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Music Ensembles

Ensembles, orchestras, bands + choirs

School of Music ensembles, ranging from small chamber ensembles to large orchestras, bands, and choirs are open to all Penn State students, regardless of major. Participants receive one academic credit per semester. These credits fulfill General Arts credits in many colleges and majors. Graduate credit (500-level) may be granted in select ensembles at the discretion of the director/conductor.

The School of Music also includes a number of faculty ensembles that perform and record extensively, both in the United States and abroad. These ensembles are often invited to perform at professional association meetings and in educational settings.


Ensemble Audition Information
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Two cellists playing with the Penn State Philharmonic Orchestra

Student Ensembles

Choirs

Concert Choir

Course Details: Music 103/810; MW 1:25-2:55, F 1:25-2:15
Faculty: Christopher Kiver

The Penn State University Concert Choir (SATB) has undertaken numerous overseas tours to countries including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia. Performances throughout the United States have included appearances at premier venues including Heinz Hall (Pittsburgh), the Kimmel Center (Philadelphia), and the Music Center at Strathmore (Maryland).  Recent highlights have included collaborations with the Bang on a Can All-Stars performing Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize winning composition Anthracite Fields in 2017, and the Rolling Stones at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh in 2015. The Concert Choir has performed at conferences of the American Choral Directors Association and the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association. Performing music from the Renaissance through to the present in its regularly-scheduled campus concerts, recent performances of major choral works have included Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 in C Minor (“Resurrection”), Ein deutsches Requiem by Johannes Brahms, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, the Verdi Requiem, Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, the Poulenc Gloria and Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, K. 427 (“Grand Mass”). The Concert Choir is conducted by Christopher Kiver. Enrollment by audition.

Essence of Joy

Course Details: Music 093/810; MW 3:35-4:25PM; TH 6:10-7:15PM

Created in 1991, Essence of Joy sings sacred and secular music from the African and African American choral traditions. Annual University Park events include fall and spring concerts, as well as the “African American Music Festival” (February) and “Our Gift in Song” (December). The choir also regularly collaborates with other Penn State ensembles, including a performance of the Leonard Bernstein Mass in 2013.

Involving undergraduate and graduate students from all academic programs at Penn State, Essence of Joy has performed throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Georgia, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Ohio, and Illinois. The choir has been invited to perform for conferences of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (1995, 1997, 2003), the eastern division of the Music Educators National Conference (1997, 2003), the eastern division of the American Choral Directors Association (2002, 2006, 2014, 2017), the national American Choral Directors Association (1999, 2003, 2005, 2011), and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (2000). In addition, they have presented concerts at the Schomburg Museum of Black American Culture in New York City (1998, 1999, 2001).

The choir has released four compact discs: “The Soul and Spirit of Essence” (1998), “Essence ‘Live'” (2000), “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, and “The Light” (2003). The choir made its first European tour in 2001 with concert performances in Poland and the Czech Republic. Recent tours have taken Essence of Joy members to South Africa, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Canada, Spain, and France.

Glee Club

Course Details: Music 090/810; MW 4:40-6:00
Faculty: Christopher Kiver
Website: Penn State Glee Club

The Penn State Glee Club is Penn State’s oldest student organization. Since its first spring tour in March of 1889, the Glee Club has performed throughout the United States and abroad, with recent tours to Wales, Trinidad and Tobago, France, New Zealand, and Iceland. In recent years, the Glee Club has performed at Heinz Hall (Pittsburgh), as well as the Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center (New York). In addition, the choir has presented concerts at conventions of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (2007, 2013), Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses, Inc. (2008, 2014), the National Association for Music Education (MENC, 2009, 2019), and the American Choral Directors Association (2010, 2014). Since 2005, the Glee Club has performed major choral works including Symphony No.2 in C Minor (“Resurrection”)” by Gustav Mahler, Ein deutsches Requiem by Johannes Brahms, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor (“Choral”), the Verdi Requiem, the Poulenc Gloria, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah. Conducted by Christopher Kiver, the Glee Club’s members hail from all colleges on Penn State’s University Park campus.  Enrollment by audition.

