Cameron University Guitar Ensemble to present final concert of the season

The Cameron University Guitar Ensemble will present its final concert of the season on Sunday, April 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the McCutcheon Recital Hall. Directed by Dr. Kirsten Underwood, the ensemble is made up of Cameron music majors Trevor Campbell and Hannah Esquer, Lawton; Tyler Farmer, Geronimo; and Samuel Phillips, Sallisaw.  Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for senior citizens, military and middle/high school.  CU students, faculty and staff are admitted at no charge with CU ID.  A reception will follow the program.

“The Guitar Ensemble will close its performance season with a concert that will appeal to Cameron students looking for a relaxing break from preparing for finals week,” says Underwood. “The majority of the repertoire is music written since 1960, with 90 percent of the program having been selected by the students. The first half of the evening will consist of modern ‘classical guitar’ works by Andrew York, Günter Schillings, and Olga Amelkina-Vera.  The second half will feature arrangements of popular songs by the Beatles, Rod Stewart, Tito Puente, Jimi Hendrix and the like.” 

The concert will open with a duo performance of movements from Fernando Sor’s “Souvenir de Russie.” “Stationen,” an original composition by contemporary German composer Günter M. Schillings, will follow. In this piece, Schillings quotes works by Bach, Wagner, Rodrigo and Piazzolla, each of which tackles problems of life such as grief and farewell, but also love and hope which, in the very end, dominates despite all adversity.  Schillings describes the piece as “an encouraging work which shows us the worth of life.”

 “According to the composer, the music is a balancing act between baroque strictness and pulsating Tango,” says Underwood. “He describes it as fun for both player and listener alike, and says that its easy understandable character will satisfy both sides.”

Students will then perform two works selected by Esquer: Andrew York’s “Lotus Eaters” and “Pop.” One of today's most visible and innovative classical guitar composers, York won a Grammy Award the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet during their 16-year partnership.

“I have an emotional connection with music,” says Esquer. “That's one of the reasons Andrew York is my favorite composer. His compositions always leave me with a sense of happiness, joyfulness, or whatever emotion he's trying to depict. ‘Pop’ and ‘Lotus Eaters’ may have a simple melody but the feeling behind these pieces is powerful.” 

Phillips chose the next two selections, “Incantation and Rain” and “Nebulae,” both by Olga Amelkina-Vera. Regarding “Nebulae,” the composer has said, “I wanted to write a guitar ensemble piece that used some elements of minimalism, but would not be strictly minimalistic.  Since I am fascinated by all things about space, I chose ‘Nebulae’ as an evocative title which reflects the ‘nebulous’ effect of multiple superimposed guitar ostinatos.”

“I chose the pieces ‘Nebulae’ and ‘Incantation and Rain’ because I saw that they were composed by a female, which I haven't seen very often in guitar music,” Phillips says.  “I also thought her writing was interesting and relevant since she is a contemporary composer.”

Farmer and Campbell selected the remaining numbers. The songs include “Who Can Sail Without Wind,” “The House of the Rising Sun,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Maggie May,” “Oye Como Va,” “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” “Little Wing,” and “All Along the Watchtower.” 

“Led by Tyler Farmer, the students began their preparation of these pieces using very simple arrangements, carefully creating their own unique accompanying and lead guitar voicings for each song,” Underwood explains. “The audience should greatly enjoy their interpretations of these classic melodies.”

 “I chose the classic rock material because of the joy I experience from hearing each of the songs,” Farmer says.” 

“I chose ‘Who can Sail Without Wind’ because when I came across it online, I thought it was a very neat piece and was very interested in performing an arrangement of it,” Campbell says. “’House of the Rising Sun’ is one of my absolute favorites. It’s a classic, and I figured people would enjoy both of these pieces.”

For more information, contact the Cameron University Department of Art, Music, and Theatre Arts at 580-581-2346.

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April 18, 2017