Jazz/Orchestral Diplomacy in Ukraine

Read the full article as writen by The Star Press (Muncie, IN): http://www.thestarpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014306160015

When violinist Christian Howes and conductor Douglas Droste 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. The video that caught the attention of U.S. cultural affairs below features their recent performance with the Muncie Symphony Orchestra:

 

A preview of our trip to Ukraine featured in the Muncie Star Press

Click to enlarge

Howes and Droste will perform in Lviv, Ukraine at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 21, 2014 in the historic Lviv Philharmonic Concert Hall. Lviv’s Philharmonic was founded in 1902, and since that time 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. Also on the program are other orchestral jazz crossover pieces featuring Christian: an arrangement of Chick Corea’s “Spain” and an original by Howes. “Melody”, by Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk will also 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 improvising soloist with orchestra and jazz trio in a concert with  other classics represents the best of old and new. Encouraging students to find something contemporary and creative, something of their own, alongside traditional studies, is also the purpose of my workshops” said Howes. The violinist will teach improvisation workshops to string players in Lviv and Kiev, and present two additional concerts in collaboration with jazz musicians in both cities.

 

“It’s all about promoting U.S. goodwill,” explained Droste. “I’m hoping we can add a little source of hope. Music is the universal language.”

 

CH&DDConductor 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 prepared him to manage conducting such diverse musical strains.”

 

christian howes and douglas droste to perform in ukraine june 2014

Christian Howes was named among the top three jazz violinists by Jazz Times in 2013The same year he was awarded the Chamber Music America “Residency Partnership Award” for his outreach programs with youth orchestra programs.  His “Creative Strings”educational initiatives are operated through a 501(c)(3) with a mission to expand music education,  present concerts, and teach contemporary skills to 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 on the Concerto for Jazz Violin, see: https://christianhowes.com/2014/05/01/jazz-violin-concerto-challenges-soloist-and-orchestra-blending-americana-and-impressionism/

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