COLUMBUS, OHIO (June 12, 2014)--When jazz violinist Christian Howes and conductor Douglas Droste, (both Columbus natives and OSU alumni) recently joined forces to perform Scott Routenberg's Concerto for Jazz Violin with the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, they had no idea they would be asked by the U.S. Embassy to Ukraine to bring their show overseas as part of continuing American cultural exchange and engagement with Ukraine.
“I’m stunned… ” wrote Howes on his blog this past week, in response to being invited to perform concerts and teach workshops between June 18-23.
Howes and Droste will perform in Lviv, Ukraine at 6 p.m. on Saturday, 21 June, 2014 in the historic Lviv Philharmonic Concert Hall. Lviv’s Philharmonic was founded in 1902, and since that time it’s been one of Ukraine’s top concert halls. Over its century-long history it has hosted performances by world renowned musicians and composers such as Strauss, Mahler, Bartok, and Rubinstein.
The concert program will fuse both jazz and classical music, united by a single theme - music of the "New World". The Concerto for Jazz Violin will be joined with Bernstein's Candide Overture and Dvorak's New World Symphony, which he wrote during his stay in the USA. Also on the program are other orchestral jazz crossover pieces featuring Christian: an arrangement of Chick Corea's "Spain" and an original by Howes. Finally a short piece, "melody", by Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk will be included. The program will be presented with the "INSO-Lviv" Academic Symphony Orchestra combined with a local jazz trio, conducted by Douglas Droste.
"Combining an improvising violin soloist with orchestra and jazz trio in a concert which also celebrates other classics represents the best of old and new. It also mirrors the intent of my workshops with students, encouraging them to find something contemporary and creative, something of their own, alongside traditional studies," said Howes.
Howes will teach workshops to string players in Lviv and Kyev, and present two additional concerts in collaboration with jazz musicians in both cities.
Conductor Douglas Droste is the Artistic Director of the Muncie Symphony Orchestra and the Director of Orchestras at Ball State University. He guest conducts frequently throughout the country for professional and youth orchestras and consults musical educational programs. Recognized as possessing "obvious joy" for making music and a "sure sense of timing", those under his baton routinely acknowledge his in-depth musical interpretations, keen sense of communication, and personable ability to empower musicians.
Says Howes of his childhood friend from both Suzuki violin studies and undergraduate days in Columbus, “Doug’s background as a classical violinist combined with years of playing trumpet in band (not to mention the influence of his father Paul Droste, a longtime, highly respected band director at Ohio State University), prepared him to manage conducting such diverse musical strains."
Christian Howes won the 2011 Downbeat Critics Poll "Rising Star Jazz Violinist", and was named among the top three jazz violinists by Jazz Times in 2013. In 2013 he was awarded the Chamber Music America "Residency Partnership Award" for his outreach programs with youth orchestra programs. Last year he performed six nights at Jazz at Lincoln Center to celebrate the release of his latest album on Resonance Records, "Southern Exposure". The violinist's "Creative Strings" non-profit educational organization is operated through a 501c3 as part of a mission to expand music education, present concerts and teach classical string players online, at schools, and through an annual summer camp in Columbus, Ohio.
Howes and Droste are currently co-writing a book on contemporary curriculum in orchestra classrooms, which they hope to release with Oxford University Press. They will perform in Muncie, Indiana immediately following their return from Ukraine as part of Music For All's summer symposium. Both artists maintain a close working relationship with the Yamaha Band and Orchestra division.
For more information and video, please see also: http://christianhowes.com/2014/05/01/jazz-violin-concerto-challenges-soloist-and-orchestra-blending-americana-and-impressionism/
Christian Howes is a Yamaha Performing Artist, D'Addario Elite Clinician, and a Resonance Records recording artist