New Beginnings at NKU
Lots going on at Northern these days:
Nothern Kentucky University has a new chair of the music department and new initiatives in the works. On July 1, Kurt Sander, who holds a graduate degree from CCM, replaced Vance Wolverton as music department chair.
Wolverton is now heading a revamped music education department.
"We're shifting priorities to music eduation, and it made sense that (Wolverton) would head up that area," says Sander.
NKU's growing music programs include the only string quartet-in-residence remaining in the region, the Azmari Quartet. A top priority will be to develop string programs in Northern Kentucky schools, says Sander.
"There are no functional orchestra programs in schools in Kentucky. I just think that the time is right, and that it will help the economics of the region," he says.
Incidentally, the Azmari -- Corbett String Quartet in Residence -- has welcomed a new second violinist and a new violist this year. Julie Fischer, violinist, is a three-time winner of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Hugo Bollschweiler is a Swiss native. Their first concert is Oct. 16 (More about them later!)
The school is also striking up an arts partnership with countries in Easter Europe.
NKU is planning a two-day Bulgarian-American music festival in March. According to Richard Floecker, one of the organizers, they'll be bringing in two brilliant Bulgarian musicians: Dr. Angela Tosheva and composer Michail Goleminov, who own the Orange Factory, a music/multimedia company in Sofia. Concerts will also feature music by Kurt Sander and Lawrence Bitensky.
This Sunday, pianist Sergei Polusimiak opens a new concert series called "New Beginnings." The program, 7 p.m. in Greaves Concert Hall, includes guest artists Timothy Lees, concertmaster of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and clarinetist Alexander Bedenko, pictured, a native of Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Bedenko is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he studied with the famed teacher of clarinet virtuosos, Donald Montanaro. He recently made an album with clarinetist (and, don't forget, Woodward High grad) Richard Stoltzman.
The music includes "Three Songs Without Words" by Paul Ben-Haim and Brahms' Violin Sonata No. 1. Tickets: $10; $7 students. 859-572-7622.