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Nicholas Phillips explains classical music

Alli Rivera, Entertainment Writer
February 27, 2013
Filed under Entertainment

With midterms quickly approaching students might want to consider downloading a classical music station on Pandora.

The UW-Green Bay’s music program is offering a new series at the Weidner Center called “360 Degree Thursdays.” This concert series is designed to help connect students with music by presenting varied genres.

Nicholas Phillips, a pianist from UW-Eau Claire, is the first performer for the new series Feb. 28 at the Weidner Center for Performing Arts. His program, “Homages: Music of the Past, Music of our Time” will be introduced by a pre concert discussion. His discussion will explain the music pieces’ background and meaning. Following his talk he will perform the works of famous pianists and composers, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Wickman and Olivieri.

“My program pairs works by Beethoven and Mendelssohn,” Phillips said. “Their pieces are wonderful, accessible and great fun.”

Phillips uses a lecture recital to provide listeners with a learning experience about music. A lecture recital topic will include performance and analysis, performance practice, new music or other areas of interest for the artist.

Phillips’ lecture recital will help listeners gain a better knowledge and build a different perspective of the music he performs.

“I will be giving some context to the pieces I’m playing and discussing the reasons I chose the program I did,” Phillips said.

Currently, Phillips is the assistant professor of music at UW-Eau Claire. The New York Times described Phillips as an able and persuasive advocate of new music.

Phillips is an active soloist and collaborative artist who performs throughout the nation. An Indiana native, Phillips began taking piano lessons when he was 10 years old at the University of Indiana. Later, Phillips received a degree in piano performance from the University of Missouri and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He also received a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Kansas City Conservatory of Music and a Master of Music from the University of Indiana.

For his lecture recital, Phillips explores many of music’s staple composers including Ludwig van Beethoven.

Another composer Phillips will perform, Felix Mendelssohn a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor during the early romantic era. Mendelssohn’s “Songs Without Word” remains his most famous solo piano compositions.

Phillips’ recital also features Ethan Wickman, described as a composer of facility and imagination, the kind to whom both performers and audiences respond by The New York Times.  He has a Doctorate of Musical Arts in composition from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. Additionally, he has a Master of Music from Boston University and a Bachelor of Music from Brigham Young University.

Mark Olivieri are an acclaimed composer presented at Phillips’ recital. He has a  Ph.D. from  the University at Buffalo and is the founder and co-artistic director of the Vision of Sound and New Music and Dance Festival in New York.

Phillips said classical music has become less prominent in the U.S. compared to other areas such as Europe.

“I want people to understand that ‘Music of Our Time’ isn’t scary and isn’t something to be avoided,” Phillips said.

Classical music has many benefits and has been proven to help when studying. According to Frances Rauscher, University of California, participants showed significantly better reasoning skills after listening to pieces of classical music such, as Mozart’s sonata, for 10 minutes. The study was done in 1993 and again later in 1995. After both studies showed the same results they named it The Mozart Effect.