Sept. 20, 22, 23: Faculty series serves up jazz, piano, strings

meredith-arksey-webPULLMAN, Wash. – Three concerts in the Faculty Artist Series at Washington State University will showcase a contemporary take on bluesy jazz, expressive piano and string quartet favorites.

Series proceeds benefit the WSU School of Music student scholarship fund. Tickets are available in the lobby 30 minutes before each performance. They are free to WSU students with ID and cost $10 general admission and $5 for other students and seniors 60+.

Greg Yasinitsky. At top, Meredith Arksey.

“Soul Jazz Reimagined,” at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, in Kimbrough Hall, will feature the faculty jazz quartet Gator Tail performing soul jazz, also called hard bop, which was developed in the late 1950s and features hard-swinging, exciting, blues influenced performances.

One of the classic ensembles of soul jazz is the tenor saxophone/organ quartet. Gator Tail features this instrumentation while bringing a contemporary approach to the genre.

The group includes Greg Yasinitsky, Brian Ward, David Jarvis and Brad Ard. Yasinitsky describes the music as “jazz, drenched in blues and funk.” Listen to the original piece, “Count Dutch,” by Ward at

Jeffrey Savage

“The ‘Grand’ Piano,” at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, in Bryan Hall, will exploit the piano’s range of color and expression starting with Corigliano’s “Etude Fantasy,” an intense, dramatic work reminiscent at times of movie scores; the composer won an Academy Award for his score of 1998’s “The Red Violin.”

Pianist Jeffrey Savage will round out the program with a set of variations by Mozart and with the thrilling 19th century “Sonata in B minor” by Liszt.

“Faculty and Friends String Quartet,” at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, in Bryan Hall, will open with the exciting “String Quartet No. 3” by Spanish Romantic composer Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga, a child prodigy who died young and is nicknamed the Spanish Mozart.

Other pieces will include Smetana’s “String Quartet No. 1, From My Life” and the first movement of Mark O’Connor’s “Quartet No. 1, Fast and Cheerful,” which was composed in 1990 and combines traditional fiddling with classical string quartet style.

WSU School of Music Faculty members Meredith Arksey, violin, and Ruth Boden, cello, will be joined by violinist Diane Cook, professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and violist Giselle Hillyer, faculty member of the University of Idaho Lionel Hampton School of Music.

Learn more about the series at


Greg Yasinitsky, 509-595-0839,
Jeffrey Savage, 509-335-3991,
Meredith Arksey, 509-335-3961,
Sandra Albers, WSU School of Music, 509-335-4148,