Gene Knific | WMUK

Gene Knific

courtesy of the artist

On Sunday, Aug 16 at 4 pm, Concerts in the Park will go virtual with a live-streamed concert by the Knific Quartet with guest vocalist Rhea Olivaccé. The Knific Quartet features Tom Knific, bassist and professor emeritus of Western Michigan University, Renata Knific, violinist and professor emerita of WMU, Gene Knific, pianist/arranger (Tom and Renata are Gene's parents) and Brad Crossland, drums. The livestream will be hosted by the Arts Council website.

CORRECTION: IVERSON plays on Friday, Feb 1 at Bell's Eccentric Café. This story aired on the previous Friday, Jan 25, and IVERSON's performance was referenced as "tonight's" show. We apologize for any confusion.

IVERSON is a synth-pop quintet based in Chicago that writes original songs with a vintage palette from the late 70s-80s. One of the members, keyboardist Gene Knific, grew up in Kalamazoo and studied jazz at the University of Miami. The close-knit group shares long histories as friends and siblings, as wellas advanced study as musicians.

Knific tells Cara Lieurance that IVERSON is an "outward-facing," high-energy pop-focused band that has learned to appreciate the subtleties of writing in pop forms - the challenge of group writing, the extreme specificity of sounds and chords, integrating choreography and visuals, and working to transfer their energy to a crowd. They sample several tracks from IVERSON's latest release, Content

IVERSON will perform at Bell's Eccentric Café on Friday, Feb 1. Doors open at 7:30, with the opening band Earth Radio taking the stage at 8:30 pm.

Merling Trio

Western Michigan University's Merling Trio and bassist Tom Knific will appear at the Chamber Music Festival of Saugatuck this week to perform a program of favorites by Brahms and Mozart, and new additions to their Great American Songbook project. Starting two years ago, the trio began commissioning arrangements for piano, violin, cello (and sometimes bass) of songs by composers like George Gershwin and Harold Arlen, and up to Burt Bacharach and Brian Wilson. Gene Knific, the son of Tom and Renata Knific and a versatile young composer, wrote the new arrangements for the group.

The Chamber Music Festival of Saugatuck concerts are Thursday and Friday at 7:30 pm at the Saugatuck Woman's Club.

Renata Knific, professor of violin at Western Michigan University, speaks with Cara Lieurance about her unusual violin recital, featuring works for unaccompanied violin by Sergei Prokofiev and Mikos Rozsa. Gene Knific, her son who is himself a musician/composer, joins them to talk about Warmth, a piece he wrote for Renata. And Nora Lewis, the director of Western Michigan's Bullock Performance Institute, previews upcoming concerts on the series, held most Wednesday nights September and April in the Dalton Center Recital Hall.

Gene Knific, the son of two Western Michigan University music professors, began studying jazz at the college level while still in high school. 

After four years at the University of Miami, he moved back to Kalamazoo this summer, re-introducing himself to the region with a performance at the Fontana summer festival.