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Guitar & Other Strings Series

The Guitar and Other Strings Series, held every July, features all styles of music — jazz, bluegrass, folk, Celtic, flamenco, classical and blues.

Begun in 1992, the series has presented nationally and internationally acclaimed artists in concerts and workshops. Artists who have performed on this series include Leo Kottke, Mark O’Connor, John Hartford, John Jackson, the Washington Guitar Quintet, Charlie Byrd, the Tony Rice Unit, the Del McCoury Band, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Pierre Bensusan and Stephen Bennett. The VCU Community Guitar Ensemble also performs annually on this series.


Faculty Kudos | Something new, Something borrowed, Something blue

Tony Garcia’s latest book Jazz Improvisation: Practical Approaches to Grading was published this past fall. Garcia is interviewed by VCU News.

Darryl Harper has been named the Joseph E. and Grace W. Valentine Visiting Professor at Amherst College and will spend the 2017-18 school year in residence there.

Susanna Klein released the new CD “Mosaic” with Trio 826.

Doug Richards’ 2016 CD “It’s All in the Game” was recognized as one of the top 10 recordings of the year by noted author and critic Royal Stokes.

Charles West was featured in the PBS program Charlottesville Inside Out for his work with the Charlottesville Youth Symphony.


Student Kudos | Law School, the Czech Republic, and NATS

Junior Rachel Lustig won a Dean’s International Study Grant to travel to the Czech Republic and study the music of contemporary Czech composers.

Senior Danielle Gibbons has been accepted by the law schools of the College of William and Mary and University of Virginia.

The following students won placements at the Virginia chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) competition in February: Calvin Bremer, Jaylin Brown, Evan Coldiron, Taylor DaCosta, Samantha Garcia, Shyheim Hinant, and Tess Ottinger. The following students won honors at VA-NATS: Micah Baldwin, Colleen Christman, Alexis Gruber, Victoria Jackson, and Emily Nesbitt. Shyheim Hinant also won the superlative award for “Best College Male – Classical.”



Live from New York, it’s VCU Commonwealth Singers!

Commonwealth Singers onstage at Carnegie Hall with Distinguished Concerts Singers International

 

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice…and sing in the VCU Commonwealth Singers! Led by Dr. Erin Freeman, the Commonwealth Singers successfully made their debut at Carnegie Hall this February with Distinguished Concerts International New York for “The Glory of Freedom: A Concert to Honor Our Veterans.”

Commonwealth Singers outside of Carnegie Hall

VCU Commonwealth Singers performed Francis Poulenc’s choral work, Gloria, at Carnegie Hall in New York on Sunday, February 19. They were joined by singers from the Richmond Symphony Chorus, the Virginia Symphony Chorus, Atlanta’s Collegium Vocale, and choirs from Florida, Massachusetts and Wales. The combined chorus is known as the Distinguished Concerts Singers International. They performed alongside the Distinguished Concerts Orchestra.

 

Commonwealth Singers and Dr. Erin Freeman at Baltimore School for the Arts

The performance at Carnegie Hall was the final stop on a “mini tour” that included performances at Mountain View High School in Stafford, Va., Baltimore School for the Arts in Baltimore, Md. and Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.

 

 

 


VCU Music’s Fabulous Faculty – Yin Zheng

Coordinator for Keyboard Studies Dr. Yin Zheng talks about her work, including her research on all the sonatas for violin and piano by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, to the RVArts Passport class. The students in the Passport course attend events throughout the School of the Arts and around the City of Richmond and engage with arts leaders.


Langston Hughes Project Residency

The Langston Hughes Project (LHP)  returns to VCU for a residency February 20-21, 2017. LHP is a multimedia concert performance of Hughes’s kaleidoscopic jazz poem suite. Ask Your Mama is Hughes’s homage in verse and music to the struggle for artistic and social freedom at home and abroad at the beginning of the 1960s. It is a twelve-part epic poem which Hughes scored with musical cues drawn from blues and Dixieland, gospel songs, boogie woogie, bebop and progressive jazz, Latin “cha cha” and Afro-Cuban mambo music, German lieder, Jewish liturgy, West Indian calypso, and African drumming — a masterwork left unperformed at his death. The performance will feature spoken-word and music by The Ron McCurdy Quartet. Recreating Hughes’ vision of the global struggle for freedom and equality in the early 1960’s has linked words and music to a kaleidoscopic of images. By way of videography, this concert performance links the words and music of Hughes’ poetry to topical images of Ask Your Mama‘s people, places, and events, and to the works of the visual artists Langston Hughes admired or collaborated with most closely over the course of his career. Together the words, sounds, and images recreate a magical moment in America’s cultural history, which bridges the Harlem Renaissance, the post World War II Beat writers’ coffeehouse jazz poetry world, and the looming Black Arts performance explosion of the 1960s.

