By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Bucknell University Jazz Band will perform with guest artist Chris Vadala on Friday, April 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell.
The concert, which is free and open to the public, also will feature the world premiere of a brand new work written for the occasion by composer Rick Hirsch.
"We're very excited to work with Chris Vadala, one of the most respected saxophonists and educators in the country," said Barry Long, director of the jazz band and Samuel Williams Professor of Music at Bucknell.
"We're also thrilled to premiere a new work written by jazz composer Rick Hirsch for his visit, and continue our annual tradition of commissioning new music for our students," said Long. Vadala's visit and Hirsch's work are supported with funding from the Kushell Music Endowment and Selmer-Leblanc.
One of the country's foremost woodwind artists, Vadala is in demand as a jazz/classical performer and educator. Director of Jazz Studies and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher at the University of Maryland, he has appeared on more than 100 recordings to date, as well as innumerable jingle sessions, film and TV scores, performing on all the saxophones, flutes and clarinets.
His performing career has been highlighted by a long tenure as standout woodwind artist with the Chuck Mangione Quartet, which included performances in all 50 states and around the world, and performing credits on five gold and two platinum albums, plus two Grammy, one Emmy, one Georgie (AGVA) and one Golden Globe Award.
Vadala has performed and/or recorded with such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Chick Corea, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Placido Domingo, Sarah Vaughn, Natalie Cole, Herbie Hancock, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Henry Mancini, Doc Severinsen, Joe Lovano and many others. In 2009, he became a regular member of the award-winning Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, and has been the first call saxophonist with National Symphony Orchestra for many years.
Hirsch juggles his work as a jazz-, rock-, and chamber-music-inspired composer, arranger, saxophonist, educator and music publisher, striving to reach real audiences with contemporary, relevant, and colorful music. His forward-looking publishing company HirschMusic (www.HirschMusic.com) is a leading provider of downloadable, printable jazz ensemble music.
Hirsch's tangled musical DNA includes threads of Mingus, Miles, and Brubeck; Zeppelin, the Beatles, and Bluegrass; Spike Jones, Mickey Katz, and Weird Al; and liturgical Jewish music, Tito Puente, and Irish reels. His music has been commissioned and performed by varied artists including the University of Northern Iowa Jazz Band One, Continental Trombone Quartet, Yusef Lateef, Mount Nittany Middle School Jazz Band, Chris Vadala, and the Penn State Blue Band.
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