Billings Symphony: Schubert’s Unfinished

*Postponed from October 24th and 25th*

The BSOC’s season continues with Schubert’s hauntingly romantic “Unfinished” Symphony and Grammy-nominated cellist Amit Peled performing Saint-Saëns’ charmingly effervescent concerto.

In addition to our live concerts at Lockwood Performing Arts Center, the BSOC will offer a live stream option on Saturday night so that all who wish to can attend.

Please note that masks are required at all times when in our venues.  Thank you for helping us to safely present live music in Billings!

Under 30/Student tickets are available by calling 460-252-3610.

AMIT PELED

Israeli-American cellist, conductor, and pedagogue Amit Peled, a musician of profound artistry and charismatic stage presence, is acclaimed worldwide as one of the most exciting and virtuosic instrumentalists on the concert stage today. At 6′5″, Peled started life as a basketball player and was called “larger than life” and “Jacqueline du Pré in a farmer’s body” when he enveloped his cello. Peled strives to break down the barriers of the concert hall, about which The Baltimore Sun wrote, “His amiable and inviting personality is exactly the type everyone says we’ll need more of if classical music is to survive.” From 2012 through 2018, Peled performed on the Pablo Casals 1733 Goffriller cello, which was loaned to him personally by Casals’ widow, Marta Casals Istomin. He was also named Music Director for CityMusic Cleveland for the 2019-2020 season.

 

 

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS | CELLO CONCERTO NO. 1

Program Notes

In February 1871, as Paris began to recover from the Franco-Prussian war, the new Société Nationale de Musique—of which Saint-Saëns was a founder—promoted its first concert under the banner ‘Ars gallica,’ and the impetus was thereby given to young French composers to outdo the Germans in every way possible. It was partly pressure from the Société that pushed the staid Concerts du Conservatoire into accepting the premiere of Saint-Saëns’s first cello concerto in January 1873, but more the request from the established cellist Auguste Tolbecque, without which, the conductor kindly informed the composer, the work would not have had a hope.

Saint-Saëns broke with convention in writing the concerto. Instead of the normal three-movement concerto form, the score is compact in structure and plays in one continuous movement with three distinct sections. Tunes abound in an orderly way: the main themes of the outer sections move upwards, the second themes downwards. (That is, if the opening cello motif can be called a ‘theme’—the composer’s biographer Brian Rees refers to it as ‘an artefact rather than a melodious outburst.’) The turbulent opening section leads into a delightful minuet, which no doubt reassured Parisian audiences in those troubled times that French culture had survived after all. The return of earlier material in the third movement shows the influence of the cyclic patterns found in the music of Franz Liszt.

This sunny and colorful concerto has always been one of Saint-Saëns’ most popular pieces, and many composers, including Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff, considered it to be the greatest of all cello concertos. Musicologist and conductor Donald Tovey summed up this concerto—chosen by Pablo Casals for his 1905 London debut—with the remark that it is “pure and brilliant without putting on chastity as a garment, and without calling attention to its jewelry at a banquet of poor relations.”

Saint-Saëns’ concerto has appeared seven times on Billings Symphony programs, Soloists have included three MASO Young Artists and world-renown Hungarian-American cellist, János Starker (1924-2013).

 

FRANZ SCHUBERT | “UNFINISHED” SYMPHONY

Program Notes

If anyone can be said to have lived to write music, it was Franz Schubert. While he often complained about the difficulty of composition, he could also write with exceptional speed and fluidity, often finishing one work and immediately beginning another. The compositional output of his far-too-short career is staggering: nearly 1000 works, including 9 symphonies, 6 masses, 21 piano sonatas, 15 string quartets, 7 singspiels, 9 operas, a melodrama, the incidental music for Rosamunde, overtures, chamber music, and more than 600 song settings.

Of all his works, a romantic mystique has long surrounded the story of his “Unfinished” Symphony. Schubert composed his Symphony No. 8 (or No. 7, by some accounts) in B-minor in 1822, fully orchestrating the first two movements and some 20 bars of a scherzo. (A full piano sketch of the scherzo exists, but he never completed the orchestration.) The following year, Schubert received an honorary diploma from the Styrian Music Society in Graz. In his acceptance letter, he mentioned a newly composed symphony, and dispatched the manuscript of the B-minor Symphony to his friend, the composer Anselm Hüttenbrenner, after first ripping out the pages with the incomplete scherzo. For reasons unknown, Hüttenbrenner never forwarded the manuscript to the music society, and it lay in a drawer in his study for the next 42 years. A chance remark disclosed the existence of the symphony to the conductor Johann von Herbeck, who persuaded Hüttenbrenner to let him borrow the score, and in December of 1865—some 37 years after the composer’s death—the B-minor Symphony premiered to great critical acclaim.

The “Unfinished” Symphony is not Schubert’s only unfinished work; indeed, not even his only unfinished symphony, but it is the only one in which the extant movements are fully scored. There has been intense speculation about why Schubert never finished the work: illness (late in 1822 he contracted syphilis, which was eventually to take his life); overwork (at the time he was also working on two operas, the incidental music to the play Rosamunde, and the Wanderer fantasy); a reluctance to invite comparison to Beethoven; a fear that he could not sustain the remarkable character of the first two movements. There may be a grain of truth in this last explanation, for the “Unfinished” was certainly unlike any of his previous symphonies. But the most likely explanation is perhaps the simplest: the 25-year-old composer simply lost interest in the work and moved on.

Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony appeared on the Billings Symphony’s premier concert in May 1951, under the baton of founding conductor Robert Staffanson. His successor George Perkins was particularly fond of the work, programming in its, er, entirety for the Alberta Bair stage in November 1956, April 1973 and October 1982, and individual movements for Symphony in the Park in 1958, 1974 and 1976. The BSO’s last performance of the “Unfinished,” was in April 1990, under the baton of Uri Barnea.

 

*Programming subject to change

  • Posted on: June 20, 2021

Billings Symphony: Schubert’s Unfinished

*Postponed from October 24th and 25th*

The BSOC’s season continues with Schubert’s hauntingly romantic “Unfinished” Symphony and Grammy-nominated cellist Amit Peled performing Saint-Saëns’ charmingly effervescent concerto.

In addition to our live concerts at Lockwood Performing Arts Center, the BSOC will offer a live stream option on Saturday night so that all who wish to can attend.

Please note that masks are required at all times when in our venues.  Thank you for helping us to safely present live music in Billings!

Under 30/Student tickets are available by calling 460-252-3610.

AMIT PELED

Israeli-American cellist, conductor, and pedagogue Amit Peled, a musician of profound artistry and charismatic stage presence, is acclaimed worldwide as one of the most exciting and virtuosic instrumentalists on the concert stage today. At 6′5″, Peled started life as a basketball player and was called “larger than life” and “Jacqueline du Pré in a farmer’s body” when he enveloped his cello. Peled strives to break down the barriers of the concert hall, about which The Baltimore Sun wrote, “His amiable and inviting personality is exactly the type everyone says we’ll need more of if classical music is to survive.” From 2012 through 2018, Peled performed on the Pablo Casals 1733 Goffriller cello, which was loaned to him personally by Casals’ widow, Marta Casals Istomin. He was also named Music Director for CityMusic Cleveland for the 2019-2020 season.

 

 

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS | CELLO CONCERTO NO. 1

Program Notes

In February 1871, as Paris began to recover from the Franco-Prussian war, the new Société Nationale de Musique—of which Saint-Saëns was a founder—promoted its first concert under the banner ‘Ars gallica,’ and the impetus was thereby given to young French composers to outdo the Germans in every way possible. It was partly pressure from the Société that pushed the staid Concerts du Conservatoire into accepting the premiere of Saint-Saëns’s first cello concerto in January 1873, but more the request from the established cellist Auguste Tolbecque, without which, the conductor kindly informed the composer, the work would not have had a hope.

Saint-Saëns broke with convention in writing the concerto. Instead of the normal three-movement concerto form, the score is compact in structure and plays in one continuous movement with three distinct sections. Tunes abound in an orderly way: the main themes of the outer sections move upwards, the second themes downwards. (That is, if the opening cello motif can be called a ‘theme’—the composer’s biographer Brian Rees refers to it as ‘an artefact rather than a melodious outburst.’) The turbulent opening section leads into a delightful minuet, which no doubt reassured Parisian audiences in those troubled times that French culture had survived after all. The return of earlier material in the third movement shows the influence of the cyclic patterns found in the music of Franz Liszt.

This sunny and colorful concerto has always been one of Saint-Saëns’ most popular pieces, and many composers, including Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff, considered it to be the greatest of all cello concertos. Musicologist and conductor Donald Tovey summed up this concerto—chosen by Pablo Casals for his 1905 London debut—with the remark that it is “pure and brilliant without putting on chastity as a garment, and without calling attention to its jewelry at a banquet of poor relations.”

Saint-Saëns’ concerto has appeared seven times on Billings Symphony programs, Soloists have included three MASO Young Artists and world-renown Hungarian-American cellist, János Starker (1924-2013).

 

FRANZ SCHUBERT | “UNFINISHED” SYMPHONY

Program Notes

If anyone can be said to have lived to write music, it was Franz Schubert. While he often complained about the difficulty of composition, he could also write with exceptional speed and fluidity, often finishing one work and immediately beginning another. The compositional output of his far-too-short career is staggering: nearly 1000 works, including 9 symphonies, 6 masses, 21 piano sonatas, 15 string quartets, 7 singspiels, 9 operas, a melodrama, the incidental music for Rosamunde, overtures, chamber music, and more than 600 song settings.

Of all his works, a romantic mystique has long surrounded the story of his “Unfinished” Symphony. Schubert composed his Symphony No. 8 (or No. 7, by some accounts) in B-minor in 1822, fully orchestrating the first two movements and some 20 bars of a scherzo. (A full piano sketch of the scherzo exists, but he never completed the orchestration.) The following year, Schubert received an honorary diploma from the Styrian Music Society in Graz. In his acceptance letter, he mentioned a newly composed symphony, and dispatched the manuscript of the B-minor Symphony to his friend, the composer Anselm Hüttenbrenner, after first ripping out the pages with the incomplete scherzo. For reasons unknown, Hüttenbrenner never forwarded the manuscript to the music society, and it lay in a drawer in his study for the next 42 years. A chance remark disclosed the existence of the symphony to the conductor Johann von Herbeck, who persuaded Hüttenbrenner to let him borrow the score, and in December of 1865—some 37 years after the composer’s death—the B-minor Symphony premiered to great critical acclaim.

The “Unfinished” Symphony is not Schubert’s only unfinished work; indeed, not even his only unfinished symphony, but it is the only one in which the extant movements are fully scored. There has been intense speculation about why Schubert never finished the work: illness (late in 1822 he contracted syphilis, which was eventually to take his life); overwork (at the time he was also working on two operas, the incidental music to the play Rosamunde, and the Wanderer fantasy); a reluctance to invite comparison to Beethoven; a fear that he could not sustain the remarkable character of the first two movements. There may be a grain of truth in this last explanation, for the “Unfinished” was certainly unlike any of his previous symphonies. But the most likely explanation is perhaps the simplest: the 25-year-old composer simply lost interest in the work and moved on.

Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony appeared on the Billings Symphony’s premier concert in May 1951, under the baton of founding conductor Robert Staffanson. His successor George Perkins was particularly fond of the work, programming in its, er, entirety for the Alberta Bair stage in November 1956, April 1973 and October 1982, and individual movements for Symphony in the Park in 1958, 1974 and 1976. The BSO’s last performance of the “Unfinished,” was in April 1990, under the baton of Uri Barnea.

 

*Programming subject to change

  • Posted on: June 19, 2021

Billings Symphony: Schubert’s Unfinished

*Postponed from October 24th and 25th*

The BSOC’s season continues with Schubert’s hauntingly romantic “Unfinished” Symphony and Grammy-nominated cellist Amit Peled performing Saint-Saëns’ charmingly effervescent concerto.

In addition to our live concerts at Lockwood Performing Arts Center, the BSOC will offer a live stream option on Saturday night so that all who wish to can attend.

Please note that masks are required at all times when in our venues.  Thank you for helping us to safely present live music in Billings!

Under 30/Student tickets are available by calling 460-252-3610.

AMIT PELED

Israeli-American cellist, conductor, and pedagogue Amit Peled, a musician of profound artistry and charismatic stage presence, is acclaimed worldwide as one of the most exciting and virtuosic instrumentalists on the concert stage today. At 6′5″, Peled started life as a basketball player and was called “larger than life” and “Jacqueline du Pré in a farmer’s body” when he enveloped his cello. Peled strives to break down the barriers of the concert hall, about which The Baltimore Sun wrote, “His amiable and inviting personality is exactly the type everyone says we’ll need more of if classical music is to survive.” From 2012 through 2018, Peled performed on the Pablo Casals 1733 Goffriller cello, which was loaned to him personally by Casals’ widow, Marta Casals Istomin. He was also named Music Director for CityMusic Cleveland for the 2019-2020 season.

 

 

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS | CELLO CONCERTO NO. 1

Program Notes

In February 1871, as Paris began to recover from the Franco-Prussian war, the new Société Nationale de Musique—of which Saint-Saëns was a founder—promoted its first concert under the banner ‘Ars gallica,’ and the impetus was thereby given to young French composers to outdo the Germans in every way possible. It was partly pressure from the Société that pushed the staid Concerts du Conservatoire into accepting the premiere of Saint-Saëns’s first cello concerto in January 1873, but more the request from the established cellist Auguste Tolbecque, without which, the conductor kindly informed the composer, the work would not have had a hope.

Saint-Saëns broke with convention in writing the concerto. Instead of the normal three-movement concerto form, the score is compact in structure and plays in one continuous movement with three distinct sections. Tunes abound in an orderly way: the main themes of the outer sections move upwards, the second themes downwards. (That is, if the opening cello motif can be called a ‘theme’—the composer’s biographer Brian Rees refers to it as ‘an artefact rather than a melodious outburst.’) The turbulent opening section leads into a delightful minuet, which no doubt reassured Parisian audiences in those troubled times that French culture had survived after all. The return of earlier material in the third movement shows the influence of the cyclic patterns found in the music of Franz Liszt.

This sunny and colorful concerto has always been one of Saint-Saëns’ most popular pieces, and many composers, including Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff, considered it to be the greatest of all cello concertos. Musicologist and conductor Donald Tovey summed up this concerto—chosen by Pablo Casals for his 1905 London debut—with the remark that it is “pure and brilliant without putting on chastity as a garment, and without calling attention to its jewelry at a banquet of poor relations.”

Saint-Saëns’ concerto has appeared seven times on Billings Symphony programs, Soloists have included three MASO Young Artists and world-renown Hungarian-American cellist, János Starker (1924-2013).

 

FRANZ SCHUBERT | “UNFINISHED” SYMPHONY

Program Notes

If anyone can be said to have lived to write music, it was Franz Schubert. While he often complained about the difficulty of composition, he could also write with exceptional speed and fluidity, often finishing one work and immediately beginning another. The compositional output of his far-too-short career is staggering: nearly 1000 works, including 9 symphonies, 6 masses, 21 piano sonatas, 15 string quartets, 7 singspiels, 9 operas, a melodrama, the incidental music for Rosamunde, overtures, chamber music, and more than 600 song settings.

Of all his works, a romantic mystique has long surrounded the story of his “Unfinished” Symphony. Schubert composed his Symphony No. 8 (or No. 7, by some accounts) in B-minor in 1822, fully orchestrating the first two movements and some 20 bars of a scherzo. (A full piano sketch of the scherzo exists, but he never completed the orchestration.) The following year, Schubert received an honorary diploma from the Styrian Music Society in Graz. In his acceptance letter, he mentioned a newly composed symphony, and dispatched the manuscript of the B-minor Symphony to his friend, the composer Anselm Hüttenbrenner, after first ripping out the pages with the incomplete scherzo. For reasons unknown, Hüttenbrenner never forwarded the manuscript to the music society, and it lay in a drawer in his study for the next 42 years. A chance remark disclosed the existence of the symphony to the conductor Johann von Herbeck, who persuaded Hüttenbrenner to let him borrow the score, and in December of 1865—some 37 years after the composer’s death—the B-minor Symphony premiered to great critical acclaim.

