Jarrod Hartzler, executive director of Tuesday Musical, a Knight Arts grantee, recently announced his second programming schedule after taking the helm of the organization a couple of years ago. It seemed like a good time to sit down with him, discuss the direction he sees the organization and its performances going, and to take a look at what’s new for the 2015-2016 season. Jerrod Hartzler, executive director, Tuesday Musical. Photo courtesy of Tuesday Musical. During a sit-down interview with Hartzler, he talked about his different take on programming. Historically, Tuesday Musical focused on being a presenter of artists, often looking to the “cool and edgy,” as he put it. While that still remains a concern, Hartzler’s overriding theme is to “try and make arts relevant in the local area; to have a role more than presenter; [and] to work with artists in the creation and production of art and music.”
Part of that process for Hartzler is to “work with artists on some level, talk to them, get a feel for them” – and then start creating some programming. For the upcoming season, Hartzler knows three sets of performers: pianist Gregg Kallor, who performed for the FUZE concerts and will appear with wife and soprano Adriana Zabala on April 21, 2016; the Escher String Quartet, a chamber group Hartzler has known for six years that will perform on September 30 of this year; and cellist David Finckel, pianist Wu Han, and violinist Philip Setzer, who will return later this year on October 27 to complete the Beethoven piano cycle. Not only will they perform well and get the chance to be heard in this area, each of the groups (along with flutist Marina Piccinini and pianist Andres Haefliger on February 9, 2016, and pianist Conrad Tao, who will headline this year's Annual Margaret Baxtresser Piano Concert on November 18) is committed to bringing some educational component along with them. That speaks to Hartzler.
Through a recent grant via the Knight Foundation, Tuesday Musical established the Knight Akron Artist in Residence Fund. Other than the Beethoven piano cycle group, all of the musicians mentioned above will stay in Akron a few days and work with local musicians. Each will hold master classes for college-age music students and players. Additionally some of the artists will give free public performances in a variety of venues. The Escher String Quartet will perform in an area institution yet to be determined, but perhaps something like a senior citizens’ place. Flutist Marina Piccinini (who coincidentally studied her instrument under Margaret Baxtresser’s daughter Jeanne) will give a public performance, “maybe at the Lippman School” building in west Akron, according to Hartzler. Pianist Gregg Kallor will give his public performance in a classroom.
Out of the recital halls and into the community – that’s quite an achievement. The Knight Akron Artist in Residence Fund will continue “in perpetuity” from this year onward. As Hartzler explained it, the Knight Foundation is building a sustainable endowment fund that will develop over the course of 10 years. The idea is good on any number of levels, but for area music and art lovers, it represents a honing of the area’s legion of very talented musicians. The remaining performers bring their own "something special" to the concert table.
The trio (Finckel, Han, and Setzer) are committed to education through giving pre-performance talks. It becomes a kind of show-and-tell as they discuss aspects of the pieces they will perform and then demonstrate on their instruments. Their approach, as Hartzler noted, builds “strong audience connection.” The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields' performance with Joshua Bell on March 11, 2016 will be, as Hartzler called it, the “showstopper.”
The popular chamber ensemble has appeared for Tuesday Musical on other occasions (including next week on Tuesday, May 5), but this performance will span for the first time, the entire group of 14-15 members, headlined by the world famous violinist Joshua Bell. Sounds like Jarrod Hartzler has thought it all through. He collaborates with artists to ensure community engagement, much as he has with area institutions like the Akron Art Museum, YEPAW and the Akron Symphony Orchestra. And, he has quite a performance schedule lined up. Tuesday Musical's 2015-16 season begins on September 30 in the E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall with the Escher String Quartet. View the entire season calendar on www.tuesdaymusical.org.