Local Music

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

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day Feb 26 2020

At 7:30 pm on Saturday, Feb 29, conductor Anne Harrigan will lead the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra in a performance of The Planets by Gustav Holst.  In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, Harrigan says Holst wrote the piece at the turn of the last century after reading some mystic writings about astrology. Under her direction, the music, which requires a huge orchestra that can produce unique sonic signatures, will be accompanied by images from NASA, courtesy of the Grand Rapids Public Museum. 

Guest artist and rising star Zachary Brandon, a native of Battle Creek, will return from advanced studies in California to play music from the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with his hometown orchestra, Harrigan says. The final piece is the opening overture, written at age 21 by Samuel Barber. His Overture to the School for Scandal is a personal favorite for Harrigan. It's a signature piece for one of her mentors, conductor David Zinman. 

Samantha Celera, via flickr. All creative commons.

Inspired by Lin-Manuel Miranda's 2015 sonnet "Love Is Love," director Chris Ludwa has created a third program for the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus of eclectic choral works with themes of love, including romantic love, family love, spiritual love, love of nature, and self-healing love.  The newly-named winner of the Bach Festival's Young Vocalist High School Competition, Lillie Forteau, will sing two solos during the concert, which also will feature the student choir of Kalamazoo College, and the Chancel Choir of First Congregational Church of Kalamazoo, led by Michael Palmer. The concert begins at 7 pm on Wednesday, March 4 at First Congretational Church of Kalamazoo.

In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, Ludwa quotes a Stevie Wonder lyric, "We have a choice to make / to either walk the path of love / or be crippled by our hate." From a program that draws on classical, pop, folk, and world music, they listen to "Et une seule fleur" by Morten Lauridsen, "Please Stay," by Jake Runestad, "Papa Loko," a traditional Haitian song, and Emeli Sande's "Shine." 

Fran Dwight Photography / https://frandwight.smugmug.com/

The Homefront: Musical Memories of World War II is the next program by the 90-piece Kalamazoo Concert Band, conducted by Dr. Tom Evans.  It's a free concert at for 7:30 pm on Saturday, Feb 22 at Chenery Auditorium. 

The featured guest is Megan Dooley, a well-known, versatile singer from Kalamazoo who will perform classics like "All of Me," Stormy Weather," Minnie the Moocher" among others. Evans and Dooley joined Cara Lieurance in a live interview to share their appreciation for this music, and for the collaboration that brings them together. Expect to hear a selection of favorite marches, along with classic songs and dance-band swing tunes on the concert.


WMU School of Music

Before a Jan 29 recital of works for brass quintet, Western Brass Quintet horn player Lin Foulk Baird and tubist Jacob Cameron sat down to talk about how they choose music for a concert, how their instruments have changed over the centuries, and how they like to play classics, new commissions, and great works that went under the radar, such as George Walker's Music for Brass (1975). 

Baird and Cameron also talked about the Western Brass Quintet's upcoming album of new works, Better Angels. The album title is also the title of a new work written for them by WMU composer David Colson. It will be released in March, 2020. 

Brandon Yenchus, via Jane Kozhevnikova

Charts by jazz greats Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Thad Jones, and Paquito D'Rivera all have a place on tonight's concert by the Western Michigan University Jazz Lab Band and the WMU Jazz Orchestra, but it doesn't stop there. In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, jazz studies professor Dr. Scott Cowan and graduate student/composer Eddie Codrington highlight new and original pieces by Codrington himself ("Flaskling") and another student composer, Jane Kozhevnikova ("'Cause I Ain't Sugar"). 

The concert is at 7:30 pm at the Dalton Center Recital Hall. Tickets are available at the door or through the Miller Auditorium box office.


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