Oriana Singers

Course Details: Music 091/810; TR 4:35-5:50
Faculty: Kathryn Hylton

Conducted by Jayne Glocke, Oriana Singers is a treble choir composed of sixty women representing a wide variety of majors at University Park. Repertoire includes music written for treble voices from the sixteenth to the twenty-first century: madrigals, motets, part-songs, folk songs, musical theatre, and music by female composers. The choir has performed by audition at conferences of the American Choral Directors Association and the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association. Since 2005, Oriana Singers has performed major choral works including Symphony No.2 in C Minor (“Resurrection”) by Gustav Mahler, Ein deutsches Requiem by Johannes Brahms, Symphony No. 9 in D Minor (“Choral”) by Ludwig van Beethoven, the Verdi Requiem and the Poulenc Gloria. They have also appeared in Penn State Opera Theatre’s opera gala performances and the production of Hansel and Gretel. In addition to its two campus concerts per year, the choir also regularly appears on the School of Music’s annual Mosaic concert. Enrollment is by audition with the conductor. Discantus, a female chamber choir of eight to fourteen voices, is composed of members of the Oriana Singers. The repertoire includes Renaissance madrigals arranged for treble voices as well as folk songs, spirituals and popular songs. Enrollment is by audition with the conductor and current membership.

University Choir

Course Details: Music 089/810; TR 3:05-4:20
Faculty: Bryan E. Nichols

The University Choir is an eighty-voice mixed choral ensemble that includes students from many colleges and departments at University Park. Conducted by Bryan Nichols, the choir performs a variety of literature representing every musical period and genre in its two major campus concerts per year. Founded in 1948, the University Choir holds a long-standing and distinguished place within the School of Music. Performances with regional and community-based orchestras include the Johnstown Symphony, Harrisburg Symphony, Northeastern Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, and St. Louis Symphony, as well as the Penn State Philharmonic. Significant off-campus events include tours of Pennsylvania and performances for the Pennsylvania Music Educators Conference and the Eastern Division of the Music Educators National Conference. University Choir has also toured Canada, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Sine Nomine, composed of fourteen to eighteen University Choir members, is a chamber choir conducted by undergraduate choral music education students. The choir performs music written for chamber vocal ensembles at many campus events.

Campus Choir

Course Details: Music 088; TR 1:35-2:25 pm
Faculty: Kathryn Hylton

Campus Choir is a non-auditioned, non-performing ensemble that focuses on the skills needed for successful choral singing. This introduction to choral performance is designed for the less experienced singer and concentrates on basic elements of vocal production, sight singing, ear training, and the fundamentals of music notation through standard choral and vocal literature.

Concert Bands

Symphonic Wind Ensemble

Course Details: Music 78/505 MW 1:25-3:20
Faculty: Tonya Mitchell-Spradlin

The Symphonic Wind Ensemble is the premier wind/percussion ensemble in the School of Music. This highly select forty-member ensemble is comprised of the finest wind and percussion instrumentalists on campus. It performs a variety of repertoire ranging from chamber music to literature that utilizes the full ensemble. It concertizes extensively both on and off campus and is open to all students, regardless of major, by audition.

Symphonic Band

Course Details: Music 80/506 TR 1:35-3:30
Faculty: Tonya Mitchell-Spradlin

The Symphonic Band is a select band that utilizes the full resources of the large wind/percussion ensemble to perform outstanding works from the concert band repertory. Members of the eighty-piece ensemble are selected by audition during the first week of classes each semester. The Symphonic Band presents several concerts each semester in the 2,600-seat Eisenhower Auditorium. Like all Penn State bands, the Symphonic Band is open to all students, regardless of major.

Concert Band

Course Details: Music 82; variable by semester
FALL SEMESTER, no audition required, (TR 4:35-5:50) one section only
SPRING SEMESTER, audition required, (MW 7:00-8:15) one section only
Faculty: Gregory Drane

The Concert Band performs the finest in traditional and contemporary literature composed or transcribed for the concert band medium. It performs concerts in Eisenhower Auditorium. The Concert Band is open to all students, regardless of major. An audition IS required in the spring semester, but NOT in the fall. Spring semester auditions take place during the first week of classes.

