Local Music

Hear interviews with guests on music programs produced here at WMUK, as well as program news.

Kevin Byrne

Séan Tyrrell, who lives on the west coast of Ireland, discovered the writings of John Boyle O'Reilly in New York City four decades ago, where he visited a bookstore and picked up 1000 Years of Irish Poetry. Although written a century earlier, O'Reilly's palpable disgust of avarice and earnest advocacy for the powerless made an impact. Tyrrell now calls him "one of the greatest Irishmen who ever lived." The details of O'Reilly's life and the profundity of his vision add up to an evening of storytelling, song, and poetry that includes a daring prison escape, adventures at sea, an American success story, and a tragic early death. Séan Tyrrell performs A Message of Peace: The Life of John Boyle O'Reilly in concert on Saturday, October 21 at 7:30 pm at the First Congregational Church Chapel. Cash admission will be taken at the door; more details here.


Benje Daneman, co-director of the Jazz & Creative Institute, joins Cara Lieurance to spread the word about the newly-founded Kalamazoo Jazz Youth Orchestra. It's seeking young musicians in 9th - 12 grades, who will meet every other week to rehearse for a spring concert at Western Michigan University. Daneman says the kids will have to keep their parts prepared and do some focused listening between rehearsals. In addition, they will have several opportunities to be mentored by professionals.  

Jacqueline Hanna

The Western Michigan University Symphonic Band will start its season with a free concert on Sunday at 3 pm in Miller Auditorium, featuring the intriguing tone poem Anahita, by Roshanne Etezady, William Schumann's classic George Washington Bridge, and William Bolcom's joyful Concerto Grosso for saxophone quartet, which will feature the Prism Quartet as special guests. Director of bands Scott Boerma previews the concert with Cara Lieurance.

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Birds on a Wire is the WMU School of Music's "Pierrot ensemble" with a core lineup of flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano. The label comes from a piece by Arnold Schoenberg, "Pierrot Lunaire," which premiered in 1912. Dr. David Colson, who has directed the ensemble for nine years, previews a concert which will take place Wednesday at 7:30 pm in the Dalton Center Recital Hall. It features a work for electronic sounds and video, Socavino, by Richard Johnson, who also joins the conversation.


On Sunday, Qing Yu Chen performed Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Western Michigan University Symphony Orchestra, the same work she played last May at the Stulberg International String Competition. Chen, conductor Bruce Uchimura, and Stulberg director Margaret Hamilton previewed the concert with Cara Lieurance.