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Frost School of Music’s Kaleidoscope Piano Concert Series Begins Spring Season


KalidescopeThe Kaleidoscope Piano Concert Series, which is presented by Frost School of Music students and alumni Akina Yura, Inesa Gegprifti, Maria Sumareva, Redi Llupa, and Rodrigo Bussad to introduce new or rarely heard works along with established masterpieces of piano repertory in eclectic programs linked by an underlying theme, will present four programs this season: Fantasia I, Fantasia II, Prisme Russe, and Music of the Americas, which will take place on February 11, February 25, March 31, and April 28, respectively.

All four concerts will be hosted by The Steinway Piano Gallery Miami (4104 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables, 33146), and will begin at 7 p.m. Admission is free. The programs will showcase Frost School of Music award-winning pianists presenting an amalgam of music spread across four centuries and three continents. Living composers featured in this season include J. Corigliano, G. Walker (USA), G. Guevara (Ecuador) S. Korepanov (Russia), A. Peci (Albania), UM alumnus Matthew Taylor, and Frost School composition faculty member Dorothy Hindman.

A complete list of concerts with details about each program is available below. For more details about each event, visit the Kaleidoscope Piano Concert Series Facebook page.

Fantasia I : February 11, at 7 p.m.
Program: works by Mozart, Schumann, and Scriabin
Performers: Maria Sumareva, Deyana Valchinova, and Larisa Soboleva

Fantasia II : February 25, at 7 p.m.
Program: works by C.P.E. Bach, Busoni, Corigliano, De Falla, Peci, and Ravel
Performers: Inesa Gegprifti, Redi Llupa, Akina Yura, Luca Cubisino, and Dan Sato

Prisme Russe: March 31, at 7 p.m.
Program: Rachmaninoff (original works and transcriptions), Balakirev, and Korepanov
Performers: Ana Cristea, Anastasiya Naplekova, Asiya Korepanova

Music of the Americas: April 28, at 7 p.m.
Program: works by Barber, Cowell, Gershwin/Wild, Ginastera, Guevara, Hindman, Lecuona, Villa-Lobos, Taylor, and Walker
Performers: Asiya Korepanova, Emiri Nourishirazi, Takako Tokuda, Priscila Navarro, David Encalada, Jacob Mason, Rosangel Perez, Joao Campos, and Redi Llupa

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UM’s Brothers Grim Are Sundance Bound

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UM’s Brothers Grim Are Sundance Bound


By Julia D. Berg
UM News

Boniato4

From left, co-directors Eric Mainade, Andres Meza-Valdes, and Diego Meza-Valdes are headed to the 2016 Sundance Film Festival to screen their horror short.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 13, 2016) – University of Miami School of Communication alumni The Meza Brothers, a.k.a. Andres Meza-Valdes, B.S.C. ’09, and Diego Meza-Valdes, B.S.C. ’09, are headed to the 2016 Sundance Film Festival to showcase Boniato, their 23-minute short horror film featuring migrant workers on a boniato (sweet potato) farm who cross borders into a supernatural world, a metaphor for the murky underground network into which many undocumented workers fall.

This is the Meza Brothers’ eighth short in the horror genre and the first they’ve co-directed with seasoned stuntman/action director Eric Mainade, who came up with the initial story concept.

Excitement was running high in December as news of Boniato’s selection by Sundance—launched by Hollywood legend Robert Redford and held annually in January in Park City, Utah—rippled through Miami’s indie film community.

“All I kept yelling was ‘No! No!,” recounts Andres Meza-Valdes, 31, about the moment he heard the official news by phone from Lucas Leyva of the Borscht Corp., an open-source collaborative funded in part by the Knight Foundation to help seed interdisciplinary collaboration and regional filmmaking in Miami.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Meza-Valdes said. “I was with my parents, so they got the scoop firsthand, which is cool because it was nice to share the moment with them. Then, I called my girlfriend. You know, the important people in my life who have contributed for so many years and had to put up with the craziness and stress that come with making an independent film in Miami!”

His co-director and younger brother, Diego, 30, admits he “cried, for real” upon receiving the news. “It’s the coolest thing to happen to our career so far.”

Boniato is one of just eight short films selected for screening January 22-29 in the Midnight Shorts category at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. A total of 72 short films will be screened, selected from 8,712 short film submissions; 123 feature-length films were selected from 12,793 submissions.

The siblings had to wait a few weeks for the official announcement. “It was a bit of torture,” said Andres. “We even thought at any minute one of our friends was going to reveal it was all a big prank. When it became public, it felt like a sigh of relief. We called everyone: the actors (Carmela Zumbado, Felix Cortes, Alex Garay), our DP, ADs, PAs, friends, extended family, haters on the Internet. I even wrote to one of my heroes, [director/producer] Michael Bay. He doesn’t know who I am, but I wanted to tell everyone who inspired and/or helped me out.”

