The School of Music’s annual “Mosaic” concert is meant to be a sampler, a chance to hear, in one program, a wide variety of musical styles and artists. And this year’s Mosaic, set for Thursday, Feb. 12, is a particular treat in that it is made up almost entirely of faculty artists.
“This is the only concert we offer during the year that includes a diverse cross-section of performers,” said concert organizer Geoffrey Boers. “Usually it’s a mix of students and faculty, but this concert is a real faculty showcase.”
Previous Mosaic concerts have had an overarching theme, such as love — the theme for one concert that fell on Valentine’s Day — or the globe for a concert given in conjunction with the Geography Department. But this year there is no theme, so the music is a real potpourri.
“We have different, seemingly disparate elements side by side in little bits that create the total ‘picture’ of the concert,” Boers said. “So, the listener will hear jazz side by side with Brahms next to modern classical repertoire next to world music. The combinations are sometimes surprising, other times jarring, and always interesting.”
The concert opens with the Faculty Jazz Ensemble (Marc Seales, piano; Tom Collier, drums; Vern Sielert, trumpet; Doug Miller, bass; Mike Brockman, saxophone), a group that hasn’t previously performed at Mosaic. They’ll be doing a Seales composition called The Long March.
Pianists Robin McCabe (who is also music school director) and Craig Sheppard are new to Mosaic as well. They’ll be playing piano four-hands on one piece by Brahms and two by Dvorak.
Other faculty performing include Steven Novacek on guitar, Kyung Sun Chee on violin and the duo of William McColl on clarinet and Arthur Grossman on bassoon. McColl and Grossman are also teaming up with graduate student Jay Easton to perform on unusual instruments: the sopranino clarinet in G; the Heckelphone, a low bass oboe; and the tubax, a saxophone that plays in the range of a tuba.
The concert closes with the Faculty Brass Quintet (Don Immel, trombone: Chris Olka, tuba; Dave Kappy, French horn: Vern Sielert, trumpet; Allen Vizzutti, trumpet) doing a piece by Vizzutti called Prelude and Pesto.
“It’s always remarkable the number of creative ideas that faculty have when we begin to plan this concert,” Boers said. “People come forward with their contributions and then we look at the lineup and try to figure out what else we need and how we should structure it.”
Boers says the idea of a mosaic concert isn’t original to the UW; it’s been done very successfully at other schools. But, he says, it’s always been a goal of his to have the faculty perform together.
“This is a big department, and we all get caught up in our individual pursuits,” he says. “This concert is a chance for some of us to work and perform with other faculty we might not otherwise have the opportunity to. It’s also a time when we can give the public a broad taste of who is on the faculty.”
The Mosaic concert is at 7:30 p.m. in Meany Theater. Tickets are $10, $8 for students and seniors. They’re available at the Arts Ticket Office, 206-543-4880, and at the door.