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Westminster student premieres new work at Damien Dixon Scholarship Master Class

originally published: 02/17/2018

Westminster student premieres new work at Damien Dixon Scholarship Master Class

(PRINCETON, NJ) -- Westminster Choir College will host The Damien Dixon Memorial Scholarship Master Class with Professor Ingrid Clarfield on February 25 at 2:00pm in Bristol Chapel on the Westminster Choir College campus in Princeton.  Proceeds from the event will support the Damien Dixon Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to an undergraduate piano student at Westminster. 

Created in memory of pianist Damien Dixon, who died in 2005 after a long struggle with cancer, the scholarship is awarded according to guidelines he suggested: that it go to a pianist “for whom the piano is more than just a major, a pianist who plays with imagination and personality and uses the piano to stir up the emotions of the listener." Throughout his short life, Dixon was heavily involved at Westminster.  He studied piano with Professor Ingrid Clarfield, and he accompanied many Westminster students.

Last fall, Professor Clarfield reached out to current Westminster senior piano and composition major John Franek to commission a new piece in memory of Dixon, to be premiered at the annual master class. For Franek, the opportunity to write such a piece was “an absolute honor and pleasure.” Franek is a recipient of the Damien Dixon Memorial Scholarship, and he says he knew the general story of Dixon’s life, but not in great detail. After receiving the commission, he was eager to learn more about Dixon’s life and character.

Franek was able to gain this knowledge through reading Dixon’s extensive online blogs, as well as through conversations with his family. Dixon’s writing in particular helped Franek begin to understand his persona. Franek describes him as being “such a loving individual, and so funny too.” He notes how Dixon would refer to his cancer treatments as “chemo cocktails,” and his reference to the singers he accompanied as his “divas.” This insight was critical to Franek, who says, “It’s my job in this commission to integrate as much of Damien as I can.”

Franek’s composition is Piano Sonata No. 2 “Conquest,” after the title of Dixon’s final blog, which he titled D’s Conquest. The sonata’s movement titles all come from Dixon’s writing as well. Franek chose these snippets of writing to create a kind of found poetry, a style of poetry that extracts prewritten text and arranges it in a new way. Franek describes the title of the first movement, “And here I am,” as being a very genuine and sincere statement appearing in an otherwise lighthearted blog post. Franek sees this statement as representing a core element of Dixon’s character: that he was consistently there for others.



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In this composition as a whole, Franek tries to capture the essence of Damien Dixon from start to finish: his “simultaneity of playfulness, wisdom, and intelligence.” He hopes to convey in the sonata Dixon’s hopeful joy, appearing first in the beginning, and then returning in the final movement, when Franek will likely choose to quote one of Dixon’s own compositions. This will allow Franek to integrate, quite literally, a piece of Dixon into the composition.

To reserve a seat for the Damien Dixon Memorial Scholarship Master Class, call 609-896-5340 or order online.





Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Presents Motor City Live: A Motown Christmas
(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) -- Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City has extended Motor City Live: A Tribute to Motown through the month of December with a special Motor City Live: A Motown Christmas. Along with your favorite Motown classics, you’ll hear some Motor City versions of your favorite Holiday songs sprinkled in like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” from The Temptations, Aretha Franklin’s “Winter Wonderland,” “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” from the Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson’s “Jingle Bells” and much more.
Wisin & Yandel To Perform At Prudential Center
(NEWARK, NJ) -- Latin music’s most iconic duo, Wisin & Yandel, announced their first U.S. tour today since their five-year hiatus with the Como Antes Tour 2019. The 15-city tour will kick off May 23 and make a much-anticipated stop at Prudential Center on Sunday, June 16. Yandel is managed by Andy Martinez and Wisin is managed by Walter Kolm.
Grunin Center Presents Canadian Brass
(TOMS RIVER, NJ) -- The award-winning Canadian Brass takes the stage at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts  on Friday, December 14 at 8:00pm to present “Christmas Time is Here.”   Now in its 47th season, the Canadian Brass has performed in virtually every major concert hall in the world, has been seen by hundreds of millions of people on television, sold two million of its approximately 100 albums worldwide, and contributed nearly 600 new works and arrangements to the brass quintet repertoire. Renowned for genre-bending versatility and joyous performances, Canadian Brass is almost single-handedly responsible for elevating the art of the brass quintet to what it is today.
Papa Roach To Perform At Stone Pony
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Alternative rock quartet Papa Roach will bring their summer 2019 headlining run, the Who Do You Trust? Tour,with Asking Alexandria and Bad Wolves to The Stone Pony Summer Stage on August 9, 2019.  The tour will also have an area date at Philadelphia's Metropolitan Opera House on August 7th.
Uli Jon Roth To Return To Newton Theatre
(NEWTON, NJ) -- Uli Jon Roth returns to The Newton Theatre on Friday, May 3, 2019 at 8:00pm.
During his five year tenure as a member of Germany’s number one rock band, The Scorpions, Uli built the foundation for his status of guitar legend. He quickly established himself as one of the main songwriters in the band and soon gained an international reputation as one of the most important innovators of the electric guitar.




An Interview with Chip Davis Of Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
You can experience the magic of the holidays — Steamroller-style — when Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis makes a tour stop this Thursday, December 6, 2018, at New Brunswick, NJ’s historic State Theatre.
Max Weinberg’s Jukebox LIVE! at the Grunin Center
Something is different about tonight’s November 18, 2018 concert at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts starring Max Weinberg, celebrated drummer from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band!
PHOTOS: Matt O'Ree Band at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- The Matt O'Ree Band returned to The Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Friday, November 16 and photographer Estelle Massry of Coucou Photography was on hand to take some photos.  David Bryan from Bon Jovi was one of the special guests that night.
"How Could You Not Love Them?" The Buckinghams and Herman's Hermits LIVE! at BergenPAC
Although it’s a chilly Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018 evening in Englewood, NJ, music lovers are lined up outside the Bergen Performing Arts Center waiting to hear classic songs of the ’60s as performed by two quintessential groups of the era — The Buckinghams and Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone!
If It Ain't Baroque... Bach's Brandenburg Concertos With Symphony in C
You know the old joke: If it ain’t Baroque, don’t fix it? Well, put away those tools, dear reader. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos ARE Baroque, so no fixing necessary. This Saturday, December 1, Symphony in C is performing Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 2 through 6 at the Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts. Officially presented in 1721, these collective works are considered to be some of the finest orchestral compositions of the Baroque era (generally 1600 to 1750). These six concertos are among the most recorded, performed and beloved works by Bach. – And that’s J.S. Bach, for those of you keeping score at home. There are a LOT of Bachs.






Event calendar
Wednesday, Dec 12, 2018


MUSIC

SONIC 5 @ Lobby Bar at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 7:00pm

Live Band Karaoke w/ the Goldenboyz @ Crossroads (Garwood), Garwood - 10:00pm

Holiday Season Celebration @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 7:00pm

Vienna Boys Choir @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 7:30pm


THEATRE

Elf, The Musical @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 2:00pm

Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn @ Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn - 7:00pm






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