For fans of jazz and modern music buffs, this year's annual Rocky Mountain Music Festival was yet again a real treat.
A tradition since 1978, the festival highlights exceptional composers and was fortunate enough this year to feature a popular jazz artist often thought to be one of the key instrumental influences in the genre to date.
Monday and Tuesday CSU celebrated the works of world-renowned composer David Baker. Baker is known for his jazz compositions and his use of jazz in classical music.
Having composed more than 2,000 pieces, Baker has received numerous awards ranging from the National Endowment for the Arts American Jazz Masters Award to Grammy and Pulitzer Prize nominations. In addition, Baker developed the Jazz Studies Department at Indiana University where he is a professor, drawing in many students hopeful to work with him.
Throughout the festival, students had the opportunity to work with Baker in choir, orchestra and jazz ensemble.
On Monday and Tuesday, CSU hosted two separate student concerts where chosen artists played Baker's work in his presence. The first one took place in the Music Building Concert Hall and was a faculty music chamber concert. The second was in the Lory Student Center Theatre and featured a much larger student ensemble.
The festival was founded under the direction of CSU professor James McCray. Up until this year, McCray also ran the event, but Barbara Thiem, a resident artist and acclaimed cellist at CSU took over the 2005 festival. During the chamber music concert on Monday, Theim played her rendition of Baker's piece, "Singers of Song-Weavers of Dreams."
This is not Baker's first visit to CSU and, as usual, the university is thankful to offer students such an invaluable chance to work with such an accomplished and skilled artist.
For those looking for another way to enjoy the classical arts, this Saturday the music school will be having one of their faculty recitals, "Poetry, Imagery, & Fireworks!- The Paris Connection." The piano recital, featuring professor Janet Landreth, offers to carry you to Paris through the poetry and music of those that lived there. With a finale of fireworks and imagery, the event will be a totally unique experience for anyone interested in the arts.
"The Paris Connection" is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the University Center for the Arts Griffin Hall, 1400 Remington St. Tickets cost $4 to $7.