Friday, August 27, 2010

Whitworth music professor performs with Orchestra Seattle at summer concert

Whitworth Associate Professor of Music Brent Edstrom performed an original composition this summer with Orchestra Seattle, the latest performance in a long career of playing his music with world-renowned musicians.

The concert, which took place June 6 at the First Free Methodist Church of Seattle, also included performances by the Seattle Chamber Singers and soprano Jessica Robins Milanese.

Edstrom performed Concerto for Jazz Piano and Orchestra, which was commissioned and premiered by the Coeur d'Alene Symphony in 2007. Edstrom wrote the piece to honor the traditions of jazz and Western European classical music. Consisting of six vignettes, the concerto combines jazz and classical elements in such a way that the piece is neither jazz nor classical.

"It was a wonderful experience. The orchestra sounded terrific and it was thrilling to hear the piece come to life," Edstrom says. "The director, George Shangrow, was an advocate for new music, and I was impressed with his attention to detail during rehearsals. The musicians were also very supportive, and it was gratifying to work together to present a relatively new work to the public."

Sadly, Shangrow was killed in a car accident on July 31, about a month after the concert.

List to the third movement of Concerto for Jazz Piano and Orchestra, "Lament," at http://www.brentedstrom.com/concerto/MP3/3-Lament.mp3.

On Nov. 20, three movements of the concerto will be performed with the Whitworth Orchestra under the direction of Associate Professor of Music and Director of String Studies Philip Baldwin.

Edstrom's active performance career has placed him on stage with many well-known performers, including Bob Berg, Ron Carter, John Clayton, Dee Daniels, Peter Erskine, Jon Faddis, Lee Konitz, Freda Payne, Clark Terry, and Ernie Watts.

Edstrom teaches music theory, ear training, composition, jazz piano, arranging, and improvisation. He has also taught a multimedia programming course for the math and computer science department.

"Professor Edstrom always shares his expertise and advice as he prepares me for my future," says Kurt Marcum, a Whitworth senior majoring in jazz and classical performance. "He is a valued mentor and instructor, giving me much to work toward. To have the opportunity to learn from such a professional musician has changed my life forever."

Edstrom, who joined the adjunct Whitworth faculty full-time in 2001, coordinates the institution's music-theory and composition program. He received a master of music degree in jazz studies and contemporary media from the Eastman School of Music and a bachelor of music degree in classical piano performance from Washington State University. His upcoming book, Recording on a Budget (Oxford University Press), explores audio recording techniques from the budget-conscious perspective of a working musician.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,900 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contact:

Brent Edstrom, associate professor of music, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4590 or bedstrom@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.