CWUNews FeedNews Feed Jazz Band I closes out Jazz in the Valley, 28 Jul 2015 08:15:06<p><img alt="" src="/music/sites/" style="width: 448px; height: 300px;"></p><p><a href="">Jazz in the Valley</a> closed out Sunday with <a href="" target="_blank">CWU Jazz Band I</a>, the first time a student-only band has played the final concert at the festival.</p><p>Band director Chris Bruya said he was elated the show was successful and the students had a great experience.</p><p>“They’ve been really excited about doing this gig,” Bruya said.</p><p>Read more of this story in the <a href="" target="_blank">Daily Record</a>.</p><p>Photo by Julia&nbsp;Martinez/Daily Record</p>CWU Musicians Shine at 2015 Jazz in the Valley, 21 Jul 2015 15:50:37<p><img alt="" src="/music/sites/" style="width: 242px; height: 300px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;">With a powerhouse like CWU’s department of music in your backyard, you’re bound to see more than a few Wildcats at Jazz in the Valley, Ellensburg’s signature summer festival. This year is especially rich in homegrown talent, with a great mix of old and new groups lighting up the stage.</p><p>First there is the ten-year reunion of the CWU 2005 Jazz Band, which made an international splash with performances at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands. These players have returned to Ellensburg to explore musical directions they have developed in the past decade.</p><p>“When we were playing in Switzerland, one of the musicians said we should get together in 10 years,” recounted Chris Bruya, director of jazz studies. “So, this year, I called up my former student and said ‘Let’s do it!’”</p><p>According to Bruya, all but five of the original band members will make the festival—“Four couldn’t make their schedules work, and one member has passed away.”<br><br>Since all of the band members have continued to pursue musical careers, either in performance or education, Bruya expects that the band will be even better this time around. The players have had the music for several weeks, and the group will get together for a full rehearsal on Friday. On Saturday, the CWU 2005—European Reunion Jazz Band will get the show going at 10:30 a.m., on the Main Stage, Rotary Pavilion.</p><p>On the other end of the spectrum are up-and-coming student musicians in Hot Minute, a jazz quintet formed in fall 2013 through the jazz combo program at Central. The group plays a variety of styles from traditional to modern jazz, to funk, and everything in between. Recently, Hot Minute has played venues such as Boxley’s, a jazz club in North Bend, the Cantando Band Festival in Whistler, as well as other clubs in the greater Seattle area. Hot Minute will play from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on July 25 at Fitterer’s Furniture.</p><p>Pulling out all stops at the festival’s finale is CWU’s <a href="">2015 Jazz Band One</a>, also led by Bruya. The group tore apart the competition at the Next Generation Jazz Festival, and won the opportunity of appearing at the Monterey Jazz Festival in September. Chosen as one of six finalists in the College Big Band Division, they were clear winners in their category over schools such as University of Nevada, Las Vegas; the University of North Florida, and the University of South California.<br><br>Jazz Band One will be the closing act of the 2015 JIV at 2:30 p.m. on July 26, on the Rotary Pavilion Main Stage.</p><p>Jazz in the Valley is a three-day celebration of music and the arts in historic downtown Ellensburg that occurs on the last weekend in July. This year the festival runs from July 24-25. For more information, go to</p><p><em>CWU’s Department of Music is one of the largest and best university music departments in the Northwest. It is housed in the McIntyre Music Building, which offers concert-grade rehearsal and performance facilities. The music faculty are actively involved in their profession and are recognized as the region’s top music educators and conductors. The department offers a variety of degrees in music, including performance, music education, and composition. The department also has an acclaimed graduate program. For more information, go to;</em></p><p>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,</p><p>2015 Poster Art by Cheryl Waale</p></br></br></br></br>CWU director of bands retires, 15 Jul 2015 07:45:11<p><img alt="" src="/music/sites/" style="width: 448px; height: 250px;"></p><p>After 34 years with the Central Washington University Music Department, Larry Gookin is leaving a program at the top of its game.