Month: April 2021

Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra to Perform Sheherazade

by Chris Clonts

The Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra will perform Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Sheherazade” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (April 24) at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, where the show can be seen in person. It will also be streamed online.

“Sheherazade,” composed in 1888 and adapted into a ballet in Paris in 1910, was inspired by “One Thousand and One Nights,” the collection of folk tales from the Islamic Golden Ages, and is being performed for the first time by the KSO. The complex piece sparkles with vivid orchestral color, exotic harmonies and gorgeous melodies.

“We are thrilled to present one of the most technically challenging works in the orchestral canon,” said Joel Neves, the orchestra’s music director. “It’s really a soloist’s paradise, featuring major solos for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, cello and — uniquely — second trombone.” Neves said the most important individual contribution is the recurring violin solo that will be performed by concertmaster Brian Wall. “It represents the mysterious Princess Sheherazade,” he said.

The story, as originally described by Rimsky-Korsakov, is the tale of the Sultan Schariar, who decides to put each of his wives to death in the belief that “women are false and faithless.” Sheherazade, though, prevents her own death by entertaining the sultan with tales for the 1,001 nights in the original collection’s title. Many may best know the composer for “Flight of the Bumblebee,” an interlude from his opera “Tale of the Tsar Saltan.”

The performance will be streamed live. Limited socially distanced seats will be available for students and the general public. Patrons will be required to wear a face mask and fill out a symptom monitoring form in order to attend. A ticket form can be filled out for the Michigan Tech Ticket Office.

Due to pandemic restrictions, the ticket office will first take ticket requests and then will contact audience members with more instructions on seat placement and payment.

Founded in 1971, the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra is the Upper Peninsula’s oldest orchestra and one of five symphony orchestras in the Lake Superior region. The KSO is a college-and-community ensemble composed of Michigan Tech students, faculty and staff, and community musicians.


Hip-Hop Dance Pioneer in Virtual Residence

Hip-Hop Dance Pioneer in Virtual Residence at Michigan Tech
to Explore Breaking, Jazz and How Artists Age

World-renowned hip-hop and breakdance artist Raphael Xavier will begin his virtual residence at Michigan Tech on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. with an exploration of the ways maturity can alter both performer and performance in dance and jazz. 

“Raphael Xavier: Behind the Scenes of Sassafrazz, From Roots to Mastery” is the first in the series of virtual performances and events for the community. “Sassafrazz,” originally intended to be seen live before the pandemic, is a 20-year exploration of the life of a breakdancer and explores birth, life and death through three breaking styles: top rock, footwork and ground text.

Xavier’s long career and breakdance research led to the development of ground core, a style that is said to give artists a better understanding of the body that is useful in all dance forms.

Mary Jennings, director of programming for the university’s Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, said that since the pandemic made an in-person performance of Xavier’s planned tour impossible, the Rozsa team worked with Xavier’s team to build the virtual residency, which also includes a “Creative Jam Session” performance on April 13 from noon to 1 p.m.

“Together with his team, we didn’t want this to be just another virtual performance,” Jennings said.

Both the Thursday and April 13 performances are open to the public. Registration for the livestream can be completed at the Rozsa Center website.

Xavier and his company will improvise movement while accompanied by music and poems composed by Michigan Tech students. A question-and-answer session will follow.

Jennings also wanted the greater community to be able to access Xavier’s wisdom, so he will also be making a special virtual visit to Hancock’s Superior School of Dance. She credited his team for being so willing to explore the virtual residency concept.

“They were great to work with, and it’s just wonderful we have this extended access. Raphael is a true genius,” she said.

Xavier is an alumnus of the pioneering hip hop dance company Rennie Harris Puremovement. His solo and ensemble choreographic dance works have been performed worldwide. He is also a 2013 recipient of the Pew Fellowship, a 2014 MacDowell Fellowship, and a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship.

Xavier lives in Philadelphia and is a professor at Princeton University, where he teaches “History of Hip Hop Dance and Culture” and “Intro to Breaking” courses.

The presentation of Sassafrazz: From Roots to Mastery was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

What: Raphael Xavier: Behind the Scenes of Sassafrazz: From Roots to Mastery
When: Thursday, April 8, 2021, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Virtual event – Register Here

What: Raphael Xavier: Creative Jam Session With Music by Michigan Tech Students
When: Tuesday, April 13, 2021, noon-1 p.m.
Where: Virtual event – Register Here

This press release created by Chris Clonts, communications director for the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech. 


Adam Meckler: Making it in the New Music Economy

Adam Meckler, assistant professor of Visual and Performing Arts and director of Jazz Studies, shared his knowledge on Husky Bites, a free, interactive webinar this past Monday, April 5th.

Prof. Meckler talked about the shift of the music economy from selling albums to streaming, tools for young musicians looking to build a career in music, and ways for musicians to carve out passive income so they can focus on the music.

Jared Anderson, chair of Michigan Tech Visual and Performing Arts also joined in for Husky Bites. Prof. Anderson conducts conScience: Michigan Tech Chamber Singers, and the internationally-touring Michigan Tech Concert Choir. 

Please visit the College of Engineering Blog post for the rest of this great article.