Conservatory welcomes Grammy nominee Chris Brubeck as artist-in-residence

Composer Chris Brubeck will be in the classroom and in concert at Gettysburg College’s Sunderman Conservatory of Music Feb. 19-24. The visiting lecturer will instruct students in class, interact with student composers, and perform in two public concerts with Conservatory ensembles. 

Brubeck is a prolific, award-winning composer, multi-instrumentalist (he plays bass, trombone, piano, guitar, and sings), and bandleader. He is known for his command of multiple genres—jazz, blues, funk, rock, pop, and classical—and for innovative compositions performed by orchestras such as the Baltimore and Pittsburgh symphonies and the Boston Pops. 

Brubeck-Photo by Charlie SamuelsBrubeck has performed with and collaborated with his father, legendary jazz pioneer Dave Brubeck (1920-2012). Their final project “Ansel Adams: America” is nominated for a 2013 Grammy as Best Instrumental Composition. The work was performed by the Baltimore Symphony in September 2012 and recorded by the Temple University Symphony Orchestra prior to the elder Brubeck’s death last December. Performances incorporate Adams’s photographs, carefully integrated with the one-movement musical piece. 

Conservatory Prof. John William “Buzz” Jones sees the residency as a way to expose Conservatory students to Chris Brubeck’s versatile style and “immense talent.” Brubeck will rehearse and perform with both the Jazz Ensemble and Orchestra and discuss his large-scale compositions in class. “Chris’s enthusiasm for the art of making music is infectious,” said Jones. “I am confident that his visit will be a wonderful experience for students and concertgoers, alike.” 

Brubeck’s son, Ben ’03, studied jazz history with Jones, launching a decade-long connection with the College and Conservatory and the Brubeck family. “Chris has performed at Gettysburg with his eclectic trio Triple Play, the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, and with his father,” said Jones, director of the Jazz Ensemble. Gettysburg College awarded Dave Brubeck an honorary degree in 2003.

Prof. Alexander Kahn, director of orchestra activities at the Conservatory, describes Brubeck’s work as the “very best sort of amalgamation of jazz and classical idioms.” Kahn adds, “The ‘Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra,’ which will feature Brubeck as a soloist at our Feb. 24 Pops concert…is introducing our orchestra to jazz rhythms, jazz harmonies, and the work of the late great James Brown (whose music Brubeck quotes in the third movement). Brubeck's ‘Convergence’ is a challenging work for full orchestra that features extended solo opportunities…and culminates in a jubilant New Orleans-style street parade.”

The public is invited to hear Brubeck perform at the 24th Annual Winter Jazz Concert at 8 p.m. in the Majestic Theater on Saturday, February 23 and the Gettysburg College Symphony Orchestra’s Pops Concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, February 24. 

Photo by Charlie Samuels 

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Contact: Sue Baldwin-Way, director of development communications 717.337.6832

Posted: Wed, 6 Feb 2013

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