Local Music

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

thegilmore.org

Pierre van der Westhuizen, the executive director of the Gilmore Keyboard Festival and a concert pianist himself, joins Cara Lieurance to preview the final concerts of the spring season. On April 28 at 4 pm, American pianist Kate Liu, a finalist of the 2015 Chopin Competition, will perform works by Beethoven, Mozart and Prokofiev in the Wellspring Theatre. Westhuizen recalls the day he watched the livestream of the famous competition, and how Ms. Liu's performance stood out among all the others. Liu had to withdraw from performing in recent seasons to allow an injury to resolve - something Westhuizen says athletes and musicians share in common.

On May 7 at 8 pm in Chenery Auditorium, the 2010 Gilmore Artist Kirill Gerstein will replace an ailing Murray Perahia on the Piano Masters Series. Gerstein, who has returned to Kalamazoo more times than any other Gilmore Artist, will play a wide-ranging program of immense variety and difficulty, Westhuizen says. Westhuizen and Cara Lieurance get into the details of the great Liszt Sonata in B minor and other works on the program.


wellspringdance.org

Eyes Back, Feet Forward Spring Concert of Dance by Wellspring/Cori Terry and Dancers set for May 2-4, will build on a collaboration between the 39 year-old modern dance company and Last Gasp Collective, a hip-hop/soul/jazz group founded by Jay Jackson in 2015. In the studio with Cara Lieurance, Wellspring's Cori Terry looks back at who she was when she came to Kalamazoo 4 decades ago, and how her personal mission has changed over time with the success of the company. The extra time and rehearsal required to collaborate with live musicians is worth it, she says, for the palpable energy live performance creates. Last Gasp leader Jay Jackson says the collaboration with Wellspring/Cori Terry and Dancers has been beneficial for the band, adding to his wide-ranging vision for the group.

The Spring Concert will be performed in the Wellspring Theatre of the Epic Center on Thursday, May 2 at 7 pm, Friday, May 3 at 8 pm, and Saturday, May 4 at 8 pm.


Sud Web, via Flickr. All creative commons license.

The Kalamazoo Bach Festival - a 73 year-old music organization that presents a series of (mostly) classical concerts each spring - and Open Doors Kalamazoo - a 49 year-old aid organization that helps move people out of homelessness - are collaborating for the first time to bring musical experiences to new audiences. Stephanie Hoffman, executive director of Open Doors, and Cori Somers, executive director of the Kalamazoo Bach Festival, say they found common ground over a shared love of music and belief in every person's need for beauty in their lives. 

In an interview with Cara Lieurance, Somers talks about the variety of upcoming concerts the Kalamazoo Bach Festival will present between April 26 - May 6. In particular, the May 3rd "Breaking Barriers With Bach" and the May 4th "Visions and Miracles" events will include cross-collaboration with Open Doors. Hoffman describes her experience starting out as a social worker with Open Doors 16 years ago. She learned to go beyond the negative circumstances and labels attached to her clients and ask a simple question that cut through to their real selves: "Who are you?"  Food and shelter are basic needs, she says, but access to art also addresses a deep desire everyone shares.


The Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus, Kalamazoo Children's Chorus, three opera soloists and the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra will unite to perform the improbably popular Carmina Burana, by Carl Orff, on Sunday, April 28 at 4 pm in Chenery Auditorium. This 1937 cantata survived an early association with Nazi Germany to become a universal celebration of spring, life, love, and the inexorable turning of the wheel of fate, expressed in poetry by anonymous monks-in-training in the 12th and early 13th centuries.

Who was Carl Orff? Andrew Koehler, who prepared the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony and will conduct the performance, explains the way the composer's different interests coalesced into his biggest success. Kalamazoo Bach Festival artistic director Chris Ludwa explains the parts played by the soloists and chorus, and Darlene Sang says the children in the Treble Choir have worked hard on the different languages and will be amazed when the final rehearsals bring together over 125 people to perform the piece.


Thad Stalmack II, artist

The five members of the neo-fusion band Lushh, formed in 2015 by a group of advanced and adventurous jazz students, have been spending a lot of time outside the familiar hallways of Western Michigan University's School of Music. They've been gaining real-world experience in venues from Chicago, to Detroit, and beyond, playing for new audiences, forging new connections, and now, going on tour with a new full-length album. It will be available on Wednesday, April 24 in a performance at the Kalamazoo State Theatre. Lushh will open for Boney James at 7:30 pm. 

In the studio with Cara Lieurance, the members of Lushh - saxophonist Eddie Codrington, guitarist Andrew Saliba, keyboardist Grayson Nye, bassist Matthew Epperson, and drummer Madison George - talk about their commitment to their sound and the strategies that have helped them follow their path.  


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