Dana Alumni Pianist Thomas Osuga, Violinist Sho Omagari, and Composer Matthew Saunders Headline New Music Guild, Inc. Festival 33
This year’s New Music Festival will again host the talented Guest Artists, Thomas Osuga, pianist, and Sho Omagari, violinist. On Friday April 22nd, 2016, the two musicians will play three Catholic School Children’s Concerts, at Struthers’ St. Nicholas School, at Brier Hill’s St. Joseph the Provider School, and at Hubbard’s St. Patrick’s School. The duo will perform an evening outreach recital at 7pm Saturday, April 23rd, 2016, at Jefferson’s First Congregational Church near Ashtabula. The Gala Festival Concert will take place at 4pm Sunday, April 24th, 2016, at Saints Peter and Paul Church, Holy Apostles Parish in Downtown Youngstown and will have several performances by the Festival Chamber Orchestra including Guest Composer Matthew Saunder’s Suite for String Orchestra.
Dr. Saunders Chairs the Music Department at Lakeland Community College and directs the Lakeland Civic Orchestra. Prior to coming to Cleveland he was Director of Bands at Oklahoma Panhandle University. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and The Ohio State University, Saunders studied with Donald Harris, Thomas Wells, Jan Radzynski, and Wes Flinn. He has taught music from kindergarten to college in styles from madrigal to mariachi.
The Festival Chamber Orchestra will also perform Gwyneth Rollin’s Impressions for String Orchestra. Originally a piece for violin and piano, she transcribed it for string orchestra especially for the Festival Chamber Orchestra. A graduate of the University of Calgary and Indiana University, Dr. Rollin assisted renowned theoretician Mary Wennestrom at Indiana, and taught Theory at Dana for over 35 years. She has tirelessly contributed her acumen and energy to the New Music Guild, Inc. for many years.
The Festival Chamber Orchestra will also play the area premiere of Robert Rollin’s African Images for String Orchestra. Rollin composed the original version under the title Images of Africa for violinist Walter Mony who premiered it in several countries around the world. Rollin transcribed it for violin and string orchestra and recorded the new version on a CD with the Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra and Mony as the soloist. The Orchestra will also play Rollin’s In Memoriam Walter Mony, a tribute to his friendship with the late Walter Mony.
Thomas Osuga was a Music Theory and Composition student of Dana Professor Emeritus Robert Rollin (local New Music Guild, Inc. coordinator) years ago. Osuga has been on the faculty of New York City’s Mannes College of Music since 1994. He and his wife, Dana alumna, Li Chen Hwang Osuga, maintain a large private piano studio in upper Manhattan. His students regularly pursue careers at top level conservatories, colleges, and graduate schools. An internationally acclaimed solo and chamber artist, Osuga continues to garner accolades for his extraordinary talent. Osuga is founder and artistic director of Aurista Chamber Music, a flexible ensemble known for its metropolitan New York City performances. Osuga has served as Co-Chair of the Piano Preparatory Department at Mannes, has been an organizer and faculty member at international music festivals in Italy and Germany, presently coordinates concerts at the Puffin Foundation in Teaneck, New Jersey, and directs the busy classical/jazz music series at Trattoria Machiavelli on upper west side Manhattan. He has recorded for the Capstone, Legacy, and Coronet labels.
German born violinist Sho Omagari, who began performing at the age of five, studied Violin Performance at the Mannes College of Music. Omagari holds a Bachelors from Mannes College, the Master of Music from the Juilliard School of Music, and is working on his Doctorate of at the State University of New York at Stoney Brook on full scholarship. He has won numerous prestigious awards and was the first recipient of the Circle of Wind Music Scholarship Award created in memory of the victims of 9/11 and the 3/11 Japan Earthquake. In April 2012 his performance aboard an ocean liner in memory of those who perished in the sinking of the Titanic was broadcast worldwide. Two years ago Omagari gave a Japanese recital tour, playing concerts at the evacuation shelters in one of the worst stricken areas of the Japan Quake. He just returned from another Japanese tour.