Evening concert features music inspired by whale songs

Contact: Dannielle Sturgeon

Photo of a black, decorative, theatrical eyemask with sequins resting on a white backdrop.KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University faculty, students and guest cellist Alexa Muhly will present music inspired by whale songs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall.

The performance will be preceded by a 7 p.m. discussion hosted by Dr. Robert White. Tickets are $12 general admission, $10 for seniors and $5 for students, and are available from Miller Auditorium online or by calling (269) 387-2300 or (800) 228-9858.

The evening concert features George Crumb's "Vox Balaenae." Late in the 1960s, Crumb heard a tape recording prepared by a marine scientist of the sounds emitted by the humpback whale. In 1971, he drew on these sounds as the inspiration. Although the piece has eight movements, they are grouped into three structurally similar parts: the first two movements, five variations named after geologic time periods, and the last movement. Also on the program will be a performance of Toru Takemitzu's "Rain Tree Sketch," Jennifer Higdon's "Zaka," and WMU composer Richard Johnson's "AnnoD" for trumpet, percussion, piano and electronic sounds.

Besides Muhly, performing will be Martha Councell-Vargas, flute, and Lori Sims, piano; and Birds on a Wire, directed by David Colson.


Muhly teaches cello performance and music theory at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, Illinois. She has performed in the United States, Canada, England, France, Germany, Hungary and Lithuania and is an active orchestral and chamber musician in the Chicago area. She was the principal cellist of the Kalamazoo Symphony and appeared with the Grand Rapids Symphony and the Pine Mountain Music Festival.

Bullock Music Performance Institute

Established in the fall of 1985 and renamed in 1988 in honor of its founder, the institute's mission is to add to the already rich cultural life of Kalamazoo by creating opportunities to develop closer personal and artistic ties between audience and performer. The institute has presented events ranging from formal evening concerts to daytime educational outreach events for students and local audiences of all ages.

For more information about the Wednesday evening concert series, call (269) 387-4704 or (269) 387-4678, or visit wmich.edu/music.

For more news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.