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Opinion

Local performances will feature variety of memorable international music

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October 31, 2013

The UW-River Falls Music Department is yet again looking forward to an exciting few weeks, with performances by Zagreb Saxophone Quartet and Irish Tenor Anthony Kearns.

Both concerts exemplify the importance of music in our lives and the beauty it holds. Music from different corners of the world gives each listener their own unique story and reason to listen. The performances are not to be missed because the experiences are likely to be remembered for years to come.

Kearns joined the world-renowned singing group, The Irish Tenors, in 1999. He gained fast fame, since he was the youngest member to join at the age of 28. He also quickly became known as “Ireland’s Finest Tenor,” a prediction long made by various critics.

Kearns performs music from all around the world, including Ireland, Italy and France. His “rich, lyrical” tenor voice is able to interpret any style, from a light comedy to a dark, heavy drama. These factors, plus his interpretation and technique have kept the critics wanting more after each of his performances.

Kearns’s first claim to fame was in 1998, a year before his debut with the Irish Tenors. He co-starred in a PBS broadcast entitled “The Irish Tenors in Dublin.” It was because of this program that he was able to make his debut with the Irish Tenors and perform on some of the world’s most prestigious stages, including Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House and Radio City Music Hall.

Since then, he has helped the Irish Tenors become recognized as one of Ireland’s most famous touring musicians, just second behind the rock band U2. The group now has 11 CDs and Kearns continues to have an increasing demand as a guest soloist.

The Zagreb Saxophone Quartet features Dragan Sremec on soprano saxophone, Goran Mercep on alto saxophone, Sasa Nestorovic on tenor saxophone, and Matjaz Drevensek on baritone saxophone. They are a European-based group who give concerts and master classes all around the world.

The group formed in 1989, upon graduation from Josip Nochta’s Zagreb Academy of Music in Croatia. The band continues to make waves around the world. The group has presented premiere performances of saxophone works in Montreal’s World Saxophone Congress, Minneapolis and Ljubljana. In addition, they often perform as guests with numerous orchestras and bands.

The group has performed thousands of pieces, new and old. Their works range from pieces specifically for saxophone quartet to arrangements and transcriptions from composers, such as Bach and Gershwin. The group also stays true to their homeland by performing works by Slovenian and Croatian composers.

The Zagreb Saxophone Quartet has been described as “virtuous and reflexive,” having “outstanding musicality” and “sensation.” Their large variety of music, plus amazing transcriptions performed, impresses critics and audience members alike. Their rich sound and perfect pitch are what draw in audiences from Europe and the United States.

Both performances are sure to offer something different and give a glimpse into another culture. They help us appreciate the beauty of music and the potential it has for everyone. They become an inspiration to musicians to be the best musician that they thought possible and intrigue audiences of their own.

Kearns will be performing in the St. Croix Valley Symphony Orchestra’s concert, “Fall Colors,” at 3 p.m., on Sunday, Nov. 3, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Stillwater.

The Zagreb Saxophone Quartet is part of the Wyman Series on the UWRF campus and will offer master class at 3 p.m., on Tuesday, Nov. 5., and a concert at 7:30 p.m., in Abbott Concert Hall. You won’t want to miss these events.

Cristin Dempsey is an English major and music minor from Eagan, Minn. She enjoys writing, playing the flute and swimming. After college she would like to pursue a career as an editor.