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Stars At Night Concert Series

Stars A tNight

Fall 2018 September 28 –  Faculty Showcase: “Pierrot lunaire”



Arnold Schoenberg’s melodrama Pierrot Lunaire stands as one of the seminal works of 20th century modern art. For this work, Schoenberg developed a startlingly innovative style of vocal delivery he called Sprechstimme (speaking-voice), which requires the text to be partly spoken and partly sung. The style was adopted by many later composers including Webern, Ravel and Boulez. The narrator is accompanied by flute, clarinet, violin, cello & piano. Using poetry by Belgian dramatist Albert Geraud, the work continues to amaze and disturb listeners over 100 years after it was first performed. School of Music faculty members Adah Jones (flute), Vanguel Tanguerov (clarinet), Lynn Ledbetter (violin), Karla Hamelin (cello), Joey Martin (piano), Myra Vassian (narrator) and Jonathan Babcock (conductor) will perform.

This event has been earmarked as one of the University's "Common Experience" events with its focus on INNOVATION this year.
Fee based parking is available at the Edward Gary Street parking garage located next to the Performing Arts Center. Attention students enrolled in Departmental Recital, this is a GOLD event.

October 1 – John Riley, Jazz drums – with The TXST Jazz Ensemble directed by Utah Hamrick

Low and Lower

John Riley is on the faculty of Manhattan School of Music and Kutztown University, and is an Artist in Residence at Amsterdam Conservatory, Holland. Having begun playing drums at age eight, at age twelve John Riley began playing in rock bands and heard his first jazz recordings, the soundtrack to The Gene Krupa Story and Max Roach's Conversation. Two years later, he played his first "professional" gig, which he obtained through an audition played over the telephone. John began studying with Joe Morello in 1971, after meeting him at a drum symposium. John went on to attend the University of North Texas, where he played in, toured, and recorded with the famed One O'clock Lab Band. In 1976, he moved to New York City and was soon called to join the Woody Herman Band. He eventually returned to New York and began freelancing with a wide spectrum of world-class musicians including Stan Getz, Milt Jackson, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, John Scofield, Bob Mintzer, Gary Peacock, Mike Stern, Joe Lovano, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, John Patitucci, Bob Berg, and many others.

Mr. Riley joins the TXST Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Utah Hamrick for an evening you won't want to miss!

Spring 2018

January 29 – Faculty Showcase

The Stars At Night Concert Series presents a Faculty Showcase featuring Texas State music performance faculty performing several new compositions by Texas State faculty composers Michael Ippolito, Thomas Clark, Richard Hall, and Jack Wilds. The new musical works, some to be heard for the first time, come from a broad range of inspirations from poetry to particle physics and utilize creative techniques from canonic ostinato to video synthesis.


February 22 – Millennium Brass


Virtuosity, versatility, and variety are the hallmarks of the Millennium Brass, one of the most innovative and exciting new chamber ensembles to appear on the national concert scene in recent years. The ensemble brings together five of America's finest brass players: Vince DiMartino, trumpet; Richard Illman, trumpet; Lisa O. Bontrager, horn; Scott Hartman, trombone; and Marty Erickson, tuba. Each is recognized internationally as a leading virtuoso on his or her instrument. Collectively, they have performed as soloist or section members with many of America's leading orchestras, including those in Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Rochester, St. Louis, and Washington. Members of the Millennium Brass perform in the world-famous Brass Band of Battle Creek. They have also appeared with many of the world's most famous popular stars, including Burt Bacharach, Pearl Bailey, Dave Brubeck, Ray Charles, the Fifth Dimension, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Bob Hope, Henry Mancini, Chuck Mangione, Doc Severinsen, and Clark Terry. With a repertoire that ranges from the standard classical brass quintets to ragtime to jazz and popular works, the Millennium Brass brings unmatched variety to its concert programs. The members hold or have held faculty appointments at Boston University, the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, University of Kentucky, Michigan State University, New England Conservatory, Penn State University and Lawrence University.


February 26 – Attacca Quartet


The internationally acclaimed Attacca Quartet is one of the most dynamic ensembles of their generation. Praised by The Strad for possessing “maturity beyond its members’ years,” they were formed at the Juilliard School in 2003 and made their professional debut in 2007 as part of the Artists International Winners Series in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. From 2011-2013 they served as the Juilliard Graduate Resident String Quartet, and for the 2014-2015 season, they were selected as the Quartet in Residence by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The Attacca Quartet’s most recent album release included string quartet works of TXST composer Michael Ippolito. These works were performed as part of the group’s residency at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, including three concerts of works by living composers. The Attacca Quartet recently completed a recording project of Haydn’s masterwork “The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross,” arranged by Andrew Yee and the Attacca Quartet. In his review for Gramophone, Donald Rosenberg wrote, “The Attacca Quartet explore the work’s range of expressive moods with utmost sensitivity to nuance and interplay .... They triumph in every respect, and are captured in such vivid sound that no telling Haydn detail is allowed to go unheard.”