The “Unfinished” Symphony is not Schubert’s only unfinished work; indeed, not even his only unfinished symphony, but it is the only one in which the extant movements are fully scored. There has been intense speculation about why Schubert never finished the work: illness (late in 1822 he contracted syphilis, which was eventually to take his life); overwork (at the time he was also working on two operas, the incidental music to the play Rosamunde, and the Wanderer fantasy); a reluctance to invite comparison to Beethoven; a fear that he could not sustain the remarkable character of the first two movements. There may be a grain of truth in this last explanation, for the “Unfinished” was certainly unlike any of his previous symphonies. But the most likely explanation is perhaps the simplest: the 25-year-old composer simply lost interest in the work and moved on.

Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony appeared on the Billings Symphony’s premier concert in May 1951, under the baton of founding conductor Robert Staffanson. His successor George Perkins was particularly fond of the work, programming in its, er, entirety for the Alberta Bair stage in November 1956, April 1973 and October 1982, and individual movements for Symphony in the Park in 1958, 1974 and 1976. The BSO’s last performance of the “Unfinished,” was in April 1990, under the baton of Uri Barnea.

 

*Programming subject to change

  • Posted on: June 19, 2021

Billings Symphony: Ensemble Bayona

Music free of limitations and prejudices. Members Eros Jaca, (cello), Vladyslava Luchenko (violin), and Camille Sublet (piano) perform innovative, folk-inspired interpretations of the world’s greatest composers while forming authentic relationships with their audience.

ensemblebayona.com

Please note that masks are required at all times when in our venues.  Thank you for helping us to safely present live music in Billings!

ENSEMBLE BAYONA
Ensemble Bayona, artist in residence at the Auditorio de Zaragoza between 2017 and 2019, explores different ways to interpret the music from the composers of the late 19th century up to the present day. Focusing on innovation and musical quality, the multinational group believes in a musical philosophy free of limitations and prejudices. Ensemble Bayona was awarded the prestigious 2020 Dwight and Ursula Mamlok Prize for Interpreters of Contemporary Music.

 

EROS JACA | CELLO

Eros Jaca, Artistic Director of Ensemble Bayona, has performed as a soloist with many orchestras and in major concert halls of Europe including the Auditorio Nacional de Música (Madrid), St. James Picadilly (London), the Palau de la Música Catalana (Barcelona), and the Tonhalle (Zurich). He works with composers like Heinz Holliger, Helmut Lachenmann and Antón García Abril, and performs in the German Festival Donaueschinger Musiktage or in the Frankfurter Hof Main. He was a guest artist in the famous American ensemble, Bang on a Can All-Stars.

 

 

 

 

 

VLADYSLAVA LUCHENKO | VIOLIN

From an early age, Vladyslava Luchenko developed a deep love for music and keenly desired to make it her life’s dedication. This spontaneously expressed wish was lovingly nurtured by her parents: just five years old, she received her first piano and violin lessons at the local music school. Her rapidly discovered perfect pitch connected with a rare innate musical intuition was developed immediately and attentively. With these unusual predispositions, Vladyslava was admitted at the age of seven to the Lysenko Music School for highly gifted children in Kiev, where she studied until 2006. After winning the first prize in an international competition, she made her solo debut at the age of 11 with the Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra. With this early success; she attracted the attention of the Vladimir Spivakov Institution in Moscow and the corporation, Friends of Ukraine, in Switzerland. This support helped her continue to win numerous prizes from national and international violin and chamber music competitions and led to invitations to perform on concert tours in Switzerland, Spain, Poland, Ukraine, and Russia. A new tutor inspired the impulse which led to new achievements including first prize in the Duttweiler–Hug Wettbewerb (Zurich), second prize in the Concorso Internazionale Violinistico Andrea Postacchini (Fermo, Italy) and second prize in the Concours International de Violon Tibor Varga (Martigny, Switzerland), where she also won the Public Prize and the Special Prize for the best interpretation of a Bártok etude.

Recently Vladyslava performed as a soloist with the Ukrainian Radio Orchestra and State Orchestra, the Verbier Festival Orchestra, and the Luzerner Symphony Orchestra, as well as with the Orchestra Virtuosi Italiani and the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie in 2014.

Vladyslava Luchenko performs on Francesco Gobetti violin of 1710, on loan from a private collection.

 

CAMILLE SUBLET | PIANO

Swiss-French pianist Camille Sublet has won several prizes and has performed as a soloist with orchestras including the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra Biel Solothurn, Norddeutsche Philharmonie Rostock, Stadtorchester Solothurn. She has studied in Bern, Switzerland, with Tomasz Herbut, and in Brussels with Aleksandar Madzar. Her interest in contemporary music led to her work with Marta Kurtág and Wolfgang Rihm. She is a passionate chamber musician and Lied accompanist.

 

  • Posted on: June 17, 2021

Anything Goes: The Music of Cole Porter

*Postponed from October 10th*

The Billings Symphony Orchestra Chorale proudly teams up with the local talent of the Rocky Mountain Jazz Collective. Join Scott Jeppeson and his friends as they pay homage to legendary Cole Porter.

HEAR SOME OF COLE PORTER’S FAMOUS HITS!

Anything Goes, Miss Otis Regrets, What Is This Thing Called Love?, Just One Of Those Things, I’ve Got You Under My Skin, From This Moment On, Begin the Beguine, I Get A Kick Out Of You, Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye, It’s Alright With Me, You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To

With special guests:

Hannah Jeppesen, vocals
Doug Nagel, vocals
Amy Schendel, vocals
Marie Smith, vocals

rockymountainjazzcollective.com

ROCKY MOUNTAIN JAZZ COLLECTIVE

The Rocky Mountain Jazz Collective was created in 2019 by highly respected members of the jazz community in Montana. Through education outreach in the community and regular performance in an environment that is best suited for listening, the mission of the RMJC is to create greater awareness and appreciation for jazz music and history in the Rocky Mountain region.

