by Jennifer Weiss

Campus Times Staff

Experienced. Talented. Poised. Inspirational. Stellar. Suh-weet.

No matter how you say it, the musicians on the faculty at the Eastman School of Music are exceptional.

Individuals who teach at Eastman are great performers, winning prizes in both the past and present for their virtuosity and collaborative skills. They are also widely renowned and sought-after for their ability to instruct and guide students.

The icing on the cake is that Eastman snagged these musicians and created a series of performances just for them.

This way, while the professors help students shape futures full of musical possibilities, they can also share their special talent for performance with those who wouldn?t normally have a chance to hear them.

The Faculty Artist Series gives everyone from Eastman staff and students to the River Campus Biology majors and whistling building service workers the chance to hear amazing music. Still not convinced? The concerts in the series are free.

Last year?s series contained some amazing performances, and this year?s certainly looks to follow suit. Several pianists, including Nelita True and Barry Snyder, will tickle the ivories. A host of string professors, including John Graham and Oleh Krysa, will make their instruments sing. The well-known Faculty Jazz Quartet will swing into Kilbourn Hall next month.

This month, the professional and experienced performers of the Eastman Brass will kick off the entire series playing music by Verne Reynolds, Eric Ewazen, Antonin Dvorak and Dmitri Shostakovich.

Faculty members Jim Thompson, Douglas Prosser, John Marcellus, Don Harry, Tom Paul, Barry Snyder and Peter Kurau comprise the Eastman Brass.

Kurau, a horn professor, explained to me the many Eastman connections in the program.

Ewazen, who?s piece entitled ??to cast a shadow again? will be featured, is an Eastman graduate currently on the faculty at Juilliard.

Reynolds taught horn at Eastman for 36 years, and was the principal horn of the RPO in the 1960s. ?His piece, ?Calls and Echoes,? is very dramatic,? said Kurau. ?It explores the heritage of the trumpet, which was once used as signal instrument.?

The multi-talented Reynolds also provided the transcription for the Shostakovich. One of the last pieces that the composer wrote for string quartet, the Quartet No. 12 in D-flat major is full of contrasting moods and themes.

?There is no attempt to equate the first trumpet with the first violin or the tuba with the cello,? Reynolds explained in his notes on Sunday?s program. ?Rather, it is the arranger?s intention to bring a highly sensitive and complex work into the brass literature with the hope that listeners are moved by its intensity.?

The piece is almost a half-hour in length and will close the program.

Sandwiched between the intermission and the Shostakovich finale is another lengthy piece ? Dvorak?s ?Biblical Songs.? Paul, a distinguished professor of voice, will join the brass quintet to interpret this five-part piece. ?Biblical Songs? has been performed at Eastman only once before, and contains lyrics from the Czech version of the Book of Psalms.

Junior Sam Howard hopes to attend Sunday?s recital. ?The Eastman musicians are some of the best in the world,? he said. ?It?s exciting that we have the chance to hear them right here at our own university.?

Howard, a former member of the Yellowjackets, is a philosophy and religion double-major.

River Campus music-lovers should hop on Bus 72 to stir a musical interlude into their Sunday afternoon. The Eastman Brass concert at 3 p.m. should be a great start to a terrific series.

Jennifer Weiss can be reached at

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