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6432-Malone University music faculty present recital of new compositions

6432-October 12, 2012

Malone University music faculty will present a recital of new compositions Monday, October 29, at 7:30 p.m. in the sanctuary of the Johnson Center for Worship and the Fine Arts. The recital - featuring compositions by Jesse Ayers, D.M.A.; and Jack Ballard Jr., Ph.D. - is free and open to the public. A program follows.

Jesse AyersJesse Ayers is winner of the 2011 American Prize for Orchestral Composition, co-winner of the 2011 Dayton Ballet 'New Music for New Dance,' and a 2010 recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship. His music has been performed in Italy, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Russia, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, and more than 100 U.S. cities.

His music has twice been selected by the International Society for Contemporary Music to represent the United States at the prestigious World Music Days festival.  Much of his music is scored for large, "surround-sound" forces and explores the intersection of the spiritual and natural worlds and the redemptive intervention of a very real God in the affairs of the human race. But there is also a fun-loving side to the music of this split-personality composer, seen in pieces like Flashbax,  Waldstein Express, Mountain River Escapades, and The Dancing King, music filled with energy, rhythmic syncopations, bright, cheerful harmonies, and which are meant to be just plain fun. Dr. Ayers' other awards include an Individual Creativity Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council, 16 awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, grants from Meet the Composer and the American Music Center, and Malone University's Distinguished Faculty Award. He has been a guest composer on university campuses in Iowa, Colorado, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, California, Illinois, Indiana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, and Tennessee.

Born in East Tennessee, Ayers began composing around age 14, and at 16 was invited by WJ Julian to conduct the University of Tennessee Band in Ayers' first work for band. Ayers earned the bachelor's and master's degrees in music composition from the University of Tennessee, and the doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Kentucky. Awards garnered by his former students include a Pulitzer Prize and a BMI-John Lennon Prize.

Jack BallardJack Ballard, Ph.D., has composed and produced music in a variety of genres, from classical and film music to jazz and bluegrass. He worked with Gunther Schuller, Wendell Jones, Arthur Post, David Maddux, and Frank Wiley, and received B.A.Ed and M.M. degrees from Central Washington and Eastern Washington Universities. His half-dissertation on hyperextended tertian sonority is from Kent State University. Its initial research received the Bruce Benward Student Music Theory Award in 2007. His ballet, The Castle for orchestra, received the Ipark Foundation's Thanatopolis Prize for Memorial Composition for the movement, "Lament." His most recent work is an oratorio for choir, soloists and orchestra entitled Incarnatus Dei. He received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach music and research African music production in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013.  

Probably the best known representation of his diversity in styles and instrumentation is his song cycle The Psalms (REX Music, 1994), which includes such jazz notables as Alex Acuña, David Friesen, Fletch Wiley, Tom Patitucci, and others, and members of the Oregon Symphony. "So unique and creative, it breaks new artistic ground" from National Religious Broadcaster. "A great collection:" Moody Monthly. Of his symphonic poem for orchestra, The Traveler's Psalm, the Durango Herald wrote: "Enchanting, lyrical and polished to the point that it sounded as if it were the work of one of our time-honored masters."  His pieces often incorporate classical and ethnic styles throughout the world, but especially New World and Old World styles that contributed to the development of music in North and South America. Ballard's production company, Kiwibird Creative Services, specializes in production that develops popular and classical style integration, such as film scoring and eclectic CD projects. The company markets its services in the film world as being genre- and period- specific and prides itself on being able to do original and unique scores culturally supportive of period, ethnic, and exotic settings. He is music department chair at Malone University in Canton, Ohio and presently teaches in music production, ministry and composition. His website is www.kiwicreate.net.

Michael BensonMichael Benson, D.M.A. (NCTM) serves as the coordinator of keyboard studies in the Department of Music at Malone University.   He has performed at the Smithsonian Institution, Steinway Hall, and Preston Bradley Hall on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series and has contributed piano pedagogy articles to Texas Music Teacher, American Music Teacher, Teaching Music, Keyboard Companion, Clavier and the on-line journal Piano Pedagogy Forum. In March 2011, he began a two-year appointment as a member of the editorial committee for Music Teachers National Associations e-Journal. During the summer, he is on the piano faculty at Interlochen Summer Arts Camp where he teaches in the advanced junior piano program and co-teaches the high school piano pedagogy course. During Fall 2001, he was invited to teach piano and group piano as a foreign expert in the Peoples Republic of China at JiMei University. He holds degrees in piano performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University where he studied piano with Robert Roux and The University of Texas at Austin where he studied piano and piano pedagogy with Martha Hilley, Sophia Gilmson and Nancy Garrett.

