OSWEGO — SUNY Oswego faculty member, composer and percussionist Eric Schmitz and four colleagues will honor the jazz and music education legacy of the late Fred Sturm in a “Suite for Fred” performance at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19, in Sheldon Hall ballroom.
Schmitz, who has composed a four-part piece for the occasion, and fellow performers will deliver a talk at 7 p.m. preceding the concert, part of SUNY Oswego’s Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series.
Also appearing are pianist Chris Azzara and trombonist Mark Kellogg — both of whom, like Schmitz, studied under Sturm at University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music — and fellow Eastman graduates Doug Stone on saxophone and SUNY Oswego music faculty member Danny Ziemann on bass.
Sturm, an award-winning composer who taught at the Eastman School between two long tenures at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, died in 2014 after inspiring generations of jazz students, educators and aficionados, Schmitz said.
“Although I studied with Fred for only one year, his influence and mentoring had a very strong effect on me,” Schmitz said. “We kept in touch after his return to the Midwest and I often sought his guidance and advice over the years. He was a truly kind, generous and encouraging person, in addition to being one of the very best jazz composer/arranger/educators around. His passing left a giant gap in the world of jazz education.”
The concert will feature all-new music, said Schmitz, who composed and played in Eastman’s Jazz Ensemble and Studio Orchestra under Sturm’s guidance in 2001-02.
“In addition to ‘Suite for Fred’ I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write a feature piece for each of the other members of the group,” Schmitz said. “I asked each of them to send me a list of their favorite albums/songs/artists and I used these lists as jumping-off points for each piece. It was thrilling to learn more about each musician’s influences and tastes and in the process I learned about some great music I hadn’t heard before.”
The artists plan to record a CD of the music this fall for release later this year or in early spring, Schmitz said.
Tickets for “Suite for Fred” are $15 ($5 for students) and are available at all SUNY Oswego box offices, online at tickets.oswego.edu or by calling 315-312-2141.
Parking is included in the price of a ticket, and is available in the employee and commuter lots adjacent to and across Washington Boulevard from Sheldon Hall.