Campus Band

Course Details: Music 83; TR 6:30-7:45 (Spring Semester Only)
Faculty: Tonya Mitchell-Spradlin

Designed specifically for the non-major, the Campus Band meets during the spring semester only and is open to all students. No audition is required for participation in this band. The Campus Band presents a concert at the end of the semester. All University Park students are encouraged to continue their music-making in this musically rewarding environment.

Jazz Ensembles

Centre Dimensions

Course Details: Music 084.1/509; MW 3:35-5:30pm
Faculty: Marko Marcinko

Centre Dimensions, the premier twenty-piece jazz ensemble at Penn State, performs frequently on campus and tours throughout Pennsylvania and the East.  Under the direction of Marko Marcinko, Centre Dimensions performs and works with several internationally known artists each year. Previous guests have included: Phil Woods (sax), Cyrus Chesnut (piano), Bob Mintzer (sax), Wycliffe Gordon (trombone), George Rabbai (trumpet, vocals), Dennis Diblasio (bari. sax), Benny Golson (sax), Jon Faddis (trumpet) and Slide Hampton (trombone). They perform a challenging repertoire of modern and classic jazz, as well as originals written by the director. This highly selective ensemble is open by audition to undergraduate and graduate students in all majors.

Inner Dimensions

Course Details: Music 084.2; MW 6:30-8:00pm (fall); TR 6:30-7:45pm (spring)

Inner Dimensions, the second jazz big band at Penn State, performs five major concerts per year on campus, and occasionally performs off-campus.  Under the direction of Josh Davis, This ensemble is comprised mostly of undergraduate music majors and performs a wide variety of repertoire, ranging from jazz standards to more cutting-edge compositions. A high premium is placed on developing improvisation skills and refining a great big band sound. Membership is by audition only, and is open to all students of all majors.

Outer Dimensions

Course Details: Music 084.3; MW 6:30-8:00pm (fall); MW 7:00-8:15pm (spring)

Outer Dimensions, the third jazz big band, performs approximately five major concerts per year on campus. This ensemble is comprised mostly of undergraduate non-majors and performs mostly standard jazz repertoire. While experience varies, students in this ensemble are given the opportunity to develop their improvisation skills and enhance their understanding of the jazz genre. Membership is by audition only, and is open to all students of all majors.  Outer Dimensions is currently directed by graduate teaching assistant Wade Judy.

Jazz Combos

Course Details: Music 421; TR 7:30-8:45pm and TBA

Jazz combos at Penn State typically range from 5-8 members, consisting of a rhythm section and horns. By audition only, these combos are formed by placing students of similar experience and skill together for the semester. Coached by Jazz Faculty, these combos meet 1 to 2 times a week. They perform in master class/ concert settings. Each combo gains experience from attending master classes that provide advise on all aspects of the performance. More advanced combos also perform on and off campus for university events and other gigs.

Vocal Dimensions

Course Details: Music 421; TR 7:30-8:45pm and TBA

Vocal Dimensions Jazz Ensemble, is the premier vocal jazz ensemble at Penn State University. Under the direction of Prof. Marko Marcinko they perform frequently on campus and have performed off campus for “A Night of Penn State Jazz” sponsored by the Penn State Alumni organization. In addition, Vocal Dimensions has performed and worked with internationally known jazz artists the New York Voices, as well as jazz vocalist/educator Elizabeth Radigonda. Vocal Dimensions performs a challenging repertoire of modern and classic vocal jazz.

