Tag Archives: Music

Styling Afro-Descendant: Connecting with Africa in Latin American Music-Dance

Eugene/Springfield–Many of the Latin American music styles that are most familiar to people in United States—salsa, samba, cumbia, and even tango—exhibit expressive connections to Africa. In this talk, UO Assistant Professor of ethnomusicology, Juan Eduardo Wolf, begins by highlighting those shared performance characteristics that are commonly associated with music styles of African heritage. He will give examples from various regions in Latin America to illustrate how different populations of African descent (Afro-descendants) have historically used these characteristics as resources to address their local musical and political challenges.

Wolf will then turn to the subject of his book project, Afro-Chile?! Styling Blackness in Music-Dance. Since Chile’s independence and expansion northward, its elite has downplayed and overlooked the role of Afrodescendants in the country’s history. At the beginning of the 21st- century, however, an organization of Afrodescendants demanding government recognition appeared along Chile’s northern border. They danced their way into the headlines, grabbing both national and international attention. Since 2006, Wolf has visited the city of Arica, documenting Afro-Chilean performances to understand the creative processes that this community has participated in. Wolf focuses on the process of styling—how performers frame themselves in relation to other performers—to discuss how and why Black people in Chile have used music-dance: first to blend in, and now to stand out. The result is to ask ourselves to rethink the connections between music-dance and the African Diaspora.

Understanding Rock Music

Eugene/Springfield–If, as conventional wisdom would have it, rock songs are just the same three chords over and over again, how has it kept our rapt attention for the better part of a century?

In this presentation, UO Assistant Professor of Music Theory, Drew Nobile will show that which chords you use is far less important than where you put them. Rock songs throughout history organize their chord progressions in one of a few conventional patterns. The most powerful songs play with these conventions to thwart our expectations and keep us on our toes. We will listen to classic songs from the ‘60s to ‘90s and see how they expertly hit the sweet spot between conventionality and novelty.

Nobile specializes in the analysis of classic rock music. His current research project is a book titled Form as Harmony in Rock Music, which makes the case that across genres, decades, and continents, pop and rock songwriters tend to return again and again to a small number of conventional song types. These normative song types are classified based on two aspects: 1) the arrangement of sections such as verses and choruses (form), and 2) the large-scale trajectory of the chord progression (harmony).

The project argues that the interaction between form and harmony is a fundamental feature of any rock song, affecting not only its compositional structure but also the layout of the lyrics and the song’s effect on the audience.

Debussy Preludes and Art

Eugene/Springfield–Composer Claude Debussy has given us music that reflects the subtle beauty of Impressionist painters such as Monet. In fact, he often attended salons and mingled with the artists. This beauty is reflected in music he wrote, such as The Girl with the Flaxen Hair and the Dancers of Delphe. Music educator and OLLI-UO member, Phyllis Villec, will share insights into the composer’s musical impressionism and it’s relation to the visual arts.

Delgani Quartet

olli-es-lecture-delgani-quartet-1Eugene/Springfield–What is so special about chamber music? How does a professional string quartet make old music relevant again?

Delgani String Quartet musicians Wyatt True and Kimberlee Uwate would like to answer these and other questions as they give you insight into their world as full-time musicians. They will also share the history of their young organization and provide an overview of the 65-plus performances they do each year.

Wyatt True is artistic and executive director of the Delgani String Quartet. Dr. True’s education includes a doctorate in violin performance and historical performance practice, a masters in violin performance and string quartet studies, a bachelor of arts in music and philosophy, and a bachelor of science in physics and astronomy. Violist Kimberlee Uwate is dedicated to creating shared musical experiences as a performer and a teacher. Ms. Uwate trained at the Manhattan School of Music, University of California at Davis, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Interested in becoming a member of OLLI UO? Click here.

Around the Campfire

olli-es-lecture-around-the-campfire-1Eugene/Springfield–Long before mass communication was even a pipe dream, pipers and troubadours wandered around the world, sharing their music with one another. Their songs wove tales about the times in which they lived and told the life stories of those they met along the way. Thus, across generations and centuries, folk music has come to reflect both the voice of the people and the societal mores of every era.

