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Bio

Andrei Strizek is a doctoral musicology student at the University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign. He holds an assistantship at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, in the Events office, where he advances all of the School of Music concerts and several Marquee performances.

Andrei is an active performer, and is in demand as a music director and keyboardist for many musical theatre productions.

He earned his Bachelor's of Music Education from UW-Eau Claire in 2005, after studying with Dr Jerry Young, Dr Mark Heidel, Dr Randal Dickerson, and Dr Donald Patterson, and his Master's of Music Education from the University of Illinois in 2011.

He holds a wide range of interests, from musical theatre to jazz and popular music history to aesthetics, from the use of technology in education to audience development.

Please contact Andrei if you have any questions, comments or suggestions!

Read here for a full bio, or download Andrei's CV.

Tuesday
Oct212014

Gardiner's Opening Thoughts on Bach

I recently started reading John Eliot Gardiner's Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven - partly because I want to learn more about Bach, partly because I want to read about something other than music from the 20th century, partly because I've always loved Gardiner's recorded interpretations of Bach, partly because I don't know his vocal/choral music as well as his instrumental and keyboard works, and partly because I'm really interested to see Gardiner's interpretation of Bach as a human, and the conclusions he draws ... so quite a few reasons, actually. I'm only on the second chapter (tech week doesn't allow for much down time), but I am already enjoying it particuarly much of what he wrote in the preface, about how we've dealt with Bach since his death:

A nagging suspicion grows that many writers, overawed and dazzled by Bach, still tacitly assume a direct correlation between his immense genius and his stature as a person ... But why should it be assumed that great music emanates from a great human being? Music may inspire and uplift us, but it does not have to be the manifestation of an inspiring (as opposed to an inspired) individual ... Any God-like image that we superimpost on Bach blinds us to his artistic struggles, and from that point on we fcease to see him as a musical craftsman par excellence.

He also goes on to quote from Peter Williams's The Life of Bach, and looks ahead to how he draws information about Bach's life from his (vocal) music. I'll save some interpretations and reactions to Gardiner's writing until I get further in the book, but I already appreciate his attempts to draw Bach out from the Romantic world concept, which still has a powerful hold over how we view classical music and composers. (For something recent on this idea, read Alex Ross's recent article in The New Yorker about Beethoven, who, much like Bach, still has a power over contemporary composers, performers, and listeners - as much his fault and those who helped to create and maintain his myth.)

Monday
Oct132014

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

In one week (!!) I hit the road again with the national tour of Dr Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical. Last year I was the replacement Keyboard 2, and I played about 30 shows in the 3 weeks I was with the show (most weeks we have 10 performances). I'll be on the entire tour this year. I'm looking forward to working with this great team again, and performing this fun and heartwarming show. If you're in any of the cities below, let me know so we can meet up! I'm looking forward to visiting some great cities - many of which I've never been to before!

Fah who foraze!

Sunday
Jul132014

Carson McCullers on Beethoven 3

"After a while a new announcer started talking. He mentioned Beethoven. She had read in the library about that musician -- his name was pronounced with an a and spelled with double ee. He was a German fellow like Mozart. When he was living he spoke in a foreign language and lived in a foreign place -- like she watned to do. The announcer said they were going to play his third symphony. She only halfway listened because she wanted to walk some more and she didn't care much what they played. Then the music started. Mick raised her head and her first went up to her throat.

How did it come? For a minute the opening balance from once side to the other. Like a walk or a march. Like God strutting in the night. The outside of her was suddenly froze and only that first part of the music was hot inside her heart. She could not even hear what sounded after, but she sat there waiting and froze, with her first tight. After a while the music came again, harder and loud. It didn't have anything to do with God. This was her, Mick Kelly, walking in the daytime and by herself at night. In the hot sun and in the dark with all the plans and feelings. This music was her -- the real plain her.

She could not listen good enough to hear it all. The music boiled inside her. Which? To hang on to certain wonderful parts and think them over so that later she would not forget -- or should she let go and listen to each part that came without thinking or trying to remember? Golly! The whole world was this music and she could not listen hard enough. Then at least the opening music came again, with all the different instruments bunched together for each note like a hard, tight fist that socked at her heart. And the first part was over.

This music did not take a long time or a short time. It did not have anything to do with time going by at all. She sat with her arms held tight around her legs, biting her salty knee very hard. It might have been five minutes she listened or half the night. The second part was black-colored -- a slow march. Not sad, but lik the whole world was dead and black and there was no use thinking back how it was before. One of those horn kind of instruments played a sad and silver tune. Then the music rose up angry and with excitement underneath. And finally the black march again.

But maybe the last part of teh symphony was the music she loved the best -- glad and like the greatest people in the world running and sprining up in a hard, free way. Wonderful music like this was the worst hurt there could be. The whole world was this symphony, and there was not enough of her to listen."

-Carson McCullers, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

Minnesota Orchestra performing Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, Op. 55.

Monday
Oct142013

Playlist w/e 10/12/13

Tuesday
Jul162013

Anatomy of a Song: "Losing My Mind"