Pair of Heidelberg concerts feature McConnell compositions

Nov 5, 2013

Original compositions by Douglas McConnell of Heidelberg University’s School of Music will be featured in the repertoire of a pair of concerts later this month.

McConnell’s Happy Endings forms the basis for a guest artist recital at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15 in Brenneman Music Hall. The concert features Gail Levinsky on saxophone and Chi-Chen Wu on piano, who will perform the local premiere of the suite which he composed for tenor sax and piano.

On Sunday, Nov. 17, the School of Music will present a program of 20th and 21st century music for solo organ or organ with saxophone, again featuring Levinsky and Heidelberg organ instructor Joan McConnell. They will premiere Doug McConnell’s Your Morning Rises as a Song, which he wrote specifically for his wife and Ms. Levinsky. It is a tribute to Dr. Leanne Fazio, a friend, colleague, teacher and scholar. The concert is at 3 p.m. at Trinity United Church of Christ in Tiffin.

Both concerts are free and open to the community. The Nov. 15 program is being made possible through a grant from Conn-Selmer Inc. Forte Music in Tiffin is the participating Conn-Selmer dealer.

Doug McConnell is a professor of composition and theory and director of music technology and programs for the School of Music. McConnell has written for a variety of performing mediums, but he especially enjoys writing for voices. His work in this area includes a variety of works for choirs. He also has composed several song cycles, including Langston’s Lot, a song cycle for tenor voice, alto saxophone and piano based on the poetry of Langston Hughes.

He has composed for theatre as well; his work includes incidental music for several plays and two operatic works. His most extensive composition is his opera Lily, a 90-minute opera for children and families based on a short story by Walter Wangerin. McConnell’s compositions have been performed throughout the U.S. and internationally.

Levinsky has performed worldwide and has composed new works for saxophone. Additionally, she presents clinics at state music education symposiums. She is a graduate of Butler University and received master’s and doctoral degrees in music from Northwestern University.

Wu also is an experienced performer who has received broad praise for her playing across the world. She came to the U.S. from Taiwan in 1999 and received a doctorate and two master’s degrees in piano performance and collaborative piano from the New England Conservatory.

For additional information, contact the School of Music at 419-448-2073.