IUP In National Spotlight With Organ Composition World Premier

Posted on 3/2/2016 11:52:41 AM

The IUP Music Department again takes center stage as the Carol Teti Memorial Organ Scholarship Committee presents Kola Olowabi, in a recital featuring the premiere of Sept Hommages by Claude Baker, the winning composition of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) 2016 Pogorzelski Yankee Memorial Composition Competition.

The free recital takes place at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 13, in DiCicco Hall, Room 121, of Cogswell Hall, and is preceded by a pre-concert talk by Baker from 2:15–2:45.

Following the recital, all are invited to enjoy a dinner and conversation with Owolabi, a University of Michigan music professor, and AGO guests, including John Walker, president of the AGO, at the Oak Room in Foster Hall. The cost of $75 per person includes a donation to the scholarship fund.

Reservations are required and may be made through March 6 by contacting the chairperson of the CTMOSC, Charles Cashdollar, at 724-463-3458. For more information on the recital, e-mail Cashdollar at charles.cashdollar@comcast.net or Christine Clewell at orgel@iup.edu.

Contributions to the scholarship fund are welcome and gratefully accepted, and may be made at the recital, or by mailing a check made out to the Foundation for IUP, Account #5215 to the Foundation for IUP, Sutton Hall, Room G1, 1011 South Drive, Indiana, PA 15705.

Kola OwolabiA native of Toronto, Canada, Kola Owolabi (pictured at right) is associate professor of Organ at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he teaches courses in organ, improvisation, and church music. From 2006 to 2014, he taught at Syracuse University and served as university organist. He also held positions as sub dean and dean of the Syracuse Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

He holds degrees in organ performance and choral conducting from McGill University, Montreal, Yale University, and Eastman School of Music. His teachers have included Bruce Wheatcroft, John Grew, Martin Jean, Thomas Murray, Hans Davidsson, and William Porter. In 2002, Owolabi was awarded second prize and audience prize at the American Guild of Organists National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance.

Owolabi is a published composer and has received commissions from the Royal Canadian College of Organists and the Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto. His solo organ composition “Dance” was selected for the Royal Canadian College of Organists National Competition in August 2013, where all of the finalists performed this composition.

He was a featured performer at the American Guild of Organists National Convention in Boston in June 2014, performing three recitals at Methuen Memorial Music Hall. He also performed a concert for the Organ Historical Society Convention in Syracuse in August 2014. He performs regularly as organist and harpsichordist with the Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Seraphic Fire and Firebird Chamber Orchestra, based in Miami, Fla.

Claude BakerClaude Baker (pictured at left) is Class of 1956 Chancellor’s Professor of Composition in the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he is also the recipient of the universitywide Tracy M. Sonneborn Award for accomplishments in the areas of teaching and research. Prior to his appointment at Indiana, he served on the faculties of the University of Georgia and the University of Louisville and was a visiting professor at the Eastman School of Music. In the eight-year period from 1991–99, he held the position of composer-in-residence of the St. Louis Symphony, one of the longest such residencies with any major orchestra in the country.

Baker earned his doctorate from the Eastman School of Music, where his principal composition teachers were Samuel Adler and Warren Benson. As a composer, he has received a number of professional honors, including an Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; two Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards; a Manuel de Falla Prize (Madrid); the Eastman-Leonard and George Eastman Prizes; BMI-SCA and ASCAP awards; commissions from the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, the Fromm Music Foundation, the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, and Meet the Composer (now, New Music USA); a Paul Fromm Residency at the American Academy in Rome; and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bogliasco Foundation, and the state arts councils of Indiana, Kentucky, and New York. Most recently, he was selected as the winner of the inaugural Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee Annual Composition Competition sponsored by the American Guild of Organists.

Among the many orchestras that have commissioned and/or performed his music are those of Saint Louis, San Francisco, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Louisville, as well as the New York Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Orquesta Sinfonica de RTV Española, the Orquesta Nacional de España, the Musikkollegium Winterthur, and the Staatskapelle Halle. Other ensembles include the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the Esprit Orchestra, the Voices of Change, the American Modern Ensemble, the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, the Empyrean Ensemble, the Momenta String Quartet, and the Pacifica String Quartet (with pianist Ursula Oppens). His works are published by Lauren Keiser Music and Carl Fischer and are recorded on the Naxos, ACA, Gasparo, Jeanné, IUMusic, TNC, and Louisville First Edition labels.