Escher String Quartet showcases work of student Michael van der Sloot

concerts

Escher String Quartet showcases work of student Michael van der Sloot

Escher

Members of the Escher String Quarter, left to right: Aaron Boyd, violin; Pierre Lapointe, viola; Adam Barnett-Hart, violin; and Brook Speltz, cello.

The internationally acclaimed Escher String Quartet is set to perform two free concerts, open to the public, at SMU. This will be the second program of their 2015-2016 Meadows residency. This group has previously performed at New York’s Lincoln Center, London’s Wigmore Hall and Berlin’s Piano Salon Christophori. Now, they’ll perform at  Caruth Auditorium on March 17 and at O’Donnell Hall on March 18, both at 7:30 p.m.

The concert on March 17 will showcase three pieces, most notably the world premiere of Night Music, composed by Meadows Master of Music degree candidate Michael van der Sloot. Van der Sloot, who studies composition and is also a talented cellist, he has written works for the Calgary Youth Orchestra and Grammy-winning violinist and SMU Meadows Artist-in-Residence Matt Albert, among others.

Michael

Michael van der Sloot (M.M. Composition ’17)

Van der Sloot describes the piece as “pretty creepy and restless.”

“It’s like when you’re lying completely still in bed, wide awake because you know there is a monster in the closet. There’s a little bit of anxiety and anticipation,” he says.

His piece was chosen among submissions from multiple other music composition students. “The atmosphere and the title of the work were a compelling fit for our program, which deals with death, either through direct personal experience as in Benjamin Britten’s Quartet No. 3, or indirectly as in Franz Shubert’s Death and the Maiden,” says Aaron Boyd, one of two violinists in the Escher String Quartet. “We were struck by the quality of all of the composers’ submissions, but van der Sloot’s work was an impressive combination of  aleatoric freedom with real textural and timbral beauty.”

The quartet will also hold workshops and classes as part of their residency. One workshop will be a particularly immersive experience for the students and will culminate in the formation of the March 18 concert. This side-by-side concert with the quartet and music students of the Meadows school will include works by Brahms, Dvorak, Shostakovich, and Haydn.

March 16, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

Meadows Community Series presents J.S. Bach’s monumental St. Matthew Passion Sunday, March 6, 2016

Meadows choral March 2015 4The Meadows Chorale of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts is partnering with Conservatory Orchestra of the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) to present J.S. Bach’s monumental work St. Matthew Passion.

The performance is part of the Meadows Community Series, a series established to bring Meadows performances to the community and engage new audiences. This dramatic retelling of the events leading up to the crucifixion of Christ is a huge undertaking, rarely taken on by college choirs. The Meadows Chorale, under the direction of Pamela Elrod Huffman, has been preparing for this all year.

Dr. Robert Bode, director of choral activities at UKMC, will conduct the concert at Highland Park United Methodist Church (HPUMC) on Sunday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. The event is free to guests, and no tickets are required. In lieu of tickets, the choir asks guests to make a donation to the North Texas Food Bank online or at the concert (both cash and non-perishable food items will be accepted).

NPR describes the piece as “one of the pillars of Western scared music, at once monumental and intimate, deeply sorrowful and powerful.” This piece continues to move audiences even three hundred years after it was first heard during Good Friday services at St. Thomas’ Church in Leipzig, Germany.

Meadows Chorale Nov. 2014The work is divided into two parts, originally intended to be performed before and after the sermon during Good Friday services. The first part begins with an immense wave of sound to tell the stories of the Last Supper and arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. The second part is more somber and tells of the trial, crucifixion and burial of Jesus, and meant to leave viewers in a mournful mood as they anticipate the memorial of Christ’s death on the cross.

The Meadows Chorale was invited by UKMC to collaborate on this project and will also be performing at the American Choral Directors Association 2016 Southwest Regional Convention in Kansas City on Tuesday, March 8.

For more information, call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

February 22, 2016|Calendar Highlights, For the Record, News|

SMU Jewish Studies celebrates Judeo-Spanish Culture Week Jan. 24-31, 2016

Judeo-Spanish Culture Week 2016 flyer

Schedule of events for SMU’s 2016 Judeo-Spanish Culture Week. Click the image for a full-size version.

The Jewish Studies Program in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences celebrates the unique culture of Jews in Spain with a series of events and lectures Jan. 24-31, 2016.