Ralitsa Georgieva-Smith is a piano faculty at Malone University and collaborative piano faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music. She received her B.M and M.M in piano performance from the State Conservatory of Music - Sofia, Bulgaria, a second M.M. in piano performance from University of South Florida, and P.S. in collaborative piano from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Some of her professional engagements include staff pianist at the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, Vermont, Cleveland Trombone Seminar (led by members of the Cleveland Orchestra), Cleveland Institute of Music Preparatory and Continuing Education Program. Other appearances include the "Peter the Great" Festival in the Netherlands, Chamber Music Festival in Perugia, Italy, "Koncerteum" in Greece, Franz Schubert festival for two pianos/four hands in Czech Republic and Contemporary Music Festival "Pianissimo" in Sofia, Bulgaria. She has performed as a soloist with the Sliven Symphony Orchestra, the Bourgas Philharmonic, and the Bulgarian National Chamber Orchestra in Bulgaria. Several of her professional collaborators include Steve Witser (former assistant principal trombone, Cleveland Orchestra/former principal of L.A. Philharmonic) Massimo La Rosa (Principal Trombone, Cleveland Orchestra), Carol Jantsch (tuba, Philadelphia Orchestra), Oystein Baadsvik (international tuba soloist) and Haim Avitsur. Her principal teachers include Anita Pontremoli and Svetozar Ivanov. She also received coaching from David and Linda Cerone, Linda Jones, Elizabeth DeMio, Virginia Weckstrom, and members of the Cleveland Orchestra. She has participated in master classes with Martin Katz, Warren Jones, Logan Skelton, Barry Snyder, and John Elliot. In 2006 (the year of her graduation), she was the recipient of the Cleveland Institute of Music award for Excellence and Achievements in Collaborative Piano.

A native of Akron, Mark Greer completed his bachelor of music degree, magna cum laude, in piano performance at Bowling Green State University under Dr. Laura Melton and recently received his M.M. in piano performance from Kent State University. Greer recently made his orchestral debut in April 2008 performing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K.466 with the Heiligenstadt Chamber Orchestra under Theodore Albrecht. Awards and honors include 1st prize in the state finals of the 2005 OMTA Collegiate Buckeye Competition, 2nd prize at the 2003 Tuesday Musical Competition, Honors in the 2004 and 2006 OMTA Graves Young Artist Competitions, was a finalist in the 2004 Bowling Green University Piano Concerto Competition, and was the 2005 recipient of the college's Steve Vun Cannon Memorial Award. He made his Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall (NYC) in March of 2006. In November of 2004, Greer was the only American pianist selected to perform on the Dorothy MacKenzie Price Dedication Concert. During the summer of 2004, he was featured live on Vermont Public Radio performing music by Samuel Barber. He has performed in masterclasses with Nelita True, Spencer Myer, Enrico Elisi, Kate Boyd, Lambis Vassiliadis, and Virginia Marks. As a student at the Adamant Music School, he worked with pianists Paul Alberts and Gwen Beamish. Other teachers include Jane Solose and Mary Ann Griebling. In addition to piano, Greer is an accomplished composer, having been a two-time national prizewinner in the NFMC Composers Contest where he received the Olga Klein Nelson Chamber Music Award for his piece Trois Spectacles. Other awards include a prizewinner in the 2001 OMTA Collegiate Composers contest, honors in the Cleveland Chamber Symphony's High School Composers Contest, a two-time winner of the Ralph Gilman Composers Award, and a four-time winner of Akron's Scholastic Composers Contest. His piece entitled Aspect of a Mood was premiered by the Akron Youth Symphony under Eric Benjamin, an orchestra in which he served as principal bassist.

