Eastman News Highlights December 30, 2013

Here are some select clippings from the past week showing the variety of hits/mentions identifying musicians and scholars as Eastman School of Music alumni, faculty or students. Note: Some links may have expired.)

Break of Reality returning to Eastman for concert
(Batavia Daily News © 12/26/2013)

Break of Reality, a cello-rock band formed at Eastman School of Music in 2003, will return to its alma mater on Jan. 17 to present a concert at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.

Adrenaline Junkie and All-American Tenor Mark Thomsen[mediatracking.com]
(Classical Singer Magazine © 12/25/2013)

Tenor Mark Thomsen has made a remarkable career out of doing just that—covering roles for a variety of prestigious opera companies throughout the United States. He has also performed for notable companies internationally, has recorded for labels such as Deutsche Grammophon, and is now starting a new Italian summer program, the International Opera Performing Experience.

As a young singer, Thomsen got his start with a number of prestigious Young Artist Programs, beginning as an apprentice with the Minnesota Opera for two years, followed by two years with Houston Grand Opera Studio after completing a master’s degree in voice performance at the Eastman School of Music. (Subscription required)

Teens want everyone to rock with Bach
(Rochester Democrat and Chronicle © 12/22/2013)

Rockin’ with Bach, which teaches kids about classical composers and their music, has 72 15-second clips of music from eight composers programmed into a standalone “piano,” which players wave a “listen” card over to activate.

Artwork for the game pieces was designed by children in New York City, and the center photo on the game board is of the University of Rochester’s Eastman Theatre (another lesson for them since they needed to get permission to use it).

Soprano from East Lyme to sing at the Met

(The Day Connecticut 12/24/2013)

The Queen of the Night in Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” is one of the most dramatically devilish roles in opera – and it features one of the most famous arias ever. Kathryn Lewek, who grew up in East Lyme, has sung the role to great acclaim in seven productions over the past two years but has just reached a new career peak. She is poised to play the Queen of the Night at the most revered opera hall in the world: the Metropolitan Opera.

She earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in vocal performance from the esteemed Eastman School of Music conservatory.

An AQ Grand Finale: Phil Hey Quartet on December 26th

(Jazz Police 12/23/2013)

While there are many jazz quartets in town, few have the Modern Jazz Quartet configuration of vibes plus rhythm section. Described by Jazz Police Administrator Don Berryman as a “no-nonsense, uncompromising band of local jazz greats,” the PHQ puts the music of Coltrane, Shorter, Coleman and more (music that more often features horns) in the virtuoso hands of Hey, pianist Phil Aaron, bassist Tom Lewis, and vibes man Dave Hagedorn.

Vibes master Dave Hagedorn directs the award-winning jazz bands and percussion ensemble at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN.  With degrees from the University of Minnesota, New England Conservatory and Eastman School of Music, and studies with George Russell, his performance schedule includes percussion duties with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Opera, and regular jazz gigs with the Phil Hey Quartet, Pete Whitman X-Tet and Good Vibes Trio.

Cello rock band plans education program at Coon Rapids HS

(ABC Newspapers Minnesota 12/16/2013)

Break of Reality, a cello rock band from New York, has created a Kickstarter campaign, an online-based crowd-sourcing platform that allows artists to fundraise for specific projects, to raise money for a music education tour around the country. The band has partnered with 12 high schools to give free educational workshops and free public concerts in April and May 2014 in hopes of raising awareness for music education in public schools.

Break of Reality, originally formed at the Eastman School of Music in 2003, has given hundreds of performances across the country at performing arts centers, colleges, rock clubs and music festivals, such as South By Southwest in Austin, Texas.

Broadway show oboist recalls teachers who inspired her

(The Observer 12/09/2013 )

“All of the Hyde Park School District music teachers are the reason I am a professional musician today,” said Keve Wilson, whose oboe skills have taken her from Hyde Park to the just-opened Broadway musical-comedy “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.”

Wilson was born in Hyde Park and graduated in 1987 from FDR High School, where her mother, Mary Lynn Wilson, was a teacher. She went on to study at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester.

As an adult, her music has been described as having a “magnificently sweet tone” by the New York Times, and she has toured with music groups all over the world.