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Special Events and Faculty Recitals

CollegiansCollegians Alumni Big Band 50-Year Reunion Concert

Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017
7:30–10:30 p.m., Madonna Inn Ballroom

The Cal Poly Collegians Alumni Big Band will celebrate its 50-year reunion — and the 80th anniversary of the band’s founding — with a performance from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, in the Madonna Inn Ballroom in San Luis Obispo.

The band’s annual gathering draws more than 20 alumni musicians — Cal Poly graduates from the late 1940s to the early ’60s — to recreate the swinging sounds of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Les Brown and other famous ensembles of the big band era. Members travel to San Luis Obispo for the reunion and concert from throughout Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Québec, Canada. 

The Collegians, the predecessor to today's acclaimed Cal Poly University Jazz Bands, was founded in 1937 by then Music Department Head Harold P. Davidson. As they celebrate the band’s 80th anniversary and their “golden” reunion this year, members are urging younger Cal Poly jazz band alumni to join and keep the annual tradition going into the future. 

Winners of the 2016-17 Cal Poly Collegians’ Jazz Scholarship — Taylor O’Hanlon, trumpet, and Tyler Stockton, trombone — will join in the performance.

Past reunions have found the alumni band performing at a variety of local venues on the Central Coast, including wineries, parks, shopping malls and San Luis Obispo’s Mission Plaza. The Madonna Inn Ballroom has been the site of the band's homecoming since 1999, following a personal invitation from the late Alex Madonna.

Admission to the performance is free; voluntary contributions to Cal Poly's Collegians Jazz Scholarship are welcome.

The Collegians draw a full house every year, and seating is guaranteed only for those who make a reservation and dine in the Madonna Inn Gold Rush Steak House. Non-diners who wish to dance or listen are accommodated on a first-come basis. To make dinner reservations at the Gold Rush Steak House, call 805-543-3000. For more information about the Madonna Inn and the steakhouse, visit the Madonna Inn website.

For more information about the Cal Poly Collegians Alumni Big Band or the performance, visit the group’s website, or email Collegians member Bob Alberti


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Arnab ChakrabartyArnab Chakrabarty and Sanju Sahai: An Evening of North Indian Classical Music

Monday, Sept. 18, 2017
7:30 p.m., Spanos Theatre

Arnab Chakrabarty and Sanju Sahai will perform a concert of North Indian classical music.

The program will feature performances of ragas unique to the Indian subcontinent, with roots dating back hundreds of years. A raga is a matrix of melodic possibilities based on a distinct set of notes governed by a well-defined syntax. Recombination of melodic matter takes place in real time to compose fresh ideas that Hindustani musicians think of as improvisation.

The meter-bound part of the melodic matter is temporally articulated within a cyclical framework known as tala. Talas are cycles that range from four to 108 beats in length, though the most commonly performed talas are between six and 16 beats.

Chakrabarty will play the sarod, a long-necked, fretless, plucked lute. He is primarily a proponent of the Shahjahanpur gharana, or school, but his style has also been influenced by many other luminaries of North Indian classical music. He teaches and performs internationally.

Sahai will accompany on the tabla, a pair of small, tuned, hand drums. He is a ninth-generation maestro of the Benares gharana. He is an accomplished soloist and accompanist, and has performed around the world.

Tickets ($14 general, $9 students)



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W. Terrence SpillerW. Terrence Spiller Piano Recital

Friday, Jan. 12, 2018
7:30 p.m., Spanos Theatre

Concert pianist and Music Department Chair W. Terrence Spiller will perform Robert Schumann’s “Abegg” Variations, Op. 1, and “Papillons,” Op. 2; Frédéric Chopin’s “Waltzes,” Op. 69, A-flat Major and B minor, and Ballade in G Minor, Op. 23; Claude Debussy’s “Estampes”; Amy Beach’s “Hermit Thrush at Morn,” Op. 92, No. 2; and Alberto Ginastera’s “Danzas Argentinas,” Op. 2.

Tickets ($14 general, $9 students)



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Bach WeekBach Week

Tuesday, Jan. 16–Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018








Inside Bach Week

Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018
6 p.m., Davidson Music Center, Room 218

Join Bach Week directors David Arrivée and Scott Glysson for an overview of the week's repertoire, in the context of J.S. Bach's life and larger cultural context.



Master Class with Mensa Sonora California

Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018
11:10 a.m., Davidson Music Center, Room 218

The guest artists of Mensa Sonora California will coach Cal Poly students in chamber music and solo repertoire from the Baroque era, with a focus on historically informed performance.



Akademie: Bach — Student and Teacher

Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018
7:30 p.m., Davidson Music Center, Room 218

The Akademie lecture series continues with an exploration of Bach's role as a teacher and as a self-directed student of other composers. The musical discussion led by Clifton Swanson will focus on works by Pergolesi and Vivaldi to be performed on Saturday’s Bach in the Mission Concert, as well as works by his students which will be performed on Friday’s Chamber Concert.
Free admission.



Chamber Concert: Bach and His Students

Friday, Jan. 19, 2018
8 p.m., Mission San Luis Obispo

A selection of works by Bach’s pupils, including Johann Goldberg, Johann Krebs, Johann Kirnberger, Johann Kellner, and their fellow Johann: Johann Sebastian Bach himself.

Performed by Mensa Sonora California on period instruments:

  • David Wilson, violin
  • Anthony Martin, violin
  • John Dornenburg, viola da gamba
  • Charles Sherman, harpsichord

Tickets ($20 premium general and students, $15 general, $10 students)*

*Special! Discounted pricing for both Mission concerts ($35 premium public and students, $25 general public, $15 students)


Bach in the Mission VIII: Bach and the Italians

Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, 8 p.m., Mission San Luis Obispo
Cal Poly's Early Music Ensemble, members of the Cal Poly Symphony and faculty join with professional guest artists to perform the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and his contemporaries:

  • Pergolesi: Stabat Mater (beginning)
  • J.S. Bach: "Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden," BWV 1083 — an arrangement of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater (conclusion)
  • Vivaldi: Concerto in A minor
    for Two Violins, Op. 3, No. 8 (transcribed by Bach as BWV 593) Anthony Martin and David Wilson, violins
  • J.S. Bach: Magnificat, BWV 243

Tickets ($20 premium general and students, $15 general, $10 students)*

*Special! Discounted pricing for both Mission concerts ($35 premium public and students, $25 general public, $15 students)

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W. Terrence SpillerW. Terrence Spiller: Beethoven Piano Sonata Cycle III

Friday, May 11, 2018
7:30 p.m., Pavilion

W. Terrence Spiller continues his exploration of Beethoven’s sonatas in a program of four works:

  • Sonata in B-flat major, Op. 22
  • Sonata in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2 “Moonlight”
  • Sonata in F Major, Op. 10, No. 2
  • Sonata in C Minor, Op. 111

Tickets ($14 general, $9 students)



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