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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University February 5, 2007 | Vol. 36 No. 20
A Cavalcade of Concerts

Jazz trumpeter Dontae Winslow plays at his alma mater in March.

Hundreds of Peabody alumni, faculty tune up to perform in February

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

The Peabody Institute's presence will be felt — and heard — here, there and everywhere in February, as hundreds of students, faculty and alumni are set to join in a global 150th birthday tribute.

Let the cavalcade of concerts begin.

On Feb. 12, 1857, philanthropist George Peabody founded the institute, the first academy of music to be established in America. Located in Baltimore's Mount Vernon Square, the institute began with the idea of bringing culture to the city's residents and comprised a library, lecture series and art gallery as well as the academy of music.

To help celebrate the sesquicentennial anniversary of the school, the Peabody chapter of the university's alumni association set out to compile a list of 150 alumni concerts scheduled for February. The chapter asked alumni to let them know if they were already set to perform during the month, and if they weren't, to try to schedule a concert, big or small.

The response has far exceeded expectations. To date, Peabody alumni are now set to perform 244 concerts in 31 states and 17 countries.

In addition to the alumni concerts around the country and abroad, Peabody has plenty in store for those in the Baltimore area, including two major performances at the school's Mount Vernon campus.

On Wednesday, Feb. 7, a unique collaboration will bring the Peabody Concert Orchestra together with members of the Peabody Jazz Orchestra in the premiere of The Open Book for Improvising Soloists and Orchestra, composed by Peabody jazz faculty member Michael Formanek. Featured soloist in the performance will be Gary Thomas, director and chair of Jazz Studies. The concert, which also includes works by Mihaud, Gershwin and Ellington, takes place at 8 p.m. in Peabody's Friedberg Hall.

One week later, the Peabody Wind Ensemble will perform world premieres of works by three Peabody alumni, Ty Alan Emerson, David Faleris and Mark Lotz. The concert, to be held at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 14, in Friedberg Hall, will also feature works by James Syler, Richard Franko Goldman and Johan de Meij.

Harlan Parker, director of the Peabody Wind Ensemble, said that the entire 2007 concert season will feature a mix of past and present Peabody students to showcase the breadth and long lineage of talent nurtured here.

That talent will be on full display in February with the 244 (and counting) alumni concerts that range from intimate performances in private homes to large orchestras in major concert halls.

Of note, the George Peabody House Museum in Peabody, Mass., is sponsoring a tribute concert performed at City Hall by Conservatory musicians. The mayor and trustees of the museum will attend the concert, which will be held on Feb. 16, two days before George Peabody's birthday, an occasion that the city's residents still celebrate by visiting his gravesite and having birthday cake.

On Feb. 7, four alums from the voice program will perform an "I Love Peabody" concert, a night of opera and musical theater favorites at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Here at home, three alumni who are also Peabody faculty artists — Ah Hong, Robert Muckenfuss and Steven Rainbolt — will present a free recital on the actual anniversary date, Feb. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in Peabody's Griswold Hall.

Other alumni concerts include performances by pianist Andre Watts in Washington state, violinist Bing Wang in California and violoncellist Zuill Bailey in Wisconsin. Alumni concerts overseas include ones in Australia, Belgium, Greece, Japan, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain and Switzerland.

Linda Goodwin, director of ensembles and president of the alumni steering committee for Peabody, said that this whole effort began with a simple question: What could alumni do to help celebrate Peabody's 150th?

"We thought, Wouldn't it be great to do 150 concerts in the month of February? It has just snowballed from there," she said. "It's been great to see the show of support and the amazing response. I would love to see us hit all 50 states, and I'm doing some last-minute campaigning to get us there."

In honor of their support and to help spread birthday wishes, each of the alumni set to perform will receive a box of candy mints imprinted with a scripted Peabody "P" and the anniversary slogan "150 Years of Music for the World."

Even at the end of February, there will be plenty of concerts still to come.

Featured alumni in the spring include jazz trumpeter Dontae Winslow in a March 23 appearance with the Peabody Jazz Lab Band, the violin and piano duo recital of Qian Zhou and Thomas Hecht on April 17 and cellist David Hardy as soloist for an April 28 performance of the Peabody Symphony Orchestra.

For a full list of alumni concerts, go to

For a list of all Peabody events, go to

To contact the box office, call 410-659-8100, ext. 2, or e-mail


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