Tag Archive | "Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music"

Film Composer James Newton Howard Appointed to Henry Mancini Institute

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Film Composer James Newton Howard Appointed to Henry Mancini Institute

James Newton Howard / Photo by Wim Lippens

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 15, 2015)—James Newton Howard, one of the most versatile and respected composers working in film today, was named the new artistic director of the Frost School of Music’s Henry Mancini Institute.

Howard succeeds film composer, arranger, and multi-Grammy Award-winning trumpeter and bandleader Terence Blanchard, who has served with distinction as artistic director for the past seven years. Howard’s term will begin in January 2016. An inaugural large-scale concert featuring Howard’s original film music is planned for Spring 2016 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County.

“The Frost School is very fortunate to welcome James Newton Howard, one of the greatest and most significant film composers over the last 30 years, to oversee the artistic direction of the Henry Mancini Institute,” Frost School Dean Shelton G. Berg said. “James’ experience at the highest level of music making will be invaluable to an educational institution that places real-world excellence at the heart of its activities.”

To date, Howard has received eight Oscar nominations, including six for Best Original Score for his work on Defiance, Michael Clayton, The Village, The Fugitive, The Prince of Tides, and My Best Friend’s Wedding. He also was nominated for Best Original Song for the films Junior and One Fine Day.

Howard, along with Hans Zimmer, won the 2009 Grammy Award for the score for The Dark Knight. He also has received Grammy Award nominations for music from Blood Diamond, Dinosaur, Signs, and the song from One Fine Day. In addition, he won an Emmy Award for the theme to the Andre Braugher series Gideon’s Crossing, and received two additional Emmy nominations for the themes to the long-running Warner Bros. series ER and the Ving Rhames series Men. Howard has also been nominated four times for Golden Globe Awards for his massive orchestral score for Peter Jackson’s blockbuster remake of King Kong; for the songs from Junior and One Fine Day; and for his provocative symphonic score for Defiance.

“Henry Mancini was one of my great musical heroes, and I am delighted and honored to serve as artistic director of the Henry Mancini Institute,” Howard said. “I’m eager to begin working with the talented students at Frost School of Music and engage them in an ever-evolving musical world.”

During Blanchard’s term as artistic director, the Mancini Institute Orchestra was named resident orchestra of the popular Jazz Roots series produced by Larry Rosen and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. The HMI Orchestra also performed in three PBS television specials and one HBO special, and recorded multiple CD/DVD projects with international superstars such as George Benson, Gloria Estefan, Chick Corea, and Bobby McFerrin. In 2009, the Henry Mancini Institute received a $500,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to expand the Frost School’s community engagement throughout the South Florida region, and received matching grants from performing arts philanthropists Ginny Mancini and Adrienne Arsht.

Howard will continue the Mancini Institute’s mission to bring genre-blending recording and performance opportunities to more than 65 auditioned Mancini Fellows, plus interactive experiences to all 700 students enrolled at the Frost School. He also will elevate the Mancini Institute’s worldwide reputation through new multimedia and collaborative opportunities.

In addition to his eight Oscar nominations and Grammy Award and nominations, Howard received the 2008 World Soundtrack Award for Film Composer of the Year for his work on the films Charlie Wilson’s War, Michael Clayton, and I Am Legend. He has received the Soundtrack of the Year Award from the Classical BRIT Awards for The Dark Knight (2009) and Blood Diamond (2008). In 2009 he received the Special 5th Anniversary GoldSpirit Award for Best Composer of the Last 5 years (2004-2008) from the Úbeda Film Music Conference in Spain. He has had two concert pieces premiere with the Pacific Symphony—I Would Plant a Tree, performed in February 2009, and most recently his Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, performed in March 2015, featuring renowned violinist James Ehnes.

Howard, who has been honored with ASCAP’s prestigious Henry Mancini Award for Lifetime Achievement, now has more than 120 films to his credit. Among them are all of M. Night Shyamalan’s films, including The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, Lady in the Water and The Last Airbender. His other wide-ranging credits include all three installments of The Hunger Games, Maleficent, Nightcrawler, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Bourne Legacy, Salt, Water for Elephants, Gnomeo & Juliet, Batman Begins, Collateral, Snow Falling on Cedars, Outbreak, Hidalgo, Peter Pan, Wyatt Earp, Freedomland, Treasure Planet, Falling Down, Primal Fear, Glengarry Glen Ross, Waterworld, The Devil’s Advocate, Dave, and Pretty Woman among many others.

Howard’s success reflects the experiences of a rich musical past. Inspired by his grandmother, a classical violinist who played in the Pittsburgh Symphony in the ’30s and ’40s, he began his studies on the piano at age four. After studying at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, and at the USC Thornton School of Music as a piano major, he completed his formal education with orchestration study under legendary arranger Marty Paich.

Though his training was classical, he maintained an interest in rock and pop music, and it was his early work in the pop arena that allowed him to hone his talents as a musician, arranger, songwriter, and producer. He racked up a string of collaborations in the studio and on the road with some of pop’s biggest names, including Elton John; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Barbra Streisand; Earth, Wind and Fire; Bob Seger; Rod Stewart; Toto; Glenn Frey; Diana Ross; Carly Simon; Olivia Newton-John; Randy Newman; Rickie Lee Jones; Cher; and Chaka Khan.

When he was offered his first film, Head Office, in 1985, he knew he had found his calling. His upcoming projects include Francis Lawrence’s final installment of The Hunger GamesMockingjay, Part 2 and Peter Landesman’s Concussion.

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UM Dedicates Patricia Louise Frost Music Studios, a Facility In Harmony with Its Musical Mission

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 20, 2015) – A soprano whose voice dazzled judges at a recent major metropolitan opera competition, Ana Collado has had her share of memorable rehearsals at the University of Miami’s Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music, but none quite like the session she recently experienced.