</p><p>CWU holds the pre-eminent role in preparing music teachers in this state and region. Its student musicians have received national recognition. One could assume that Gookin, who ended his 34-year tenure as the CWU’s director of bands in June, had been consumed with a drive to teach at the university level.</p><p>“Not really,” Gookin said. “I was perfectly content to teach high school band in Oregon.”</p><p>Read more of this story in the <a href="">Daily Record</a>.<br>&nbsp;</p></br>Pulling Strings: Kairos Quartet Lyceum Begins July 16, 13 Jul 2015 08:19:27<p><img alt="" src="/music/sites/" style="width: 480px; height: 320px;"></p><p>“Chamber music is a conversation between friends,” said famed biographer Catherine Drinker Bowen. This week, music students from all over the Pacific Northwest will converge upon Central Washington University to attend the annual Kairos Lyceum, a ten-day, residential, chamber music institute for dedicated high school and college-aged string players and pianists. The Lyceum begins on July 16.</p><p>Hosted by the Kairos String Quartet, CWU’s resident ensemble, the Lyceum has provided an intimate and inspirational chamber music experience for 11 years. This year, the quartet and visiting guest artists will mentor 26 students in six chamber ensembles as they engage with challenging and rewarding masterworks of the string quartet repertoire.</p><p>Lyceum organizers like to challenge their students with more than just Bach and Brahms. This year, Andy Piacsek, CWU physics chair and professor, will present the workshop, the Physics of Musical Sound. Chris Bruya, director of jazz studies, will take the young classical musicians out of their comfort zone by asking them to spontaneously create music in an improvisational workshop. Tor Blaisdell will further expand the students’ stage presence and awareness with an acting workshop for all participants.</p><p>The Lyceum incorporates live performance as part of the curriculum, with a series of concerts and recitals. All events are free and open to the public.</p><p>‘We will present a faculty concert at 7:00 p.m., July 18, in the McIntyre Music Building Recital Hall,” said Timothy Betts, Lyceum coordinator and Kairos violist. “The concert will feature movements of Tchaikovsky's exciting Souvenir de Florence for string sextet and a Brahms Quartet for Piano and Strings. Martin Kennedy, pianist, and director of theory and composition, will join the quartet for this piece.”</p><p>In addition, the Lyceum will feature the artistry of Victor Toral, classical guitarist and professor at the Salzburg Conservatory in Salzburg, Austria, at the international guest artist recital on 7:00 p.m., July 21 in the Music Building Recital Hall.</p><p>The Lyceum’s young artists will perform short chamber music selections at noon on July 22 at the Hal Holmes Center, in downtown Ellensburg.</p><p>There will be a concert on Friday, July 24, and Nikolas Caoile, CWU’s Director of Orchestras, will lead the Lyceum Chamber Orchestra. The Kairos Quartet will close the program with Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat major, op. 130. The concert begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Music Building Concert Hall</p><p>The Lyceum finale concert will be held at 2:00 p.m. on July 25 in the Music Building Recital Hall.</p><p><br>About the Kairos Quartet<br>Comprised of violinists Carrie Rehkopf and Denise Dillenbeck, violist Tim Betts and cellist John Michel, the Kairos String Quartet is recognized as one of the premier chamber ensembles in the Pacific Northwest. The quartet holds an endowed residency at Central Washington University where all four members also teach. The ensemble maintains a busy schedule, regularly touring and performing throughout the region and making national/international appearances. The quartet is well known for its commitment to education and community service, conducting clinics and making dozens of appearances at schools, youth symphonies, community centers, retirement communities, and institutions of higher education each year. “Kairos” is the Greek word for non-chronological time: those special moments experienced by children at play, reunited friends, or artists absorbed in their work. The Quartet hopes to create many such moments.