The Southern Oregon University Music Department is marking the fall term with a series of concerts featuring its student performance groups.

The Southern Oregon University Music Department is marking the fall term with a series of concerts featuring its student performance groups.

Percussion Ensemble

The series gets under way with the SOU Percussion Ensemble under the direction of Terry Longshore. The group will present will present "Incantations" at 8 p.m. Tuesday, December 2, in the SOU Music Recital Hall, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

The ensemble has garnered praise throughout the Northwest for its performances of contemporary percussion music that entertains, challenges, and excites listeners of all ages. Composer William Kraft (former Los Angeles Philharmonic composer-in-residence, associate conductor and principal timpanist) said of the ensemble, "I have never — repeat, never — been so pleased with performances of my works."

The program will feature André Jolivet's "Concert en Suite" for flute and percussion, highlighting flutist Tessa Brinckman and SOU percussionists Brian Banegas, Reed Bentley, Chris Matthews and Evin McHill (conducted by Terry Longshore). The 1965 work features the C flute and the alto flute and contrasts virtuosic passages with lush, beautiful textures. The percussion writing, all for nonpitched instruments, adds textures that alternate between playful, jazzy, somber, and pointillistic.

Originally from New Zealand, Brinckman enjoys a versatile career, having worked in many classical music ensembles and concert series in the United States, South Africa and New Zealand. Her orchestral and festival work includes the Oregon Symphony, New Haven International Arts, Oregon Bach, Ernest Bloch, Bumbershoot and Astoria Music Festivals. She has recorded and composed for theatre in New Zealand, New York and Seattle, for Radio New Zealand and for TV commercials.

Brinckman is the founder of Ensemble East West (formerly East West Continuo) and co-founder of Caballito Negro, a flute and percussion duo with Longshore. She has received local and international grants to present unique historic and contemporary chamber music programs and has premiered numerous works by American composers.

The concert will open with "Incantation," an arrangement by Michael A. Hernandez of Benoit Jutras's piece for Cirque du Soleil. Also featured will be "Duet" for marimba and vibraphone by Daniel Levitan, "Nostalgiac Strains" by Erik Griswold, and two trios by percussionist/composer William L. Cahn ("Changes" and "6 Pieces for Percussion"). The concert will close with "The Grand Ambulation of the B Flat Zombies" by John Bergamo, one of the ensemble's favorite friends and composers.

Symphonic Band

The Southern Oregon University Symphonic Band will present a concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, in the SOU Music Recital Hall. The Southern Oregon Symphonic Band will join the SOU band in a collaborative performance.

The SOU Symphonic Band's music selections will feature compositions by women. Four talented female composers have been chosen whose music spans most of the 20th century.

Selections include the 20th-century composition "Three Negro Dances" by African American composer Florence Price. This 1938 work was originally written for piano and arranged for band by Erik Leidzen.

Shelly Hanson's "Seis Manuel" was written in 2003. It is a dance in Puerto Rican style and is the third movement of a four-movement suite "Islas y Montañas" featuring dance music from the Americas. Hanson's music has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia. As a clarinetist, she is an active performer and is a member of the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra.

Composer Elena Roussanova Lucas grew up in Russia and is currently a faculty member at the Boston University College of Fine Arts where she teaches theory and composition. She has quickly emerged as a prolific composer for band. Her "Serenade for Winds" is an elegant and lyrical piece, set in a chorale style.

Nancy Galbraith has been actively composing music since the late 1970s, creating instrumental and vocal music known for its rich harmonic texture, rhythmic vitality, emotional and spiritual depth, and wide range of expression. She is currently a professor of composition at Carnegie Mellon University.

Galbraith's work, "with brightness round about it" was composed in 1993. The work was inspired by the text from the old testament book of Ezekiel. "As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness round about it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming bronze . . . from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures." The piece is a melodic tonal depiction, capturing the mood of the text on which it was inspired.

Also featured is a newly discovered work for band by one of America's most honored composers, Howard Hanson. Hanson composed "Triumphal Ode" for military band in 1918 while he was a faculty member in the music department at the College of the Pacific in San Jose, California. "Triumphal Ode" was one of Hanson's earliest compositions and published postmortem in 2008.

Concluding the program will be the march "Fairest of the Fair" composed in 1908 by John Philip Sousa (1854-1932). The University Symphonic Band is sharing this concert with the Southern Oregon Symphonic Band under the direction of Bill Norfleet.

The Southern Oregon Symphonic Band is comprised of community musicians from the Rogue Valley and will feature SOU music major Nicklas Waroff performing th"Concertino for Saxophone and Band" by Jerry Bilik.

Tickets for each SOU performance are $10 for general admission and free for students. Tickets and season passes may be purchased by calling 552-6101, or at the music box office before the performance. See sou.edu/music.