December 1, 2023

Kraus Releases New Singles on Tunecore Label

Andrew Kraus, Adjunct Professor of Piano, releases two new “singles” this month on the Tunecore label.

Deep River is played in an arrangement by Calvin Taylor, a noted African American pianist, arranger and pedagogue, from his collection Spirituals for Worship, and is available from iTunes, and other outlets as a digital download starting June 10.

January, from Stone Rose, a collection of pieces by Ola Gjeilo,  was originally written for cello and piano. Kraus’ performance is scheduled for digital release from iTunes, and other outlets starting June 17.

Kraus is grateful to two of his students for introducing him to Taylor and Gjeilo, and he believes the stories of how these composers and their works came to him through his students is evidence of the value in being a member of the vibrant community of scholars and artists at the University of Mary Washington.

It was Benjamin Jones, a commuter student, who introduced Kraus to Calvin Taylor and his arrangement of Deep River. Jones had heard Taylor play at the church he and his family regularly attend in Stafford, loved what he heard, got fired up to the point where he parted with some hard-earned and all too scarce cash to purchase Taylor’s Spirituals for Worship, showed up with it at his next lesson and asked as he sat down at the piano, “Would it be OK if I learned this piece?”  Kraus played through the piece, loved it, and said, “Absolutely, and, do you mind if I learn it too?”

Similarly, Lucas Chandler, another of Kraus’ students who recently graduated, brought Stone Rose, a set of piano pieces by Ola Gjeilo, to one of his lessons earlier this spring, and asked what Kraus thought of them. Reading through a few of them with him, Kraus was again smitten.  When he asked Chandler how he had discovered Gjeilo, Chandler told him that he had been introduced to Gjeilo’s oeuvre through his choral music by yet another member of the UMW community, Jane Tavernier, who had programmed some of Gjeilo’s music in a concert by the UMW Chorus. Kraus asked Lukas if he would mind if he learned several and recorded them. The answer was, “yes,” and January is the first of several in Stone Rose to be recorded and released by Kraus.

Operafest Brings Opera to UMW, 6/22-6/23

The University of Mary Washington will host its 13th annual Operafest on Friday, June 22 and Saturday, June 23 at 7:30 p.m. in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium. The performances are free and open to the public.

Operafest, directed by UMW voice instructors Kathy Ahearn and Jane Tavernier, is the culmination of an intensive five-week course. The 12 performers auditioned for the course in April and have rehearsed six hours per week since mid-May in preparation for the performances.

The program will include scenes from Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” and “Don Pasquale,” Bernstein’s “West Side Story,” Mozart’s “The Abduction of the Seraglio,” Puccini’s “La Rondine” and Lehar’s “The Merry Widow.”

For more information about Operafest, contact the Department of Music at (540) 654-1012.