</p><p>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,<br>&nbsp;</p></br></br></br>CWU's Blaisdell Directs Valley Musical Theatre's "Bye, Bye Birdie", 10 Jul 2015 07:43:12<p><img alt="" src="/music/sites/" style="width: 477px; height: 300px;"></p><p>Laughter and music will fill the Liberty Theatre during opening night on Friday as the Valley Musical Theatre performs the musical comedy <em>Bye Bye Birdie</em>.</p><p>The musical is directed by Gayla Blaisdell, an associate professor of voice and opera at Central Washington University, and produced by Valley Musical Theatre executive director Tor Blaisdell, who also plays Mr. McAfee in the show.</p><p>Director Gayla Blaisdell said the cast features actors of all ages.</p><p>Read more of this story in the <a href="">Daily Record</a>.</p><p><em>Photo by Brian Myrick/Daily Record</em></p>Roditeleva-Wibe Honored as a 2015 Distinguished Professor, 28 May 2015 11:09:18<p><img alt="" src="/music/sites/" style="width: 201px; height: 250px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;"><span style="line-height: 1.4;">The designation of Distinguished Professor is the highest award attainable at Central Washington University and represents the highest level of performance. Each year, nominations are sought in four categories—teaching, service, and research/creative expression for tenured professors, and a non-tenure track distinguished faculty award for teaching. Maria </span>Roditeleva-Wibe<span style="line-height: 1.4;">, music, was selected as the Distinguished Professor for teaching, non-tenure track faculty.&nbsp;</span></p><p>Roditeleva-Wibe, is currently a senior lecturer in the Music Department at CWU, specializing in music history, music theory, and world music.</p><p>“Since coming to Central she has distinguished herself as a brilliant, knowledgeable, versatile, and innovative teacher,” noted her colleagues. She brings an immense store of knowledge to the classroom and brings it alive for her students in a variety of courses. Her teaching approach is inclusive and interdisciplinary, and designs music courses that incorporate historic context and cultural insights, and delve into diverse disciplines such as anthropology, sociology and religious studies. Using a variety of teaching methods, Roditeleva-Wibe creates a classroom environment in which students from diverse backgrounds and with different learning skills can all increase their knowledge. A noted pianist, she commemorated the opening of the new McIntyre Music building in 2004 by playing Franz Liszt’s Transcendental Etude in F minor No. 10, the first public performance held in CWU’s new Concert Hall.</p><p>Distinguished professors will be recognized at the Honors Convocation on June 12.</p></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;">CWU, Yakima Orchestras and Choruses to Perform Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony, 08 May 2015 10:49:32<p><img alt="" src="/music/sites/" style="width: 240px; height: 160px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;">Gustav Mahler’s epic masterpiece, Symphony No. 2, the “Resurrection,” will be celebrated in a joint performance by the CWU Symphony Orchestra and members of the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, along with the Yakima Symphony Chorus, and CWU Men’s and Women’s Choruses. The work will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on May 16 in Yakima, and at 4:00 p.m. on May 17 at Central Washington University.</p><p>This will be the second time that the YSO and the CWU Symphonies have joined forces. Previously, the two collaborated on Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in 2013.</p><p>“It was so great that we decided to continue with the partnership,” said Nikolas Caoile, CWU director of orchestras. YSO conductor Lawrence Golan will lead the Saturday night performance and Caoile will conduct the Sunday afternoon performance.</p><p>“This is an extremely challenging piece to conduct,” said Caoile. “Logistically, we are dealing with an extremely large orchestra, soprano and alto soloists, large choir, and off-stage musicians,” adding that there are approximately 120 singers in the chorus, 2 vocal soloists, and 112 orchestra musicians.</p><p>“And, musically, we are trying to comprehend five large scale movements of decidedly different styles. For the orchestra this takes physical endurance, but also mental endurance—to be able to sustain the drama over a long period of time, with few breaks.”