River Raisin Ragtime Revue

River Raisin Ragtime Revue

Thursday, September 19 | 7:30 pm
Staples Family Concert Hall

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R4 regularly performs at quality venues including The Henry Ford Museum, the Detroit Institute of Art, and Ann Arbor's Michigan Theater and has partnered with historic Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan, to present a major annual ragtime festival drawing thousands. R4 has collaborated with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and numerous major soloists to create engaging community programming. R4 produces an annual Ragtime Extravaganza! program that brings together musicians, dancers, actors and visual artists to recreate a ragtime-era vaudeville revue. As part of its mission to bring music to underserved areas, R4 has participated in school workshop programs throughout the state and has brought high-caliber entertainment to hospitals and assisted-living communities.

R4 has documented significant American musical achievements with four outstanding CD recordings. R4's debut CD, The Red Back Book: Standard High Class Rags, was released in May 2005. This CD is the first-ever complete recording of this historic collection of fifteen classic rags published by Stark Music of St. Louis. The collection features some of ragtime's greatest literature, including Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag," "The Entertainer," and "Easy Winners." Also included are works by James Scott, Joseph Lamb, Arthur Marshall, J. Russel Robinson and Maurice Kirwin.

R4 released its second CD, Ragtime Detroit! Michigan's Contribution to America's Original Music, on the Stomp Off Records ragtime and traditional jazz label in 2006. Ragtime Detroit! chronicles Michigan's significant involvement in the development of syncopated popular music and includes major hits like "Creole Belles" and "Dill Pickles," as well as never-before recorded ragtime gems.

Akropolis Reed Quintet

Akropolis Reed Quintet

Tuesday, October 15 | 7:30 pm
Staples Family Concert Hall

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Hailed for their “imagination, infallible musicality, and huge vitality” (Fanfare Magazine), Akropolis Reed Quintet was founded in 2009 at the University of Michigan and has won seven national chamber music prizes since. Their concert at CMU concert is the grand finale for the School of Music’s New Music Symposium, beginning Monday, October 14. Additionally, a new work by CMU composer Dr. Evan Ware will be premiered during the concert. Committed to students of all ages, Akropolis reached over 10,000 K-12 students in 2018 through concerts, workshops, and residencies.

Akropolis’ mission is to create a more vibrant society by innovating and sustaining exceptional classical music, and by educating and energizing a new generation of music appreciators and advocates. This concert includes informative musical introductions and a chance to greet the artists. Celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, Akropolis remains its founding members: Tim Gocklin (oboe), Kari Landry (clarinet), Matt Landry (saxophone), Andrew Koeppe (bass clarinet), and Ryan Reynolds (bassoon).

“Akropolis was terrific! They have a unique sound and captivating way of presenting themselves and engaging their audience.” –Ken Fischer, President, University Musical Society
“Pure gold, shot through with tenderness and grace.” –Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

River Raisin Ragtime Revue

Westhuizen Piano Duo

Tuesday, November 5 | 7:30 pm
Staples Family Concert Hall

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International Steinway Artists, The Westhuizen Duo, have been hailed for performances described as “…music-making that rewards you seventy times seven.”

The duo has appeared in major festivals and venues throughout the USA, and has presented concerts in all the major concert halls of South Africa. South Africans Pierre and Sophié completed their studies at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. Here they studied with renowned professor Frank Weinstock, as well as the legendary piano duo Eugene and Elizabeth Pridonoff. They were the first piano-duo to be accepted into the prestigious PianoTexas International Academy and Festival (formerly known as the TCU/Cliburn Institute), where they received masterclasses from Harold Martina, John Owings, Jan Jiraceck and the legendary Janos Starker.

In the summer of 2007 they were the first duo to be featured as Shouse Artists at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Michigan where they shared the stage with artists such as Ann Schein, Jeremy Denk and James Tocco. They have appeared at major festivals in South Africa, including the Volksblad National Arts Festival in Bloemfontein, the UNISA Music Foundation Concert Series, and the Standard Bank National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. Their interest in new music has led to premiere performances of works written for the duo by young composers, and they enjoy taking part in new music festivals. Their performance at the famous Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago was broadcast live on NPR and PBS Television.

