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Jazz fest draws high school students

Area schools, musicians hold day of music, learning

Greg Yasinitsky
Greg Yasinitsky

Rich golden notes and glints of similarly colored instruments lit up Bryan Hall Theatre at WSU Pullman on Wednesday during the School of Music’s Jazz Festival Gala Concert.

The day-long music festival has taken place each autumn for at least the past 22 years, according to Greg Yasinitsky, director of both the WSU school of Music and WSU Jazz Big Band.

Yasinitsky, who founded the festival and has been with WSU for nearly 35 years, said it has changed a lot since its inception.

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Nov. 5: Guest drummer, trumpeter highlight jazz festival

Brian Ploeger
Brian Ploeger

A visiting drummer and WSU trumpeter will perform with the WSU Jazz Big Band during a free, public concert at noon Wednesday, Nov. 5, in Bryan Hall on the Pullman campus. The concert is part of the daylong WSU Jazz Festival for area high school groups.

Drummer and composer Tom Morgan of Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., performs and records with numerous groups, including the Trilogy Big Band, a 17-piece jazz ensemble with two recently released CDs on the Sea Breeze Jazz recording label.

Trumpeter Brian Ploeger, a graduate teaching assistant in the WSU School of Music, toured internationally as a featured soloist with Maynard Ferguson’s Big Bop Nouveau Band and the Glenn Miller Orchestra. He has recorded with Michael Feinstein and Maynard Ferguson and has served on the music faculties at Spokane Falls Community College and Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash.

The performance by the WSU Jazz Big Band, under the direction of Regents Professor Greg Yasinitsky, will feature faculty members Dave Hagelganz, saxophone; Brian Ward, piano; Brad Ard, guitar; F. David Snider, bass; and David Jarvis, drums.

Read more at WSU News

Faculty piano duo tours, to record for top composer

Karen and Jeffrey Savage
Karen and Jeffrey Savage

WSU School of Music faculty members Jeffrey and Karen Savage have been tapped by American composer Lowell Liebermann to record his complete works for two pianos this summer for a commercially released CD.

The duo, which performs as 88 Squared, recently completed a concert tour in Singapore, presenting the Asian premieres of several works, including Liebermann’s Sonata for Two Pianos.

“The finale was a double fugue on a perpetual motion theme that seemed almost impossible to play,” wrote Singapore’s national daily newspaper in a review. “In these secure hands, impossibility became not just reality, but totally pleasing music.

More about the work of 88 Squared

An Offbeat Method to Learn Drama

Terry John Converse, right, during an acting session in India. Photo by The New Indian Express.
Terry John Converse, right, during an acting session in India. Photo by The New Indian Express.

A group of theatre students in Thycaud, India, sat in the sweltering summer heat, under a huge tree, and threw sharp words at each other as part of a drama workshop. The day’s guest was Terry John Converse, WSU emeritus professor of theatre, who specializes in acting with “neutral mask.”

Converse arrived in the city after journeying through Kolkata, Darjeeling, Varanasi, Jaipur, and many other places in India. Last year, he was in Kochi at Lokadharmi Centre for Theatre Training, Research and Performance for a Fulbright program on learning the mass acting technique.

“There is a step-by-step process for teaching acting in a group. Everyone gets involved in it,” said Converse. Now 68, he has a 30-year-academic experience in theatre, which he finds “helps to keep him young.”

Read more about it in The New Indian Express

March 25, 28: Pullman native returns for vocal concert

Kristofer Barber
Kristofer Barber

An international performer who got his childhood start in Pullman’s Summer Palace and WSU’s opera program will return to share his talent and experience in a concert and master class in late March.

“Coming back to share what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown is very meaningful,” said Kristofer Barber, a singing actor based in Amsterdam who has performed more than 35 roles in the United States and Europe.

He will conduct a free, public master class 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, in Kimbrough Hall B42 and a free, public voice recital at 8 p.m. Friday, March 28, in Bryan Hall. In concert, he will perform works by Handel, Beethoven, Peterson-Berger, Hahn and Hoiby.

“The songs I’ve selected are a very personal reflection of my own musical journey,” Barber said.

Find out more about his journey and events in Pullman