RMJC aims to increase appreciation and awareness of jazz music through the performance of themed programs consisting of material with cultural and historical significance to the history and development of jazz.

SCOTT JEPPESEN | SAXOPHONE

Scott Jeppesen is an Assistant Professor of Music at MSU Billings teaching music theory, ear training, music history, jazz combo, and private lessons on saxophone, clarinet, and flute.

Scott is an alumnus of the University of Southern California where he earned Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Jazz Studies.

Prior to accepting the position at MSU Billings, Scott lived in Los Angeles for seventeen years. In that time, he performed with Maria Schneider, Bobby McFerrin, Burt Bacharach, Lalo Schifrin, Alan Pasqua, Bill Watrous, Shelly Berg, Manhattan Transfer, Stevie Wonder, Nancy Wilson, Artie Shaw, Bob Mintzer, Dave Brubeck, Natalie Cole, Louis Bellson, Al Jarreau, Steve Miller, Randy Brecker, and James Moody … just to name a few. Scott has composed and arranged for many different artists including Steve Miller, Ramsey Lewis, Natalie Cole, Ruben Studdard, Dave Koz, Ledisi, Burt Bacharach, Monica Mancini, Scott Martin, and the PBS special, We Love Ella! A Tribute to Ella (Fitzgerald), which aired in the spring of 2007.

In 2009, he co-founded Cultivating Creative Minds along with his wife, Roxanne, to provide art instruction to elementary school-aged students throughout Santa Clarita, CA.

Scott has also performed clinics for many colleges, high schools, and middle schools around northern and southern California including the University of Southern California, Cal State University Sacramento, Brubeck Institute at the University of the Pacific, Cal State University Northridge, Cal State University Sonoma, American River College, West Ranch High School, Canyon High School, and Saugus High School. In addition to clinics, Scott is in demand as a featured guest artist. In 2014, Scott was the featured artist with California State University Sacramento jazz ensembles where they performed the music of the Joe Henderson Big Band. In the same year, Scott was the guest artist for the SuperJazz at the Ranch festival in Stevenson Ranch, CA, where he performed a duo set with Russell Ferrante of the legendary Yellowjackets.

JOHN ROBERTS | TROMBONE

John began playing the piano at the age of 5 while living on an isolated ranch in Southeastern, Montana. At age 11, he picked up the trombone to play in the grade school band. After graduating in 1996 from MSU Billings with a BA in Music Performance, John moved to Los Angeles to earn his Master of Fine Arts in Western Orchestral Trombone Performance from California Institute of the Arts.

Feeling equally comfortable in orchestral and commercial music realms, John has toured, recorded, and performed in Los Angeles, around the U.S., and around the world, including Mexico, India, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, Australia, and Africa. Tours include Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca (Congolese/Cuban), Bobby Womack (Soul), Los Pinguos (Argentine), The Temptations, The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, and others. Other performances and recordings include multiple American and Latin Grammy concerts, Fallout Boy, Chris Botti, Feist, Sting, Dr. Dre, Jill Scott, Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga, Frank Sinatra Jr., Chaka Khan, Burt Bacharach, The Ojays, Cher, Beverly Crawford, Christina Aguilera, NPR, PBS, Disney, and others.

After 17 years based in Los Angeles, John is now on staff at MSU Billings teaching jazz, music theory, low brass, and world music. He regularly works and performs as a clinician and guest artist in schools, continuing to hone his skills as an educator by sharing the ‘real world’ of music with his students.

John is active in Montana and Los Angeles performing and studio scenes as an arranger, bandleader, session player, and composer. Recent projects include Ricardo Lemvo’s new Cuban-West African album, Straight Outta Compton, and John’s own world-fusion record, Soul y Pimienta, which blends Cuban, African, and American soul and jazz elements.

When not dabbling in the world of music, John is likely found (or not found!) gallivanting about the mountains or prairie via foot, 4WD, skis, or mountain bike.

ERIK OLSON | PIANO

A native of Powell, Wyoming, Erik Olson has proven to be an exciting new addition to the Billings MT music scene. His talents as a pianist, woodwind specialist, composer, and educator have kept him busy performing in the Northwest region.

Having two musicians as parents, Erik took to music at a young age. He began taking piano lessons at 5 and was performing for crowds by the time he was 8. Upon entering high school, Erik quickly gained recognition as one of the best young musicians in the state and was already playing regularly with some of the most prominent performers in the rocky mountain region. During his secondary education at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, and at the University of Wyoming, Erik won awards at numerous classical and jazz competitions around the country.

Erik plays in a number of well-known Montana groups, namely Parker Brown and the Bleeding Hearts, Alex Nauman Organ Trio, Kyle Shobe, and the Walk ’em Boys, The Walkers Trio, and The Big Sky Trio. He has also performed and recorded with various country, classical, funk, rock, R&B, hip hop, and soul groups around the area. At only 28 years old, Erik has performed with jazz legends Stefon Harris, Steve Turre, and the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Other notable artists he has performed with include Nick Mancini, Ronnie Bedford, Kansas, Dave Pietro, and Eric Reed.

In 2013, Erik accepted a position at Sheridan College as a piano and saxophone instructor, and is also one of the founders of Allied Music, well-known performing arts academy located in Billings. For the past 5 years, Erik has played and taught in and around the Billings area, helping to expand Montana’s music scene.

PARKER BROWN | BASS

Specializing in double bass, electric bass, and guitar, Parker Brown is a private instructor, songwriter, and freelance and studio musician.

