon T. Parks Concerto Competition held by the Arapahoe Philharmonic,” says his teacher, Christopher Creviston, assistant professor of saxophone. Flowers says he hopes that the audience “will be able to walk away from my performance with a greater appreciation for the saxophone in a classical setting.”

The first movement of the “Concerto for Percussion” by Joseph Schwantner will be played by Bryan Hummel, a Master of Music in Percussion Performance major and student of J.B. Smith, professor of percussion. The piece will be conducted by doctoral conducting student Andrew Pease. Hummel describes the piece as “an escapade through various textures provided by many different percussion instruments” and as “loud and soft, aggressive and delicate, expansive and sparse all in approximately 6 minutes, making it a truly exciting adventure for the audience.”

Aihua Zhang, a Doctor of Musical Arts in Violin Performance student, presents the first movement of Béla Bartók’s “Violin Concerto No. 2,” which will be conducted by Robert Coats, a Master of Music student in conducting. “My work on this complex and difficult piece… has been both enjoyable and productive,” says Zhang. Her teacher, Danwen Jiang, associate professor of violin, says that this work “is considered one of the most important concertos for violin and orchestra of the 20th century.” Jiang adds, “I suggested that she challenge herself by learning this masterpiece… I am very pleased and impressed by how beautifully she plays this work.”

Xiaoqian Gou, a Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance student, performs the first movement of Sergei Prokofiev’s “Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26” under the direction of Cullan Lucas, doctoral conducting student. Gou studies with Baruch Meir, associate professor of piano. “Gou is always striving for ways to perfect his mastery,” says Meir. “He is an exciting pianist of great technical and musical abilities.”

The final soloist of the evening is Hanah Vutipadadorn, a Master of Music in Piano Performance student. Vutipadadorn plays the first movement of the “Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 16” by Prokofiev, under the direction of JungHwan Kwon, doctoral conducting student. “Vutipadadorn is an outstanding pianist who possesses a powerful stage presence, personal charm and a strong musical conviction,” says Meir, who has worked with Vutipadadorn for the past 6 years. Vutipadadorn remarks that she fell in love with this piece because it “embodies a fierce wildness and a contrasting beautiful singing melody. There is such emotion and power within this music."

The Yamaha CFX concert grand piano for this performance was provided courtesy of Yamaha Corporation of America and Piano Gallery, Scottsdale, Ariz.

For details on the concert, visit: the ASU events page.

Media Contact:
Deborah Sussman Susser 

Public Contact: 
Heather Beaman
Communications Liaison