Just a 20-minute bus ride away, UR students are always at the Eastman School of Music – taking lessons with faculty, visiting peers or spending an evening in the area for dinner and a concert. The school is abounding with musical talent, and it is certainly a treat to listen to the maestros that perform there.
On Saturday, Jan. 19, many of Eastman’s virtuosi came back to Kilbourn Hall to perform a series of pieces by famous teacher, composer and Eastman alumnus Richard Bamford Lane, along with other works. The evening’s concert marked the first time in a quarter century that Lane’s music has been performed before an Eastman School audience. It was a delight to see the hall brimming with eager viewers at 8 p.m., all waiting to be serenaded by this performance.
The night began with the “Introduction and Allegro for English Horn and Piano,” performed by Richard Killmer on English horn and Russell Miller on piano. The pianist accompanied Killmer beautifully, mirroring the horn’s melodic variations of the prevailing theme. The piece’s two distinct sections were performed with aplomb. Together, both the horn and piano transitioned smoothly between tempos and filled the hall with their resonant tones.
“There was just seamless movement from note to note,” freshman Renato Rengifo said. “It was just a pleasure to sit and listen to.”
After this soothing introduction, Nicholas Goluses ascended the stage with a gleaming wooden guitar. He chose to perform three pieces: “Three Epitafios” by Mikis Theodorakis, “From Afar?” by Joseph Schwantner and “Jongo” by Paulo Bellinati. The first two pieces portrayed a guitar’s sound at its best; Goluses flooded the hall with his rich, vibrating chords, effortlessly shifting and strumming the notes.
Freshman Stefanie Greene was astounded at his dexterity.
“He arpeggiated the chords and played the melody at the same time,” she said. “That is absolutely amazing.”
The versatility of Goluses’ repertoire as well as his musical capacities were showcased in his finale piece, “Jongo.” All of a sudden, Goluses ceased to strum and instead began to use his instrument as a drum, tapping on the neck and body of the guitar to produce varied tones and toe-tapping rhythms. The piece had a jungle-like appeal that captivated the audience.
Following a 10-minute intermission, the concert recommenced with a trombone and saxophone quartet, featuring Mark Kellogg on trombone and Chien-Kwan Lin, Jamal Rossi, Andrew Stoker and David Yusko, all on saxophone. The ensemble performed “Jigsaw for Trombone and Saxophone Quartet” by Lane. Jagged rhythms were juxtaposed with softer, gentler undertones that enabled the trombonist to serve two distinct roles during the performance. Many times, Kellogg emerged as a soloist and, in other instances, grew to become the voice of a fifth saxophone.
The penultimate piece, entitled “Song for Cornet and String Quartet,” and once again composed by Lane, was performed by James Thompson on the cornet, Lee Wilkins and Janet Milnes on violin, George Taylor on viola, Rosemary Elliot on cello and Jeff Campbell on the bass. This lyrical piece allowed the cornet to bleed into string accompaniment. With its beautiful singing theme, Thompson guided the string quintet and, when the work ended, the audience was left yearning for more.
The night’s wondrous performance ended with a quick blues piece and Jeffrey Agrell’s “Spring Swing,” featuring W. Peter Kurau, Sophia Goluses, Emily Fox and Emily Britoon on horn. Katie Ernst on bass and Jim Tiller on the drums. It was enjoyable to listen to two jazz selections that contrasted greatly with the previous pieces, and the performers’ enthusiasm left audience members with radiant smiles on their faces.
The opportunity to listen to such wonderful music was certainly rewarding. Many more concerts will be taking place at the Eastman Theatre in coming months, so be sure to attend!
Venkateswaran is a member of the class of 2011.