Arts at Noon continues with performance from GVSU music professor

By Sidney Selvig | 3/19/17 10:15pm

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GVL / Courtesy


Arts at Noon at Grand Valley State University provides students with the opportunity to listen to the mesmerizing sounds of various international and national ensembles and choirs.

This semester, the lineup includes a piano trio, a jazz quartet, 12th century vocal music, a New York music ensemble, a percussion group featuring steel band music and a special performance from GVSU affiliate professor music, Gregory Crowell.

Crowell’s show “A Menagerie of Keyboards,” will take place Wednesday, March 29, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Cook- DeWitt Center on the Allendale Campus.

The performance will feature several keyboard instruments, including an organ and three different harpsichords, with music specifically selected to highlight the different sounds that each of the harpsichords can produce. He’s chosen to play primarily 17th and 18th century music to emphasize certain instruments. In addition, Crowell also plans to incorporate 19th century music to exaggerate the pedal work of some of the instruments.

“Live performance, whether at a keyboard or any other instrument, is all about interaction with the audience,” said Brian Young, a professional accompanist and instructor of keyboard musicianship at GVSU. “Seeing and hearing everything the performer does to produce their sound and feeling the energy of the audience can't be reproduced by recordings.”

Crowell has appeared as an organist, harpsichordist, clavichordist, lecturer and conductor in all corners of the world, including: Germany, Holland, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Canada and the United States. He has performed in many international festivals and conventions, including the Boston Early Music Festival, Regional V Convention of the American Guild of Organists and 11 National Conventions of the Organ Historical Society.

His performances have been broadcasted all over the United States, including: Boston, Chicago, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. Crowell has earned degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music and the University of Cincinnati, and has studied at the North German Organ Academy, Academia del Organo (Pistoia, Italy) and Musika Hamabostaldia (San Sebastian, Spain).

Despite his accomplishments and success, Crowell still works diligently to continue to grow as a musician. Studying, practice and imagination are the keys to making the music more than just notes on a page–music is also about commitment. The goal is to allow audience members access to the history behind the music through the performance.

“You do your best to come to an understanding with your music,” Crowell said. “Then you have to surrender yourself to it.”

Crowell will be holding future performances Saturday, April 8, for the Early Music Ensemble and a collaborative show with GVSU associate music professor and renowned cellist, Pablo Mahve-Veglia Wednesday, April 19.

All GVSU students and faculty members are encouraged to attend the remaining Arts at Noon performances this semester. The series is free and open the public. 

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