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July 28, 2011

U of M School of Music Super Fan of the Week: Christa Saeger

christa saeger.jpgThis week we meet Maple Grove native Christa Saeger (D.M.A., cello performance, student of Tanya Remenikova) who knows a good cupcake when she sees (tastes) one.

1. Where are you originally from (hometown)?
Maple Grove, Minnesota

2. What instrument(s) do you play?
Cello! (Piano only when forced and I can hack through Twinkle on any stringed instrument)

3. What was the last live performance that blew you away?

I was visiting SOM alum Brett Lewis at Indiana University and saw the group Time For Three perform. The energy they can create from the stage is so entertaining and inspiring.

4. Which cellists have influenced you the most?
Honestly, my peers in my cello studio. They constantly amaze me both in their musical and technical abilities, not to mention great friends and a MUCH NEEDED support system.

5. What do you like most about the U of M School of Music?
We are located in one of the best arts communities in the country. Very few places have two world-class, professional orchestras to both enjoy and collaborate. I have received some truly unique opportunities at the SOM because of this.

6. Name your favorite musical moment at the SOM.
Easy. Last year, the University Symphony Orchestra did a workshop with Baltimore Symphony Music Director Marin Alsop at Orchestra Hall on Mahler 3. Besides creating a sense of musical energy and cohesion I have never felt before, she gave a wonderful talk about the importance of education and community engagement in the arts.

7. Where is your favorite place to eat/hang out on campus and/or the Twin Cities?
Shout out for Cupcake on University Avenue near the Prospect Park Neighborhood. With 150 different kinds of cupcakes, who could go wrong?

8. What's most frequently on your playlist?
Time for Three, Chris Thile, Beethoven, Usher, and recently getting reunited with Nelly.

9. What is something you know about the SOM ensembles that no one else does?
University Symphony Orchestra Music Director Mark Russell Smith is a complete genius, but he sweats... a lot (can I say that on the internet?).

10. What are the first three things that come to mind when someone mentions Minnesota?

Minnesota nice, the movie Fargo (yeah, yeah, I know it's in ND), and crazy weather (have ya BEEN here this summer?).

July 22, 2011

U of M School of Music Super Fan of the Week: Peter Mercer-Taylor

306693.jpgThis week's SOM Super Fan is musicology professor Peter Mercer-Taylor. Professor Mercer-Taylor teaches it all - from Nirvana to Schumann and his playlist reflects it. He even has a soft spot for Dolly Parton (don't we all?). He can also tell you where to find the best falafel in the Twin Cities. Let's meet Peter Mercer-Taylor!

1. Where are you originally from (hometown)?
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

2. Do you play any instruments?
I grew up playing the guitar and bass guitar, and can get around alright on the piano in most pop contexts. I once survived a read-through of Mozart's 29th Symphony as the sole member of the viola section, but it wasn't pretty. I've also tinkered around on mandolin, banjo, flute, and drums.

3. What was the last live performance that blew you away?
Mendelssohn's Elijah last year, in Ted Mann Concert Hall, with the U's own Matt Mehaffey running the baton. Dazzling!

4. How long have you worked at the U of M School of Music?
Ten years.

5. What do you like most about the U of M School of Music?
The community. After six years at a smaller school, I figured a place the size of the U could only feel cold and impersonal. Not so! Wonderfully committed professors and dedicated, engaged students.

6. Name your favorite musical moment at the SOM.

The 2009 production of Jenufa. Where has this opera been all my life?

7. Where is your favorite place to eat/hang out on campus and/or the Twin Cities?
Mim's, the Middle-Eastern place on Cleveland Avenue just off the St. Paul campus. Friendly folks, and the falafel has never let me down.

8. What's most frequently on your playlist?

Schumann string quartets just lately, but I'll never change the station on Cee Lo Green, Adele, or Nirvana.

9. What is something you know about the SOM faculty that no one else does?
Most of them won't laugh if you tell them you've got a soft spot for Dolly Parton (and who doesn't?).

10. What are the first three things that come to mind when someone mentions Minnesota?
Loons, cross-country skiing, and civic-minded people who are very proud of the place they live.

July 19, 2011

U of M School of Music Professor Sally O'Reilly Featured on TPT's 'MN Original'

18656.jpegSchool of Music professor Sally O'Reilly is currently featured on the Twin Cities Public Television program MN Original, in a profile on her 15 year-old violin student and School of Music Bravo! Strings and Keyboard Institute participant Sedra Bistodeau. The segment features interviews with professor O'Reilly as well as a peek behind the scenes in her violin studio. Watch the video.

July 18, 2011

SOM student Brett Wartchow wins U of M Graduate School's Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

brett wartchow.jpgBrett Wartchow (Ph.D. candidate, composition, student of Alex Lubet) won the University of Minnesota Graduate School's Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship for 2011-12 for "Nexus: Composition for Mixed Ensemble and Interactive Electronics." The Fellowship is a non-service award that carries an academic year stipend of $22,500 plus tuition for thesis credits and/or required dissertation seminars during the academic year and subsidized health insurance. Doctoral Dissertation Fellows participate in a Research Showcase on April 17, 2012 in the Great Hall in Coffman Union.

July 15, 2011

U of M School of Music Super Fan of the Week: Jennifer Schmitt

jennySchmitt.jpgIt's SOM Super Fan Friday and it's raining cats and dogs in the Twin Cities. This week's SOM Super Fan Jennifer (Jenny) Schmitt is sure to brighten up this dark and stormy day. Jenny is a SOM staff member and Graphic Designer/Communications Specialist and is the person who makes our SOM publications (Tutti, brochures, viewbooks, as well as the SOM website and beyond) look gorgeous. Read more to find out why she's our favorite buccaneer (hint: she looks great in an eye patch).