The Westhuizen Duo resides in the Cleveland area, where Pierre has recently been appointed as the President and CEO of the Cleveland International Piano Competition. Sophié has joined the faculty of Cleveland State University, and leads a flourishing private piano studio. They both previously served on the faculty of Heidelberg University as Assistant Professors of Piano and Co-coordinators of the Keyboard Division. Pierre and Sophié enjoy teaching masterclasses wherever they perform, and have served as guest artists/faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Summer Sonata Festivaland theColorado International Piano Festival as guest artists, together with renowned pedagogue Nelita True.


Aaron Tan

Aaron Tan, organ*

Thursday, November 21 | 7:30 pm
Staples Family Concert Hall

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First Prize and Audience Prize winner of the 2018 American Guild of Organists National Young Artist Competition in Organ Performance, Aaron Tan is a Canadian concert organist and pianist who enjoys multi-faceted careers both as a musician and a materials scientist. In 2004, under the auspices of the Barwell Scholarship (awarded to pianists interested in learning the organ), he began organ studies with John Tuttle while concurrently entering as a freshman in Engineering Science at the University of Toronto. Since then, he has gone on to complete both Associate (ARCCO) and Fellowship (FRCCO) diplomas in organ from the Royal Canadian College of Organists (RCCO). In addition, he has also won numerous noteworthy contests and scholarships including the Toronto RCCO Young Organists Competition, the Osborne Organ Competition of the Summer Institute of Church Music (Ontario), the RCCO's National Organ Playing Competition, the Charlotte Hoyt Bagnall Scholarship for Church Musicians, the Lilian Forsyth Scholarship, the 2012 Poland International Piano Festival Competition, the West Chester University Organ Competition, the Arthur Poister Scholarship Competition, the Sursa American Organ Competition, and most recently, the 2018 American Guild of Organists National Young Artist Competition in Organ Performance where he was awarded both First Prize and Audience Prize. Aaron regularly performs on both the piano and organ.

Aaron has served as Organ Scholar at St. John's Episcopal Church in Detroit, Michigan, Artist in Residence at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Detroit, and Assistant Organist at Christ Church Cranbrook, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Currently Aaron is studying at the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University and also serves as Organ Scholar at The Church of the Resurrection, New York City.

Aaron also holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan, and worked there as a postdoctoral researcher in the University's Laboratory for Complex Materials and Thin Films Research, studying the dielectric and thermal properties of polymer thin films.


This free performance is made possible by the Samuel W. & Gertrude A. Staples Master Series Endowment.
Alumni Artists

Alumni Artists

Kip Franklin, Mina Son, Angela Biedenbender
with music by David Biedenbender

Thursday, January 23 | 7:30 pm
Staples Family Concert Hall

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Kip Franklin currently serves as Assistant Professor of Music at the University of South Alabama (USA) where he teaches clarinet, music theory, and conducts the USA Clarinet Ensemble. He has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player throughout the United States and abroad. As a member of the USA Faculty Wind Trio, he released the album Perpetuum Mobile in 2016. An advocate of new music, Dr. Franklin was a part of the consortium for David Maslanka’s Eternal Garden: Four Songs for Clarinet and Piano (2009) and his Concerto for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble (2014), and has co-commissioned significant works from other composers including David Biedenbender and Philip Wharton. He was a featured performer at the International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest Conventions Ostend, Belgium; Orlando, Florida; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Dr. Franklin’s research interests are centered on commissioning and recording new pieces in the clarinet canon. His debut solo CD, Crossroads: Twenty-First Century Music for Clarinet, was released in 2018. Prior to USA, Dr. Franklin served on the faculty of Saginaw Valley State University. In addition to performing and teaching, Dr. Franklin keeps an active schedule as a clinician and adjudicator. As a guest clinician he has presented master classes at numerous high schools and universities across the country, and was an adjudicator for the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association. He regularly writes articles for The Clarinet, Buzzreed Blog, and is an audio reviewer for the ICA. Other international experience includes studies and performances at the Centro Studi Carlo della Giacoma (Italy), the Vianden Music Festival (Luxembourg), and the Institut Français des Alps (France).

