Music Mondays 2019–20: Big Band, chamber orchestra, piano quartet
Cornell College’s Music Mondays series begins Oct. 7 with a much-anticipated performance by the Rod Pierson Big Band. Their concert has been rescheduled after two wintry cancellations last season.
The series continues in January with the Palisades Ensemble, reuniting especially for Music Mondays, and concludes with the Amara Piano Quartet in February.
All concerts take place at 7:30 p.m. in King Chapel, the first Cornell building listed on the National Historic Register. Admission is free and open to the public.
Monday, Oct. 7: Rod Pierson Big Band featuring Craig Boche
The Rod Pierson Big Band featuring Craig Boche offers the sound of today’s big bands, the popular “Rat Pack” period, and classic instrumental big band hits. Nearly all of the members of this eastern Iowa-based band are jazz educators and clinicians, and many are alumni of the orchestras of Glenn Miller, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Woody Herman and Guy Lombardo. Pierson’s credits include long-term stints with the Miller, Dorsey, and Lombardo bands; backing artists such as Aretha Franklin, Burt Bacharach, and The Temptations; and touring with Broadway shows. Boche’s voice has been compared to Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Bobby Darin.
Monday, Jan. 27, 2020: Palisades Ensemble
The Palisades Ensemble was founded in 1992 by conductor and Cornell Professor of Music Martin Hearne and is comprised of the finest instrumental musicians from regional orchestras in the upper Midwest. The ensemble first performed at the 93rd Annual May Music Festival at Cornell College and has returned to the Festival and Music Mondays many times.
Its program will be “El Sombrero de Tres Picos,” Suite No. 1, by Manuel De Falla; “Chants d’Auvergne” (selected from Series 1–5) by Joseph Canteloube, featuring soprano soloist Lisa Hearne; and “Appalachian Spring Suite for Orchestra” by Aaron Copland.
Monday, Feb. 17, 2020: Amara Piano Quartet
The Amara Piano Quartet, founded in 2012 and in residence at Iowa State University, has shown a deep commitment to performing new music. One of its earliest projects was a concert of George Tsontakis’ chamber works. This led to commissions by Tsontakis for the Amara Quartet and a 2016 recording, which Gramophone magazine described as “play[ed] with vibrant and sensitive expressivity.”
At Cornell they will perform their latest Tsontakis’ commission, Piano Quartet No. 4, as well as Frank Bridge’s “Phantasie” and Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 45. The piano quartet features a pianist, violinist, violist, and cellist.