Versatile violinist Lesa Terry stands firmly at the intersection of classical and jazz music. Trained early as a classical musician, she soon learned she could add jazz or anything else that interested her to that basis. She will demonstrate her unique approach to all things musical as a special guest at the University of Rhode Island, where she will perform on Friday, April 19 at 8 p.m. with URI’s B101 Jazz Big Band and Saturday April 20 at 8 p.m. with the URI Symphony Orchestra.
In addition, on Sunday, April 21 the URI Chamber Ensembles will perform at 3 p.m. and the Opera Workshop will present an evening of opera and musical scenes at 7 p.m. The last two concerts of URI’s Spring Jazz Series follow, on April 23 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. Except as noted below, all concerts will be held in the Fine Arts Center’s Concert Hall at 105 Upper College Road, Kingston, with admission $10 general public, $5 students. Tickets are available at the box office on a first-come basis starting 45 minutes before each concert.
The URI Symphony, directed by Ann Danis, will present “A Tale of Two Orchestras” for Saturday’s concert. The first half of the program will be classical and the second half will feature Dr. Lesa Terry, jazz violin. Works will include “Overture” from Oberon by Weber; “News, News, News” from Nixon in China by John Adams with North Kingstown baritone Devon Morin, soloist; two pieces from Die Meistersinger by Wagner, conducted by Charles Kalajian, and the first movement of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World.”
Lesa Terry holds a master’s degree in Afro-Latin music and a doctorate in Ethnomusicology. She is the founder and musical director for the Women’s Jazz Orchestra of Los Angeles, and her experiences include membership with the Atlanta and Nashville Symphony Orchestras, as well as performances and teaching with the Uptown String Quartet and Max Roach Double Quartet. Devoted to creating revolutionary approaches in jazz improvisation and healing through music, she also presents lectures, clinics, workshops, and demonstrations at conferences and venues around the country, including the United Nations and Julliard.
The Chamber Ensembles Concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday is free. The concert will feature a woodwind trio, coached by Jane Murray, playing a work for flute, clarinet and English horn by Sigfried Karg-Elert; the Trombone Choir, coached by Gabe Langfur, with an arrangement of “Mars” from Holst’s The Planets; and the Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble, coached by Gary Buttery, playing Spain by Chick Corea, and an arrangement of Simple Gifts done by Bryan Doughty in memory of the victims of Sandy Hook. Susan Thomas’s flute studio will perform pieces by Ian Clarke and Hirokazu Fukushima, and Lukas Chaves, flute, and Ceili Connors, classical guitar, will play one of Piazzola’s tangos. The Clarinet Choir, coached by Kelli O’Connor, a guitar trio coached by John Dennewitz (Raffi Danoian, Ceili Connors, and Andre Marcelin) and the Brass Choir will also perform.
The URI Opera Workshop performances at 7 p.m. will explore the theme of “Love and Marriage” from a variety of works. The company members, directed by Rene de la Garza, will present a large section of Act I of The Magic Flute (which is appropriate for children). They will also perform some Barber of Seville excerpts, a Merry Wives of Windsor duet, a duet from Oklahoma, and three songs from West Side Story.
The Jazz Series Concert III on Tuesday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. will be held in the Room C100 Rehearsal Hall rather than the Concert Hall. The Adam’s Apple Project, directed by Eric Hofbauer and Dylan LaGamma, will play new arrangements of compositions from Wayne Shorter’s 1966 recording, Adam’s Apple, in tribute to Shorter’s 80th birthday this year.
The C100 Big Band, directed by John Monllos, wraps up the Jazz Series on Thursday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the concert hall. The big band specializes in classic swing songs, including “Why Don’t You Do Right” and “Do Nothing Until You Hear From Me” with vocalist Bianca Sperduti.
Another flurry of six more URI concerts of both vocal and instrumental music follows April 26-30. For more information contact the URI Department of Music, 874-2431, or check the website www.uri.edu/music.