Friday, May 8, 2015

TSO - Sold out Planets Concert!

On Saturday the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra will perform The Planets by Gustav Holst.  It's really exciting to have this large scale work performed in our community, and also thrilling to see the TSO gain so much support.  This performance is sold out already!  With their new conductor, Sarah Ioannides, the TSO musicians and local community seem to be motivated more than ever in bringing great classical music to Tacoma.

I was fortunate to be able to watch part of TSO's first Holst rehearsal this past week.  Seeing and hearing the musicians bring this epic work into sound was a lot of fun.  I have always been a fan of this composition.  In fact, the score for The Planets was the first orchestra score I ever bought, back when I was in high school.  It's one of the first pieces of music that helped me learn about conducting and understanding music as a conductor.

I am sorry that more of us cannot get tickets to hear the performance.  But I am so pleased that the TSO has generated so much energy and support for classical music in Tacoma.  I can't wait to see what's in store for next season!

In case you want to hear the work online, check out this YouTube video:

Friday, April 10, 2015

Romeo and Juliette with Tacoma Opera

I used to love playing in the orchestra for the Tacoma Opera.  I remember playing trumpet, bringing scores, and learning a ton of music.  I was luck to have played Tosca, La Boheme, Falstaff, Magic Flute, Marriage of Figaro, and many other works...  I learned so much from this experience.  There are so many variables that have to come together to make teh production work:  costumes, acting, singing, orchestra.  And there are some crazy performance practices and traditions that sometimes defy what's written on the page!  I was really fortunate to have many of these opera experiences under the baton of Benton Hess - music director of the Eastman Opera Theater, at the Eastman School on music.

This weekend the Tacoma Opera will present it's third and final opera for this 2014-15 season - Gounod's Romeo and Juliette.  It is a classic, tragic love tale, told through the wonderful melodies of French composer, Charles Gounod.  I think what makes this so wonderful is how Gounod's melodies transport the familiar tale into something different from Shakespeare.  It is a special piece, and you should check it out.

Friday, April 10 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, April 12, at 2:00 PM
Both performances at the Pantages Theater.

More information:

Here's a famous aria from the opera to entice your ears!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bach Choir in Tacoma, and 10 Years of PSYWE. Concerts this weekend!

Dr. Anne Lyman is conducting the Bach Choir in a performance of Bach's St. John's Passion on Saturday, March 21 in Tacoma, at Faith Presbyterian Church (620 Shirley St.). This is one of my favorite works by Bach.  We're so fortunate to have this piece performed in our community.  If you have never heard this masterwork, you need to check it out.  Here's a sample video of this powerful and historical work:

On Sunday (3/22), I am excited to conduct the Puget Sound Youth Wind Ensemble.  Our concert is in Schneebeck Concert Hall, on the UPS campus, and begins at 7:00 PM.  Tickets are $10, $5 for students/seniors/military.

What makes this concert special?

In the Fall of 2014 PSYWE was brought into existence to offer young wind, brass, and percussionists wind ensemble experiences outside of their local school band.  The idea was to create an auditioned band that represented the best young musicians in the region, and help them rehearse and perform wind band music of the highest caliber.  Similar to a youth symphony in philosophy, but with the unique focus on band instrumentation and repertoire.

I have had the distinct honor to be the interim director of PSYWE for the 2014-15 season.  It has been so rewarding to work with these young musicians, and help design concerts that celebrate the 10 year legacy and accomplishments of the PSYWE organization.  Last fall we gave a concert that payed musical tributes to ideas and people from the past.  

This Sunday's program will feature music that celebrates the legacy of PSYWE.  Here's the program:

Adam Gorb - Awayday
Percy Grainger - Irish Tune from County Derry
Figyes Hidas - Merry Music for Wind Band
Troy Peters - Point Defiance *World Premiere of this PSYWE commission*
Stephen Bryant - Dusk
Jan Van der Roost -
Jaimie Texador - Amparito Roca

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The TCC Symphonic Band performs with saxophonist Erik Steighner on Friday (3/13).  The concert will feature Mr. Steighner on Claude Smith's virtuosic Fantasia for Alto Saxophone.  The program also contrasts works of joy and sorrow, juxtaposing optimistic and somber musical messages.

TCC Symphonic Band
Erik Steighner (saxophone), John Falskow (conductor)
7:30 PM - Friday, March 13, 2015
TCC Building 2
FREE (donations accepted)

Vecchi/Daehn - Fa una Canzona
Bach/Reed - My Jesus!, What Anguish
Gorb - Eine Kleine Walzermusik
Tichelli - Rest
Smith - Fantasia for Alto Saxophone (Erik Steighner, saxophone)
Koh - Lament for Wind Orchestra
Milhaud - Suite Francaise

Erik Steighner has performed with ensembles including the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Federal Way Symphony, the Northwest Sinfonietta, the San Antonio Symphony, the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, the Tipping Point Saxophone Quartet, and the Alloy Saxophone Quartet. Steighner has taught at Texas State University and The University of Texas at Austin and is currently a lecturer at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash. His course load at PLU has included Saxophone, Chamber Music, Introduction to Music, and Music Theory.

Steighner has premiered dozens of solo and chamber works for the saxophone and is active as a composer and arranger. He is also featured on CD releases from labels including Albany Records, Alea Publishing, Mark Custom, Naxos, and Vienna Modern Masters. He holds bachelor’s degrees in music and English from the University of Puget Sound and master’s and doctoral degrees in saxophone performance from The University of Texas at Austin.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Happy 80th Anniversary, Adelphians!

Current Adelphian members will be joined by choir alumni in a memorable reunion concert featuring the world premiere of a piece by Professor of Music Rob Hutchinson.

Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012
2 p.m.
Schneebeck Concert Hall, University of Puget Sound

University of Puget Sound String Festival Faculty Recital

String Festival Faculty Recital, featuring guest artist Paul Kantor, violin; Maria Sampen, violin; Timothy Christie, violin; Joyce A. Ramée, viola; David Requiro, cello; and Stephen Schermer, bass

Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012
7:30 p.m.
Schneebeck Concert Hall, University of Puget Sound

Tickets: $Tickets: $12.50 general; $8.50 seniors, students, military, Puget Sound faculty/staff; free for Puget Sound students, available at Wheelock Student Center, 253.879.6013, online at, and at the door.

Strings Attached

University of Puget Sound String Orchestra, Huw Edwards, conductor, presents works by Vaughan Williams, J.S. Bach, Takemitsu, and Mozart

Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012
7:30 p.m.
Schneebeck Concert Hall, University of Puget Sound