The Boniato project—singled out for awards last year at the Diabolique International Film Festival, the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, Fright Night Horror Weekend, and Freakshow Film Festivalbenefitted from having an experienced producer, fellow alumnus Cory Czajkowski, B.S.C. ’07, on the team. “Cory is a special dude,” said Andres. “On top of being producer, he works on the sound, and with horror/action this is so important.”

In addition, two UM Frost School of Music jazz alumni, Adam Robl, ’07, and Shawn Sutta, B.M. ’09, composed the music tracks for the film. “These guys are just A-plus talent,” said Andres. “They really helped make the whole movie feel ‘big’ and delivered a production value we could only dream of achieving.”

For those squeamish about watching horror films, Diego suggests the genre is innate in fairy tales. “Our culture has always been fascinated with dipping our toes in fear. So when people say they aren’t fans of horror, I always ask if they’ve seen Snow White or Sleeping Beauty.”

Diego explains that when shooting Boniato, the team was striving to create a plot that is more similar to the European or Asian style, where tension builds more gradually than in typical American horror flicks. “We wanted to create an entertaining horror roller coaster, using socially relevant content, driven by fantasy.” To add to the film’s intrigue, there is purposely very little dialogue during the first five minutes; then all of the dialogue is in Spanish, with English subtitles.

“We like to call it ‘theater in front of the lens,’ ” said Diego. “For Boniato, Eric Mainade brought in his amazing stunt team to perform acrobatic action, high-flying choreography, and horror sequences—but he was also making sure to give the characters true motivations, and making them feel grounded. That way, the audience cares about what they’re watching.”

Mainade came up with the original script concept while driving to a movie shoot on the small ranch he and a fellow stuntman lease amid the massive, commercial fields in southwest Miami-Dade County.

“Day after day, I witness all sorts of surreal moments out in the fields—from barefoot Haitians working in horrid conditions, to little kids working all day in the elements. Every character in this movie was inspired by the countless faces in these very fields,” he said.

The Miami-based Borscht Corp. hooked him up with The Meza Brothers, and the three fleshed out the script, with a production estimate of $14,000. Borscht Corp. provided some initial financing and a few production aides, and introduced them to cinematographer Antal El Hungaro. “Beyond that,” Mainade explains, “it was a family affair, with my wife, Kristina, as the production manager; Diego’s wife, Veronica, in charge of wardrobe; as well as numerous other friends and family doing whatever needed to be done.”

After Sundance, the team plans to adapt Boniato into a feature.

As a youngster, Andres was drawn to exploring the horror genre. Diego was quick to join in his brother’s pursuit. “I’m the classic little brother who tailed after my big brother. My brother and I have been directing films together for so long, it’s almost as if each of us has evolved into the counterpart of the other. He was always including me in his love, so as a brother I am forever grateful for that.”

Andres describes his younger brother as relentless, honest, and giving. “Diego is an editing machine,” Andres said. “He looks at film in a radically different way than me, and I love that. He puts the film together in his head when on set.”

Reflecting on how the School of Communication prepared them for a career in motion pictures, Andres is effusive. “Oh my God—in so many ways. Ed Talavera, Christina Lane, Jeffery Stern, Tom Musca—these professors changed our lives.” Diego has continued his connection to the University and works as a videographer in University Communications.

This is not their first award-winning work, but it is their first time at Sundance.

“We were not expecting this at all,” said Andres. “Horror isn’t the most respected of genres and after making eight shorts we’ve sort of made peace with the fact that a lot of mainstream outlets just aren’t interested in these types of films. On the other hand, the genre also has it’s own ecosystem and community that we love being a part of.”

 

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Frost Artists Nominated for Grammys

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Frost Artists Nominated for Grammys


By Andres Tamayo
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 17, 2015)—The Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music shined last week as two faculty and three alumni received nominations for the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, which will be announced on February 15. Dean Shelly Berg, a pianist-arranger-composer and the Patricia L. Frost Professor of Music, garnered his fourth Grammy nomination in the “Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals” category. Professor Gonzalo Rubalcaba and alumni Robert and Michael Rodriguez, better known as The Rodriguez Brothers, were each nominated in the “Best Latin Jazz Album” category. Alumna Maria Schneider earned two nominations—in the “Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals” and  “Large Jazz Ensemble Album” categories.

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Dean Shelly Berg

An accomplished pianist in both classical and jazz styles, Berg is a Steinway piano artist and recording artist for Concord Music Group and Universal Music Classics. He is also the host of Generation Next on Sirius XM satellite radio. Berg was previously the McCoy/Sample Professor of Jazz Studies at USC Thornton School of Music and past president of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE). In 2000, the Los Angeles Times named him one of three “Educators for the Millennium.”