Marching and Athletic Bands

Visit the Penn State Blue Band website for details

Opera Theatre

PSU Opera Theatre

Course Details: MUS 467
Faculty: Ted Christopher

This is an auditioned ensemble dedicated to the study and production of operas and operatic scenes. The repertoire varies year to year and is tailored to the needs and strengths of the participating students. Every year, at least one fully-staged work will be presented. Recent operas performed at Penn State include Suor Angelica, Così fan tutte, Iolanthe, Trouble In Tahiti, La Bohéme, Alcina, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Le Nozze di Figaro, The Tender Land, the Pirates of Penzance, and The Coronation of Poppea. These works have been presented in a variety of venues on and off campus, and with other ensembles in the School of Music, particularly Penn State Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestra.

All graduate students in voice and BM and BMA students are required to audition for opera theatre. All other voice students in the School of Music are encouraged to audition for opera theatre. The 2019-2020 season of Penn State Opera Theatre will include a scenes workshop in the fall and a fully staged production of Georges Bizet’s Carmen in the spring.

Acting For Singers

Course Details: MUS 468
Faculty: Ted Christopher

This course will teach singers the fundamentals of acting, character development, stage deportment, and the practical application of all techniques for compelling dramatic work. All types of stage work related to vocal music will be explored, from performing in recitals and concerts to opera and scene-work. The objective of the course is to make younger singers comfortable on-stage and more realistic/believable in their performance. This course is offered mainly for freshman and sophomore voice performance students, but students at a higher level may be admitted by permission of the instructor.

Orchestras

Philharmonic

Course Details: Music 077/507; TR 4:00-6:00pm
Faculty: Gerardo Edelstein

The ninety-member Philharmonic presents five to six full concerts per academic year. Off campus, the Philharmonic has performed throughout the northeastern United States, including concerts at New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and the MENC Eastern Division Conference in Baltimore. In March 2006, the orchestra participated by invitation in the Sixth International Orchestra Festival in Zaragoza, Spain. The Philharmonic’s repertoire from recent years has included works by Brahms, Debussy, Dvorak, Stravinsky, Beethoven, Mahler, Vaughan Williams, Rachmaninoff, and Wagner. Enrollment, open to all University Park students, is by audition at the beginning of each semester.

Chamber Orchestra

Course Details: Music 076; MW 3:35-5:30pm
Faculty: Gerardo Edelstein

An ensemble of varying size as dictated by the repertoire, the Chamber Orchestra performs works from the eighteenth through twenty-first centuries. The Chamber Orchestra has made three European Tours. Repertoire from recent years has included works by Mozart, Copland, Haydn, Stravinsky, Schubert, Wagner, Mendelssohn, Ravel, Debussy and Beethoven. Enrollment, open to all University Park students, is by audition at the beginning of each semester.

Campus Orchestra

Course Details: Music 100; T 8:00-9:40pm

A full orchestra training ensemble, especially geared towards incoming freshman, non-majors, and upperclassmen who wish to improve their orchestral reading skills and repertoire. Conducted by graduate conducting assistants. Auditions for all instruments take place the first week of classes.

Piano Ensemble

Piano Ensemble

Course Details: Music 193/493/523
Faculty: Christopher Guzman

The Penn State Piano Ensemble promotes the study, awareness, and above all performance of piano ensemble music in a friendly multicultural environment. The ensemble appears regularly on and off campus in studio recital projects, faculty concerts, the Bach’s Lunch concert series, and other venues. The ensemble plays a wide range of repertoire for different combinations: music for one piano (four, and six hands) as well as music for two pianos (four, and eight hands.) In addition to traditional music as well as rarely performed repertoire, one of the Penn State Piano Ensemble’s goals is also that of commissioning new music.

The Penn State Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, a select ensemble of the finest tuba and euphonium players at Penn State. Under the direction of internationally renowned tuba soloist Velvet Brown.

Student Chamber Music

Chamber Music for Brass

Graduate Brass Quintet

Faculty: Velvet Brown
Facebook: psubrass

Members of the Graduate Brass Quintet are chosen by competitive auditions and have received their undergraduate degrees from respected institutions across the country. They are mentored by members of the Penn State Brass Faculty and perform recitals and school programs throughout the year.

