Tuesday, January 30, 2018

FVSO Received NEA Grant for Brubeck Outreach

The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support outreach activities associated with our upcoming concert featuring Grammy-nominated composer and trombonist Chris Brubeck. 

The $10,000 “Challenge America” grant will underwrite the costs for Brubeck and Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra musicians to share the music of modern American legends with veterans and audiences in rural areas, as well as support Brubeck’s appearance with at the symphony’s February 3 concert at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center’s Thrivent Financial Hall.

Brubeck’s outreach events will include an interactive workshop at the Gerold Opera House in Weyauwega focusing on performance and music composition with band students from the Weyauwega area.  He’ll follow that up with a lecture and performance at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King.  The FVSO’s Brass Circle quintet will accompany Brubeck at both appearances.

Photo Credit: Stephane Colbert
“Working with the local youth is part of our mission. Helping to provide the opportunity to be inspired and informed by Chris Brubeck and members of the symphony is very exciting,” said Kathy Fehl, Artistic Director of WEGA Arts.  “The effort to work with us and other places in the area is wonderful; encouraging kids to consider a life in the arts is very important.”

Brubeck said he hopes that he can contribute to the creative spirit in the young music students.

“We still live in a society where a creative thinker, player, visual artist, dancer, film maker, author or singer can still have a significant impact. If I can connect with, encourage and inspire one young person to pursue their dreams then I feel that the mission was accomplished,” said Brubeck. “The Arts are a reminder of our wonderful human potential.”

Brubeck’s performance at the Veteran’s Home at King inspired some memories of his father, jazz musician and composer, Dave Brubeck.

“Through the years, my Dad told me many stories about his going into hospitals and playing music for Veterans which seemed to connect with them in a special way,” said Chris Brubeck. “If the Vets can't come to a concert, I am happy to go to see them and reach out through music.”

On February 3, Brubeck will be featured as the guest artist for the symphony’s “Modern American Legends” concert.  He will also participate in a discussion with FVSO’s Sandra Lemke & Monroe Trout Music Director Brian Groner before the concert in the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center’s Kimberly-Clark Theater. 

The NEA Challenge America grant program offers support for projects that extend the reach of the arts to those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. 

ABOUT THE National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more about NEA.  (Source, arts.gov/news)

ABOUT Chris Brubeck
Grammy-nominated composer Chris Brubeck continues to distinguish himself as a multi-faceted performer and creative force.  An award-winning writer, he is clearly tuned into the pulse of contemporary music. The respected music critic for The Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein calls Chris: “a composer with a real flair for lyrical melody--a 21st Century Lenny Bernstein.”   
Chris has created an impressive body of symphonic work while maintaining a demanding touring and recording schedule with his two groups:  the Brubeck Brothers Quartet (with brother Dan on drums), and Triple Play, an acoustic trio featuring Chris on piano, bass and trombone along with guitarist Joel Brown and harmonica player extraordinaire Peter Madcat Ruth. Additionally, Chris performs as a soloist playing his trombone concertos with orchestras and has served as Artist in Residence with orchestras and colleges in America, coaching, lecturing, and performing with students and faculty.

Chris is a much sought-after composer, and has been commissioned to write many innovative works. Current projects include a concerto for the Canadian Brass Quintet to be premiered with the Lexington Philharmonic in November 2017.  As Composer in Residence with the New Haven Symphony, Chris premiered Time Changes for Jazz Combo and Orchestra.  He had two new commissions premiere in 2016:  "Fanfare for a Remarkable Friend" and "Sphere of Influence".  His "Affinity: Concerto for Guitar & Orchestra" was written for celebrated guitarist Sharon Isbin, and premiered in April, 2015.  To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied Liberation of France in June, 2014, Chris and French composer Guillaume Saint-James wrote Brothers in Arts: 70 Years of Liberty, which premiered to much acclaim in Rennes, France. Chris's long list of commissions are varied and range from a Russian-American cooperative project commissioned by the Hermitage Museum and the National Gallery ("The Hermitage Cats Save the Day"), to the Kennedy Center for the National Symphony Orchestra; to concertos written for violinist Nick Kendall; the exciting trio Time for Three, a song cycle for Frederica von Stade ("River of Song") as well as many chamber and orchestral pieces commissioned by the Concord Chamber Music Society, the Muir String Quartet, 3 commissions from The Boston Pops, and multiple commissions from consortiums including The Boston Pops, Baltimore Symphony, Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, Indianapolis Symphony, Portland Symphony, Oakland East Bay Symphony, and many others. 

His highly acclaimed Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra, has been played by many of the top bass trombonists in the world and was recorded with Chris as soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra.  It can be heard on the Koch International Classics recording "Bach to Brubeck".  He also wrote a second trombone concerto, The Prague Concerto which he premiered and recorded with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra on the Koch cd, "Convergence".  Reviewing that disc, Fanfare Magazine wrote "Brubeck's skill both as composer and soloist is extraordinary." April, 2009 saw the premiere of “Ansel Adams: America”, an exciting orchestral piece written by Chris and Dave Brubeck.  It was commissioned by a consortium of eight orchestras and is accompanied by 100 of Ansel Adams’ majestic images projected above the orchestra.  In 2013, "Ansel Adams: America" was nominated for a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition. 

Join us for the Concert on Saturday:
February 3 at 6:40 pm:  Pre-show lecture in the Kimberly-Clark Theatre at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.

February 3 at 7:30 pm:  Concert with the Fox Valley Symphony in Thrivent Hall at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.