AJ Matula

AJ Matula

Dr. Joel Schut

Dr. Joel Schut

POTSDAM, NY – The Crane Symphony Orchestra at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music will present two classic works in its first concert of the academic year, on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m., in the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall.

The Crane Symphony Orchestra is a 91-person ensemble conducted by Visiting Assistant Professor Dr. Joel Schut. The ensemble performs a wide range of literature and collaborates annually with faculty, students and other Crane ensembles. This will be Schut’s first performance with the Crane Symphony.

The Crane Symphony Orchestra will open its performance with the first movement of Piotr Ilych Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-Flat Major, Op. 23.”

The work will feature Alexander (“AJ”) Matula ’20, the winner of the 2018 Crane Concerto Competition. Matula competed against other Crane students for the honor of performing the concerto with the symphony orchestra.

The concert will also showcase Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 5 in D-Minor, Op. 47.”

About the performers:

AJ Matula ’20 is a music performance major from Howes Cave, N.Y., who is concentrating on piano performance at The Crane School of Music. He became interested in piano when he was 11 years old, and started studying the instrument formally at the age of 15. In 2014, he started studying with Josh Wright via online lessons, as well as live masterclasses in Utah. Since that time, Wright has performed concerts in Utah and New York. He was the recipient of Josh and Lindsey Wright’s annual scholarship for young musicians, which afforded him the opportunity to travel to Utah for extensive lessons and performance opportunities. He was warmly received at all of the scholarship concerts he presented and received special recognition for the performance of his own compositions. In addition to earning first prize in the 2018 Crane Concerto Competition, Matula also won first prize in the 2016 Rachmaninoff Music Competition hosted by New Russia Cultural Center, and second place in the 2015 Chopin Piano Competition hosted by the Capital District Council for Young Musicians. He has participated in lessons and masterclasses with pianists including Douglas Humphreys, Alexandre Moutouzkine, Yong-Hi Moon, Logan Skelton and Krystian Tkaczewski. Matula is currently studying under François Germain at Crane. In addition to performing, he is a passionate composer, and is currently writing a piano concerto and fantasia for piano, infusing aspects of late Romanticism within a contemporary idiom. Matula has also composed preludes, waltzes and other compositions that have been performed and recorded by pianists in the United States and in Europe. In his spare time, he studies philosophy and linguistics. He is currently authoring “The Musico-Linguistics Project,” a series of papers demonstrating how music and language relate on a structural and expressive level.

The Crane Symphony Orchestra is the second oldest college orchestra in the United States, and in its long legacy, students at Crane have worked with legendary conductors and musicians, such as Nadia Boulanger, Sarah Caldwell, Aaron Copland, Howard Hanson, Gunther Schuller and Robert Shaw, to name a few. Directed this semester by by Visiting Assistant Professor Dr. Joel Schut, the Crane Symphony Orchestra is a premier, 91-member performing ensemble at The Crane School of Music. The Crane Symphony Orchestra has performed in Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, and in Carnegie Hall, among other prestigious venues.

This concert is free, and the public is invited to attend.

This concert will be broadcast live on the Crane School of Music YouTube channel at the performance time. To view the program and see other upcoming streaming performances, visit http://www.potsdam.edu/academics/Crane/streaming.

About The Crane School of Music:

Founded in 1886, SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music has a long legacy of excellence in music education and performance. Life at Crane includes an incredible array of more than 300 recitals, lectures and concerts presented by faculty, students and guests each year. The Crane School of Music is the State University of New York’s only All-Steinway institution. For more information, please visit http://www.potsdam.edu/crane.