Horn Ensemble

Faculty: Lisa Bontrager

The Penn State Horn Ensemble showcases the finest hornists on campus. Comprised of music majors, horn performance minors, and talented hornists from outside the School of Music by audition, this twenty-member ensemble meets in spring semesters and is often divided into quartets. The ensemble has performed at symposia of the International Horn Society, including those held in New York, Michigan, and California, as well as London, England. The Penn State Horn Ensemble hosted and performed for the 2015 Northeast Horn Workshop, and has performed at the Mid-West Regional Horn Workshop in Michigan; the Eastern Division convention of the Music Educators National Conference in Connecticut, and at numerous conferences of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association. The Horn Ensemble’s vast repertoire encompasses original works and arrangements of romantic, baroque, classical, impressionist, and popular music.

Trombone Choir

Faculty: Mark L. Lusk

The Penn State Trombone Choir was founded in 1986 by Mark Lancaster Lusk. Since that time, the choir has garnered considerable regional and national success, performing multiple times at state music education conferences in Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio, as well as NAfME Eastern Division and national conferences. The ensemble has also accepted invitations to perform at the New York Brass Conference, the Eastern Trombone Workshop, and the International Trombone Workshop. The group has featured many of today’s finest trombone artists as well as the talented members of the Penn State performance faculty and distinguished alumni. The Penn State Trombone Choir is a founding member of the Frühling Posaunen Festival which includes Penn State, the Ithaca Trombone Troupe, and the Eastman Trombone Choir in an annual concert series. A tradition of excellent composers and arrangers has done much to give the Penn State Trombone Choir its distinctive sound.

Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble

Faculty: Velvet Brown
Facebook: PSUTubaEuph

The Pennsylvania State University Tuba Euphonium Ensemble, formed in the fall of 1987, has achieved success performing regionally, nationally and internationally. The group performs outstanding traditional, contemporary, and popular literature composed or transcribed for the tuba/euphonium ensemble. This highly select ensemble is comprised of the finest euphonium and tuba players on campus by audition. The group has garnered praise for many featured international and national performances, including the CBS “Good Morning Show”, the 1995, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014 International Tuba and Euphonium Conferences, the 2011 and 2013 Northeast Tuba and Euphonium Conference, several appearances at the New York Brass Conference with featured soloists Brian Bowman and Toby Hanks, the 2004 and 2014 Army Tuba Euphonium Conferences in Fort Myers, the Pennsylvania Music Educator’s Conference, and with soloists Roger Behrend and Neal Corwell. The ensemble also enjoys performing for university functions, presenting public school concerts, and entertaining at various off-campus venues.

The ensemble has premiered several compositions by Austrian composer Franz Cibulka and other composers such as Drew Bonner, Luke Gall and Dr. Gary Powell Nash. Many of the arrangements performed are by current and former students as well as Professor Velvet Brown. Future highlighted performances of the Penn State Tuba Euphonium Ensemble include the 2015 Northeast Tuba and Euphonium Conference in Ithaca, New York.

Chamber Music for Strings

Baroque Ensemble

Faculty: James Lyon

The Penn State Baroque Ensemble specializes in performing European music of the Baroque era on historical instruments, recreating the music as it might have sounded at the time it was written, according to the most recent scholarly research into historical performance. Using a mixture of faculty and string students, rehearsals reinforce Baroque performance techniques and stylistic interpretation. The ensemble is regularly coached and directed by leading early music groups and performers from Europe and America, such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the King’s Consort, Florilegium, and Modern Musik. It is open to all students, regardless of major, by audition.

Cello Choir

Faculty: Kim Cook
Website: Penn State Cello Choir

The Penn State Cello Choir was founded in 1992 by Penn State cello professor Kim Cook. The members of the Penn State Cello Choir have included students from Croatia, Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria, Germany, Lithuania, Israel, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, China, Taiwan, Guam, and US states of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois, Georgia, Texas, and California. The ensemble has performed for the annual Penn State Mosaic Concerts, the Eisenhower Chapel Bach’s Lunch Series and for the Pennsylvania Music Educators Convention in Harrisburg. The ensemble performs a variety of music, including arrangements of works by major composers from Gabrielli to Joplin, original compositions by Villa-Lobos, and works by commissioned contemporary composers. The Cello Choir has sponsored two Penn State Cello Festivals.

