Music festival moves to DePauw Wednesday

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Greencastle Summer Music Festival moves to Thompson Recital Hall in the Green Center for the Performing Arts at DePauw University this week for a special concert featuring young percussion virtuoso Josiah Rushing and clarinetist Daniel Healton.

The free Wednesday 7:30 p.m. concert, co-sponsored by the DePauw University School of Music, is only the second in the festival's eight-year history to feature a current DePauw music student. Rushing will be start his senior year this fall.

The concdert also features a diverse array of compositions with elements of jazz, French impressionism and extended techniques for both instruments.

Josiah Rushing

"Every summer we present rising young artists," said festival founder and artistic director Eric Edberg, a DePauw music professor. "Josiah, who was the top American winner in the 2011 Percussion Arts Society competition, is one of the most spectacular percussionists I've ever heard -- and he just finished his junior year. He's been a contestant of the School of Music's Concerto Competition every year, and Pulitzer-prize winning composer Joseph Schwanter praised him highly during this year's Music of the 21st Century Festival.

"He's an amazing performer with an athletic and energetic stage presence," Edberg added. "I decided to book him while we have the chance, because he's going to have a major career."

Rushing will be performing with his friend Daniel Healton, a Ft. Wayne Symphony clarinetist.

"I'm delighted about this duo recital," Edberg said, "because it was Joe Schwanter who reminded us over and over this spring that 'the best way to spend your life is making music with your friends.' Josiah's amazing performances of Schwanter's music are why I invited him to perform this summer, and it was Joe who inspired the motto for this summer's festival, 'Friends making music for friends.' It's perfect that Josiah is bringing a friend to make music with."

This concert is being held at DePauw so that the School of Music's collection of percussion instruments can be used for the performance.

"I'm grateful to Dean Mark McCoy for agreeing to co-sponsor this event," Edberg said, "because it can only take place where there is the amazing array of instruments Josiah needs to work his special magic."

Rushing said the program, including music by Billie Holiday, Libby Larson, Claude Debussy, and others, features "the varying timbres created by both percussion and clarinet. At whatever dynamic or intense texture of the percussion, the clarinet can cut through and compliment the many timbres of percussion. The duets and solos of this program show off what each instrument can do in these different settings and styles."

A rising star in the new-music and percussion worlds, Rushing has toured China as part of the DePauw Percussion Ensemble, studied samba in Brazil, and will spend the fall of 2012 performing and studying in Paris.

He is a three-time winner of the Concerto Competition at the DePauw University School of Music, where he studies with Amy Lynn Barber.

Daniel Healton

Praised by Pulitzer-prize winning composer Joseph Schwantner for his "energetic and exciting" playing, Rushing is a versatile musician whose repertoire extends from Bach to Debussy to jazz. His commitment to new music has led him to work with composers including Joan Tower and Alan Jay Kernis. A dedicated music educator, Josiah directs the middle-school percussion summer education programs at Western High School.

Daniel Healton is an Indiana-born clarinetist from the Kokomo area. He began his musical studies at the age of 11 on the saxophone, and very quickly made the switch to clarinet.

Currently Healton is an active performer and educator around the state. Along with his position as assistant band director at Western High School he maintains a third bass clarinet position with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic as well as regular playing and teaching engagements throughout the Midwest.

Healton holds bachelor degree in clarinet performance from Indiana University. His teachers have included Howard Klug, Elizabeth Crawford, and Michael Lowenstern.

The Greencastle Summer Music Festival returns to Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church on Wednesday Aug. 1 with a concert featuring vocalists Kerry Jennings and Charles Stanton.

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