“It is an incredible honor to be nominated for another Grammy Award,” Berg said. “I am so proud to be joining Michael, Robert, and Gonzalo as representatives of the Frost School of Music. Being able to watch young artists grow and learn here at UM and take their career to incredible heights is a true honor.”

The Rodriguez Brothers, co-led by pianist/composer Robert and trumpeter/composer Michael, received their nomination for their album, Impromptu (Criss Cross Jazz). Inspired by their father, who is a drummer, they began musical training at a very young age and both received full scholarships to the University of Miami. Michael finished his bachelor’s degree at the New School for Jazz Studies in New York City and Robert, after receiving his Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies at UM, soon followed to New York. The brothers have individually worked as sidemen for artists such as Roy Haynes, Charlie Haden, Ray Barretto, Eddy Palmieri, David Sanchez, Wynton Marsalis, Joe Locke, Carla Bley, Bob Minzter, Harry Conick Jr., Christian Mcbirde, Richard Bona, Quincy Jones, and fellow nominee Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

Rubicalba

Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Rubalcaba is a lecturer in the Frost School’s Department of Studio Music and Jazz and is a multi-Grammy Award and Latin Grammy Award-winning Cuban jazz pianist and composer. His latest nomination comes for his work on the album Suite Caminos (5Passion). Born in post-revolutionary Havana and into a musical family rich in the traditions of the country’s artistic past, his music is inspired by his culture. He earned his degree in music composition from Havana’s Institute of Fine Arts in 1983 and was discovered by Dizzy Gillespie in 1985 while playing in the clubs and music halls of Havana. Soon after, he made his way to the U.S. and landed in South Florida in 1996. His illustrious career has included recording with his own groups for several major labels, including 11 albums for Blue Note, and also with jazz luminaries Ignacio Berroa, Ron Carter, Chick Corea, Al Di Meola, Charlie Haden, David Sanchez, and many others. He also has been nominated twice for Billboard’s Latin Jazz Album of the Year.

Schneider and her orchestra are nominated for their collaboration with David Bowie on “Sue (Or In a Season of Crime)” and for their 2015 album, The Thompson Fields. Schneider has multiple previous Grammy nominations and three wins to her credit in the classical and jazz genres. The Maria Schneider Orchestra has performed worldwide, and Schneider has commissioned works and performed as a guest conductor for more than 85 groups from over 30 countries.

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Band of the Hour Honors the Newmans for Their Support


UM News

Newmans Band of the Hour

During halftime of the Miami-Georgia Tech game, Judi Prokop Newman and her husband, Robert Newman, admired the new Band of the Hour uniforms and instruments made possible by their generosity.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 23, 2015) — The Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music recognized Robert and Judi Newman for their generous support of the Frost Band of the Hour marching band at a special halftime presentation at Sun Life Stadium during last Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech.

Judi Prokop Newman, B.B.A. ’63, and her husband, Robert Newman, made a significant donation this summer to support new equipment and uniform purchases for UM’s marching band. Their gift enabled the Band of the Hour to purchase 115 new marching band instruments and a full set of newly designed uniforms with a sleek, reinvented image. The Newmans are excited to contribute to the growth of UM’s pageantry arts under the visionary leadership Jay C. Rees, professor of music and director of athletic bands.

The Newmans were honored during the marching band’s halftime performance by UM President Julio Frenk and Director of Athletics Blake James, along with Rees and the entire Frost Band of the Hour.

“We were thrilled to recognize the Newmans’ contribution to the band program by surprising them with a commemorative white shako hat with orange-tipped feather plume, personally autographed by Frenk, James, Frost School of Music Dean Shelly Berg, and myself,” Rees said.

Judi Newman is a University trustee, alumna, and Frost School of Music advisory board member. Robert Newman is an honorary alumnus, ’08, and former member of the University’s Entrepreneurship Programs Advisory Board. They are longtime and beloved major supporters of the University of Miami, including a gift that named the 72,000-square-foot Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Alumni Center. The Newman Alumni Center opened in 2010 and has become one of the most popular gathering places on the University’s Coral Gables campus.

At the Frost School of Music, the Newmans are major donors to the William Hipp Endowed Scholarship Fund, named in honor of the former music dean. They also provide substantial support to the school’s annual Winter Wonderful holiday gala, benefiting music mentoring scholarships for the Frost School’s Donna E. Shalala MusicReach Program.

The Frost Band of the Hour is the marching and pep band at the University of Miami. It is the largest and one of the most exciting, visible, diverse, and involved student groups on the UM campus, performing challenging custom musical arrangements and contemporary drum corps-style drill design.