In this afternoon of Folk Music History in Context, OLLI’s modern day troubadour, Kirk Taylor, will weave informative, entertaining tales with traditional and contemporary folk music. Although contemporary folk composers like Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger are well known, composers of traditional folk music were (by definition) often unknown. Instead, the genre evolved through word of mouth and by being performed via custom over long periods of time. Taylor will cover all of this and more when we gather for a lyrical, storytelling afternoon of folk music dating back several centuries and right up through today.

A well-known local musician, Taylor has been on stage since his first paid gigs at Shakey’s Pizza in Sacramento when he was 18. While Folk Music has always been his first love, Taylor has also performed with the San Jose Symphonic Choir, the DeAnza Chorale, the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of San Jose, and locally with the Sanctuary Choir and Chamber Singers of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Eugene.

Interested in becoming a member of OLLI UO? Click here.

American Radio/KWAX

olli-es-lecture-american-radio_kwax-1Eugene/Springfield–We are fortunate to welcome Peter Van de Graaff of KQED as our guest speaker. A native of Chicago, Illinois, who began his radio career in 1984 in Utah, then moved to WFMT in Chicago. He became a program host for the Beethoven Satellite Network, a nationally syndicated classical music program now carried on more than 150 stations. Van de Graaff has hosted other nationwide broadcast series, including the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Van Cliburn Piano Series, Opera from Europe, and Music of the Baroque.

His wife, Kathleen, is a professional soprano and they appear together occasionally to perform early 18th-century chamberworks. He speaks several languages including Dutch, German, and French, and has studied Russian, Spanish, and Italian. He sings in the bass-baritone range and has performed all over the world. Van de Graaff came to Eugene in 2015 to become music director and morning host at KWAX at the University of Oregon and remains host for the Beethoven Satellite Network. It should be a colorful afternoon.

Interested in becoming a member of OLLI UO? Click here.

Community Orchestra of Central Oregon Visits OLLI UO in Central Oregon

1Central Oregon–We are in for a melodious treat! Representatives from the Community Orchestra of Central Oregon (COCO) visit OLLI-UO to play some music. They also invite members who attend to pick up that musical instrument they put away many years ago and join them.

Chris Moody explains what COCO is all about. We get a glimpse of the nonprofit organization from its website, which explains that COCO “provides an opportunity for musicians to rehearse and perform a variety of orchestral works while contributing to the enjoyment, appreciation, and enrichment of music in the local community.” During their talk at OLLI, orchestra members share how they got started, discuss the paths available to help others dust off a neglected instrument, and encourage newbies to start from the beginning and join the orchestra when ready. COCO participants also share details of their upcoming performance in November.

For those who have never played a musical instrument, it is never too late to get started with lessons. The Community Orchestra of Central Oregon ultimately offers a local group with which to make music. This presentation is also open to those who just want to know more about COCO. Musician or not, come along and listen!

Music Appreciation Study Group

Each 90 minute session generally consists of 1) a video lecture using instructional material produced by The Great Courses, academic institutions, local libraries or from other sources; 2) listening to and discussing recorded music on CD or videotape. Time is allotted for discussions among those in attendance of current or past musical events in our community.

Brown Bag Opera Interest Group

Brown Bag Opera

Eugene/Springfield–Members bring an informal lunch if they wish, and we follow a casual format that includes discussion of opera performances that people have heard, PowerPoint previews of live  operas that will be performed in Eugene and other Oregon cities, and previews of the Metropolitan Opera live HDTV performances. Occasionally there is a guest speaker or singer. Our meetings are enjoyed both by people who are experienced opera goers and those who seldom attend or want to learn more about opera. Members receive email notes about coming meetings and topics.

Music Appreciation

Eugene/Springfield–The focal point of this group is instructional sessions on how to listen and enjoy great music, using video programs and recorded music. Many types of music are included (classical, jazz, opera).

Each 90 minutes session generally consists of 1) a video lecture using instructional tapes produced by The Great Courses or academic institutions or from other sources; 2) listening to and discussing recorded music on CD or videotape. Time is allotted for discussions among those in attendance of current or past musical events in our community.

Want to attend? Join OLLI today.