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KU dean and faculty member release new CD, Cross Connection

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cover Art of Cross ConnectionLAWRENCE, KS—Robert Walzel, KU School of Music dean, and Eric Stomberg, associate professor of bassoon at KU, recently released Cross Connection on the Navona Records label.

Conceptually, Cross Connection joins music of separate cultures and styles – American, Scottish, Gypsy, classical, jazz, theatre and dance – connected in the belief that we as humans are all brothers and it is our music that binds us together.

The CD features selected works of Henry Wolking and James Scott Balentine. Wolking’s “Gone Playin’” is a three-movement concerto for clarinet and string orchestra, and is a spirited musical riff on epitaphs one might see in obituaries or gravestones. This work was commissioned by Walzel, which he premiered in 2006 as soloist with the Utah Philarharmonia in Salt Lake City. “Dùn Èideann,” composed by Balentine, is the Gaelic name for Edinburgh, Scotland and “blogh” is a Gaelic word for anecdote or fragment of a story. Premiered at the 2007 Utah Arts Festival, the work consists of musical impressions of the city and its people. Also included on the CD is Wolking’s “The Old Gypsy” for string quartet.

Cross Connection was recorded in June 2012 at Reduta Hall in Olomouc, Czech Republic with the Moravian Philarmonic Orchesta, directed by Petr Vronský.

The CD is distributed internationally by Navona Records and is available on Amazon.com», iTunes and ClassicsOnline.com». Navona Records offers listeners a fresh taste of today's leading innovators in orchestral, chamber, instrumental and experimental music as well as prime pieces of classic repertoire. Navona Records is a PARMA Recordings Company.

About the musicians

Photo of Robert WalzelRobert Walzel is the dean of the KU School of Music. He previously served as director at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and in a similar capacity at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. He also served on the Texas Tech University faculty for 11 years and as Principal Clarinetist of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra.

Active as a soloist and chamber musician, he has appeared with the Ensemble of Santa Fe, Dallas String Quartet, Texas Clarinet Consort, Intermezzo, Clear Lake Chamber Music Society and the Society for the Performing Arts in Houston. From major symphony orchestras to jazz and commercial music, Walzel has performed extensively in virtually every medium featuring clarinet and saxophone. International solo appearances include those in Europe, Asia, Africa and Central America. With pianist Steven Glaser, Walzel has toured as an Artistic Ambassador for the United States Information Agency. The duo has also released a commercial compact disc, Con Fuoco: Duos for Clarinet and Piano. Walzel was Festival Coordinator for ClarinetFest '97, the annual conference of the International Clarinet Association, and currently serves as Immediate Past President for this organization. Walzel serves as a visiting accreditation reviewer for the National Association of Schools of Music.

Walzel received his Bachelor of Music Education (Magna cum laude) from the University of Houston, his Master of Music from the University of Houston, and his Doctorate of Musical Arts in clarinet performance from the University of North Texas.

Photo of Eric StombergEric Stomberg enjoys a wide-ranging musical career as soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player and artist-teacher. He plays with "elegance and refinement" while displaying "impeccable tone and technique" (American Record Guide, 2009). He is quickly becoming one of the most sought after bassoonists in the country, with numerous invitations to present recitals and masterclasses at conservatories and schools of music across the country. His students have gone on to study at the most prestigious music schools in the country, while former students also hold orchestral and academic positions in the United States and abroad.

Stomberg maintains an active teaching and performing schedule with positions as associate professor of bassoon at the University of Kansas, instructor of bassoon at the Interlochen Arts Academy, and as a member of the chamber orchestra, City Music Cleveland. Prior to this appointment, he spent 10 years as a member of the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra.

Stomberg served as visiting professor of bassoon at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and has also held guest residencies at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music, Florida State University, and Michigan State University. Stomberg is also active in professional societies, serving as secretary for the International Double Reed Society and as President of the Midwest Double Reed Society.

Stomberg released his first CD in 2008, Victor Bruns: Music for Bassoon. Eric Stomberg and Friends, on the Azica label. Pianist Robert Koenig and fellow bassoonists George Sakakeeny (Oberlin Conservatory), Jonathan Sherwin (Cleveland Orchestra), and Barrick Stees (Cleveland Orchestra) joined Stomberg in the world-premiere recording of these works.

Stomberg received the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Kansas. His major teachers include William Winstead, Alan Hawkins and Gregg Randall.

For more information, contact the KU School of Music at 785-864-3436. music.ku.edu.

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