At his private studio in Allied Music, he manages a full studio of bassists and guitarists with skill levels ranging from beginner to advanced. Parker also works as an adjunct faculty member at Rocky Mountain College and MSU Billings and performs with well-known projects in the region such as Parker Brown and the Bleeding Hearts, Big Sky Trio, Grant Jones Band, Whitney Center, Jazz Orchestra, Kyle Shobe and the Walk ’em Boys; Wordsongs with Poet Dave Caserio, and The Hellroaring.

As a freelance musician Parker has performed with jazz musicians Jeff Hamilton, Ronnie Bedford, Jack Walrath, John Stowell, Ronnie Blake, John Harbaugh, and Nick Mancini.

As a studio musician, Parker has recorded bass and guitar on over twenty albums, and his first solo album, We Were Young, won best album in 2016 for the Billings music awards.

 

ROXANNE JEPPESEN | PERCUSSION

Roxanne Jeppesen is a native of Northern California and received her BA from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and MA from the University of Southern California (USC).

Roxanne has a K-12 Music Teaching Credential from the State of California. She has held K-12 music teaching positions, including Band Director for Burbank Unified School District and Band Director and General Music teacher for Sulphur Springs Union School District.

Roxanne is the President and founder of the 501c3 non-profit organization, Cultivating Creative Minds, which in 2019, employed 32 professional teaching artists who provided 45 minutes of arts instruction per week to over 5,000 students. Roxanne is currently a part time professor at MSUBillings and has taught Applied Drum-set, Enjoyment of Music, Percussion Pedagogy and Techniques, and K-12 Music Methods.

Roxanne studied drum-set performance with Billy Higgins, Dan Schnelle, Sherman Ferguson, Rick Lotter, and Stan Lunetta and has performed with many artists around California and Montana including Kenny Burrell, Barbara Morrison, Billy Higgins, Tom Rainer, Scott Jeppesen, Golden Oak Community Big Band, Magic City Jazz Orchestra, Billings Community Concert Band, Billings Studio Theater’s production of Evita, Billings Studio Theater’s production of Elf the Musical, Billings Studio Theater’s production of Mama Mia, Nova Center for Performing Arts production of Inside Out, Billings Studio Theater’s production of Young Frankenstein, 2nd Avenue Stompers, Reflections Band, Brickhouse Band, Delta Bound and Skyview High School’s Spring Pops Concerts.

Roxanne is an active member of the National Association for Music Education and the Montana Music Educators Association. She received an Honorary Award from the Sulphur Springs Union School District, a PTA Honorary Award, a Community Service Award from the Canyon Country Community Association, the Golden Apple Award from the Santa Clarita Valley Association of California School Administrators, the Max H. Gluck Foundation Award for Music Outreach, and was the Valedictorian of Rio Linda Senior High School

 

  • Posted on: June 5, 2021

Billings Symphony: Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite

Experience Duke Ellington’s 1968 Grammy Award-winning Far East Suite as performed by the Rocky Mountain Jazz Collective.

rockymountainjazzcollective.com

Please note that masks are required at all times when in our venues.  Thank you for helping us to safely present live music in Billings!

The Rocky Mountain Jazz Collective was created in 2019 by highly respected members of the jazz community in Montana.  Through education outreach in the community and regular performance in an environment that is best suited for listening, the mission of the RMJC is to create greater awareness and appreciation for jazz music and history in the Rocky Mountain region.

RMJC aims to increase appreciation and awareness of jazz music through the performance of themed programs consisting of material with cultural and historical significance to the history and development of jazz.

SCOTT JEPPESEN | SAXOPHONE

Scott Jeppesen is an Assistant Professor of Music at MSU Billings teaching music theory, ear training, music history, jazz combo, and private lessons on saxophone, clarinet, and flute.

Scott is an alumnus of the University of Southern California where he earned Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Jazz Studies.

Prior to accepting the position at MSU Billings, Scott lived in Los Angeles for seventeen years. In that time, he performed with Maria Schneider, Bobby McFerrin, Burt Bacharach, Lalo Schifrin, Alan Pasqua, Bill Watrous, Shelly Berg, Manhattan Transfer, Stevie Wonder, Nancy Wilson, Artie Shaw, Bob Mintzer, Dave Brubeck, Natalie Cole, Louis Bellson, Al Jarreau, Steve Miller, Randy Brecker, and James Moody … just to name a few. Scott has composed and arranged for many different artists including Steve Miller, Ramsey Lewis, Natalie Cole, Ruben Studdard, Dave Koz, Ledisi, Burt Bacharach, Monica Mancini, Scott Martin, and the PBS special, We Love Ella! A Tribute to Ella (Fitzgerald), which aired in the spring of 2007.

In 2009, he co-founded Cultivating Creative Minds along with his wife, Roxanne, to provide art instruction to elementary school-aged students throughout Santa Clarita, CA.

Scott has also performed clinics for many colleges, high schools, and middle schools around northern and southern California including the University of Southern California, Cal State University Sacramento, Brubeck Institute at the University of the Pacific, Cal State University Northridge, Cal State University Sonoma, American River College, West Ranch High School, Canyon High School, and Saugus High School. In addition to clinics, Scott is in demand as a featured guest artist. In 2014, Scott was the featured artist with California State University Sacramento jazz ensembles where they performed the music of the Joe Henderson Big Band. In the same year, Scott was the guest artist for the SuperJazz at the Ranch festival in Stevenson Ranch, CA, where he performed a duo set with Russell Ferrante of the legendary Yellowjackets.

