Wednesday, 28 August 2013 12:35

Faculty duo to focus on ancient dances, songs

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     The duo of SUNY Oswego faculty member and violinist Jon Shallit with pianist Howard Spindler from the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music will lead off the college's annual Focus on Faculty Series at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, in Sheldon Hall ballroom.

     Their repertoire, titled "Suite of Songs and Dances from Ancient Times," will feature the music of J.S. Bach, Jennifer Higdon, Ernest Bloch and Bela Bartok. Some of the program—including a Japanese traditional song, a dompe, a saltarello, a hopper dance, a spanyoler tancz, a mensuration canon and more—"contains music rarely if ever heard," Shallit said.
     "The concert will be played in an ever-increasing cascade of intensity, ending in the brilliance of the Bartok and Bloch works," he said.
     Bach's "Sonata in C minor," a work of deep emotion and intensity, displays "slow and singing" first and third movements, Shallit said, while the second and fourth are "fast and fiery, in the Italian style."
     Higdon's work combines an unusual change of timbre for the piano using a wooden mute and rhapsodic violin part in a high register. Bartok's dances are works he collected in remote villages when he studied ethnomusicology, and later were arranged for violin and piano, Shallit said. The Bloch suite is an emotional display of his understanding of the range of timbres possible on the violin, Shallit added.
     The SUNY Oswego music department's Focus on Faculty performances will take place at 3 p.m. on six Sundays during the academic year. Besides the violin-piano duo recital, the Oswego Jazz Project will perform on Oct. 13; sopranos Mihoko Tsutsumi and Nancy James will join tenors Todd Graber and Robert Allen, with accompanist Rebecca Horning, on Nov. 10; pianist Robert Auler will perform Nov. 24; clarinetist Trevor Jorgensen and trumpeter Terry Caviness will appear with Auler on March 9; and Juan F. La Manna will provide accompaniment on piano for his wife, dancer Ligia Pinheiro, on April 6.
     Tickets for each event in the Focus on Faculty Series are priced at $8 ($5 for SUNY Oswego students) and are available at any SUNY Oswego box office, online at or by calling 315-312-2141. Parking is included in the cost of the ticket, in Sheldon and King Alumni halls' employee lots.
     Visit for more information.

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