</p><p>The piece can be compared to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony—another symphony that combines instruments and voices, continued Caoile. While Beethoven’s Ninth focuses on the idea that all men are created equal, Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony focuses on the meaning of life. At first it seems meaningless and trivial, but over the course of the piece’s 70 minutes, it becomes clear that life means more. Some of the final words uttered, “I come from God, to God I return,” underline the spiritual content of the piece.</p><p>The YSO will perform at 7:30 p.m. on May 16 in The Capitol Theatre. Prior to the concert will be ConcerTalk with Jeffrey Snedeker, CWU associate chair and professor of music, at 6:30 p.m. in the Robertson Room. To purchase individual tickets online for the YSO, please go to and select “Tickets” or call the Capitol Theatre at 509-853-ARTS.</p><p>The Central Washington University performance will take place at 4:00 p.m. on May 17, in the McIntyre Music Building Concert Hall. Tickets are $20 for general admission, and $10 for students w/ID, seniors, and children. Advanced purchase is recommended. To purchase tickets go to Tickets may also be purchased by calling 509-963-1429, or in person at the Wildcat Shop Customer Service at the Student Union and Recreation Building.</p><p>Parking in CWU lots is free after 4:30 p.m. and on weekends, except in residence hall lots and in specifically designated spaces.</p><p><br>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,<br>May 6, 2015</p></br></br>Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro Opens May 2 at CWU, 28 Apr 2015 09:31:51<p><em>The Marriage of Figaro</em>, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is one of the most performed operas in the world and appeals to both the opera lover and the first time operagoer. This uproarious tale of class warfare has no shortage of scandal, revenge, affairs, plot twists, and general mayhem. Central Washington University’s hilarious and exciting production will be fully staged and presented in English.</p><p>“This is comedy. It’s something everyone can relate to,” said Gayla Blaisdell, director and CWU professor of voice and opera.</p><p>CWU’s award-winning Opera Ensemble will perform in avant-garde rococo costumes on an abstract set, giving a unique spin to the 18th century opera. The production will be performed in collaboration with the CWU Chamber Orchestra directed by Dr. Nikolas Caoile.</p><p><em>The Marriage of Figaro</em> will be performed at 7:00 p.m. on May 2, and at 2:00 p.m. on May 3 in the McIntyre Music Building.&nbsp; For more information or to purchase tickets go to Tickets may also be purchased by calling 509-963-1429, or in person at the Wildcat Shop Customer Service at the Student Union and Recreation Building.</p><p>Parking in CWU lots is free after 4:30 p.m. and on weekends, except in residence hall lots and in specifically designated spaces.</p><p>The CWU Opera Ensemble will perform&nbsp;<em>The Marriage of Figaro </em>at the Icicle Creek Center for the Arts in Leavenworth, Washington at 7:00 p.m. on May 9, and at 2:00 p.m., May 10. Visit: for ticket information for the Icicle Creek performances.</p><p>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,<br>April 28, 2015</p></br>CWU’s Bella Notte 2015 is a Sing-ular Musical Event, 14 Apr 2015 09:24:02<p>Prepare for an evening of gustatory and auditory delights at Bella Notte 2015, featuring an Italian dinner, music, and silent auction. The event, sponsored by Central Washington University’s student chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 18 at Gallery One, 408 Pearl St. in Ellensburg.</p><p>There will be a fabulous Italian dinner catered by Yellow Church Cafe as well as a brilliant program of Italian song, performed by CWU student vocalists. Tickets are $30, and may be purchased online at (Tickets will not be sold at the door.)<br><br>The many musical selections include Donizetti’s “Regnava nel silenzio” from Lucia di Lammermoor, sung by Caitlin Stave; Puccini’s “O mio babbino caro” from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, sung by Alyssa Henniger; and "Non siate ritrosi" from Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, sung by Josh Johnson.<br><br>The proceeds of the event will help CWU vocal students pay for competition/travel fees for the annual NATS voice competition, support visiting clinicians and help fund the CWU Opera Ensemble for their spring production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro.