India D'Avignon is enjoying a year-long sabbatical that gives her the opportunity to present at conferences a bit farther away from home without having to worry about missing any classes. She gave a presentation at the International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation held in Seville, Spain, titled “Learn by Doing: A Successful Paradigm for Undergraduate Education.” She was also asked to chair this session. At the 11th annual International Technology, Education and Development Conference in Valencia, Spain, she presented on “Delivering an Innovative Music Curriculum at a Polytechnic University.” Side trips to Barcelona and Madrid were filled with museum visits, guitar concerts, flamenco and late, late dinners of fabulous tapas. She continues to serve on the editorial committee for CAPMT (California Association of Professional Music Teachers) Connect Journal and is the historian and archivist on the board of the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars.
Alyson McLamore has written, for a third time, the music curriculum for the United States Academic Decathlon competition. The subject matter for the 2016-17 national competition was “Music of the World War II Era,” and McLamore’s curriculum manual addressed repertory ranging from popular music, such as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” to patriotic art music, including "American Salute" by Morton Gould, to music written in prison camps such as "Quartet for the End of Time" by Olivier Messiaen.
Paul Rinzler, director of jazz studies, will deliver the keynote address for the first Jazz and Philosophy Intermodal Conference (JPIC) in May in Winslow, Arizona. The conference is being organized by two philosophers who are also jazz musicians, David Ring and Charles Otwell from California, as well as George Rudebusch, a philosopher from Northern Arizona University. Rinzler’s talk will outline a humanistic philosophy of jazz that focuses on such values as individualism, interconnectedness, creativity, freedom, responsibility, tradition and others. He first wrote about these values in his 2008 book, “The Contradictions of Jazz.” Rinzler said, “jazz is particularly well-suited to express humanistic values. Improvisation is the focal point of jazz, and it is through improvisation that jazz musicians express and display these humanistic values. Because this happens in real-time, the listener is on the same journey that the improviser is on, seeing and hearing those values expressed right along with the improviser. Those humanistic values are at the center of what jazz is, why musicians play it, and why listeners enjoy it. A philosophy of jazz centered on these values can talk about what jazz means for the performer and the listener.”
Other speakers are Andrew Kania, a philosopher from Trinity University in Texas, who will talk about basic philosophical categories and structures in jazz; Steve Odin, a philosopher from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, who will talk about the connection between jazz and eastern philosophy; Martin Rosenberg, a research associate at The New Center for Research and Practice, who will talk about the neuroscience of the cognition of time during jazz improvisation; and James Young, a philosopher from the University of Victoria in British Columbia, who will also talk about basic philosophical concerns in jazz. More information is on the JPIC website.
Christopher J. Woodruff was appointed to associate conductor for special events for the San Luis Obispo Symphony and will lead a number of programs this season. In January, he conducted members of the symphony, along with guest soprano Anna Schubert in an all-Mozart program in the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. The sold-out concert is part of an initiative to expand the symphony's performance calendar to include works for chamber ensembles and smaller orchestrations.
In January, Woodruff served a three-day residency as guest conductor and clinician at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He taught conducting for university students, lectured in rehearsal strategies for area band directors and conducted a performance of the university’s 80-member high school festival Symphonic Band. The festival is produced by the department of music and provides a weekend of rehearsals and performances for more than 350 area high school students.