Ke-Nekt to showcase oboe, xylophone soloists, notable quartets


September 25, 2017

The 2017-18 lineup for SUNY Oswego's Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series features a premier oboist, a quartet led by a drummer who has played with many jazz greats, an ensemble of four vocalists with a wide-ranging repertoire, Symphoria artists playing "pocket concertos" and a renowned xylophonist.

The chamber performances, part of the long-running series sponsored by the SUNY Oswego music department and Artswego, take place at 7:30 p.m. on select Wednesdays. Each evening begins with a pre-concert talk at 7.

Oboist Nancy Ambrose King, who has performed recitals at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and around the world, will launch the season Oct. 18 in Sheldon Hall ballroom. Music faculty member Trevor Jorgensen, an accomplished wind instrumentalist, will serve as host.

American Record Guide hailed King's work on oboe as "marvelously evocative, full of character, sultry and seductive, with a soft-spoken, utterly supple tone." She is a past winner of the Third New York International Competition for Solo Oboists.

Currently professor and chair of the University of Michigan's winds and percussion department, she also has performed with the St. Petersburg (Russia) Philharmonic, Prague Chamber Orchestra and Tokyo Chamber Orchestra, and has recorded nine CDs featuring her work.

On Nov. 29, the Matt Wilson Quartet comes to Sheldon Hall ballroom. Wilson, a New York-based drummer and Grammy nominee, also shares his talents as a composer, bandleader, producer and teaching artist. Wilson's quartet includes Chris Lightcap on bass, Jeff Lederer on saxophone and clarinet, and Kirk Knuffke on cornet. Oswego music department percussionist Eric Schmitz will host.

"Wilson's sense of humor, tireless smile and spirited energy acts as the catalyst to everyone onstage and off feeling good and having fun," wrote Jazz at Lincoln Center.

The drummer has played at the White House as part of an all-star jazz group, and with such luminaries as Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Elvis Costello and Wynton Marsalis.

'Vocal allure'

New York Polyphony, a four-man quartet, will perform Feb. 21 at St. Mary's Church, 103 W. Seventh St. in Oswego. National Public Radio praised the ensemble for a "rich, natural sound that's larger and more complex than the sum of its parts." Todd Graber, a vocalist and Oswego music professor, will host.

With a repertoire ranging from Gregorian chant to cutting-edge compositions, the group has two Grammy nominations to its credit. The New Yorker said the four -- countertenor Geoffrey Williams, tenor Steven Caldicott Wilson, baritone Christopher Dylan Herbert and bass Craig Phillips -- are "singers of superb musicianship and vocal allure."

New York Polyphony tours extensively, and has performed at London's Wigham Hall and The Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, along with music festivals in Canada, Mexico and across Europe. The group made its national debut in 2011 on "The Martha Stewart Show."

The Symphoria String Quartet will perform March 21 in Sheldon Hall ballroom, taking on the unique chamber music challenge of "pocket concerto" orchestral reductions. Concert pianist Robert Auler, chair of SUNY Oswego's music department, will host.

Violinists Peter Rovit and Sonya Stith Williams, violist Arvilla Rovit and cellist George Macero will collaborate with Auler and SUNY Oswego student pianist Christopher Spinelli to perform Schumann's "Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54" and Beethoven's "Emporer Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Minor, Op. 73."

The season finale will feature Mutsumi Tsuuzaki, an accomplished xylophone and marimba player, April 11 in Sheldon Hall ballroom. She inherited world-renowned Japanese xylophonist Yoichi Hiraoka's favorite instrument; it has been Tsuuzaki's dream to play Hiraoka's American-made xylophone in the United States. Mihoko Tsutsumi of Oswego's music faculty will host.

Tsuuzaki's repertoire for the evening will include "Rhapsodie Japonaise" from the original music of Koichi Kishi conceived by Hiraoka. Tsuuzaki continues Hiraoka's work as a significant influence in the development of the xylophone as a solo instrument.

Tickets for any performance in the Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series are $15 ($5 for students) and are available at all SUNY Oswego box offices, online at or by calling 315-312-2141. Parking is included in the price of a ticket, and is available in the employee and commuter lots adjacent to and across Washington Boulevard from Sheldon Hall.

People with disabilities needing assistance to attend should call 315-312-2141 in advance of any of these performances. For more information on the fine and performing arts at SUNY Oswego, visit

'Spirited energy' -- The Matt Wilson Quartet will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, in Sheldon Hall ballroom as part of SUNY Oswego's 2017-18 Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series. Oboist Nancy Ambrose King opens the season Oct. 18.