As a young cellist and composer, Yuriy Leonovich, D.M.A., has already received international attention. Born in Kiev, Ukraine, he immigrated with his family to the United States, where he began studying cello at 11 and composition at 12. Leonovich's cello teachers include Stephen Geber, Robert De Maine and Marcy Chanteaux. He also studied composition with James Hartway. Leonovich received his doctorate of musical arts from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Leonovich is an active proponent of Eastern European, Spanish, Soviet-era, as well as new music. He has collaborated with Kimbo Ishii-Eto in the Cleveland premiere of Khachaturian's Concerto-Rhapsody and with Gary Ciepluch in the Cleveland premiere of De Meij's Casanova. As an active recitalist, Leonovich frequently collaborates with Daniil Trifonov, Elizabeth De Mio and Jeanette Aufiero. His compositions and arrangements have been played in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia/Oceania by Massimo La Rosa, Brian Thornton, the Spirale Piano Trio, the New Zealand viola ensemble Viola Viva: The Next Generation and others. In 2010 the Cleveland Orchestra's principal trombone Massimo La Rosa recorded Leonovich's arrangement of Rossini's Barber of Seville overture. This recording, which appears on La Rosa's "Cantando" album, marked Leonovich's commercial-recording debut. La Rosa frequently takes the arrangement on tour to Italy and South America. Leonovich's arrangement of Puccini's Intermezzo from Manon Lescaut will be included on La Rosa's projected second album. The Rusalka Fantasie, which has been performed internationally by various Cleveland Orchestra members, will be included on Brian Thornton's Lev Aronson Project album. In 2006 Leonovich  completed Tchaikovsky's Cello Concerto. This grand project was made possible with the help of Brett Langston, who generously provided sketches and ideas for the piece. The article about this project can be found at www.tchaikovsky-research.org . The premiere of the completion is currently scheduled to take place in Yekaterinburg, Russia with cellist Vladislav Kozin and conductor Anton Shaburov at the Ural State Conservatory on December 20, 2012. In addition to completing the Tchaikovsky Concerto, Leonovich has arranged Stravinsky's Rite of Spring for cello octet and Bach's Fifth Solo Suite and Mozart String Quartet, K. 589 for cello quartet. Following his vision to expand the standard cello repertoire, Leonovich recently wrote a research document on Gaspar Cassadó's cello concertos.

Allison Lint is a 2009 graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory, where she studied violin performance with Gregory Fulkerson and minored in music history. A native of Cuyahoga Falls, she is an alumna of both the Cleveland Institute of Music's Young Artist Program and the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra. Allison is also an avid violist, twice winning first prize in the Ohio Viola Society competition under the tutelage of Peter Slowik. She has been invited to participate in masterclasses with Gil Shaham, Anner Bylsma, Vadim Gluzman, and Midori.

Ms. Lint has ten years of teaching experience in violin, viola, cello, and piano, and is currently strings faculty of the Fairlawn School of Music and Hudson School of Music. One of Allison's favorite avenues of performance is musical theater; since 2006, she has appeared as pit musician for several theaters in the Northeast Ohio area, including My Fair Lady at the Beck Center for the Arts, Blood Brothers at Cassidy Theater, A Little Night Music and Les Miserables at Fairmount Performing Arts Conservatory, and The King and I at Heights Youth Theater. She will next be heard in A Midsummer Night's Dream at University Circle United Methodist Church. In addition to classical performance, Allison is often involved with pop/rock and contemporary groups. In September, she had the honor of appearing as concertmaster of the orchestra backing The Buckinghams (http://www.thebuckinghams.com/) at Stambaugh Auditorium in Youngstown. In November she will lead a string quartet for a Roy Orbison tribute show at the Akron Civic Theater. She makes regular appearances with Los Angeles-based band The Strange Familiar (http://thestrangefamiliar.com/), seen in the top 48 of NBC's "America's Got Talent" season 5, as well as the Ryan Humbert Band, and has performed live shows with rock groups in Cleveland, Oberlin, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia.  Currently Ms. Lint serves as a graduate string teaching assistant at the University of Akron. As founder of the non-profit initiative Violin for Vasculitis (www.facebook.com/violin4vasculitis), Allison is traveling to all 50 states to raise awareness and funding for vascular disease, with which she was diagnosed as a teenager. Since May of 2011 she has performed and organized concerts in 14 of the 50 states, with 6 more events programmed for 2013.