Dr. Franklin is a member of the International Clarinet Association, The College Music Society, and Pi Kappa Lambda. His clarinet teachers include Theodore Oien, Caroline Hartig, Kennen White, and Guy Yehuda. Dr. Franklin also studied music theory and composition with Gordon Sly, José-Luis Maurtua, and David Gillingham.
Composer David Biedenbender's music has been described as "simply beautiful" [twincities.com] and is noted for its "rhythmic intensity" [NewMusicBox] and "stirring harmonies" [Boston Classical Review]. "Modern, venturesome, and inexorable…The excitement, intensity, and freshness that characterizes Biedenbender's music hung in the [air] long after the last note was played" [Examiner.com]. David has written music for the concert stage as well as for dance and multimedia collaborations, and his work is often influenced by his diverse musical experiences in rock and jazz bands as an electric bassist, in wind, jazz, and New Orleans-style brass bands as a euphonium, bass trombone, and tuba player, and by his study of Indian Carnatic Music. His present creative interests include working with everyone from classically trained musicians to improvisers, acoustic chamber music to large ensembles, and interactive electronic interfaces to live brain data. He has had the privilege of collaborating with and being commissioned by many renowned performers and ensembles, including Alarm Will Sound, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Albany (NY) Symphony Orchestra, Stenhammar String Quartet, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, U.S. Navy Band, Philharmonie Baden-Baden (Germany), VocalEssence, and Eastman Wind Ensemble, among many others.

He is currently Assistant Professor of Composition in the College of Music at Michigan State University. He holds degrees in composition from the University of Michigan and Central Michigan University (Bachelor of Music Composition and Theory, 2007), and has also studied at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, the Aspen Music Festival, and in Mysore, India where he studied carnatic music. For more information, visit: www.davidbiedenbender.com.
As an active recitalist, Mina Son collaborates with both vocalists and instrumentalists, as well as having extensive experience in chamber music and choral accompaniment. She has been involved in numerous musical theatre productions, was a collaborative pianist and opera scenes coach for the Interlochen Arts Camp's Vocal Soloist Studies program for six summers, and was a piano fellow at Bay View Music Festival.

Mina is featured on Illinois State University's premiere recording of David Maslanka's Symphony No. 7 as well as their recording of Maslanka's Traveler, Testament, and Symphony No. 4, all on the Albany record label. Mina is also featured on the recording of Terezin's The Fireflies (2015). She was the music director for, and performed in, this production in Terezín, Czech Republic, for holocaust survivors and their descendants. Mina received her Professional Studies degree in collaborative piano from the Cleveland Institute of Music, earned her Master of Music degree from Central Michigan University, and her Bachelor of Music from Illinois State University. She is currently a pianist at Central Michigan University, as well as the organist at Sacred Heart Church.
Alumni Artists

The Victory Vertical Project*

with guest lecturer Garik Pedersen

Thursday, February 13 | 7:30 pm
Chamichian Recital Hall

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The Victory Vertical Project, launched by pianist Garik Pedersen in 2017, tells the amazing and little-known tale of Steinway contributing to the war effort in the 1940s by specially designing light-weight pianos that they shipped "into battle" (in some cases literally parachuting them to front lines!), so that music could be used to lift morale among the soldiers.

Using descriptive vignettes accompanied with piano music, The Victory Vertical Project provides a fascinating, beautiful, and moving glimpse into the war that, more than any other, united us as a people with a common purpose. Pedersen, a Steinway Artist, performs music as diverse as Samuel Barber, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Roy Harris, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Glenn Miller, and many others, celebrating the power of music to lift morale, bring people together, provide physical and mental healing, and instill a profound sense of purpose.
I think this is a story that needs to be told, and I think it needs to be told now. I think it matters in our time, both because of the idea of the value of music . . . but also because a war is a war of ideas and values. It's not just a war of military might."
– Garik Pedersen
Pedersen has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States and in Europe, Canada, Central America, Taiwan and the Philippine Islands. He has presented programs for the U.S. State Department, the National Federation of Music Clubs, Music Teachers National Association, the European Piano Teachers Association, Canadian Federation of Music Teachers Associations, the Royal Conservatory of Music, and on numerous public television and radio broadcasts. Currently a Professor of Piano at Eastern Michigan University, Dr. Pedersen has taught undergraduate and graduate students from many U.S. states and 17 other countries, producing prize winners in national, international, regional and state competitions. This presentation is proudly sponsored by Phoenix Music Teachers Association & Steinway Piano Gallery Arizona

Elias String Quartet

Elias String Quartet*

Thursday, February 20 | 7:30 pm
Staples Family Concert Hall

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This concert is made free and available to the public by the Souren L. Chamichian M.D. Artist in Residency Endowment.

