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College of Arts and Sciences Music

Dr. Universe: Why do people like different kinds of music?

Dr. UniverseHumans have been experimenting with all kinds of sounds, lyrics, and instruments for thousands of years. There are hundreds of genres of music, so while you might like one kind, a friend might like something completely different. Or maybe you became friends because of your similar taste in music.

My friend Horace Alexander Young is a WSU musician and professor. When I went to visit him, » More …

WSU tuba professor releases third solo album

Chris Dickey holding a tubaWSU tuba professor Chris Dickey recently released his third solo album, titled “Inventions,” under the Emeritus Recordings label. The album was recorded in the WSU Recording Studio by recording engineer David Bjur. Karen Savage, Sarah Miller, and Martin King joined Dickey for the project.

“Inventions” represents Dickey’s ongoing commitment to inclusive programming in art music. The album demonstrates » More …

Studio of notes

David Bjur at the recording studio desk.The first thing you might notice about the Washington State University recording studio is the silence. It starts when Dave Bjur, studio manager and chief engineer, closes the hallway door, sealing off the random din of the Kimbrough Music Building’s top floor. Then he closes a second door and a weird sensation settles into the ears that, when you think about it, is rare in the modern world.

It’s an anti-sound, the audio version of true black, » More …

Musical duo appear again in opera production

For Mom’s Weekend, graduating seniors Clare Sullivan and Bogdan Theo Mynka shared the stage one last time as Anne and Fenton in Otto Nicolai’s opera, “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” Both will receive bachelor’s of music degrees in vocal performance in May.

During their time at WSU, they have played a variety of roles in the opera and musical theatre program.  Previously, they appeared together in “Young Frankenstein” with Sullivan as Inga and Theo Mynka as Igor, and they starred together again as Cinderella and Jack in Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.”

Last summer, both participated in vocal programs in Europe. Sullivan studied with » More …

WSU faculty perform in China, host composer in Pullman

Pham, second from right, Boden, center, and Leuthi, second from left, after a performance with fellow musicians at Guangzhou University.Three WSU music faculty who traveled to China in late 2018 hosted an rising Chinese composer at WSU Pullman this spring as part of a new West Meets East scholarly exchange program aimed at bringing Asian musicians to WSU and bringing WSU musicians to Asia.

Danh Pham, director of WSU Bands and Orchestras, Ruth Boden, cellist and associate professor of music, and Dean Luethi, choral conductor and director of the School of Music, performed at Guangzhou University in Guangzhou, China, and worked with » More …

WSU scores big at 2019 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival

Jazz music performersWSU music student soloists and ensembles won several first place awards at the 2019 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival this past weekend in Moscow, Idaho.

Ensemble winners include WSU Jazz Big Band I, and WSU combos: Jazz Wires and God’s Harmony. Student solo winners include Raul Blanco, piano; Brandt Fisher, tenor saxophone; Joel Roeber, guitar and Outstanding Soloist, Adam Hureau, clarinet. » More …

WSU Fight Song, composed by students, turns 100

WSU Fight Song music and photos of original composersAs the patriotic fervor from World War I began to subside, students at then-Washington State College found themselves uninspired by the songs associated with the school. Two senior music students, Zella Melcher of Spokane, Wash., and Phyllis Sayles of Lapwai, Idaho, took on the task of writing new music to energize the student body.

“They debuted their creation to great acclaim on Feb. 20, 1919, at a student body meeting in Bryan Hall, and one century later their Fight Song still inspires WSU students,” said Mark O’English, university archivist.

The Evergreen claimed it “at once scored a hit,” and declared » More …

Holiday concert featured five student groups

Closeup of choir members singing.The WSU School of Music’s annual Holiday Concert, “Joy to the World: A Global Holiday,” held on Saturday, Dec. 1, featured five different student ensembles:

* Madrigal Singers
* Treble Choir
* Tenor/Bass Choir
* Concert Choir
* Symphony Orchestra

The concert included seasonal favorites and concluded with Leroy Anderson’s Christmas Festival, featuring all of the performing groups. » More …

Music promotes healthy living, stress management

Dean Luethi instructing a group of vocalists.Practicing music has many mental health benefits for both adolescents and adults, and promotes a diverse education.

Students may find comfort in decompressing from the stress of higher education as well as gaining greater intellectual bandwidth by taking advantage of musical courses and facilities at WSU.

» More …

WSM review: new vocal jazz CD

Album cover of Eyes Wide Open.Jamie Shew’s Eyes Wide Open holds something for every vocal jazz enthusiast. With two stellar compositions and eleven superb arrangements of her own, the listener has many delights from which to choose. Although Jamie (’98 music) has had all the skills, passion, intellect, and talent to make this album a reality for many years (hence the wealth of tracks), it was only after her husband lost his fight with cancer that she came to see herself as more of a professional performer—and one who could explore human emotions in the uplifting context of joy and healing. » More …