University of Szeged and St. Rose Professors collaborate with St. Rose Wind Ensemble

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Latest update on exchange between the College of St. Rose and Szeged University.

February 23, 2017

Arron Krein (Arts Editor – Chronicle)

The Saint Rose wind ensemble will be hosting a music extravaganza, “The Magnificat,” this Sunday in collaboration with guest performers, composers, and conductors from The University of Szeged in Hungary. The free-of-charge event will be happening in celebration of the colleges’ fourth exchange of faculty since spring 2015.

 

“We are excited but also anxious,” said Dr. Robert Hansbrough, a Saint Rose music professor. “The collaboration is intense because of the difficulty of the music, the high expectation of the wind ensemble and Masterworks chorale and having very limited time with guest soloists and conductor to rehearse.”

From the conception of the event to various rehearsals, the concert took about “9 to twelve months” to prepare. Unfortunately, due to the college closing for a snow day twice, they’ve missed a few rehearsals. However, Hansbrough assures that the students’ motivation to collaborate and perform “literature of high quality” will be up to the highest standard.

Senior Aidan Daft, who has been a member of the wind ensemble since his sophomore year and is currently the principal bassoonist, anticipates working with the guest conductor, with whom he has already established a great rapport.

“I always look forward to learning more challenging literature,” said Daft. “Dr. Czikota is one of the best wind ensemble conductors in Europe and it is amazing working with a man who can communicate incredible musical complexity and subtlety even though his English vocabulary, while good, is somewhat limited.”

The wind ensemble and masterworks chorale will be performing a “magnificat” composed by Dr. Peter Toth, the Dean of the School of Music at the university. Members of the wind ensemble have been practicing these pieces since the beginning of January, while the chorale has worked on it since last semester. Both groups came together to practice for the first time last Tuesday while they’ll meet and work with their guest conductor tonight.

“A magnificat, also known as a song of Mary, is the sacred text set to music of the virgin Mary’s response to her cousin Elizabeth,” said Hansbrough. “What makes this a unique project is that this setting is to original music for choir and wind ensemble, instead of piano or orchestra. One of the very few ever written.”

Dr. Jozsef Csikota, the university’s band director since 1998, will conduct the magnificat along with Frigyes Hidas’ “Concerto No. 2 for Flute and Wind Ensemble.” The latter performance will feature the university’s flute professor, Dr. Laura Varga. She has performed with various orchestras throughout the world in countries such as China and Taiwan. Another composition by Hidas, “Violino,” will be performed by their professor of chamber music, Peter Masopust, and accompanied by Saint Rose’s Dan Foster on piano. Hansbrough will conduct the final two pieces of the evening. The wind ensemble will perform John Clifford Heed’s “In Storm and Sunshine” and David Gillingham’s “Council Oak.”

The exchanges all started from Saint Rose music professor Dr. Young Kim’s acquaintanceship with Aniko Szokody, the university’s professor of piano.

“She lived in this area for many years, actively performing and teaching in the Capital District before she moved back to her country, Hungary, few years ago,” said Kim.

Kim said that Szokody knew Saint Rose’s music program well and thought it would be a great idea to start an exchange program. As a result, the university’s string quartet traveled here back in the spring of 2015 and held a concert at the Massry Center. The next day, according to Hansbrough, a meeting of mutual music faculty took place and he was invited by the Hungarian government to guest-conduct, teach and educate for two weeks throughout the country that Fall. Their invitation was reciprocated when Csikota visited our campus for about a week last March. Csikota conducted Saint Rose’s wind ensemble and the Empire State Youth Orchestra, and taught a conducting masterclass.

The event will take place at the Kathleen McManus Picotte Recital Hall at The Massry Center for The Arts on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m.


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