Local Music

Hear interviews with guests on music programs produced here at WMUK, as well as program news.

Last Gasp Collective

The Last Gasp Collective began just three years ago when two recently relocated brothers introduced themselves to Kalamazoo at open mic nights.  Now a 9-piece band that blends hip-hop, funk, soul, and jazz, the Collective has the flexibility to re-design itself for all kinds of occasions, from club gigs, to music festivals, to an evening at the theatre. Jay Jaksonn, Xavier Bonner, Joel Pixley-Fink, and Jordan Hamilton joined Cara Lieurance to talk about A Last Gasp Musical, describing it as " a seamless fusion of music, dance, drama, and visual arts".

Cellist Stefan Koch resumes his conversation with Jack Perlstein about Jewish composer Richard Stohr, who emigrated to the United States in 1938.  Koch recently released his second recording of music for cello by Stohr, on the Toccata Classics label. http://www.richardstoehr.com/

C. Lieurance

On Friday night, the Kalamazoo Bach Festival continues with a program called Breaking Barriers with Bach: Baroque To Celtic, featuring music of French, German, and Scottish composers of the Baroque era, with traditional Irish dance tunes interspersed, and finishing up with the premiere of The Butterfly, a work by Kalamazoo composer Carl Witt. In the studio with Cara Lieurance, Carl Witt, Luke Cook, and Joanna Steinhauser (holding young Matilda in her arms) preview the music and talk about the process of bringing the program together.

The concert is at 7:30 pm in the Lecture Hall of the Light Fine Arts Center, Kalamazoo College, on Friday, June 8. 


The Merling Trio

On Friday, the Kalamazoo Bach Festival will close its festival with a concert by the Merling Trio, the esteemed ensemble-in-residence at Western Michigan University. With the addition of bassist Tom Knific, the group will premiere three new works, by Adam Schumaker, Gene Knific, and Tom Knific, as part of an extended arrangement of J.S. Bach's Italian Concerto, BWV 971. The three composers each took one movement of the concerto, and created a jazz-inspired companion movement to go with it. 

To close the concert, long time friend and former student of Renata Artman Knific, Mialtin Zhezha, will join the Merling Trio and bassist Tom Knific to perform Schubert's Quintet in A, D. 667, "The Trout.


Kalamazoo Kids In Tune

Kalamazoo Kids in Tune will hold its free Gala Finale from 5:30-7 p.m. on Thursday, June 7, at Chenery Auditorium, featuring the youngest symphony orchestra in the state of Michigan. In an interview with Cara Lieurance, Liz Youker, Vice President of Education and Community Partnerships with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, highlights some of the program's accomplishments over the last seven years, paying special attention to the contributions of Eric Barth, known to students as "Dr. Rick," who recently stepped down as artistic director. Ahmed Tofiq, who founded Orchestra Rouh as a program for children from refugee families, says the children he teaches have grown in confidence and ability as they practice and perform.

Both Orchestra Rouh and Kalamazoo Kids In Tune will continue their programs this summer, offering music instruction, group activities, and an all-ages event called Community Day.


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