David Arrivée recently returned from a successful tour to Central Europe with the Cal Poly Symphony (symphony tour article). In each city the orchestra visited — Budapest, Prague and Vienna — he conducted the orchestra and a completely unfamiliar European choir, usually on one rehearsal! The choirs did an admirable job of learning a new work by Meredith Brammeier, complete with Shakespearian English, and the orchestra was in top form. Performing with all of these musicians in such beautiful and acoustically rich venues was a wonderful experience. Arrivée was joined by his wife and son, and when he was not conducting, he could be found with his family, viewing art works of Klimt or Mucha, enjoying a Viennese coffee, or navigating mass transit to see just a few of the innumerable, interesting sights in each city. Arrivée was also lucky to have several colleagues on the tour and thanks them deeply for their help and unflappable good cheer. After the tour, he taught History of the Symphony during Cal Poly’s summer session, revised his course text for Introduction to Music Theory and relaxed with his family at home and in the unexpected heat of Sequoia National Park.
Suzanne Duffy had her first one-on-one experience with the renowned English flutist and octogenarian William Bennett in a week-long master class at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn., in June. She performed Philippe Gaubert’s Sonata No. 3, Eugène Bozza’s “Image” and Gary Schocker’s “Flutter and Flit.” The class had participants from throughout the U.S. In August, Duffy served as orchestral librarian for the National Flute Association’s Gala Orchestra at its annual convention, held this year in San Diego. Flutist Ransom Wilson was the conductor of the orchestra, which was largely comprised of members of the San Diego Symphony. Soloists included Göran Marcusson, international soloist from Sweden; Linda Toote of Boston University; Jennifer Gunn, piccolo with the Chicago Symphony; Trudy Kane from the University of Miami, Fla.; Adrianne Greenbaum, klezmer flute of Mount Holyoke College; and Walter Auer, principal flute for the Vienna Philharmonic. Works by Ken Benshoof and Martin Amlin were premiered.
Ken Habib led the Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble on a concert tour to Southern California in the spring. The group performed on April 8 at CSU Fullerton, and on April 9 at CSU Long Beach and the Claremont International Festival. Taking advantage of the availability of excellent Arabic cuisine in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the ensemble enjoyed an exquisite dinner at a Syrian restaurant with ethnomusicologist Charles Sharp, who hosted the ensemble at CSUF. For the April 9 evening concert, CSULB host and ethnomusicologist Ray Briggs joined the group on nay, a reed flute. He's been a frequent guest artist with the ensemble on performances at Cal Poly. Following many years of producing concerts for the Middlebury College Arabic School as its assistant and associate director, Habib produced and performed the major musical event of the Arabic school’s 2016 program in Littlefield Concert Hall at Mills College with his professional group, Ensemble Salam. In addition to Habib performing on oud, buzuq, guitar and voice, the septet featured Ishmael on qanun, Elias Lammam on accordion and voice, Adel Eskander on violin and voice, Maram Dagher on lead vocals and percussion, Bridget Robbins on nay, and Faisal Zedan on riqq, daff, darabukka, and voice. The concert was received enthusiastically with the audience singing, dancing in the aisles and clapping that sometimes rivaled the amplified sound levels.
Laura Kramer is teaching classes usually taught by Meredith Brammeier, who is on sabbatical this year. Courses include theory and musicianship. Kramer also continues to teach applied saxophone.
Alyson McLamore's textbook “Musical Theater: An Appreciation” has been acquired by Routledge Books, and the publisher has requested a second edition for 2017. The summer of 2016 was devoted to the hard labor of researching various developments in the theatrical world over the past dozen years, though she was able to squeeze in program notes and a pre-concert lecture for the Festival Mozaic. McLamore continues to write notes for the San Luis Obispo Symphony, the San Luis Obispo Master Chorale and Festival Mozaic’s Wintermezzo series, and she was just elected by the Pacific Southwest Chapter of the American Musicological Society as their National Council Chapter Representative.