Ke-Nekt series To Feature ‘Wicked’ Star, Symphony Syracuse Ensemble

OSWEGO — A Broadway star from the cast of “Wicked” and members of a professional Syracuse orchestra working to resurrect itself will headline the first two performances in SUNY Oswego’s 2012-13 Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series.

Kyle Dean Massey, a tenor recently re-signed to play Fiyero in the record-run musical “Wicked” at the famed Gershwin Theatre, will display his vocal skills in “Eclectic Broadway” at 7 p.m. Sept. 18, in Sheldon Hall ballroom.

The Sheldon ballroom will host all of Ke-Nekt’s performances, the remainder of which will be on Wednesdays.

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Kyle Dean Massey, who plays and sings the role of Fiyero in “Wicked” on Broadway, will kick off SUNY Oswego’s Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series at 7 p.m. Sept. 18, in Sheldon Hall ballroom. (Photo by Susan Shacter)

“He has a contract with ‘Wicked’ to do the romantic lead for another year,” said Todd Graber, music department chair and host for Massey’s appearance. “They were kind enough while they were negotiating his contract to give him a day off so he could come up here and do this concert. He’s a great kid — well, I call him a kid because I taught him for a couple of years at Missouri State, 2000 to 2002.”

Graber said Massey’s repertoire will highlight standout Broadway songs from the past 15 years, rather than standards from decades past, and Graber, who teaches voice and choral studies at SUNY Oswego, will accompany him for a duet from the musical “Martin Guerre.”

Symphonic players

Up to 18 members of the Symphony Syracuse Chamber Players will take the ballroom stage at 7 p.m. Oct. 10. Their repertoire will include works of Darius Milhaud, William Walton and Kurt Weill.

“I’m excited to be playing with members of the former Syracuse Symphony Orchestra as they undertake a new direction,” said Trevor Jorgensen, a music faculty member, saxophonist and host for the Chamber Players.

Following the financial collapse of the former orchestra, supporters around the region have been working to keep a high level of orchestral music in Central New York.

Besides the chamber ensemble, SUNY Oswego plans to feature the full symphony Nov. 17 as part of Artswego’s Performing Artist Series, according to Fritz Messere, dean of the School of Communication, Media and the Arts.

“I am really interested as dean that we bring symphonic music to Oswego for those who would like to hear it and who, for one reason or another, can’t get to Syracuse,” Messere said. “I think offering the Symphony Syracuse Chamber Players is an opportunity for us to work with Symphony Syracuse to create opportunities within the Ke-Nekt series for the campus and community.”

Ke-Nekt, co-organized by Artswego and the SUNY Oswego music department, will follow Feb. 20 with the Ariel String Quartet, which serves as quartet-in-residence at the University Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. Ariel’s performance will encompass works of Beethoven, Schumann and Britten.

‘Fresh and vital’

On April 10, the Daedalus Quartet, which the New York Times calls “a fresh and vital young participant in what is a golden age of American string quartets,” will play Mendelssohn’s “String Quartet No. 1 in E-flat major, Op. 12” and George Perle’s “Molto Adagio.”

The series will conclude May 1 with famed trombonist Michael Davis, who has played with a diverse array of stars from the Rolling Stones to Frank Sinatra, and from Bob Dylan to Jay Z. Davis maintains his own jazz groups and projects through Hip-Bone Music.

John Shaffer, director of arts programming at SUNY Oswego, said nearly all musicians in the Ke-Nekt and Performing Artist series interact with young musicians on campus and in area schools, in forums ranging from master classes to additional concerts.

Tickets for each performance are $15 ($12 for those ages 62 and over, students ages 17 and under and SUNY Oswego faculty and staff; $6 for SUNY Oswego students).

They are available at all SUNY Oswego box offices, online at and by phone at 315-312-2141.