Cynthia Wohlschlager, mezzo-soprano, is the vocal coordinator at Malone University as well as artistic director of the newly formed opera workshop. Performances have taken Cynthia to Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. A native of northeast Ohio, she has performed operas in area schools through Opera Cleveland on Tour and The Akron Concert Society. She was a featured soloist at the Spoleto Music Festival in Italy and won an opportunity to sing "Qui la voce" from I Puritani in Graz, Austria under the esteemed conductor Edoardo Müller. This spring, she will perform the mezzo solos in Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Tuscarawas Philharmonic. Recitals venues include the French Society of Cleveland, the Tuesday Musical Club at the Akron Art Museum, Christmas at Malone, the CIM Women's Committee Recital Series, and the Jefferson Arts Council Concert Series. She has appeared with the Duke Symphony Orchestra in performances of Le Nozze di Figaro and Hansel and Gretel. She is a member of the core ensemble with Opera Cleveland and has been seen in numerous productions at the State Theatre in Playhouse Square.

Cynthia is a recipient of the O.D. Taliferro Opera Scholarship and has won the Max Berman Award for Outstanding Vocal Performance, The Tuesday Musical Club Scholarship Competition and The Dewey and Mary Gilley Memorial Award for Distinguished Opera Performance. Ms. Wohlschlager's operatic performances include the roles of both the Mother and the Witch from Hansel and Gretel, Countess Almaviva from Le Nozze di Figaro, Arminda from La Finta Giardinera, and Angelica from Suor Angelica, among others.   Master class experiences include working with Mirella Freni, John Wustman, Elly Ameling, Warren Jones, and Martin Katz. Cynthia's students have taken Grand Prize of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra Jean L. Petitt Scholarship Competition, first place in the VOCI Scholarship Competition, have been named finalist in the Classical Singer Regional Competition, and have been named semi finalist in the Opera Columbus Irma Cooper Competition and the Orpheus Competition. Students have been accepted into such programs as NISHMI, NY Theatre Institute at Juilliard, Canton Comic Opera, Music Theatre Overtures with Victoria Bussert, and The CoOPERAtive Program at Westminster. Students have sung with Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera Cleveland, Emerald City Opera, {Red} an Orchestra, Akron Symphony, Canton Symphony, Tuscarawas Symphony, and the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. Crossover students in rock and jazz have had successful CD and music video releases and have gone on international and college music tours. Musical theatre students have performed off-Broadway through the Ice Factory Festival and The Anywhere Festival in Australia, and with many regional venues including The Cleveland Playhouse, Dobama Theatre, North Canton Playhouse, and Cain Park. Students have been accepted to attend Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Boston Conservatory, Florida State, San Francisco Conservatory, Yale, Carnegie Melon, Louisiana State, and Ithaca Conservatory of Music, among others. Cynthia is a member of the music honor society Pi Kappa Lambda and The National Association of Teachers of Singing. Past appointments include The Cleveland Institute of Music and Case Western Reserve University. Cynthia is on the voice faculties of Malone University, The University of Akron, and Sessione per la Musica et l'Arte in Siena, Italy.

Piano Man (1990)        Jesse Ayers

(b. 1951)

Ralitsa Georgieva-Smith, piano

Concerto for Trombone........................... Jack DW Ballard Jr.

I. con moto            (b. 1960)

II. prelude and march

III. vivacissimo

Come Sing God's Song (1993).............................. Jesse Ayers

Cynthia Wohlschlager & Ralitsa Georgieva-Smith

Prayers from the Ashes ....................................... Jesse Ayers

............................................... III. I Waited (Psalm 40) (1991)

......................... IV. My Soul Thirsts (Psalms 63 & 32) (1988)

Cynthia Wohlschlager & Ralitsa Georgieva-Smith

Trio - "Reflections"  ............................... Jack DW Ballard Jr.

........................................................................ II. Meditations

................................................................... III. Consideration

Waldstein Express (2002)..................................... Jesse Ayers

This piece was compose for the Malone University Piano Department and is dedicated to Professor Sandra Carnes.

Ralitsa Georgieva-Smith, Michael Benson,

Mark Greer, and Jack Ballard

Malone University, a Christian university for the arts, sciences, and professions in the liberal arts tradition, affiliated with the Evangelical Friends Church, awards both undergraduate and graduate degrees in more than 100 academic programs. Malone has been recognized by the prestigious Templeton Foundation as a leader in character development, as one of Northeast Ohio’s Top Workplaces by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and is ranked among the top colleges and universities in the Midwest under the category Regional Universities according to U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Colleges 2015 


Suzanne Thomas, APR
Director of University Relations
Malone University
2600 Cleveland Avenue N.W., Canton, OH, 44709
Phone: 330-471-8239
Cell: 330-324-2424

Categories: choralvocal