Posts Tagged ‘Nelms McKelvain’

Ambitious Student Piano & Bass Recital

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Arik performed "China Gate"

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Last night, April 8, in the midst of a spring snowfall, the Idyllwild Arts Junior Music Recitals went on without a hitch featuring classical, contemporary and student composers. Arik and Josephine performed at the Stephens Recital Hall before a 50+ audience made up of fellow students, friends and a few local folks.

Arik, a piano student from Maui, performed four selections from Liszt, Hayden, John Adams and himself.  This is the third time Arik’s own musical composition, “Cain’s Lament,” was performed before a live audience. The first time was in early March at the “Idyllwild Arts Day in L.A.,” the second was last month before a student audience, and last night at the recital.

“Cain’s Lament,” was one of four collaborations between students in the Honors Music Composition Class and the Creative Writing Department. Whitney, a creative writer and childhood friend of Arik’s, wrote the original poem that he set to music.

Arik described the piece as a bit “melancholy,” yet the right the mood that it called for.

“‘Cain’s Lament’ is not so much about Cain and Abel from the Bible, but more about the state of the world,” explained Kevin Michael Sullivan, the instructor for the Honors Music Composition Class, beforehand. “It’s saying that God is sad.”

Arik played “Cain’s Lament” as his third piece, after “Two Consolations in D Flat Major” by Liszt and “Tempo di Menuetto, Hob. XVI:22, No. 37” by Hayden. Samuel, a classical voice major, sang Whitney’s words to “Cain’s Lament,” while Arik played on piano.

“The end of the world is a decade too late,” was among some of the somber lyrics. Appropriate for the Idyllwild area, Whitney also used rabbit and raccoon images to convey strong her strong feelings. After the piece was over, Sam acknowledged Whitney in the audience.

Nelms McKelvain, Arik’s piano teacher, said that he chose the songs for Arik’s recital, except for the last one, “China Gates.”

Arik and his comp teacher, Kevin Sullivan

“He can play it without sheet music,” Nelms said. “In fact, he performed it for us without any music just yesterday. He memorized it bar-by-bar.”

Arik said that memorizing Adams’ “China Gates” was challenging at first.

“It’s about the gates in the Great Wall of China,” Arik explained. “Each ‘gate’ is a key change.”

He said that it was challenging to memorize. He had to memorize the notes with his left hand first, and then sight read with his right.

“Sometimes, I’d have to move my left hand off the key quickly because my right hand needed to play it right after,” Arik said.

Several people in the audience last night said that “China Gates” sounded like water or rainfall.

“Adams wrote about raindrops on the Great Wall of China,” Arik explained. “And within the rain, there’s a melody.”

Afterwards, Music Conductor Peter Askim and Nelms went backstage to congratulate Arik on a job well done.

“You did a nice job,” Peter said, noting that he’s come a long way on the piano in choosing “China Gates.”

“All of the ‘colors’ (of your selections) were different,” Peter said.

Later, Arik explained that ‘colors’ meant a nice choice of heavy and light music selections.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Apr 9, 2011 @ 12:17

Saturday Afternoon Faculty Concert with Oboe & Piano

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Today, Jan. 12, at 4 p.m., three faculty members from the Idyllwild Arts Music Department will showcase their talents in songwriting and musical performance. They will be joined by friends on flute and guitar, and a student string quintet for a concert that you won’t want to miss.

Ryan Zwahlen, who heads the Music Department, will be playing oboe, Nelms McKelvain, who teaches piano, will be playing piano. “Composition for English Horn and Guitar,” a new piece written by Kevin Michael Sullivan, will be performed by the group, which includes friends of Ryan’s, Johanna Borenstein, on flute, and Roger Allen Cope, on guitar.

Ryan is one of Southern California’s most sought-after oboists. He has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the San Diego Symphony, as well as the LA Ballet, Riverside Philharmonic, Bakersfield Symphony and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (Washington) as its Principal Oboe. His work also has been featured on films and commercials.

Ryan, Nelms, Johanna, Roger, and Idyllwild Arts music students (a string quintet), will be playing selections from eight composers, including Henri Tomasi, Giles Silverstrini, Benjamin Brill, Jenniven Stevesnon, Jenni Brandon, Mario Castlenuovo-Tedesco, Eric Ewazen and Kevin Michael Sullivan.

For his piece, “Composition for English Horn and Guitar,” Kevin admitted to being a little nervous.

“I feel like a parent sitting in the audience,” Kevin said of his piece. “I’m proud, but feel that it’s entirely out of my control. I’m sure they’ll play it beautifully.”

Kevin said that he finished the piece just a few short months ago, in Dec. 2010.

The Faculty Recital today, Jan. 12, will begin at 4 p.m. at the Stephens Recital Hall off of Apela Drive (Tollgate Road) on campus. The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Idyllwild Arts at (951) 659-2171, ext. 2200.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.