Viola Ensemble

Faculty: Timothy Deighton
Website: Viola Ensemble

The Penn State Viola Ensemble was formed in 1999 and has since appeared regularly in recitals, including performances at Bach’s Lunch, Musica Nova, and at ViolaFest. The ensemble performs a wide range of repertoire. Programs include original works and transcriptions, and the ensemble has performed the the world premieres of numerous compositions. Repertoire ranges from small chamber works for two or three violists to large conducted works for two or three violists to large conducted works for a dozen or more players. The Penn State Viola Ensemble is directed by Tim Deighton.

Chamber Music for Woodwinds

Clarinet Choir

Faculty: Anthony J. Costa
Our Site: Penn State Clarinet Choir

The Penn State Clarinet Choir presents a wonderful opportunity for students to learn basic chamber music skills. The ensemble is open to majors, minors and non-majors alike and enrollment is by audition with the instructor. The Clarinet Choir performs from a vast repertoire of original works, jazz selections and transcriptions of classical standards. The students perform with and without a conductor and spend time working on cueing, blending, intonation, musicality, playing solos and accompaniments and working with others in a fun and challenging environment. Students are also encouraged to become acquainted with the auxiliary instruments of the clarinet family.

Double Reed Ensemble and Bassoon Ensemble

Faculty: Daryl Durran + Timothy Hurtz

The Penn State Double Reed Ensemble and Bassoon Ensemble offer special performance opportunities to the School’s double reed students. The Double Reed Ensemble utilizes all the instruments of the family – oboe, oboe d’amore, English horn, bassoon and contrabassoon – while the Bassoon Ensemble offers works for multiple bassoons and contrabassoon. In 2007, The Double Reed Ensemble performed at the Conference of the International Double Reed Society. Enrollment is by audition with the directors of the ensembles.

Flute Choir

Faculty: Naomi Seidman
Our Site: Penn State Flute Choir

The Penn State Flute Choir presents a unique opportunity for students to learn basic to advanced chamber music skills. The ensemble is open to majors, minors, and non-majors, and enrollment is by audition with the instructor. The Flute Choir performs from a vast repertoire of original works and transcriptions of classical standards. The students perform with and without a conductor and spend time working on cuing, blending, intonation, musicality, playing solos and accompaniments, and working with others in a fun and challenging environment. Students are also encouraged to become acquainted with the auxiliary instruments of the flute family.

Graduate Woodwind Quintet

Faculty: Timothy Hurtz

Members of the Graduate Woodwind Quintet are chosen by competitive auditions and have received their undergraduate degrees from respected institutions across the country. They are mentored by members of the Pennsylvania Quintet faculty ensemble and perform recitals and school programs throughout the year.

Members of the Graduate Woodwind Quintet, “Quintessential,” are chosen by competitive auditions and have received their undergraduate degrees from respected institutions across the country. They are mentored by members of the Pennsylvania Quintet faculty ensemble and perform recitals and school programs throughout the year.

Members of the Graduate Quintet have been alumni of:

  • Florida State University
  • Ithaca College
  • Mansfield University
  • Temple University
  • The University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • University of Michigan
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Wright State University

Saxophone Ensembles

Faculty: David B. Stambler
Website: Penn State Saxophone Studio

Several saxophone ensembles are formed each semester, offering saxophonists the opportunity to gain experience playing chamber music. These groups require soloistic playing and allow a great deal of freedom and independence in musical decision-making within an ensemble situation. For some performances, the quartets combine, with the addition of a bass saxophone, to form a large saxophone ensemble. The saxophone ensembles perform in a variety of venues, and are coached by David Stambler. Enrollment is by consultation and/or audition.