“I felt free,” said the UM vocal performance major. “I could sing without feeling like I had to push to hear my sound come back.”

Credit the acoustics and soundproofing of the Frost School’s new state-of-the-art teaching studios for her freedom. With independent walls, floors, and ceilings, each studio is, according to Frost School Dean Shelton “Shelly” Berg, a “floating box within a box,” allowing students to practice and learn without having to hear the percussionist, brass, or string artist practicing next door.

On a cool South Florida Friday, hundreds of music lovers got a firsthand look at those high-tech rooms when UM dedicated its new Patricia Louise Frost Music Studios, a 41,089-square-foot twin-building complex that will unite the school’s 770 students and 125 faculty “like never before,” said Berg.

“There’s no question this is going to have a huge impact,” Berg said of the new facility. “A lot of our faculty were teaching in practice rooms instead of real teaching studios. Now, they have the best teaching studios in the country.”

Among the features: 77 chamber music and teaching studios, two oversized rehearsal halls, a reception and information center, and a furnished breezeway. Designed by award-winning architects Yann Weymouth and HOK and built by Skansa USA, the facility is touted as the first building project in Coral Gables designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification, with sustainable features such as energy-efficient windows, rooftop solar panels, and cisterns that reduce water and electricity usage.

The complex is part of UM’s Momentum2 campaign and is made possible by the benefactors, Phillip and Patricia Frost, whose landmark gift back in 2003 renamed UM’s music school in their honor. Featuring a new grand entrance into the school, the studios honor Patricia Frost’s lifelong commitment to music education as an elementary school principal and higher education advocate.

“[The Frosts] care deeply about producing and driving excellence wherever they go,” said UM Board of Trustees Chairman Stuart A. Miller.

“Today is indeed pitch perfect and beautifully orchestrated,” UM President Donna E. Shalala said at the dedication. “Our students now have the state-of-the-art studios they need to truly blossom as musicians.”

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was also among those who spoke at the dedication ceremony, which included several musical performances by students.

The new chamber music and teaching studios are a significant upgrade over the Bertha Foster Memorial Music Building’s old 8-foot x 10-foot rooms, many of which were not being used for practice sessions at all but for private teaching lessons, forcing students to compete for scarce rehearsal space.

Students began taking lessons and practicing in the new facility last week, giving it a musical christening in advance of Friday’s dedication ceremony.

Bassoonist Julia Paine, a Stamps Distinguished Ensemble Scholar and member of the Stamps Woodwind Quintet, had her first lesson in one of the studios last Thursday and was impressed with the improved quality of sound and the larger space. “The previous studio I worked in was carpeted, and the sound was absorbed by the floor,” she explained. “These new studios are all wood floored and provide enough space so if you are running through a piece with a pianist, you can make eye contact or simply see the other person’s body movement. This is huge because it makes rehearsal much more efficient, as you can rely on your eyes and ears.”

Stamps Music Scholar Sarah Huesman, who started playing the cello when she was 6, explored the Frost Studios complex before she even had a chance to practice there. The UM freshman is thrilled about its opening “because I have the next four years ahead of me to improve my musical skills in this beautiful new building,” she said.

Huesman and other students who have years of Frost School of Music instruction ahead of them are among the first to be immersed in the school’s new experiential music curriculum built around chamber music.

“Rather than sitting in large lectures talking about the various things they’ll need to be able to do as a musicians—composing, arranging, improvising—they’re placed in small groups that are essentially little laboratories for doing all of those things,” said Berg, adding that the Frost School’s new curriculum will be “fully realized” now that the Frost Music Studios have opened.

“I’m going to walk though this building for the rest of my time as dean and see students in the space they deserve,” said Berg.

All of the UM music school’s faculty have moved into their teaching studios inside the new buildings, making it the first time they have all been under one roof. In past years, they were scattered as far away as the Pentland House on Dickenson Drive and in another building on Brescia Avenue. They are now admittedly ecstatic about being together in one place—a situation they believe will foster greater collaboration.

“I enjoyed my office in Pentland, but it was isolated,” said Dorothy Hindman, assistant professor of theory and composition. “I am now surrounded by my colleagues, and seeing them casually is a huge boost to my sense of collegiality. I have an energizing space where I can teach my students and see them similarly energized. The space is large enough that I can teach small seminars of up to six students, which is hugely beneficial to the graduate student courses I teach.”

Rafael M. Padron, who teaches classical guitar, a delicate instrument, said his students will benefit immensely from the studios’ acoustics and ability to minimize external noise.

Associate Professor Trudy Kane teaches another delicate instrument—flute—that requires her students not be affected by surrounding noise during practice sessions. She called the new studios’ acoustics and soundproofing “fabulous.”

“The sounds that are produced are more realistic,” she said. “I no longer hear all the music, however wonderful it may have been, being produced in the neighboring studios. Now, I can give my full attention to my students.”

Film and concert music composer Carlos Rivera, who teaches in the Creative American Music Program, did not even have an office before the Frost Music Studios opened. He used one of the on-campus Starbucks to meet with his students. Now, he is in the Skanska USA Classroom that doubles as an office and teaching studio with rehearsal space and recording and mixing capabilities. He admits that he welled up the first time he walked into his new digs.

“I really did get emotional,” he said. “It hit me that this was going to be my space to work in, and it’s a big one, and we’ll be able to have real classes…and not have to worry about sound from another room bleeding into our studio.”

Steven Moore, the Frost School’s associate dean for undergraduate studies, may have said it best: “Now, the music school of the future will have a building of the future that is in harmony with its mission.”

University Communications intern Renee Reneau contributed to this story.


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