Local Music

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

C Lieurance

Founded in 2013 by Laura Kay Henderson, Queer Theatre Kalamazoo offers productions four times a year, including this weekend's Step Three, by New York playwright Michael Aman, directed by Connar Klock. It runs through June 9 at the First Baptist Church of Kalamazoo.

In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, Henderson, Klock, and Kalamazoo playwright Gordon Bolar preview Step Three and the upcoming Summer Shorts Play Festival, a free festival of scenes and one acts written by local playwrights. Running June 20-23, it features four new works, including Bolar's Good Advice '49


Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

186 artists started arriving early today to set up for the 68th annual KIA Arts Fair, a traditional summer kick-off for the city. The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts' Katie Houston shared some of the highlights with Cara Lieurance. She explains how the artists in the oldest outdoor artfair in Michigan are selected, and how the jury selects prizewinners on the first day of the fair. There are around 125 volunteers who help assist fairgoers and artists, plus a host of other activities to make the weekend special.


Carol Corey

Sometimes, having a leading role in an orchestra can serve as the first step to musical exploration. The Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra, which recently completed its 80th season, is a starting ground for several chamber ensembles, one of which recently visited WMUK for music and conversation with Cara Lieurance. The KJSO Woodwind Quintet is: flutist Emma Temple, a sophomore at Gull Lake High School; clarinetist Kaoru Murai, a senior from Portage Central High School; oboist Mei Lanting, a senior at Kalamazoo Central; bassoonist Jackson Crause, a senior at Portage Central;  and horn player Andrew Burhans, a sophomore at Portage Central. 

In the Takeda Performance Studio at WMUK, the musicians talk about everything from how they chose their instruments, to whom they study with, to what it was like to visit South Africa with the Junior Symphony in June of 2018. Crause shares his appreciation for Andrew Koehler, the conductor of the KJSO, and Temple says being in the quintet has given her confidence in more situations. Musical expression has advantages over verbal, says Murai, and Lanting looks back on her seven seasons with the KJSO. Burhans embraces the horn's dual nature as a woodwind and a brass instrument.

Together, the quintet plays J.S. Bach's "Little" Fugue in G minor, BWV 578, the second movement, "Columbines (Snowmass Lake)" from the Roaring Fork Quintet by Eric Ewazen; and the "Shanty No. 3" from Three Shanties by Malcolm Arnold.


amitpeled.com

The Kalamazoo Philharmonia ended its 2018-19 season on June 1 with a program called "Virtuosity," featuring Israeli-American cellist Amit Peled. In a conversation with Cara Lieurance and Philharmonia director Andrew Koehler, Peled shares personal and historic details about Bruch's soulful Kol Nidrei and Camille Saint-Saens' Cello Concerto in A minor, which stunned audiences in 1872 with its immediate intensity. Koehler also introduces a "towering masterpiece" which hasn't been performed in the region in years, to his knowledge: the Concerto for Orchestra by Witold Lutosławski.


Image provided by Farmers Alley Theatre

Actor Tony Humrichouser wanted to play the role of Bruce Bechdel in Fun Home from the moment he saw the show on Broadway. A musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel's graphic novel-memoir, opening June 7 at Farmers Alley Theatre, young, middle, and adult Alisons search for ways to connect with her father, Bruce, a small-town funeral director, antiques restorer, English teacher, and closeted gay man. Throughout his life, he instinctively avoided addressing Alison's own lesbianism. That avoidance rang true for Humrichouser, who says that playing the role has been cathartic for him - helping him process memories of his own childhood.

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