 

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UM Welcomes Class of 2019 Stamps Scholars

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UM Welcomes Class of 2019 Stamps Scholars


UM News

Stamps

Celebrating the Stamps Scholarships are, from left, front row, Alyssa Mena, Marissa Takaki, Dominick Metro, and Antonio Urrutia, and, from left, back row, Senior Vice Provost William Scott Green, Joseph Shomar, Hailey Mody, President Julio Frenk, Natalie Miller, and Frost School Dean Shelly Berg.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (September 25, 2015) – The University of Miami recently welcomed eight new Stamps Scholars from across the country for the 2015-2016 academic year. The Stamps Scholarships, which provide full cost of attendance plus extensive enrichment opportunities to outstanding academic achievers and talented students, are funded by the generosity of Penny and E. Roe Stamps, through the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation, and UM.

“Ensuring that academically deserving students from diverse backgrounds have access to a world-class education at the University of Miami is central to our mission,” said UM President Julio Frenk. “I am honored that the Stamps family has partnered with us to provide our Stamps Scholars with the brightest of academic futures.”

The Stamps Family Charitable Foundation partners with visionary colleges and universities, including UM, to award multi-year scholarships to select students from a wide array of disciplines. The Stamps Scholarships are UM’s most selective and prestigious scholarly awards, and this year’s recipients include three Stamps Leadership Scholars and five Frost School of Music Stamps Music Scholars.

“Penny and I could not be more proud of our partnership with the University of Miami,” noted E. Roe Stamps, who founded the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation along with his wife Penny. “For nine years we have witnessed outstanding students with big dreams become Stamps Scholars at UM and it is very gratifying to see this year’s recipients talk about the foundation for success they expect to build in college. We look forward to watching these scholars achieve great things in life and their profession, thanks to their UM education and experience.”

“The University of Miami is very grateful to Roe and Penny Stamps for their incredible generosity and commitment to higher education,” said Thomas J. LeBlanc, UM executive vice president and provost. “Stamps Scholarships attract some of the most exceptional students in the country and provide the support necessary for these outstanding students to realize their highest aspirations.”

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Throwing up the U with President Frenk, David Grossman, of Nashua, New Hampshire, plans to study physics and philosophy on his Stamps Scholarship.

The Stamps Leadership Scholarship is an elite academic award that provides driven and talented scholars opportunities for professional and leadership development in the fields of research, policy, technology, business, industry, government, health care, and education. Stamps Leadership Scholars are eligible to receive funding for study abroad, undergraduate research, internships, conferences, and leadership development opportunities.

This year’s incoming Stamps Leadership Scholars and their areas of interest are David Grossman, of Nashua, New Hampshire, philosophy and physics; Hailey Mody, of Duluth, Georgia, Spanish; and Joseph Shomar, Miami, Florida, mathematics.

“This scholarship provided me with a great opportunity to attend the school of my dreams,” said Mody. “I have learned that with hard work and determination anything is possible, and I’m excited to take those traits into my future as a Stamps Leadership Scholar.”

The talented young artists who make up the Stamps Music Ensembles benefit from a unique transformative academic and musical experience. In addition to performing with large ensembles of the Frost School of Music, Stamps Music Scholars also represent the Frost School when they perform at special functions throughout the community.

The incoming Frost School of Music Stamps Music Scholars are Alyssa Mena, Hialeah, Florida; Dominick Metro, Winter Park, Florida; Natalie Miller, Watauga, Texas; Marissa Takaki, Glenview, Illinois; and Antonio Urrutia, Miami, Florida. As instrumental performance majors, the freshmen scholars will make up the Stamps Woodwind Quintet. The Stamps Distinguished Ensembles also include the Stamps String Quartet, Stamps Brass Quintet, and Stamps Jazz Quintet.

“I am beyond grateful and lucky to be part of such an exciting and enriching music program,” said Takaki, who plays bassoon. “The opportunities granted to the Stamps Woodwind Quintet surpass anyone’s idea of a college experience. It is a privilege and an honor to be a part of the Stamps Chamber Music Program.”

Beginning in 2006 at their alma maters, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Penny and E. Roe Stamps created merit scholarship programs for undergraduates. The Stamps Family Charitable Foundation expanded its reach with similar programs at the University of Miami in 2009, and in 2010 at Barry University, Caltech, University of Florida, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and UCLA. Since then, the list has grown to 43 academic institutions, including the University of Chicago, University of Notre Dame, University of Virginia, Wake Forest University and Washington University in St. Louis.

Penny and E. Roe Stamps served as campaign vice chairs for Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami. Roe is a member of UM’s Board of Trustees and the Visiting Committee at the Frost School of Music, and also recently served on the Presidential Search Committee.

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