The residency is led by VCU Music Professor Rex Richardson.It is funded by an “Inclusion Infusion” grant from the VCU School of the Arts with support from the VCU Department of English.


Rex Richardson wins top university grant to produce new music

New opportunities arise in different ways. For Virginia Commonwealth University professor Rex Richardson, a $50,000 grant from the VCU Presidential Research Quest Fund gave him the opportunity to produce four new major works for solo trumpet and large ensemble —such as wind ensemble and brass band — created with composers Anthony Plog, David Sampson, Andy Scott and Allen Vizzutti. Read the full story in the VCU News article by Paul Krueger.


The Value of a VCU Music Degree

“Our graduates know how to frame problems, how to develop strategies to solve them, how to collaborate with others, how to teach themselves things they don’t know. These are the skills you learn at VCU Music. Our graduates are great adaptors; they are determined; they are optimistic; they are highly skilled; and they love their work.”

–Darryl Harper, VCU Music Department Chair

See this video from the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP):


Dean’s List – Fall 2016

The dean’s list is a recognition of superior academic performance. A student is automatically placed on the dean’s list for each semester in which a semester GPA of at least 3.5 is attained, based on a minimum of 12 semester credits, with no grade below C. The following students have made Dean’s List for Fall 2016:

Adams, Daniel R.
Adams, Jake K.
Baldwin, Micah
Barbarji, Haidar M.
Bennett, Jacob R.
Bessicks, Cameron W.
Bourhill, Lida A.
Bradley, Michael J.
Brunson, Andrew C.
Christman, Colleen M.
Cole, Richard K.
Coleman, Tyler J.
Connolly, Bryan K.
Cotter, Georgia R.
Culver, Benjamin J.
Dacosta, Taylor D.
Dickinson, Michael S.
Dodd, Colton T.
Douthwaite, Sarah E.
Duong, Minh Vy
Eichenberger, Kevin A.
Fearnow, Gilson L.
Ferguson, Kirsten K.
Forbes, Jonathan R.
Freeman, Emory S.
Frierson, Chet C.
Frost, Nathaniel A.
Gault, Desean W.
Gibbons, Danielle
Graham, Abigail A.
Harold, Brian C.
Harris, Jasmine
Hazelwood, Cathern M.
Heiter, Evan P.
Hilbert, Christine
Hoster, Samantha M.
Jackson, Victoria A.
James, Mark P.
Jeffrey, Ian P.
Johnson, Elliot W.
Joyner, James
Kelly, Benjamin B.
Kincy, Jason P.
Kreck, Marie L.
Lincoln, Kelleen R.
Liverman, Eric C.
Mattson, Alexandra
Mekhail, Mark S.
Mitchell, Robert S.
Newlon, Lydia
Ossi, Thomas C.
Ottinger, Tess N.
Pauley, Charles W.
Resmini, Marissa R.
Roberts, David A.
Roche, Samuel J.
Santiago Crespo, Alfred L.
Schuhle, Charlotte G.
Siesky, Ryne J.
Skelly, Connor J.
Taylor, Olivia N.
Tekamp, Austin R.
Terrell, Connor A.
Tilghman, Kayla M.
Villanueva, Abigail L.
Vincenti, Peter D.
Whittenburg, Savannah A.
Wilkins, Ashley D.
Wu, Zhiqian

Recent Graduates

Paul Hickey, B.M. Education 2016 is currently serving as the General Music teacher at Mayfield Intermediate School in Manassas, Virginia, where he teaches general music and two classes of beginning band. “I approach General Music as an exploratory class. I want to give students an opportunity to challenge their own ideas of what music is while also teaching the fundamentals in a way that shows students who may doubt their own abilities that they can play music, too!”

Victor Souza, B.M. Education 2016 is currently serving as Band Director at Mayfield Intermediate School in Manassas, Virginia.