The Elias String Quartet take their name from Mendelssohn’s oratorio, Elijah, of which Elias is its German form, and have quickly established themselves as one of the most intense and vibrant quartets of their generation. The Quartet was formed in 1998 at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where they worked closely with the late Dr. Christopher Rowland. They also spent a year studying at the Hochschule in Cologne with the Alban Berg quartet. Between 2005 and 2009 they were resident String Quartet at Sheffield’s “Music in the Round” as part of Ensemble 360, taking over from the Lindsay Quartet. They are now ensemble in residence at the RNCM and regularly go back there to teach and perform.

This season they present their three-concert “Schumann series” at Wigmore Hall and elsewhere, which includes a collaboration with long term musical partner and friend Jonathan Biss, and two world premieres: a newly commissioned work by Sally Beamish, and a piece written by the winner of their composition competition at Manchester’s RNCM, alongside the three Schumann string quartets.

In 2009 the Elias was chosen to participate in BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists’ scheme and was also a recipient of a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. With the support of the Trust, the Elias Quartet mounted “The Beethoven Project”: studying and performing all of Beethoven’s string quartets as cycles whilst sharing their experience through a special website (www.thebeethovenproject.com) and social media. The project culminated with a cycle at Wigmore Hall, all six concerts recorded live for the Wigmore live label.

The Quartet is steadily building a recording catalogue that has been met with widespread critical acclaim. They have recorded the Schumann and Dvorak piano quintets with Jonathan Biss, a Britten Quartets disc for Sonimage, a Mendelssohn disc for ASV Gold and most recently Schumann string quartets for Outhere. Their two mixed programme recordings for Wigmore Live were praised unanimously, the first winning a BBC Music Magazine Newcomers award. The final volume of their complete Beethoven Quartet Cycle had just been released.


Saint Louis Brass

Saint Louis Brass - Canceled

Thursday, March 26 | 7:30 pm
Staples Family Concert Hall

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Arts Midwest
This engagement is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Crane Group.

Founded in 1964, the Saint Louis Brass Quintet is one of America’s longest standing brass quintets. The group was originally formed by members of the St. Louis Symphony to play children’s concerts around the St. Louis area. Soon though, they had expanded to present full length concerts funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Missouri Arts Council and the Mid-America Arts Alliance. Now, forty years and more than 2,500 engagements later, the only original member still in the group — and the only one who actually lives in St. Louis — is trombonist Melvyn Jernigan – who retired from the Saint Louis Symphony after 35 years. The other quintet members hold top positions across the United States: Professors at Yale, UT Austin and Indiana University.

The group now performs three ten day concert tours throughout the United States each year, plus recording and international touring. The SLBQ was featured at the Norway Brass Band Festival in 1994, at a festival in Bombay, India in 1995, and they performed a two-week concert tour in Japan in 1997. In May of 1999 the quintet toured Mexico, and in October of 2001 they toured Germany. June 2003, they were performing in Sweden.

It was out of the Saint Louis Brass Quintet that Summit Brass got its start. In 1985, led by trumpeter David Hickman, who was at that time a member of the quintet, personnel were chosen for this new group. Since its first concerts in 1986, Summit Brass has hosted an annual institute for brass players, performed dozens of concert tours in the United States and Europe, and has recorded ten CDs.
“Brass Quintet adds zaniness to its talents. Diverse material combined with imaginative presentation marked the engaging concert”
— Kansas City Star

*This event is presented at no charge.

Master Series Tickets

Tickets for Guest Artist concerts, Juletide, Jazz Weekend, Opera, and Festival Chorus can be purchased at
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 or by calling 989-774-3045. Tickets available at the door are limited and cash only. All performances take place in Staples Family Concert Hall unless otherwise listed. Concert programs, artists, and dates, are subject to change.
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