Percussion + Mallet Ensembles

Percussion Ensembles I and II

Course Details: Music 086.1, 11:15-12:30pm; Music 086.2; MW, 5:00-6:15pm
Faculty: Dan C. Armstrong

Percussion Ensembles I and II perform a variety of music written for four to twelve players, including contemporary music written for percussion as well as arrangements. Instrumentation includes all types of percussion, from familiar drums and cymbals to exotic items from around the world. Through participation, students learn the art of ensemble performing and augment their understanding of the role of percussion within the discipline of music. They also learn the skills of organization and cooperation through rehearsal and performance. The ensembles have appeared frequently at meetings of the Music Educators National Conference and the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association. Enrollment is by audition with the conductor.

Mallet Ensemble

Course Details: Music 087, MW 3:35-4:25pm
Faculty: Dan C. Armstrong

The Mallet Ensemble performs music either written for or arranged for mallet-played keyboard percussion instruments and consists of three to eight players. Literature ranges from transcribed orchestral and chamber music to contemporary compositions written specifically for mallet ensemble. Enrollment is by audition with the conductor.

Five Penn State Music faculty members who make up the Pennsylvania Quintet, posing in a green, grassy field with moody mountains and sky in the background.

Faculty Ensembles


Duo Concertant

At the home of one of Pennsylvania’s best collegiate music schools resides an outstanding chamber ensemble – Duo Concertant. This simple combination of piano and violin has traveled throughout the United States and Asia, performing at many prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.

The Musicians

James Lyon resides in State College, Pennsylvania. Since his appointment in 1991, he has been teaching studio violin at the Penn State University. Professor Lyon has appeared as soloist with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, the Dallas Ballet, and the Amarillo, Genesee, Hershey, Nittany Valley, and Altoona symphonies. He has been a member of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra, the Harrington Quartet, and the Kentucky Center Chamber Players. Lyon has appeared on CBS television and Radio-televisione Italia as well as radio broadcasts from New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. He is a graduate of West Texas State University, the North Carolina School of the Arts, and the Eastman School of Music. He also has served on the faculties of the Eastern Music Festival, West Texas State University, and Indiana University Southeast, as well as summer appointments at The Quartet Program at Bucknell University and the University of Siena. His teachers/coaches have included Charles Castleman, Elaine Richey, and members of the Tokyo, Cleveland, and Fine Arts Quartets.

Timothy Paul Shafer also resides in State College, teaching studio piano at Penn State. In 1997 he was named Teacher of the Year by the Pennsylvania Music Teacher’s Association. He was awarded the bachelor of music degree in piano performance from the Oberlin Conservatory, where he won several performing awards, including the Rudolf Serkin Outstanding Pianist Award. He received masters and doctoral degrees in piano performance from Indiana University, where he was the winner of the annual concerto competition. He is an active performer, clinician, and adjudicator throughout the country for professional music organizations and colleges, and is a frequent soloist with many regional orchestras. Shafer is the co-author of Class Piano for Adult Beginners, published by Prentice-Hall.

Out standing in Our Field

Recorded in 1995, Out standing in Our Field, is the title of Duo Concertant’s compact disc recording featuring works by Stravinsky, Debussy, and Strauss. Their performances and recordings have been hailed by The New York Concert Review and Strings Magazine. The track listings are as follows:

Suite Italienne (Igor Stravinski 1882 – 1971)
1. Introduzione (2:14)
2. Serenata (3:09)
3. Tarantella (2:30)
4. Gavotta con due Variazoni (3:43)
Variation 1: Allegretto
Variation 2: Allegretto Piu Tosto Moderato
5. Scherzino (1:28)
6. Minuetto E. Finale (5:13)

Sonate pour Violon et Piano (Claude Debussy 1862 – 1918)
1. Allegro (5:13)
2. Intermede (4:18)
3. Finale – Tres Anime (4:37)

Sonata in E Flat, Opus 18 (Richard Strauss 1864 – 1949)
1. Allegro ma non Troppo (12:26)
2. Improvisation (7:58)
3. Finale: Andante; Allegro (9:06)

