Wednesday, April 21, 2010

05/18/2010 @ 5:30 p.m.: Piotr Szewczyk, violin

Violin Futura II

Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra violinist Piotr Szewczyk returns to the Hicks Auditorium, performing new music for solo violin written especially for him by composers from around the country.

Featured composers/works include: Polish-born violinist and composer Piotr Szewczyk (b. 1977) studied composition and violin at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and while earning both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees as well as his Artist Diploma, Piotr served as concertmaster of several of the College-Conservatory's orchestras. He then received a fellowship at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach where he served as rotating concertmaster under Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas. The winner of the 2006 New World Symphony Concerto competition, Mr. Szewczyk has appeared as soloist with numerous ensembles, including the Lima Symphony, New World Symphony, World Youth Symphony Orchestra, Queen City Virtuosi, and the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble. Piotr also has given solo and chamber recitals in the United States, Poland, Germany and Austria, and his own award-winning compositions have been performed by numerous orchestral and chamber ensembles, and at the American Symphony Orchestra League Conference by ALIAS Ensemble in Nashville. Mr. Szewczyk’s string quintet, The Rebel, was performed live on the CBS Early Show by the Sybarite Chamber Players, and was also featured on NPR's Performance Today. Piotr joined the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in September 2007, and in 2008 he won a commission from the Symphony by placing first in its Fresh Ink composition competition. The resulting piece, First Coast Fanfare, was premiered by the Jacksonville Symphony on April 15th of this year.

Mr. Szewczyk is the creator and performer of the critically-acclaimed Violin Futura project, featuring recitals of short, exciting and innovative solo violin pieces newly-written for him by composers from the United States, Germany, England and Japan. Currently in its second edition and with a third in the works, Szewczyk has performed Violin Futura at numerous festivals and universities including Spoleto Festival USA, Berklee College of Music in Boston, University of Florida, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Santa Fe New Music Festival, University of Cincinnati, University of North Florida, EMMA Lecture Series at Flagler College, Bavarian Academy of Arts in Munich, Germany, New Museum of Art and Design in Nuremberg, Germany and many others.

More about Mr. Szewczyk at

Kansas native Jason Bahr (b. 1972) is an Assistant Professor of Music Theory and a HARP Research Fellow at Mississippi State University. Bahr received his B.M. from the University of Missouri—Kansas City Conservatory of Music, and his M.M. and D.M. from Indiana University. Bahr’s works have been performed in twenty-nine states and eight foreign countries, and he has received awards, grants, and commissions from the Fromm Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, Northridge Composition Prize, Renee B. Fischer Piano Competition, Kubik International Prize, ASCAP, SCI, and the Cambridge Madrigal Singers, among others.

More at

Philadelphia-based composer Richard Belcastro (b.1976) studied music composition at the University of California in Davis, Brandeis University and the University of Pennsylvania. His works have been performed in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall and Philadelphia’s Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, and have been featured at the Gothenburg Guitar Society’s new music festival in Sweden, Boston’s COAXIAL festival for Electro-Acoustic Music, and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Belcastro has received grants and awards from The Meet the Composer Foundation, ASCAP/SEAMUS, The Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and New Sounds Music Inc. In addition to composing, he is the Executive Director of the Chamber Music NOW! Annual Concert Series in Philadelphia ( and the Artistic Director of the DCCC Performing Arts Concert Series ( More at

Tyler Avis Capp (b.1983) is a doctoral candidate at the University of Florida where he is honing his compositional skills under the tutelage of Dr. Paul Richards. Capp earned his B.M. (Composition/Banjo) at the University of Delaware, and his M.A. (Music Composition) at Stony Brook University (New York). His wind ensemble piece, Imminent Rock, was a prize winner in the 2008 Penfield/Wegmans Composition Contest for Wind Ensemble Music, and his Stranger Variations, for solo violin, is available on the Bridge label. More at

Presently pursuing her Ph.D. at Princeton University, Lisa R. Coons (b.1979) earned her Bachelor's at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and received a Master's from SUNY Stony Brook. Ms. Coons specializes in chamber music and sound art, with recent works including amplified instruments, turntables, and metal percussion sculptures with homemade electronics. For her string quartet, entitled Awkward Music to Play or Listen to, she received the 2005 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award. More at
Jianjun He (b.1958), Jacksonville University's new Associate Professor of Music Theory and Composition, earned his B.A. (Violin Performance) and M.A. (Music Theory) degrees in his native China, and received his D.M.A. (Music Composition) from West Virginia University. Dr. He was the chairperson of the Music Department at Ningxia University (China) before coming to the United States in 1995, and also has taught at West Virginia University, Slippery Rock University (Pennsylvania), Stephen F. Austin State University (Texas), and Casper College (Wyoming). His compositions have been featured at numerous music festivals and conferences, and several have been released on recordings for the ERM, VMM, Mark Masters, and Da Di (China) labels. Dr. He has published books and research papers on music theory, compositional techniques, ethnomusicology, and music education. More at

