Richland students and friends were treated to another outstanding faculty instrumental concert in Fannin Hall during the noon hour on Tuesday, Jan, 31. A dozen marvelous members of the Music Department parted the curtains and came out to strut their stuff for 80 minutes to awe an audience of astonished admirers.
Opening the program was Professor Omar Surillo, who is known to many as a composer of contemporary piano works. He demonstrated the depth of his mastery by playing perfectly and from memory the first movement of Beethoven's "Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor." This is an especially challenging piece to perform in public because not only is it well known, it also contains many extreme contrasts of volume and expression. Surillo played it with outstanding proficiency.
Next came Professor Sean Murphy on the soprano saxophone accompanied by Linda Irwin on piano. The soprano sax is a lesser-known instrument that closely resembles a clarinet both in appearance and timbre. The modern duet they played called for careful timing and coordination. It was a fine demonstration of how two experienced musicians must trade frequent glances and head movements.
Following that was Richland pianist Boriana Savova who dexterously and flawlessly played Chopin's brilliant and demanding "Etude in C Sharp Minor."
The program then moved to jazz with a rendition of "Waltz for Ruth" by Pat Metheny delivered smoothly by Joe Lee on electric guitar and James Driscoll on string bass.
For this listener, one highlight of the program came next as Leah Greenfield-Fitz on violin with Savova on piano played two pieces by Dvorak and Rudolph Kreisler. The Dvorak work, "Romantic Piece #1," called for many long bows and careful attention to pitch, while the Kreisler selection gave both players several intense workouts in very rapid and crisp articulation.
Returning to jazz again, the next piece was performed by Derrick Logozzo on vibraphone, Joe Lee on electric guitar and James Driscoll on bass. They played the very enchanting composition, "Beautiful Love" by Victor Young.
Then Professor Mat Croft walked on stage and sat down to play Bernhard Krol's "Laudatio" on French horn. This was another highlight of the program because Croft showed an unusual proficiency and range on a very tricky instrument.
He was followed by Professor John Romero who played a gorgeous piece on his trombone, "Morceau Symphonique" by Guilmant, which also demonstrated his complete control of a wonderfully mellow and vibrant instrument.
The program ended with the lively "Hot House" by Tadd Dameron played by Professors Ron Jones on saxophone and Brad Williams on piano. Jones, wearing his signature black leather beret, bobbed and ducked as he swung his sax about while Williams' leg bounced merrily in time with the beat. For all who watched and then heartily applauded it was a great way to begin a sunny winter afternoon.