tony glausi

Music News & Notes

Recent happenings in Oregon music

Been awhile since we rounded up recent news in Oregon classical music, so here’s some items that lit up our screens in recent months.

Laurels and Plaudits

• Composition Champ. University of Oregon composition professor Robert Kyr was one of four American composers to win this year’s American Academy of Arts and Letters $10,000 Arts and Letters Award for outstanding artistic achievement by a composer who has arrived at his or her own voice.

Mia Hall Miller

Mia Hall Miller

Wonder Woman. Pacific Youth Choir founder and director Mia Hall Miller received the Oregon Symphony’s 2016 Schnitzer Wonder Award, a $10,000 prize that “honors an individual or organization that directly works to build community through the next generation of artists and/or student musicians.” Now in its 13th year, PYC boasts almost 300 singers in 10 choirs.

Violin Virtuosa. Portland violinist Fumika Mizuno is the only Oregonian selected among the 109 young musicians (age 16-19) from across the country for the fourth annual National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. It’s her second stint with the NYO, which (after a training residency in New York) performed with the great pianist Emanuel Ax at Carnegie Hall in July, then played concerts led by Valery Gergiev at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, in Montpellier France, Copenhagen, and Prague.

• Operatic ascent. Portland tenor A.J. Glueckert was one of six winners of the $10,000 George London awards, one of America’s oldest vocal competitions.

Eugene jazz musician Tony Glausi. Photo: Tyler Sams. 

Eugene jazz musician Tony Glausi. Photo: Tyler Sams.

Trumpeter on the rise. Eugene jazz trumpeter and composer Tony Glausi has been named the recipient of the 2016-17 Laurie Frink Career Grant, a biennial $10,000 award to give a “young brass player an opportunity for serious study or to undertake a creative project.” One of America’s most revered brass instrument teachers, Frink, who died in 2013, played in some of the finest jazz orchestras (including those of Maria Schneider, Benny Goodman Orchestra, Mel Lewis, Gerry Mulligan, John Hollenbeck, Darcy James Argue and more), performed with Broadway orchestras, co-wrote the definitive book on trumpet improvisation, and mentored some of today’s top trumpeters including Dave Douglas and Ambrose Akinmusire. Read Gary Ferrington’s ArtsWatch profile of Glausi.

The Marylhurst Chamber Choir performs at the 2016 Cork International Choral Festival.

Choral Voyagers. Marylhurst University’s premiere choral ensemble, the Marylhurst Chamber Choir, was one of only 34 choirs from around the world, and the only American choir invited to perform at the Cork International Choir Festival in Cork, Ireland in May. It placed third to choirs from Sweden and Turkey in a close contest for the placed third in the festival’s top honor, the Fleischmann Award and won the Peace Award for the choir that best embodied the spirit of the festival.

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ArtsWatch Weekly: diving for pearls

A look at the week that was in Oregon arts. A glimpse ahead at the week that's going to be.

A pop singer, an artist, a director of commercials, a composer, a trio of designer/landscape architects, a songwriter, a violinist and physical therapist, an orchestra conductor, a celebrity journalist, and a bunch of dancers walk into a studio.

There are many ways to think about Pearl Dive Project, which opens Thursday evening at BodyVox, but it doesn’t involve a bartender, and it’s no joke. It is a gamble, and an experiment – a roll of the dice that tests the definitions of amateur and professional and the elasticity of the creative mind. Can a person who’s successful in one creative discipline transfer that success to a totally different form, one in which she or he has little or no experience? Or is that like trusting a top-tier dentist to do a heart transplant?

BodyVox's Jamey Hampton (left) and songwriter/musician Jeremy Wilson (center), novice choreographer, in a February rehearsal for "Pearl Dive Project." Photo © Blaine Truitt Covert

BodyVox’s Jamey Hampton (left) and songwriter/musician Jeremy Wilson (center), novice choreographer, in a February rehearsal for “Pearl Dive Project.” Photo © Blaine Truitt Covert

Or a pop singer to create a dance? Because that’s what the pop singer – China Forbes of Pink Martini, along with several other creative Portlanders, among them Oregon Symphony conductor Carlos Kalmar, artist Malia Jensen, songwriter Jeremy Wilson, and writer Byron Beck – are doing in Pearl Dive Project. Not a one of them has been a dancer, and yet, they’re creating choreography for BodyVox’s highly trained professional dancers to perform. “What will happen when artists and innovators working at the peak of their profession immerse themselves in a craft they’ve never considered?,” the company asks. What, indeed? You can find out during a run that continues through April 23.

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Tony Glausi: Finding musical identity

Young Eugene composer/trumpeter's debut album defines his place in Oregon jazz

by GARY FERRINGTON

When award-winning young Oregon jazz trumpeter and composer Tony Glausi set out to make his debut album last year, he looked back over the last few years of his original compositions and realized that a common theme flowed through much of his music: the search for his own musical identity, starting with his childhood musical inspirations. Glausi, a graduate teaching fellow pursuing his master’s in jazz composition at the University of Oregon, has quietly gained a national reputation for his ability to excite the ears of audiences and judges. His new CD Identity Crisis, released in December and available online and at gigs, reveals a young musician who has both established a distinctive musical identity, and is poised to take the next big step in his career.

Eugene jazz musician Tony Glausi. Photo: Tyler Sams. 

Eugene jazz musician Tony Glausi. Photo: Tyler Sams.

“Tony’s music — whether in performance or in composition or in band leading — is pure Tony,”  says Brian McWhorter, Associate Professor of Music  and one of Glausi’s mentors at the University of Oregon. “He may be having an identity crisis, as the album seems to imply, but he’s not afraid of putting that very crisis in every note. Where most musicians shy away from that kind of vulnerability, Tony’s voice is direct, charismatic, and unyielding. And unusually, his music remains light and fun. He’s vulnerable without having to resort to some heavy, bogged down introspection. Rather, when we hear his music, we get an immediate sense of his obvious intellectualism and wit, without the burdensome feeling like we’re going to have our own identity crisis just by hearing about his!”

Selected as Outstanding Performer Overall and (twice) Outstanding College Trumpeter at the Reno Jazz Festival, Glausi also was named 2013 outstanding undergraduate improviser by Downbeat Jazz & Blues Magazine and placed 1st in the Jazz Division of the 2014 National Trumpet Competition. He graduated magna cum laude with a BM in Jazz Performance at the University of Oregon in 2015.

In addition to leading his own jazz quintet and nine-piece funk band, Glausi is a dedicated collaborator who performs and records with other Eugene ensembles such as the Top-Hat Confederacy and Jessika Smith’s Eugene Composers Big Band. He also performs with several university ensembles including the award-winning Oregon Jazz Ensemble, which toured Europe in 2014, and the JazzArts Oregon Combo. Along the way he’s performed with internationally renowned artists including virtuoso jazz pianist George Colligan, reggae legend Norma Fraser, and British indie pop-star Ruth Theodore.

The young Oregon artist on the rise gives his impression of the state of jazz today from the point of view of the next generation of Oregon jazz musicians. He also explains the sources of his own music, and the challenges an indie jazz musician faces in making a debut album in the 21st century.

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