Two accomplished alumni from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music will return to their alma mater for a joint recital to honor the ongoing 125th anniversary celebration. The Outstanding Alumni Performance Series will continue on Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m. in the Sara M. Snell Music Theatre.
The concert will feature Robert Pruzin ’69 on horn and Christopher Weait ’62 on bassoon. Hannah Gruber will accompany Pruzin on piano and Kelly Drifmeyer will join him on French horn. Weait will be joined by Carol Lowe on bassoon.
Pruzin will perform a number of selections for horn, including “Serenade” and “Majaliwa” by Paul Basler, Samuel Douglas’ “Autumnali Tempore,” Gustav Mahler’s “Songs of a Wayfarer” arranged by Eric Carlson, and “Ill Wind,” a piece attributed to Mozart.
Weait’s program will include “Etudes to Spring” by Melvin Solomon and “Sonata in D-Minor” by Joseph Bodin de Boismortier. In addition, Weait will perform an original composition entitled “Ralph’s Secret Weapon,” which interprets a story by Steven Kellogg and includes costumes made by Weait’s wife, Margaret Barstow Weait, who will also narrate the piece. This work includes a colorful cast of characters, including a sea serpent.
This concert is free, and the public is invited to attend.
About the performers:
Robert Pruzin is the associate dean and director of undergraduate studies and a professor of horn at the University of South Carolina’s School of Music. Pruzin is the principal horn in the South Carolina Philharmonic, having served since 1978. From 1978 to 2003, he was the principal horn in the Symphony Orchestra of Augusta and for Augusta Opera. From 1989 to 2005, Pruzin created, produced and performed a children’s program entitled “Bringing Mozart Alive” where, dressed as a court musician in Mozart’s time, he performed for more than 20,000 elementary-aged school children throughout the Southeast. In 2011, Pruzin performed as soloist with the University of South Carolina Concert Choir on their Italian tour in Florence, Rieti, and Rome with masterclasses at the Academia Reatina dell’Arte Conservatory. In addition to his playing duties, Pruzin has been recognized by the University of South Carolina Mortar Board Society with excellence in teaching awards and he is a past recipient of the artist fellowship from the South Carolina Arts Commission. He has served as artist-in-residence on the faculty of the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts Honors Program. Having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in music education from The State University of New York at Potsdam, Pruzin received his Master of Music in performance from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., with continued work at the University of Maryland and Northwestern University. He was a member of the United States Marine Band, “The President’s Own,” in Washington, D.C., traveling on four national tours and performing for numerous world leaders. He has worked with notable and diverse musicians such as Robert Shaw, Yoel Levi, Itzhak Perlman, Luciano Pavarotti, Bobby McFarrin, Ray Charles, Olivia Newton-John, Rod Stewart, Art Garfunkel and Three Dog Night. In addition, Pruzin has appeared as a performing soloist at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C., as well as guest soloist, clinician and conductor at the International Horn Society Symposia in New York, Texas, Florida, Colorado, Illinois and Australia.
Christopher Weait graduated from SUNY Potsdam in 1961. Since then, he has participated in almost every branch of musical activity, including performance, recording, conducting, composition and publishing. Presently, he is an adjunct instructor of bassoon at the Capital University Conservatory of Music in Columbus, Ohio, and is professor emeritus of bassoon at The Ohio State University, where he taught from 1984 to 2006. Before joining the faculty at Ohio State, he was appointed a principal bassoonist of Canada’s Toronto Symphony, serving in that position for 17 years. Prior to joining the Toronto Symphony, he was a member of the Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia and the West Point Band. He has performed as a guest bassoonist in the Cleveland Orchestra, the Grant Park Symphony, the Montréal Symphony and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, among others. Weait appeared as soloist on tour with the Toronto Symphony, the Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia and with Keith Brion and his New Sousa Band. He was the founding bassoonist with OBOHIO and has been acting principal bassoonist of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. His solo albums include “Bassoon with a View: Late 20th Century Bassoon Music” from Innova Recordings, and “Telemann for Bassoon” on the d’Note label. As co-founder and director of the Toronto Chamber Winds, two of his recordings were nominated for Canada’s prestigious Juno Award. He has conducted in Germany, Canada and the United States. Between 1988 and 1999, he was conductor of the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra and is now their conductor laureate. He is the author of “Bassoon Reed Making: An Illustrated Basic Method,” “Bassoon Warmups” and “Bassoon Strategies for the Next Level,” which have become standard texts. Recently, he released “Making a Bassoon Reed,” a two-DVD set. His works have been performed by the Toronto Symphony, Ohio State University bands and glee clubs and the Eastman Wind Ensemble. Twelve works have been recorded by the Aeolian Winds, the New York Bassoon Quartet, the German Wind Soloists and others. He has been a visiting professor at the Eastman School of Music and twice at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. He has been a guest teacher at the Festival at Sandpoint, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the Buenos Aires International Festival in Argentina and at the Chilean National Youth Orchestra.
To find out more about the other special events planned for the 125th anniversary celebration of The Crane School of Music, visit http://www.potsdam.edu/academics/Crane/125years.
Founded in 1886, SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music has a long legacy of excellence in music education and performance. Life at Crane includes an incredible array of more than 300 recitals, lectures and concerts presented by faculty, students and guests each year. The Crane School of Music is the State University of New York’s only All-Steinway institution, and is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2011-12.