</p><p><br>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,<br>&nbsp;</p></br></br></br></br></br></br>CWU’s Jazz Band 1 Top Group at National Next Generation Jazz Festival, 31 Mar 2015 13:34:10<p><img alt="" src="/music/sites/" style="width: 427px; height: 320px;"></p><p>Despite formidable competition from larger schools, Central Washington University’s Jazz Band 1 was named the best college big band at the Next Generation Jazz Festival held March 27-29 in Monterey, California. Now they will play at the legendary Monterey Jazz Festival, the longest continuously running jazz festival in the world, in September.</p><p>Jazz Band I is the premiere jazz ensemble at CWU, and focuses on performing big band music from the 1940s to the present.</p><p>“The students were really psyched-up for playing after learning who the judges were,” said Chris Bruya, director of CWU Jazz Studies and leader of Jazz Band 1. “When they stood on the stage on Sunday, they knew they were playing for their heroes.”</p><p>The judges included Terell Stafford, jazz trumpeter and director of Jazz Studies at the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University; and Luis Bonilla, Grammy-winning jazz trombonist, and professor of music at Temple University, Manhattan School of Music and the Aaron Copeland School of Music, Queens College.</p><p>The band performed three pieces: “Rhythm-a-ning” by Thelonius Monk, arranged by Bill Holman; “St. Louis Blues”, by W.C. Handy, arranged by Bob Bookmeyer; and “Nutville” by Horace Silver, arranged by Greg Hopkins.</p><p>“The second piece was a special challenge,” continued Bruya. “It was a signature piece for the Village Vanguard Band, one of the best professional big bands in the world, of which both Luis Bonilla and Terell Stafford were members. It was both terrifying and exciting to perform a piece that the judges knew intimately.”</p><p>The group received a standing ovation after their set. In addition to the group’s first place award, trombonist Beserat Tafesse received the soloist award of a full scholarship to the prestigious Stanford Jazz Workshop.</p><p>“Your sound, compared to the other bands, was <em>monstrous</em>!” said CWU President James Gaudino to Bruya after the concert. Both Gaudino and his wife, Katie, attended the competition.</p><p>After receiving the first place prize, the band was “ecstatic, jumping up and down,” said Bruya. “It was so rewarding to go up against larger schools like the University of Southern California and University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and come out on top.” Bruya also noted that unlike other bands in the competition, Jazz Band 1 members were primarily undergraduates.</p><p>“It goes without saying that we got tremendous support from Central, the music department and our donors, and it was a collective effort to get us to this place,” said Bruya. “And the best part is knowing that this is going to be one of the greatest things these students have ever done. This will live with them forever.”</p><p>Members of Jazz Band 1 are: Robert Rutherford, trumpet; Darin Greif, trumpet; Braden Waddell, trumpet; Pavel Spichak, trumpet; Dan Baker, trombone; Tanner Cornell, trombone; Beserat Tafesse, trombone; Audrey Stangland, trombone; Ryan Donnelly, bass; Lucas Simpson, alto sax; Brian Lawrence, alto sax; Kevin Lane, tenor sax; Austin Hass, drums; Alex Worland, tenor sax; Conor Jonson, baritone sax; Drew Medak, piano; Skyler Floe, trumpet; and Chris Bruya, Director.</p><p>Annually, more than 130 groups apply to the Next Generation Jazz Festival, and from these the very best compete to perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival in September. Introduced in 1971 as the California High School Jazz Band Competition by Monterey Jazz Festival Founder Jimmy Lyons, the competition was conceived as a way to bring talented student groups to Monterey, and to cultivate musicians for the future.</p><p>The Monterey Jazz Festival was co-founded by Jimmy Lyons and Ralph J. Gleason in 1958. Since then, the nonprofit event has presented nearly every major artist in the world—from Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Dave Brubeck, Tony Bennett, and Miles Davis, to contemporary masters Diana Krall, Wynton Marsalis, Trombone Shorty, Esperanza Spalding, and Terence Blanchard.</p><p><br>Audio from the performance can be found at</p></br>