In 2013, the quartet released the complete works for string quartet by John Adams on Azica Records. It was praised by Steve Smith of The New York Times as a “vivacious, compelling set,” describing the Attacca Quartet’s playing as “exuberant, funky, and … exactingly nuanced.” The Boston Globe also praised the release, citing “superb performances.” The album was the recipient of the 2013 National Federation of Music Clubs Centennial Chamber Music Award. The quartet has been honored with both the Arthur Foote Award from the Harvard Musical Association and the Lotos Prize in the Arts from the Stecher and Horowitz Foundation. The Attacca Quartet is represented by Baker Artists, LLC.

March 5 – Gabriel Dobner, piano; Ron Ulen, baritone

Collaborative pianist Gabriel Dobner returns to Texas State University, this time joining forces with faculty artist Ron Ulen to present Schubert's song cycle Die Winterreise. Dobner, a member of the piano faculty at James Madison University since 2001, has played for such notable singers as Gerhard Siegel, Rod Gilfry, René Kollo, Ron Ulen, Cornelia Kallisch and Kevin McMillan. He has recorded for Haenssler Klassik, Ottavo and for MDG (Musik Dabringhaus und Grimm). Following his second recording with mezzo-soprano Cornelia Kallisch for MDG featuring lieder of Johannes Brahms, Mr. Dobner was referred to as “A Master among Lieder Pianists” by the West German Radio. His recording with Met star tenor Gerhard Siegel was released by Haenssler Klassik Profil in 2015, featuring songs of Strauss, Schoenberg and Hessenberg. The duo most recently recorded songs of Strauss and Wagner as well as Schubert’s Winterreise. Dobner can also be heard in Winterreise with Laurence Gien and Kevin McMillan. Broadcast recordings include those for the Bavarian State Radio, West German Radio, North German Radio, Nippon Broadcasting Corporation in Japan, as well as National Public Radio in the United States.

Dobner was born in Chicago, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in piano from Roosevelt University under the tutelage of Prof. Ludmila Lazar. He then continued his studies at Indiana University in Bloomington, where he completed his master’s and doctoral degrees with Prof. Leonard Hokanson. In 1993, Mr. Dobner moved to Germany upon receiving a DAAD Scholarship to study lied with Prof. Helmut Deutsch at the Munich Hochschule für Musik. Upon winning the pianist prize in the International Hans Pfitzner Lieder Competition in Munich, he quickly established a solid reputation as a lieder pianist. He has appeared in performance in many of Europe's leading venues including the Semperoper in Dresden, Hamburg Staatsoper, Opernhaus Zürich, Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Herkuleesaal in Munich, Kölner Philharmonie, Musikverein in Vienna, among others.

March 8 – Rhonda Larson, flute

Grammy Award-winning flutist Rhonda Larson was born and raised in the mountains of Montana. This Big Sky Country in the Wild West helped form her into a nature-loving, free spirited trail blazing artist. She entered the national music scene by winning first prize in the National Flute Association’s Young Artist Competition at the age of 22, including a Carnegie Hall debut. Shortly thereafter, Rhonda was invited to join forces with the Paul Winter Consort, initiating her journey into a rich palette of music gleaned from around the world.

Composing much of her own music, Larson’s visionary force showcases her gold flute and an array of ethnic flutes in a new and refreshing light. Rhonda has also expanded the sonic capabilities of her instrument with entirely new techniques, most notably her inventive simultaneous flute-and-voice unison. Larson tours world-wide, and has a discography of over 20 commercial recordings, including Distant Mirrors and Free as a Bird. Her latest CD release, Live from China, features her band Ventus from a recent 25-city tour throughout China. Most of the selections are Larson’s original World Fusion compositions, including arrangements of traditional Celtic, Armenian, Romanian, and Chinese melodies. She as a sought-after teacher, she conducts masterclasses at universities, flute organizations, community outreach events, and individual instruction. She owns and operates her publishing company, Wood Nymph Music, producing her sheet music from graphic design to distribution.

March 27 – Luis Conte, salsa percussion

Recently, Luis Conte has toured as part of James Taylor's "Band of Legends." He has also played alongside such famed musicians as Alex Acuña, Jaguares, Larry Klimas, and David Garfield, both as a bandleader and a sideman. Conte was part of Phil Collins 1997 "Dance into the Light" tour and 2004 "First Farewell Tour", performing in both of them Afro-Cuban percussion and adding more depth into the concert songs. He also performed during The Phil Collins Big Band tours in 1996 and 1998. In 1999 Conte collaborated in Maná MTV Unplugged project. In 2009 worked together with Sergio Vallín in his Bendito Entre.

A young Conte proved himself a versatile musician, and by 1973 he was playing regularly in local clubs. He quickly became a busy studio musician, and throughout the 1970s, he played in the Latin fusion band Caldera. In the 1980s, Conte toured with several different musicians, including Madonna, guitarist Al Di Meola, and Andy Narell. His debut as a bandleader came in 1987, when he released La Cocina Caliente, which included a Latinized version of Chopin's "Susarasa". Conte also played percussion on the Pat Metheny Group release 'We Live Here' in 1995, as well as I Mother Earth's first two albums Dig (1994) and Scenery and Fish (1996).