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NJWS Live!

NJWS Live! features full length video presentations of exceptional performances.

Video/Recording Credits: Robert Paustian

Affirmation
Wayne Oquin

NJWS February 8, 2020 Concert
West Side Presbyterian Church, Ridgewood, NJ

Affirmation
Wayne Oquin

Wayne Oquin (b.1977) is among today’s most performed American composers, having premiers on five continents, in twenty countries, and in forty-five states. Upon completing his Doctorate of Musical Arts in 2008, the Julliard School awarded Oquin its coveted Richard F. French Prize for best dissertation and appointed him to its faculty where he teaches music theory, graduate studies, and serves as Chair of Musicianship. Affirmation is a ten-minute reflection on a wide range of often conflicting emotions that encompass the human condition of life and death, love and loss, and darkness and light. At no point are these extremities juxtaposed side by side, but rather, they gradually materialize. While the music travels far in terms of its range of register, harmony, and dynamic, it does so almost imperceptibly as one long arc from beginning to end.

Program Notes: Marcie Phelan

Video/Recording Credits: Robert Paustian

Scarecrow Overture
Joseph Turin

NJWS February 8, 2020 Concert
West Side Presbyterian Church, Ridgewood, NJ

Scarecrow Overture
Joseph Turrin

Joseph Turrin (b.1947) is a greatly valued contributor to contemporary American musical life, thanks to his wideranging activities as a composer, orchestrator, conductor, pianist, and teacher. He studied composition at the Eastman School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music, and pursued a career that has always been multifaceted. As a composer, he has produced works in many genres. Scarecrow Overture is taken from Turrin’s 2006 opera The Scarecrow. This opera is based on a short story written by the well known author, Nathaniel Hawthorne. In Hawthorne’s story, a scarecrow named Feathertop is created by a lonely old witch who brings him to life, teaches him to act human, sends him into town, and watches him struggle with the emotional complexity of human society.

Program Notes: Marcie Phelan

Video/Recording Credits: Robert Paustian

Alan Baer

Grantham Tuba Concerto – Mvt 1 (Fiery and Bold)

Alan Baer, Tuba Soloist
NJWS December 8, 2019 Concert
West Side Presbyterian Church, Ridgewood, NJ

Meet the Artist

Hometown: Erie, Pennsylvania
Where do you live now: North Brunswick, New Jersey
Favorite saying or motto: all ya got to do is….
Most memorable musical moment: My audition with the NY Philharmonic
Favorite piece of music to play: Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5
Favorite piece of music to listen to: I like soundtracks to movies. Favorite is probably Gladiator.
What is on your playlist right now? Music to keep me awake while riding my motorcycle
Hobbies outside of music: Avid motorcyclist
Most influential teacher: Tommy Johnson
Place you would most like to be stranded: Somewhere warm with a sandy beach and a swim up bartender!
Best place to eat in NYC: Quality Meats
What solo are you playing with the NJWS: Donald Grantham’s tuba concerto
Favorite part about the solo: It’s so different from movement to movement.
Most challenging part about the solo: Showing the audience the different styles and making it all sound easy.

Alan Baer joined the New York Philharmonic on June 21, 2004, as Principal Tuba. He was formerly principal tuba with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. His other performing credits include recordings with The Cleveland Orchestra led by Vladimir Ashkenazy, performances with the Peninsula Music Festival of Wisconsin, New Orleans Symphony, Los Angeles Concert Orchestra, Ojai Festival Orchestra (California), Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed as a featured soloist, touring several countries in Europe, including Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and France.

Mr. Baer began his undergraduate work at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he studied with Dr. Gary Bird. He completed his bachelor of music degree with Ronald Bishop at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and has done graduate work at the University of Southern California, Cleveland Institute of Music, and California State University, Long Beach, where he studied with Tommy Johnson. While in Long Beach, Mr. Baer taught at California State University, where he also directed the university tuba ensemble and the brass choir. In Milwaukee, Mr. Baer was adjunct professor of tuba and euphonium at the University of Wisconsin and director of the Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble.

Video/Recording Credits: Robert Paustian

Places We Can No Longer Go
John Mackey

Kristen Plumley, Soprano

NJWS February 8, 2020 Concert
West Side Presbyterian Church, Ridgewood, NJ

Places We Can No Longer Go
John Mackey

John Mackey (b.1973) holds a Master’s of Music degree from The Julliard School and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with John Corigliano and Donald Erb respectively. Mr. Mackey particularly enjoys writing music for dance and symphonic winds, and has focused on those mediums for the past several years. Mr. Mackey has received numerous commissions for his writing, including works for The American Bandmasters Association, the Dallas Wind Symphony, and a concerto for New York Philharmonic Principal Trombonist Joseph Alessi.

John Mackey composed this work as a tribute to his mother Elizabeth and her suffering with rapid-onset dementia. The composer watched his mother lose her ability to form a sentence that anyone could understand, but marveled at her never losing recognition of her favorite works of music. As both an accomplished flutist and soprano, she would hum along with her favorite melodies that she once performed so deftly. The work takes the listener though this journey of slipping deeper and deeper into the loss of cognizance. This story seems sad, and it is. Nobody wants to hear a piece that tells a story like this, and nobody wants a piece that starts “coherent” and becomes lost and confused as it progresses. So, Places we can no longer go tells the story of this disease, but does so in reverse. It starts in the present, or maybe even in the future, and over the course of musical time, goes in reverse, as confusion turns to larity, and grief turns to comfort. A.E.Jaques wrote the literal text for the soprano voice, struggling to recall memories before they are gone.

Program Notes: Marcie Phelan

Video/Recording Credits: Robert Paustian

George Washington Bicentennial March
John Philip Sousa

NJWS February 8, 2020 Concert
West Side Presbyterian Church, Ridgewood, NJ

George Washington Bicentennial March
John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) remained active as both a composer and conductor to the very end of his life and wrote several superb marches in 1930 and 1931. A special commission was formed in Washington, D.C., in 1930 to coordinate the upcoming national celebration of the two-hundredth anniversary of George Washington’s birth, and Sousa was engaged to compose a special march for the occasion. He completed the score to the George Washington Bicentennial March in June of that year, and while on tour with his Sousa Band in November, he made a stop in Washington, D.C., to conduct a preview of the new march with the U.S. Marine Band for President Herbert Hoover and his guests in front of the White House. The Sousa Band continued to perform the march on its 1930 and 1931 tours before the actual bicentennial in 1932. Sousa himself took part in the climactic ceremony held at the Capitol Plaza on February 22, 1932, where he conducted the combined premier bands of the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. This would be the last time he would conduct the Marine Band in public. Just a few weeks later, after finishing a rehearsal in preparation for a concert with the famed Ringgold Band of Reading, Pennsylvania, Sousa unexpectedly passed away on March 6, 1932.

Program Notes: Marcie Phelan