Highlights of Judeo-Spanish Culture Week include:

  • A screening of Flory’s Flame, a documentary about the life and music of 90-year-old Sephardic composer and performer Flory Jagoda, Sunday, Jan. 24. Free.
  • A discussion of “Jewish Treasures of Medieval Spain” with Danielle Joyner, visiting assistant professor of art history, and Shira Lander, director of Jewish studies, Monday, Jan. 25. Free.
  • A lecture on the future of the Judeo-Spanish language Ladino by Bryan Kirschen, assistant professor of Romance languages at Binghamton University and co-writer and co-director of the 2015 film Saved by Language, Thursday, Jan. 28. Free.
  • A concert featuring Trio SefardiHoward Bass, Tina Chancey and Susan Gaeta – who perform with Flory Jagoda using period instruments and specialized vocal techniques in their stories and songs. Tickets are $5 for SMU students, $15 for SMU faculty and staff members, and $25 for the general public; they are available online at smu.edu/triosefardi. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

All events are open to the public. For more information, contact Shira Lander, director of Jewish Studies, 214-768-2157.

Find more information, including a full schedule, at SMU’s Dedman College blog

January 21, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News|

Arts and civic leader Caren Prothro to be honored in 2015 “Meadows at the Meyerson” Tuesday, March 31

Caren Protho

Caren Protho will be honored in the 2015 “Meadows at the Meyerson” benefit concert, presented by SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.

SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts will honor arts and civic leader and SMU trustee Caren Prothro in “Meadows at the Meyerson,” 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 31, in the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora Street in Dallas.

The 22nd annual benefit concert will feature the critically acclaimed Meadows Symphony Orchestra. The 2015 event chair is Heather Furniss, and the honorary chairs are Sarah and Ross Perot Jr.

In a presentation of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (“The Song of the Earth”) led by conductor Paul Phillips, the Meadows Symphony will be accompanied by two renowned opera singers – mezzo soprano Michaela Martens and tenor Thomas Studebaker. Based on six 8th-century Chinese poems, the hour-long work was composed after Mahler learned he was terminally ill and is known as the finest part of his artistic legacy.

“Meadows at the Meyerson is the embodiment of our values as an arts organization in the community. We present the critically recognized Meadows Symphony Orchestra in our city’s Arts District and raise money for scholarships to bring even more talented students from around the world to Dallas,” said Sam Holland, dean of the Meadows School of the Arts. “We are especially delighted this year to honor Caren Prothro, long a champion for arts and cultural excellence in our city. We are also grateful for her longstanding support of the Meadows Scholars Program, which allows Meadows to compete with the top arts and communications programs in the U.S., attracting prospective students to Dallas who might otherwise wind up in Boston, New York, Chicago, or L.A.

SMU's Meadows Symphony Orchestra in Dallas' Meyerson Symphony Center

SMU’s Meadows Symphony Orchestra will perform in the 2015 “Meadows at the Meyerson” event Tuesday, March 31, in Dallas’ Meyerson Symphony Center.

“Many of these academically gifted artists, or ‘smartists’ as we like to call them, will choose to stay in Dallas after graduation, building Dallas’ intellectual capital and momentum as one of the most culturally dynamic cities in the United States.”

This year’s honoree, Caren Prothro, is an active supporter of the arts, higher education and programming addressing the needs of at-risk youth. A previous chair of SMU’s Board of Trustees, Prothro currently serves as co-chair of SMU’s Campaign for the Second Century with a historic goal of $1 billion to support endowment and capital expansion. In 2015, she will begin her service as a member of The George W. Bush Foundation.

Tickets to the Meadows at the Meyerson concert are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $17 for students and SMU faculty and staff. For tickets, contact the Meadows Box Office at 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

Read the full story from SMU News

March 30, 2015|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

Calendar Highlights: March 6, 2015

Welcome back from the snow day! What’s going on this weekend at SMU:

Emanuel BorokBeethoven Sonatas for Piano & Violin: SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts presents Beethoven Sonatas for Piano & Violin on Saturday, March 7, 8 p.m., in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. The performance will feature Cilburn gold medalist Alexander Kobrin on the piano and Meadows Distinguished Artist-in-Residence Emanuel Borok (pictured right) on the violin. Kobrin and Borok will perform the second of three concerts devoted to the complete cycle of Beethoven sonatas. The final concert will be May 11, 2015. For more information, call 214-768-2787.

Don’t forget: Daylight Saving Time 2015 begins at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 8. Spring forward!

March 6, 2015|Calendar Highlights, For the Record, News|
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