GVSU professor to perform in cello recital

GVL / Courtesy - gvsu.edu

GVL / Courtesy - gvsu.edu

Tasman Mattox

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To kick off a new school year at Grand Valley State University with some music, Lee Copenhaver, a cellist and associate professor of music theory at GVSU, will be performing Thursday, Aug. 29, at 7:30 p.m. in the Cook-Dewitt Center.

“I’m doing this as a personal enrichment thing,” Copenhaver said. “I hope to be a good musician for my students.”

During his recital, Copenhaver will play pieces from a variety of genres.

“There will be something for everyone in this recital, from Baroque to jazz to new music,” said Caitlin Cusack, the publicity and recruitment coordinator for GVSU’s department of music, theatre and dance.

The musical selections for the recital vary from dance-style music from Catalonia, a region in Spain (“Suite for Solo Cello” by Gaspar Cassadó), to a piece written for baritone saxophone with a boombox accompaniment and narration (“Pimpin'” by Jacob Ter Veldhuis).

“There’s a huge world of difference between the Bach Adagio and the piece called ‘Pimpin”; I chose three pieces that are not originally written for the cello under the notion that good music is good music and if you steal it from another instrument, it is still good music,” Copenhaver said.

Cusack thinks this recital will provide a unique opportunity for Copenhaver’s students to see him outside of the classroom and for non-music students in general to have a chance to see a performance that will enhance their liberal arts education.

“This will be an exciting opportunity for students to see the beloved ‘Dr. C’ onstage and in action,” Cusack said. “He is most often found by students in a classroom or office. … It will be a great opportunity for students who study subjects outside of music to broaden their horizons, appropriately reflecting the spirit of GVSU’s liberal arts education.”

This fall marks Copenhaver’s 33rd year working at GVSU. He said working with students in these spaces is one of the best parts of his job as a professor.

“He’s got a bit of a dream team composed for this recital,” Cusack said.

Copenhaver will be accompanied by three guests. One is Julianne Vanden Wyngaard, a pianist, artist-in-residence and carillonneur at GVSU, who will be performing with Copenhaver.

“In this recital, you get to see her playing keys on a piano rather than our carillon,” Cusack said.

Also performing are Copenhaver’s sons, Steffan and Sean Copenhaver, on drums and bass.

“Of course, we’ve got a long history,” Copenhaver said. “It’s a fun dynamic. We have some old jokes that go way back, and they’re very fast musicians. We have new jokes as well. We’re building on that background without having to get acquainted.”