Department of Music presents the world premier of a James Miley jazz composition in upcoming recital program

(L to R) James Miley, John Adler, and Tracy Cowden

(L to R) James Miley, John Adler, and Tracy Cowden

BLACKSBURG, Va., Jan. 31, 2008 – Virginia Tech Department of Music faculty trumpeter John Adler and pianist Tracy Cowden will present a recital on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 8 p.m., in the Squires Recital Salon located in the Squires Student Center on College Ave. adjacent to downtown Blacksburg.

The program of music for trumpet and piano includes the world premiere performance of [this is] for trumpet and piano composed by Virginia Tech jazz faculty James Miley, written especially for Adler and Cowden. Also on the program are works by Ned Rorem, Karl Pilss, and Jean Francaix

Composer and jazz pianist James Miley joined the faculty of Virginia Tech in the fall of 2005 as an assistant professor of jazz studies. He earned his doctor of musical arts degree in composition and jazz studies from the University of Oregon.

An increasingly in-demand composer in both the jazz and classical idioms, Miley was awarded the prestigious International Association for Jazz Education's Gil Evans Fellowship in Jazz Composition in 2004, and was commissioned to write a new wind ensemble work for premiere by the James Logan Wind Symphony at the National Honor Band Concert at Carnegie Hall in May 2006. He has appeared as a guest composer, director, and adjudicator at numerous festivals and universities; including the University of Oregon, California State University at Northridge; and the Reno, Santa Barbara, San Joaquin, and Monterey Jazz Festivals.

Rorem is one of America's most honored composers. In addition to a Pulitzer Prize for his suite Air Music, Rorem has been the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1998, he was chosen Composer of the Year by Musical America. The Atlanta Symphony recording of his music received a Grammy Award for Outstanding Orchestral Recording in 1989. In 2003, he received the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ (ASCAP) Lifetime Achievement Award, and in January 2004 the French government named him Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.

John Adler, assistant professor of trumpet/jazz studies is a native of Reno, Nev., and holds a master’s in music performance from the University of Oregon. He is currently working on his doctor of musical arts degree in trumpet performance at the University of Miami. His principal teachers include Larry Engstrom, George Recker and the former principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Craig Morris.

Adler is an active professional musician whose orchestral performances include the Eugene Symphony in Oregon, the Palm Beach Pops, the Miami Symphony, the Oregon Mozart Players, the Roanoke Symphony, and the Reno Philharmonic. In the jazz area, he has extensive experience playing with jazz greats Maria Schneider, John Hollenbeck, Conrad Herwig, and Bobby Shew, as well as playing lead trumpet in the Jaco Pastorius Big Band, the Denis Noday Big Band, the Reno Jazz Orchestra, and the Grammy Award Winning University of Miami Concert Jazz Band. Adler was named DownBeat magazine’s 2003 “Best Classical Instrumentalist.”

Cowden joined the Virginia Tech music department faculty as an assistant professor of piano and vocal coach in 2004. She received the doctor of musical arts and master’s in music degrees in piano accompanying and chamber music from the Eastman School of Music, and a bachelor’s in music degree in piano performance from Western Michigan University.

She has previously served as a faculty member at Ohio Wesleyan University, and as an adjunct faculty member at Kalamazoo College and Hope College in western Michigan. As a collaborative pianist, Cowden has performed with the Cavani Quartet, the Audubon Quartet, and the Marble Cliff Chamber Players, and in recitals with principal musicians from the Montreal, Vancouver, Boston, and Columbus symphony orchestras. She has been featured as a concerto soloist with the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Southwest Virginia, and the Ohio Wesleyan University Chamber Orchestra.

In collaboration with Dr. Nancy Gamso from Ohio Wesleyan University, Tracy released a CD entitled With Blackwood and Silver, featuring modern duo repertoire for flute with piano and clarinet with piano. She also can be heard with the Eastman Wind Ensemble in its 50th anniversary recording released in 2002.

The Department of Music at Virginia Tech provides professional music training to select music students and enhances the cultural life of the university, region, and the Commonwealth through teaching, professional service, artistic performance, creativity, and research. The Department of Music, located in the School of the Arts within the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, also provides high-quality training to a wide variety of ensembles and courses for large numbers of non-music majors.