Imagine what life might have been like in the Arizona Territory in 1893. New settlers, shrinking Native American reservations and an expanding railroad system were part of the era. You might not envision an educational system as part of the old frontier, but think again: The University of Arizona was established in 1885, and its School of Music began in 1893.
Now in its 113th year, the School of Music currently has 550 enrolled students, according to director Peter A. McAllister. Even Crowder Hall has an impressive number associated with it, as it celebrates its 50th anniversary next year.
The Music on Campus series offers concerts, recitals, classes and workshops. A master schedule of events is listed at the school's Web site at www.music.arizona.edu.
"The concerts are a combination of student ensembles, faculty recitals and guest artists," says McAllister. "We look to bring in a couple of outside performers. This season, we have Grammy award winner David Russell and the Dorian (Wind) Quintet from New York. ... And we look to do special events. In March, we have a symposium on music and medicine and the Great Southwest Flute Fest ... ."
McAllister says the President's Concert in February is a special event, as new President Robert Shelton will be in the audience and at the reception afterward. During the concert, four School of Music students perform as soloists with the Arizona Symphony Orchestra. The students will be the winners of the Concerto Competition held at the school.
With student, faculty and special performers, the Music on Campus series offers a large selection of concerts to the public. "Our concert series is among the finest in the city," says McAllister. "Many are free and include a wide range of music styles--from percussion, jazz, opera, harp, guitar, steel band. ... And the energy of the students and faculty go to that stage for the audience."
One faculty member who will be performing in the Music on Campus series is flutist Brian Luce. According to press materials, Luce has performed in a variety of roles, including principal and solo flutist for the Dallas Chamber Orchestra, Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, Midland-Odessa Symphony and Johnstown Symphony. He earned a doctorate and master's degree in flute performance from the University of North Texas. Now back in his native Arizona, Luce is an assistant professor of flute at the UA.
Brian Luce performs with harpist Carrol McLaughlin in the "Wind and Silk" recital at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 6, at Crowder Hall. Crowder is located on the southeast corner of Park Avenue and Speedway Boulevard. The concert is free. Call 621-2998 for more information.
Luce says the "wind and silk" term is used in Chinese music, where wind and silk ensembles are common. Silk pertains to any stringed instrument. But don't let the title mislead you. "The music is very listenable," says Luce. "We won't be playing contemporary or unusual pieces. These are in the pop-classical realm."
Luce says pop-classical pieces are those everyone knows. "These are all audience-friendly. You've heard it in ... the elevator or in a restaurant somewhere." Luce and McLaughlin will perform works by Gabriel Fauré, J.S. Bach, Gabriel Pierné, François Borne and others.
McLaughlin, who holds a doctor of musical arts degree from the UA, will perform duos with Luce and also a harp solo. Special guest faculty artist Hong-Mei Xiao will join the duo on the viola for a performance of Debussy's "Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp."
As each piece and instrument conveys a musical message, it is Luce's belief that the flute is one of easiest instruments to communicate with. "It's a quick instrument to learn," he says. "It has 43 notes (compared to) 88 on the piano." Luce says he finds great enjoyment in teaching flute.
His love of the instrument began more than 30 years ago when he was watching a late-night talk show. A famous flutist captured Luce's attention. "I saw James Galway on Johnny Carson in the '70s, and I thought that looked like an interesting thing to do."
Luce agrees with McAllister in praising the School of Music's concert series. "I've taught in various universities. The series we have here is ... comprehensive and cosmopolitan. It's reasonably priced so (the public can) hear world-class artists all the time. I think of it quite highly."
Other upcoming concerts in the Music on Campus series include:
· Organist Pamela Decker and mezzo-soprano Christina Jarvis at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 1, at Holsclaw Hall. Free.
· "A Celebration of the Life of Gordon Epperson" at 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 9, at Crowder Hall. Free.
· Oboist Neil Tatman, bassoonist William Dietz and pianist Paula Fan, at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 10, at Crowder Hall. Free.