1. Where are you originally from (hometown)?
Plymouth, MN

2. Do you play any instruments?
I sing, but I pretend to know how to play the piano--I took a group keyboard class at the School of Music back in the day. I also played clarinet in my middle school band. Let's just say it's a good thing I stuck with Graphic Design and not the clarinet.

3. What was the last live performance that blew you away?
Let's be honest, with a new baby, I don't get out that much. But I loved the Collage Concert last year. It's always a fabulous concert.

4. How long have you worked at the U of M School of Music?
6+ years

5. What do you like most about the U of M School of Music?
The feeling that we are a small community within a large University.

6. Name your favorite musical moment at the SOM.
Shoot. I already answered the Collage Concert for question three. I can mention that twice?

7. Where is your favorite place to eat/hang out on campus and/or the Twin Cities?
Chai Thai on West Bank. They have the best Thai Iced Teas. Yum.

8. What's most frequently on your playlist?
I have my iTunes set to random. So whatever happens to come up next! But when hanging out with my kid, it's most often Ziggy Marley or Elizabeth Mitchell.

9. What is something you know about the Communications Department that no one else does?
We observe International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19). Yar.

10. What are the first three things that come to mind when someone mentions Minnesota?
The outdoors, mosquitoes, and home.

July 8, 2011

U of M School of Music Super Fan of the Week: Phillip O'Toole

Thumbnail image for phillip otoole.jpgThis SOM Super Fan Friday features SOM staff member and Technical Coordinator/Audio Engineer Phillip O'Toole. For years Phillip O'Toole has been working to get students high quality audio of their recitals as well as making everyone at the SOM sound good. It's time to get to know Phillip better. Without further ado, here's Phillip!

1. Where are you originally from (hometown)?
Minneapolis, MN

2. Do you play any instruments?
Guitar

3. What was the last live performance that blew you away?
"A Girl Named Vincent," Prudence Johnson teamed up with three other local female composers, Laura Caviani, Joan Griffith, and Michelle Kinney to set the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay to music.

4. How long have you worked at the U of M School of Music?
11 years.

5. What do you like most about the U of M School of Music?
Location, location, location.

6. Name your favorite musical moment at the SOM.
Opera on the Farm 2000.

7. Where is your favorite place to eat/hang out on campus and/or the Twin Cities?
Bun Mi Sandwiches on the East Bank.

8. What's most frequently on your playlist?
I don't own an iPod, I listen to a lot of 91.1.

9. What is something you know about Ted Mann Concert Hall that no one else does?
How the whole place is wired.

10. What are the first three things that come to mind when someone mentions Minnesota?
Home, Bicycles, Canoes.

July 7, 2011

University of Minnesota School of Music presents The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, September 8, 2011

glenn miller orchestra.jpgThe University of Minnesota School of Music will present The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra on Thursday, September 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Ted Mann Concert Hall (2128 Fourth Street South, Minneapolis, MN 55455). Tickets are $34/$29 (reserved seating) and are available by calling the University of Minnesota Tickets and Events Box Office at 612/624-2345 or online at tickets.umn.edu. Tickets go on sale on Friday, July 8 at 10 a.m. Read more.

July 5, 2011

U of M School of Music Professor Sumanth Gopinath featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer

31311.jpgSumanth Gopinath (music theory) is a featured scholar of ringtones in John Timpane's article "Symphony in B(eeps)" in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

July 1, 2011

U of M School of Music Super Fan of the Week: Jessica Narum

jessica narum.jpgThis SOM Super Fan Friday brings us current student and music theorist Jessica Narum. If you are interested in being a featured SOM Super Fan or would like to nominate a potential SOM Super Fan (SOM alumni, faculty, students, and staff), visit the SOM facebook page and leave a Super Fan comment.

Let's meet this week's SOM SUPER FAN!

Jessica Narum, currently pursuing a Ph.D. Music Theory, completed her M.A. in Music Theory (May 2011)

1. Where are you originally from (hometown)?
Fargo, ND

2. What instrument(s) do you play?
Piano and percussion, but recently I've taken up mandolin and ukulele, too!

3. What was the last live performance that blew you away?
Steve Schick visited the U last year and gave a really stellar performance of Psappha by Xenakis.

4. How do you view the role of classical music in today's culture?
I think there are important things that people can learn and experience through (and sometimes only through) classical music, and I feel really fortunate to live in Minnesota where the arts are highly valued. I would love to see increased focus on living composers and recent pieces because I also think we have a responsibility to support new music.

5. What do you like most about the U of M School of Music?
I am constantly impressed by my colleagues. They are thoughtful researchers, invested teachers, and just generally cool people.

6. Name your favorite musical moment at the SOM.
I love the everyday musical moments. For example, as an ear-training TA last semester I was the lone audience member for an ensemble of 32 students singing a three-part atonal warm-up that turned out to be really lovely.

7. Where is your favorite place to eat/hang out on campus and/or the Twin Cities?
Near campus I'd recommend Acadia or Town Hall, but when school's out it's hard to beat the riverside patio at Pracna.

8. What's most frequently on your playlist?
Andrew Bird, Inara George, John Vanderslice, and Regina Spektor.

9. How do you explain what a music theorist does to your family at Thanksgiving?
Music theorists try to figure out how music works. We try to figure out why a piece or even just a moment sounds right or weird or surprising or awesome.

10. What are the first three things that come to mind when someone mentions Minnesota?
I'd be lying if I didn't say "winters" first, but the other two are the Minnesota State Fair and "Minnesota nice."