Concert series finale showcases faculty

Lifestyle Reporter
Stephen Hawk, lecturer, solos on the trumpet while Benjamin Priesch, music graduate student, accompanies on bass April 21 during the Texas State Faculty Jazz Septet concert at the Performing Arts Center Recital Hall.

Music buffs, students, faculty and staff gathered Tuesday to listen to the musical workings of Texas State jazz artists.

The performance by the Texas State Jazz Artists Septet was the final event of the International Concert Series presented by the School of Music. This event was held in the Performing Arts Center.

Washington García, associate professor of piano and assistant director of the School of Music, said he is the founder and artistic director of the International Concert Series. García said the series is intended to expose the community to new styles of music and support the school.

 “This is the first year that the School of Music has hosted the International Concert Series,” García said. “This series aims to bring artists of the highest caliber from around the world to raise scholarship money for the School of Music.”

García said various strategies are used in finding artists to invite for the series.

“When finding the artists, the chairmen of the School of Music receive proposals from other faculty members,” García said. “From those, we sift through the suggestions and look for artists who are the cream of the crop.”

He said high-level artists would not normally perform as guests, but some are his colleagues and are willing to come to Texas State. García said the artists believe in the School of Music and want to help raise money for it.

 Guest artists aren’t the only musicians to be featured, García said. Some of the best musicians come from within the school.

“We have featured many well-known and out-of-town artists in the duration of the International Concert Series,” García said. “But we have also had three concerts that have purely featured faculty members of Texas State, including the Jazz Septet Concert.”

García said the International Concert Series has a total of six events featuring a variety of music, styles and multi-cultural aspects. He said Tuesday’s performance was the first in the series to feature jazz music.

Russell Haight, assistant professor of saxophone, said jazz is a unique and variable style of music.

“The beauty of live jazz is that it’s really a lot of improvised music,” Haight said. “It’s music that’s happening in real time and only in that exact moment. You never really get the same song each time.”

Haight said the concert consisted of 10 jazz pieces including various small combinations, solos, duets and a septet.

Moises Aguayo, exercise and sports science junior, said the different musicality of the concert exceeded his expectations.

“With the different instruments and various tunes provided, the concert made for a diverse and entertaining performance,” Aguayo said.

Haight said the International Concert Series is a reflection on the expansion of the School of Music.

“Related to the concert series, the School of Music is apparently becoming increasingly worldly in our musical styles,” Haight said. “The faculty is spanning out from it, the quality of the music is skyrocketing and we’re becoming a major competitor as a music school.”

García said the School of Music is active throughout the entire academic year, even during the holidays.

“We have several projects that we’ve created, such as the International Concert Series, but also an International Piano Festival, jazz festival and even summer festivals,” García said.

García said the school hosts over 200 events throughout the academic year.

“The School of Music is committed to excellence,” García said. “In my opinion, it’s a great example of the rising star of Texas.”

García is confident the expansion will continue to benefit the school and its students.

 “I can’t say what the future holds for this department,” García said. “But I can say that it’s going to be fantastic.”