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2/26/2003 Linfield faculty meld music, poetry, technology in upcoming recital

McMINNVILLE – Faculty members from the Linfield College music department will present a recital featuring music, poetry and technology Friday, March 7, at 8 p.m. in Melrose Auditorium.

The performance is free and open to the public.

Compositions written by Richard Bourassa, professor of music, and Greg Bowers, assistant professor of music, will be performed, along with a multimedia presentation, Active Space.

The evening will feature three pieces of music composed by Bourassa, chair of the department. Two of the pieces, "Field Trip to St. Paul Cemetery" and "Blue Sunday," are based on poems written by Lex Runciman, Linfield professor of English. They will be performed by Linfield adjunct professors Stephen Kravitz on tenor sax and Jackie Van Paepeghem, soprano. Bourassa, on piano, along with Kravitz on bassoon, will also perform "Chants," a two-movement work written by Bourassa.

Bourassa became interested in setting poetry to music when he used some of his own poetry as the basis of songs during a 2000-01 sabbatical.

"Composing the music is a way to capture my own sense of understanding of the poetry," said Bourassa, part of the Linfield faculty since 1992. "Then I turn it over to the performers and see how they interpret both my music and Lex's poems. It is a wonderful example of colleagues working across disciplines. That opportunity for interaction is one of Linfield's greatest strengths."

Both poems were published over two decades ago in "Luck," a 1981 book of poetry by Runciman, who has enjoyed the collaborative nature of the project.

"It's intriguing for someone who writes, in that often that process feels fairly individual," Runciman added. "So to have that suddenly widen out is amazing. The result is my words and somebody else's music and somebody else's voice and somebody else's tenor sax."

The evening will also feature three pieces written by Bowers. "Gestalt Figures" for violin, cello and piano, will be performed by Linfield adjunct faculty members Jennifer Garrett on piano and Karen Vincent on viola, along with Georgienne Young on cello. Nine miniatures for piano, "Perception Etudes," will also be performed by Garrett, along with "Eurydice's Return," an all-electronic piece.

The recital will include a presentation of Active Space, a multimedia project presented by Lisa Naugle, assistant professor of dance at the University of California, Irvine, and John Crawford, digital video artist, interactive performance director and software designer. Active Space is a computer-mediated environment in which people influence the behavior of technical elements such as lighting, sound and projected images through their movements and vocalizations. In this piece, Naugle dances while a video camera captures her movements and uses them to control projected images and musical sounds.

Bourassa holds a bachelor of music degree from the University of Idaho, a master of music degree from the University of Denver and a Ph.D. from Ball State University. His compositions have been performed throughout the United States at such events and places as the International Double Reed Symposium; regional meetings of the American Society of University Composers; Boston Conservatory of Music; and the University of California, Fullerton. He has also presented and published in the areas of music theory and music education.

Bowers holds degrees in composition and organ performance from Lewis and Clark College, the State University of New York at Stony Brook and Yale University. His music has been performed on the east and west coasts by artists such as soprano Christine Schadeberg, Ad Libitum Chamber Players, Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players and Portland Gay Men's Chorus. Bowers was a featured performance artist at the 2002 Philadelphia Fringe Festival, where he premiered his new multimedia work, "Ginger Moloko's Autistic Fairies," utilizing music, theatre and computer-generated media. In addition to his work at Linfield, Bowers directs music at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Portland and is associate artistic director of the Portland Gay Men's Chorus.

For more information, call the Linfield Music Department at 503-883-2275.