The Performing Arts Department’s spring music performances are about to get underway, opening with Jazz Night! on April 30, and followed by the UMass Boston Chamber Orchestra and the UMass Boston Chamber Chorus the following weekend.
Jazz Night! April 30, 7:30 p.m. in Snowden Auditorium, FREE
The UMass Boston jazz bands take the stage on Saturday night at Snowden Auditorium, with a line up spanning early career music students performing live for the first time to polished musicians set to graduate and get ready for professional careers. The focus is on improvisation based on jazz classics, old and new, and featuring works by Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Luiz Bonfa, John Scofield, Herbie Hancock, Steve Kuhn, and more.
“This is the culmination of all their efforts, learning to improvise and create music in the moment that’s vital and honest,” said Peter Janson, music faculty member and director of Jazz Night!
“We have all levels. At the beginning of the concert we have the students who are newer to jazz,” Janson said. “But the audience will be surprised by their creative abilities. By the end of the evening, the audience will be delighted by the experienced jazz students' musical and creative abilities, their artistry.”
Preludes and Promise, UMass Boston Chamber Orchestra, May 7, 4 p.m., Campus Center Ballroom, FREE
In her second semester as conductor of the UMass Boston Chamber Orchestra, Sommer Forrester sought to expand participation in the university’s orchestra, particularly among students who might put years of musical study on a back seat during their college careers.
One result of that effort, was a Concerto Competition held last December, and the five winners will perform solos during the Spring Concert. Vocalists Jacsonn Jean, Jeeyhe Kang, and Julia Nelson will each perform their winning arias, joining movements by Ava Akakia on violin and Corey Sweeney on oboe.
“All of the concerto winners have studied privately for years cultivating their craft and skill as musicians,” Forrester says. “In most circumstances, performers rehearse and perform with a pianist, the concert at UMass Boston allows the soloists to perform with an orchestra as intended.”
“In addition to performing a wide range of repertoire, the ensemble has been challenged to think about the various roles and capacities they have as musicians, performance practices and style, and how to be sensitive and flexible musicians,” says Forrester.
Birds and the Bees, Songs of Love and Nature, UMass Boston University Chorus and Chamber Singers, May 6, 7 p.m., Campus Center Ballroom, FREE
UMass Boston’s Choral Director David Giessow leads 120 voices in the University Chorus, and a smaller group in the Chamber Singers.
“Some of my students have never taken a music class before, some are music majors with a lot of experience,” says Giessow. “I include in every concert music I think college students ought to know, music of some historical significance, music that reflects the diversity of out college community, and, most of all, music that appeals to an audience.”
“There’s been a resurgence of interest in choral singing because of the show Glee,” he says. “It’s not as easy as it looks on the show. It takes hard work and teamwork, and it’s very rewarding."
“This semester, I tried to tie the music together with the concept of ‘The Birds and the Bees.’ There are songs about love and romance and nature… and actual birds and bees,” Giessow says with a laugh. “There are songs about birds and, of course, The Flight of the Bumblebee.”