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Composer Samuel Hazo to speak on music advocacy

The University of Maine at Presque Isle brings to campus a musical composer whose work has been performed with Brooke Shields and James Earl Jones when it hosts Samuel Hazo as its third Distinguished Lecturer of the 2009-2010 academic year.

Mr. Hazo will speak at 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 30 in the Campus Center about how music helps us all to become better students and citizens of the world during his talk “The New Face of Music Advocacy” – a message for music lovers, educators and community members alike. He will discuss the importance and the benefits of participating in music programs and in keeping music in schools and in our lives beyond school. All are invited to attend this free event.

Mr. Hazo will also participate in a few musical activities during his two-day visit to campus, including a special clinic on Sunday for the UMPI/Community Band, a Monday afternoon clinic for local schools, and a concert on Monday evening.

“It is our hope that as many students and community members as possible will come to hear Mr. Hazo speak and perform during his visit to Presque Isle as this is a unique opportunity to meet one of today’s leading composers in his genre,” said Kevin Kinsey, UMPI/Community Band Director and MSAD1 Elementary Instrumental Music Director, who is helping to organize Mr. Hazo’s visit.

On Sunday, Nov. 29, members of the UMPI/Community Band will have the special opportunity of working with Mr. Hazo during a private dress rehearsal and clinic. Following his morning Distinguished Lecture, Mr. Hazo will present a clinic on the afternoon of Monday, Nov. 30 with the help of the UMPI/Community Band, which will serve as his “demonstrator model” as he discusses his musical compositions, music education and the music industry. Local music educators and their students are being invited to attend this event.

On the evening of Monday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m., Mr. Hazo will serve as a special guest conductor during the UMPI/Community Band Winter Concert in Wieden Auditorium. The band, now in its 11th year, will play several of Mr. Hazo’s compositions, including Perthshire Majesty, winner of the 2003 William D. Revelli Composition Contest, Fantasy on a Japanese Folk Song, and Voices of the Sky. The band also will perform the Maine premiere of his unpublished composition Go. The public is invited to attend this event and admission is free.

Mr. Hazo, who is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has composed for the professional, university and public school levels in addition to writing original scores for television, radio and the stage. In 2003, he became the first composer in history to be awarded the winner of both composition contests sponsored by the National Band Association.

His original symphonic compositions include performances with actors Brooke Shields, James Earl Jones, David Conrad and Richard Kiley. He has also written symphonic arrangements for three-time Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams. Mr. Hazo’s compositions have been performed and recorded worldwide, including performances by the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra (national tour), the Birmingham Symphonic Winds (UK) and the Klavier Wind Project’s recordings with Eugene Migliaro Corporon. Additionally, his music is included in the series “Teaching Music Through Performance in Band.”

Mr. Hazo’s works have been premiered and performed at the Music Educators’ National Conference, Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles Convention, National Honor Band of America, National Band Association/TBA Convention, College Band Directors’ National Association Convention and also aired in full-length programs on National Public Radio. He has served as composer-in-residence at Craig Kirchhoff’s University of Minnesota Conducting Symposium and has also lectured on music and music education at universities and high schools internationally. In 2004, Mr. Hazo’s compositions were listed in a published national survey of the “Top Twenty Compositions of All Time” for wind band.

Mr. Hazo has been a music teacher at every educational grade level from kindergarten through college, including tenure as a high school and university director. Mr. Hazo was twice named “Teacher of Distinction” by the southwestern Pennsylvania Teachers’ Excellence Foundation. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Duquesne University where he served on the Board of Governors and was awarded as Duquesne’s Outstanding Graduate in Music Education. Mr. Hazo serves as a guest conductor and is a clinician for Hal Leonard Corporation. He is also sponsored by Sibelius Music Software. Recordings of his compositions appear on Klavier Records and Mark Records. He resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his wife and children.

“It’s a rare thing to get a composer and artist of his caliber to visit us,” Kinsey said. “Here is a nationally recognized composer who has won prestigious national awards and we’re going to have the opportunity to hear him speak about music and see him conduct his own music in person right here in northern Maine. This is going to be a visit to remember.”

Kinsey pointed out another exciting element to Mr. Hazo’s visit – the fact that other music educators around the state are going to be able to work with this acclaimed composer.

“Because the University of Maine at Presque Isle is bringing him to the state to serve as its Distinguished Lecturer, arrangements were able to be made for Mr. Hazo also to visit and work with bands at Old Town High School, Houlton High School, and Gorham High School,” Kinsey said. “Without the help of the University, it’s not likely that any of these school visits would have been possible.”

The University’s Distinguished Lecture Series was established in 1999. Each year, the UDLS Committee sponsors five to six speakers who come from Maine and beyond, representing a range of disciplines and viewpoints. While the emphasis tends to be on featuring visiting academics, it is not exclusively so. The speakers typically spend two days at the University meeting with classes and presenting a community lecture.

Hazo’s morning lecture at UMPI’s Campus Center and the evening UMPI/Community Band Winter Concert in Wieden Auditorium are free and the public is invited to attend both events. For more information, contact the University’s Media Relations Office at 768-9452.