Reviews

“Shafer played the difficult piano part (of the Strauss Violin Sonata) with notable aplomb and dexterity. The Debussy…was…elegantly recreated. It was an intelligent and well-played performance. The Stravinsky, in an alert, often humorous reading, showed both players well in command of their instruments and to have, furthermore, a goodly command of the stylistic vocabulary of this confection. The rhythms were bracing, the balances adroitly gauged, and there was more than a modicum of the grit and acerbity that this tongue-in-cheek material calls for. I look forward to more music-making from these serious… instrumentalists.” – Harris Goldsmith, New York Concert Review

“Their ensemble and balance were excellent. The Strauss had sweep and ardor and sounded beautiful.” – Edith Eisler, Strings Magazine

Booking

If you would like to have Duo Concertant play for you, please contact:

Encore Artist Managment
1557 Lemoyne Street, Suite 101
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Phone (213) 413-4215

Pennsylvania BrassWorks

The Pennsylvania BrassWorks is comprised of Penn State School of Music full-time, resident brass faculty Langston Fitzgerald III, trumpet; Lisa O. Bontrager, horn; Mark L. Lusk, trombone; and Velvet Brown, tuba. The ensemble is joined by one of several talented graduate trumpet students chosen by Dr. Fitzgerald. The Pennsylvania BrassWorks presents repertoire from the Baroque to jazz, and is equally comfortable performing in educational settings as well as concert halls.

Pennsylvania Quintet

The Pennsylvania Quintet, an acclaimed wind chamber music ensemble, has been concertizing since 1984 at major venues on both sides of the Atlantic. Performances include concerts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in New York City, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany, as well as recitals in Nuremberg and Frankfurt.

In addition to concerts on many university guest artist series, the Quintet has been Ensemble-in-Residence at the Sedona Chamber Music Festival and a winner of the National Flute Association’s international Chamber Music Ensemble Competition. National Public Radio has featured the Quintet in its nationally-syndicated program, Performance Today. The Pennsylvania Quintet can be heard on three compact disc recordings: American Wind Music (Centaur 2085); 20th Century Wind Chamber Music (Centaur 2225); and Recent American Works for Winds (Centaur 2509). The Pennsylvania Quintet is comprised of Penn State faculty members Naomi Seidman (flute), Tim Hurtz (oboe), Anthony Costa (clarinet), Lisa Bontrager (horn), and Daryl Durran (bassoon).

Recent American Works for Winds
The Pennsylvania Quintet
Eleanor Duncan Armstrong, flute
Tim Hurtz, oboe
Smith Toulson, clarinet
Lisa O. Bontrager, horn
Daryl Durran, bassoon

Steve Cohen: Wind Quintet (1982-83; rev 1992)
William Albright: Abiding Passions (1988)
Roger Zahab: Doubles Keening (1991)
Tom Benjamin: Bagatelles (1981)
Dana Wilson: Mirrors (1993)
Derek Bermel: Wanderings (1994)
Centaur CRC 2509

20th Century Wind Chamber Music
The Pennsylvania Quintet
Eleanor Duncan Armstrong, flute
Barry Kroeker, oboe
Smith Toulson, clarinet
Lisa O. Bontrager, horn
Daryl Durran, bassoon
with Jan Wilson, mezzo-soprano

Steven Stucky: Serenade for Wind Quintet (1990)
Arthur Berger: Quartet for Woodwinds in C Major (1941)
Nicholas Thorne: Quintet, Op. 28 (1991)
Jan Bach: Four 2-Bit Contraptions for Flute and Horn (1970)
R. Murray Schafer: Minnelieder – Love Songs from the Medieval German for Mezzo-soprano and Wind Quintet (1956)
Centaur CRC 2225

American Wind Music
The Pennsylvania Quintet
Eleanor Duncan Armstrong, flute
Barry Kroeker, oboe
Smith Toulson, clarinet
Lisa O. Bontrager, horn
Daryl Durran, bassoon

Irving Fine: Partita for Wind Quintet
George Rochherg: To the Dark Wood
Alvin Etler: Quintet No. 1 for Woodwind Instruments
Jan Bach: Skizzen – Suite after drawings by Heinrich Kley
Centaur CRC 2085