JOHN ROBERTS | TROMBONE

John began playing the piano at the age of 5 while living on an isolated ranch in Southeastern, Montana. At age 11, he picked up the trombone to play in the grade school band. After graduating in 1996 from MSU Billings with a BA in Music Performance, John moved to Los Angeles to earn his Master of Fine Arts in Western Orchestral Trombone Performance from California Institute of the Arts.

Feeling equally comfortable in orchestral and commercial music realms, John has toured, recorded, and performed in Los Angeles, around the U.S., and around the world, including Mexico, India, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, Australia, and Africa. Tours include Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca (Congolese/Cuban), Bobby Womack (Soul), Los Pinguos (Argentine), The Temptations, The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, and others. Other performances and recordings include multiple American and Latin Grammy concerts, Fallout Boy, Chris Botti, Feist, Sting, Dr. Dre, Jill Scott, Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga, Frank Sinatra Jr., Chaka Khan, Burt Bacharach, The Ojays, Cher, Beverly Crawford, Christina Aguilera, NPR, PBS, Disney, and others.

After 17 years based in Los Angeles, John is now on staff at MSU Billings teaching Jazz, music theory, low brass, and world music. He regularly works and performs as a clinician and guest artist in schools, continuing to hone his skills as an educator by sharing the ‘real world’ of music with his students.

John is active in Montana and Los Angeles performing and studio scenes as an arranger, bandleader, session player, and composer. Recent projects include Ricardo Lemvo’s new Cuban-West African album, Straight Outta Compton, and John’s own world-fusion record, Soul y Pimienta, which blends Cuban, African and American soul and jazz elements.

When not dabbling in the world of music, John is likely found (or not found!) gallivanting about the mountains or prairie via foot, 4WD, skis or mountain bike.

  • Posted on: May 15, 2021

Billings Symphony: Bibimbap Trio

Grammy- and Emmy-nominated composer Philip Aaberg and his piano trio, the Bibimbap Trio with violinist Angella Ahn and cellist Sara Stalnaker, expand their musical exploration to Billings.

sweetgrassmusic.com

Please note that masks are required at all times when in our venues.  Thank you for helping us to safely present live music in Billings!

PHILIP AABERG | PIANO

Grammy- and Emmy-nominated composer Philip Aaberg of Chester, Montana, is known worldwide for his compositions that evoke the spaciousness and beauty of the Western landscape.

It was Aaberg’s mother who first noticed her son’s musical talent early on. He began playing music at age four. By the time he was fifteen, he traveled on the train twelve hours one-way every two weeks from Chester to Spokane, Washington, to study with Margaret Saunders Ott, a Julliard-trained pianist and teacher who was chair of the piano department at Whitworth College. Early on, Aaberg displayed an eclectic taste in music and, along with the piano, he played drums and organ in a garage rock band that he and his brother started while in high school. He also played in symphonies across Montana before heading off to college.

Aaberg has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including the Montana Governor’s Award for the Arts, Montana Arts Council Artists Innovation Award, an honorary doctorate in music from Montana State University in 2013, the Montana Governor’s Humanities Award, and he was named Montana’s Treasured Artist in 2016. He also serves on the Ucross Foundation selection committee, the Montana Tourism Advisory Council, and the District 4 Human Resources Development Council. Aaberg’s monthly radio program, Of the West: Creativity & Sense of Place, can be heard across Montana on Yellowstone Public Radio and www.ofthewest.net.

 

ANGELLA AHN | VIOLIN

Professor Angella Ahn has had an extensive career, performing not only in every state in the U.S. but in over 30 countries. As a member of the Ahn Trio, she has played in venues as diverse as the White House, the Jazz Dock in Prague, Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colon, Vienna’s Musikverein, New York’s Lincoln Center, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, Beijing’s Concert Hall, Istanbul’s Aya Irini in Topkapi Palace, the iTunes Festival, and TEDWomen.

In addition to live performances, Angella has an impressive discography with her trio. The nine enthusiastically received albums include Lullaby for My Favorite Insomniac, released by Sony (No. 8 in the Billboard Charts for 26 weeks); Dvorak, Suk, and Shostakovich, released by EMI (winner of Germany’s prestigious ECHO Award); and their most recent, Blue, a musical diary. She has recently released two digital tracks with her trio, “Nuvole Bianche” and “Candybox.” Wide-ranging collaborations have allowed the trio to work with modern dance companies (including a B-boy group), film directors, rock bands, and DJ Spooky. Because of their eclectic interests and innovative exploration in music, New York Newsday has called the trio “Classical revolutionaries.”

Angella enjoys living in Bozeman, Montana, where she is currently Associate Professor of Violin and Viola at Montana State University. The depth of her experience and knowledge has made her perfectly suited to help the next generation of young musicians, and she is a devoted and sought-after teacher, being named by the university both a “Most Valuable Professor” and “Professor of the Month.” Beyond her teaching, she serves on the Montana Arts Council and is the artistic director of the Big Sky Classical Music Festival, where she is heard performing with many guest artists such as Matt Haimovitz and Rachel Barton Pine. She also serves on the board of the Bozeman Symphony. She has often taught at Mark O’Connor’s Fiddle camps and has been featured with musicians as diverse as Phil Aaberg, Darol Anger, Emmylous Harris, and John Prine. She can be seen in “Angella Ahn and Friends,” a program presented by Montana PBS’ Emmy award-winning 11th & Grant with Eric Funk, as well as in The Hive, a film produced by Tippet Rise Art Center in collaboration with the acclaimed sculptor Stephen Talasnik and director Matthew McKee.

Angella has given master classes throughout North America, Asia, and Europe. A graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, she shares the widely regarded pedagogy of her mentors Dorothy DeLay and Hyo Kang. She plays a 2013 violin made for her by renowned luthier Sam Zygmuntowicz of Brooklyn, New York.