Sydney Hodkinson (b.1934) holds the Almand Chair of Composition at Stetson University in Deland, and previously has taught at Universities in Ohio, Virginia and Michigan, as well as at the Eastman School in New York State. He has written over 250 works in a wide variety of genres, and has been awarded numerous grants and prizes from the Guggenheim and Ford foundations, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Canadian Council, and other prestigious organizations. His music is widely performed, and recordings have been issued on several labels. More at

Kari Henrik Juusela (b.1954) is a Finnish/American composer, cellist and educator who is presently the Dean of the Professional Writing Division at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Prior to his work at Berklee College of Music, Dr. Juusela served as the Associate Dean, Director of Composition and Almand Chair of Composition at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. Juusela's compositions have won awards in numerous competitions including the 1995 Vienna International Full-Length Opera Competition, the 2003 International Red Stick Composition Competition, and the London Chamber Groups 2003 "Piece of the Year Competition," among many others. More at

With compositions ranging from orchestral, chamber, vocal and electroacoustic, Canadian composer and guitarist John Oliver (b.1959) came to international attention during the late 1980s when he won a half dozen composition prizes, followed by commissions from leading Canadian ensembles and performances in North America and Europe. In his works, which include the operas Guacamayo's Old Song and Dance (Toronto, 1991) and Alternate Visions (Montreal 2007), Dr. Oliver explores "new and ancient materials and techniques from around the world, creating a perceptually-based, visceral listening experience." More at

Violinist and composer Philip Pan (b.1961) is a graduate of the Juilliard School (B.M., M.M.) and has been Concertmaster of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra since 1986. In addition to his frequent solo work with the JSO, Mr. Pan has made solo appearances throughout the country, including with the Albany and Schenectady symphonies and the Boston Pops, among many others. With his wife, JSO flutist Rhonda Cassano, Philip has produced local concert series including Bach and Beyond!, Synergy and Sound Effects at MOCA Jacksonville. In addition to classical, he enjoys playing various styles of fiddle music and jazz, and he recently released a 7-song recording with his progressive rock band, The Architect Sound. More at

William Louis Schirmer (b.1941), a recently retired Professor Emeritus from Jacksonville University, must be ranked as one of history’s most prolific composers—his ever-growing catalog now numbers over 4,000 works in all genres, and includes at least 258 symphonies, 403 piano sonatas and 217 string quartets! Beginning in 1979, Dr. Schirmer taught music theory and composition and JU, and he received his own training at the Cleveland Institute of Music (BM), the Eastman School of Music (MM), and Ohio State University (PhD).

Adam Schoenberg (b.1980) is a doctoral candidate at the Juilliard School whose works have already been performed throughout the United States by orchestras and ensembles including the Kansas City Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Aspen Music Festival Chamber Orchestra, New World Symphony, IRIS Chamber Orchestra, Juilliard Symphony, Chicago Youth Symphony, American Brass Quintet, New Juilliard Ensemble, and Sybarite Chamber Players, and he is currently working on a commissioned work for the Atlanta Symphony. Schoenberg was the First Prize winner at the 2008 International Brass Chamber Music Festival for best Brass Quintet, and in 2007 he won ASCAP’s Morton Gould Young Composer Award, Juilliard’s Palmer-Dixon Prize for Most Outstanding Composition, and a Meet the Composer Grant from the Southern Arts Federation. Among earlier awards was a 2006 Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. More at

Laurence Sherr (b.1953) is Composer-in-Residence and Associate Professor of Music at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, and his works have been performed throughout North America, Mexico and Europe, as well as in Cuba and Japan. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including top prize in Jacksonville University's 1995 Delius Composition Contest, and his works have been released commercially on several labels, including Capstone and Ein Klang (Germany). Also an active performer, Dr. Sherr is the founder and clarinetist of the Atlanta band Oy Klezmer! More at

The career of Gary Smart (b.1943) has encompassed a wide range of activities as composer, classical and jazz pianist, and teacher. Dr. Smart’s compositions reflect an abiding interest in Americana, jazz, and world music, as well as the Western classical tradition, and he has received support from the Ford and Guggenheim foundations, the Music Educator's National Conference, the Music Teachers National Association, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Smart’s works have been performed in major U.S. venues, including the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, as well as in Europe and Asia. Dr. Smart's compositions are published by Margun Music (G. Schirmer) and his work has been recorded on the Mastersound, Capstone, and Albany labels. Dr. Smart spent residencies in Japan and taught in Indonesia as a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer in Jazz, and was head of the music department at the University of Wyoming from 1978-1999. From 1999-2003 he served as Chairman of the University of North Florida Music Department, where he currently is the Terry Professor of Music. More at

Suzanne Sorkin (b.1974) is an Assistant Professor of Music at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, where she teaches music composition and music theory. Dr. Sorkin, who received her B.M. from New York University and both her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, has received awards and commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, Chamber Music Now, Third Millennium Ensemble, counter)inducation, and ASCAP, among others. Her music is performed throughout the country and has been released commercially on Capstone Records. More at