SARA STALNAKER | CELLO

Sara Stalnaker, cellist, has performed as a chamber musician with acclaimed groups ranging from the Turtle Island to the Orion and Borromeo String Quartets. She has collaborated in concerts with renowned talents Jonathan Biss, Matt Haimovitz, and Kim Kashkashian and has performed as a regular member of the New Haven and Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra. Sara has been on staff at Community MusicWorks for the past 13 years.* Other notable work includes a recording on the MMC label, a recent soundtrack for PBS, and an upcoming project of Reinhardt transcriptions on the KidsClassics label. Sara received a BM under the tutelage of Peter Rejto at Oberlin Conservatory, followed by an MM under Norman Fischer at Rice University.

* Community MusicWorks is a renowned community-based organization that uses music education and performance as a vehicle to build lasting and meaningful relationships between children, families, and professional musicians.

 

  • Posted on: May 6, 2021

Billings Symphony: Pictures

The BSOC’s season comes to a close with Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, showcasing the brilliant colors of the orchestra. Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster David Kim takes the stage to perform Beethoven’s revolutionary Violin Concerto.

In addition to our live concerts at Lockwood Performing Arts Center, the BSOC will offer a live stream option on Saturday night so that all who wish to can attend.

Please note that masks are required at all times when in our venues.  Thank you for helping us to safely present live music in Billings!

DAVID KIM | VIOLIN

Violinist David Kim was named Concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1999. Born in Carbondale, Illinois in 1963, he started playing the violin at three, began studies with the famed pedagogue Dorothy DeLay at eight, and later received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School.

Each season, Mr. Kim appears as a guest in concert with famed modern hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty at venues such as the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Carnegie Hall. In August, he returns to Nashville to perform at the Getty Music Worship Conference–Sing! 2021. Mr. Kim serves as Distinguished Artist at the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in Macon. He frequently serves as an adjudicator at international violin competitions such as the Menuhin and Sarasate.

Mr. Kim has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from Eastern University in suburban Philadelphia, the University of Rhode Island, and Dickinson College. His instruments are a J.B. Guadagnini from Milan, Italy ca. 1757 on loan from The Philadelphia Orchestra and a Michael Angelo Bergonzi from Cremona ca. 1754. Mr. Kim lives in a Philadelphia suburb with his wife Jane and daughters Natalie and Maggie. He is an avid golfer and outdoorsman.

*Programming subject to change

  • Posted on: April 25, 2021

Billings Symphony: Pictures

The BSOC’s season comes to a close with Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, showcasing the brilliant colors of the orchestra. Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster David Kim takes the stage to perform Beethoven’s revolutionary Violin Concerto.

In addition to our live concerts at Lockwood Performing Arts Center, the BSOC will offer a live stream option on Saturday night so that all who wish to can attend.

Please note that masks are required at all times when in our venues.  Thank you for helping us to safely present live music in Billings!

DAVID KIM | VIOLIN

Violinist David Kim was named Concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1999. Born in Carbondale, Illinois in 1963, he started playing the violin at three, began studies with the famed pedagogue Dorothy DeLay at eight, and later received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School.

Each season, Mr. Kim appears as a guest in concert with famed modern hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty at venues such as the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Carnegie Hall. In August, he returns to Nashville to perform at the Getty Music Worship Conference–Sing! 2021. Mr. Kim serves as Distinguished Artist at the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in Macon. He frequently serves as an adjudicator at international violin competitions such as the Menuhin and Sarasate.

Mr. Kim has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from Eastern University in suburban Philadelphia, the University of Rhode Island, and Dickinson College. His instruments are a J.B. Guadagnini from Milan, Italy ca. 1757 on loan from The Philadelphia Orchestra and a Michael Angelo Bergonzi from Cremona ca. 1754. Mr. Kim lives in a Philadelphia suburb with his wife Jane and daughters Natalie and Maggie. He is an avid golfer and outdoorsman.

*Programming subject to change

  • Posted on: April 24, 2021

Billings Symphony: Pictures

The BSOC’s season comes to a close with Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, showcasing the brilliant colors of the orchestra. Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster David Kim takes the stage to perform Beethoven’s revolutionary Violin Concerto.

In addition to our live concerts at Lockwood Performing Arts Center, the BSOC will offer a live stream option on Saturday night so that all who wish to can attend.

Please note that masks are required at all times when in our venues.  Thank you for helping us to safely present live music in Billings!

DAVID KIM | VIOLIN

Violinist David Kim was named Concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1999. Born in Carbondale, Illinois in 1963, he started playing the violin at three, began studies with the famed pedagogue Dorothy DeLay at eight, and later received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School.

Each season, Mr. Kim appears as a guest in concert with famed modern hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty at venues such as the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Carnegie Hall. In August, he returns to Nashville to perform at the Getty Music Worship Conference–Sing! 2021. Mr. Kim serves as Distinguished Artist at the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in Macon. He frequently serves as an adjudicator at international violin competitions such as the Menuhin and Sarasate.

Mr. Kim has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from Eastern University in suburban Philadelphia, the University of Rhode Island, and Dickinson College. His instruments are a J.B. Guadagnini from Milan, Italy ca. 1757 on loan from The Philadelphia Orchestra and a Michael Angelo Bergonzi from Cremona ca. 1754. Mr. Kim lives in a Philadelphia suburb with his wife Jane and daughters Natalie and Maggie. He is an avid golfer and outdoorsman.

*Programming subject to change

  • Posted on: April 24, 2021