Sacramento State’s Department of Music is now the School of Music, and it's preparing to celebrate the new designation as part of the University’s Arts Experience for Fall 2015.

In addition, the season will include stage productions that explore African folklore and reveal personal revenge in the theater; the whimsical sculptures of Tony Natsoulas; and favorites such as the Dance Collective and the Festival of New American Music.

Celebrating the new School of Music

The new designation of Sacramento State’s music program as the School of Music enhances a program that already is respected in the community and consistently receives national awards and recognition.

“We are very pleased the University has recognized us for our outstanding faculty and our comprehensive programs,” says School of Music Chair Ernie Hills.

To celebrate the new name, the school will present “Mosaic,” an inaugural gala concert, at 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, in the Capistrano Concert Hall. The concert will reveal the depth of the school’s student talent pool in a series of short performances highlighting the full spectrum of musical styles and forms – from jazz to classical to new American – in solo and ensemble performances. An outdoor reception follows the concert.

Tickets are $20 general, $15 for seniors and students.


The largest free music celebration of its kind in the nation returns when the Festival of New American Music, more popularly known as FeNAM (, comes to campus Nov. 6-15. (No performances will be held on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.)

The opening FeNAM Gala Concert at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, features Dose Hermanos, which comprises two Grateful Dead alumni: Tom Constanten (1968-70) and Bob Bralove (co-producer, 1987-95). Also appearing is Cabalito Negro, a duo of Sac State alumnus Terry Longshore on percussion and flutist Tessa Brinckman. And Sac State alumnus and renowned baritone Eugene Villanueva returns to campus for the gala.

This year’s keynote speaker is composer Kurt Rohde, a professor of music composition and theory at UC Davis, and a co-director of the Empyrean Ensemble. Rohde also is a recipient of the Rome Prize, the Berlin Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Lydian String Quartet Commission Prize. He will speak at noon Friday, Nov. 13.

Geoffrey BurlesonGeoffrey Burleson will perform as part of the Festival of New American Music.

Other performers during the festival’s run include pianist Geoffrey Burleson (8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10), Sac State’s own saxophone professor Keith Bohm (8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14), and UC Berkeley’s “dream team” of musicians, the Eco Ensemble, led by Berkeley’s director of music, David Milnes (8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15). All performances are free, and most are in Sac State’s Capistrano Concert Hall. Visit the website for a complete schedule.

The Hohlax Trio travels from Greece to Sac State to open this year’s World Music ( series of concerts. The trio – violinist Jaime Smith (a Sac State alumna), bouzouki player Orestis Koletsos, and guitarist Apostolis Kounis – will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13.

The unique mix of music by GYANI Indo Jazz comes to the stage at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29. The group combines Indian raga, jazz, Arabic melodies, and global rhythms, blending classic Hindustani forms and cutting-edge improvisation.

Baba Ken and the Nigerian Brothers will perform at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15. Baba Ken Okulolo is a popular African musician with deep roots in Nigerian musical history and traditions. His career spans the palm-wine, highlife, Afrobeat, and Afro-rock eras.

South Indian vocalist Gayathri Satya takes the stage at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10. A Carnatic music vocalist, Satya is known for her soulful renditions and pure melody.

Another Carnatic vocalist, Ramakrishna Murthy, can be heard at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1. Murthy began his music lessons at age 8 and has won several “best vocalist” awards.

All performances are in the Capistrano Concert Hall. Tickets are $15 general, $12 seniors and $8 students.

The first pianist from Kazakhstan to be named a Steinway Artist kicks off this fall’s two Piano Series Concerts ( on Saturday, Oct. 3. Kadisha Onalbayeva received an award from the Soviet Union’s New Talent competition; participated in international music festivals in Germany, Turkey and Uzbekistan; is an associate professor at the University of Mobile; and has written a symphonic poem titled Zherym (My Motherland).

The second concert features Eduardus Halim on Saturday, Nov. 21. Halim has performed at venues around the world, including Alice Tully Hall in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and at festivals in Stockholm, Sweden; Newport, R.I.; and Wyoming at the Grant Teton Festival.

Both concerts are in the Capistrano Concert Hall. Tickets for each are $20 general, $15 for students and seniors.

Special guest artists will be featured in a pair of concerts this fall. The Kandinsky Effect, a postmodern jazz trio that blends jazz, rock, electronica, and hip-hop performs at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, in the Capistrano Concert Hall.

Percussionist Colin Malloy presents a concert at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, in Capistrano Hall Room 151. The award-winning performer and composer also plays guitar and bass, in addition to steel drums, taiko, and Japanese koto.

Tickets for each concert are $10 general, $7 seniors, and $5 students.

The School of Music’s extremely talented instructors have a number of faculty recitals lined up for the fall.

Bassoonist David Wells gets things started at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, in the Capistrano Concert Hall. Wells is the principal bassoonist with the Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra and plays bassoon with the swing band Hot Club Faux Gitane. The program includes works by Camille Saint-Saens, Rossini, and Philippe Hersant. Wells will be joined by John Cozza on piano and Dorian Antipa on bassoon.

Double bassist Thomas Derthick performs at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, in Capistrano Hall Room 151. Derthick is principal bassist with the Sacramento Philharmonic, as well as the Cabrillo Festival. He has performed with the Empyrean Ensemble, the San Francisco Opera and Broadway shows. He will be joined by Cozza on piano.

Guitarist/lutenist – and Grammy nominee – Richard Savino performs in Capistrano Hall Room 151 at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1. Savino’s sponsors include the Boston Early Music Festival International Series, the London Early Music Network, and the International Guitar Festival in Gargnano, Italy. He was nominated for a 2012 Grammy for a CD by his group El Mundo.

Voice professor Robin Fisher performs at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, in the Capistrano Concert Hall. The acclaimed lyric coloratura soprano has performed in Paris, Vienna, Prague, and throughout the United States. She also has appeared with the West Bay Opera and Sacramento Opera companies.

Tickets for each of the faculty recitals are $10 general, $7 seniors and $5 for students.

The School of Music’s students present a wide variety of concerts and musical styles throughout the semester.

The Symphonic Wind Ensemble is first up with a performance at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30, that features as a guest the world-famous double bassist Barry Green. He and the ensemble will perform Andres Martin’s “Anna’s Gift, the Way of Passion,” a piece based on an Alan Scofield story and produced by Green. The program also includes Reed’s “Festival Prelude,” and Bach’s “Little Fugue in G Minor.”

The ensemble presents a free concert as part of FeNAM at noon, Sunday, Nov. 8, and joins the Concert Band for a combined concert at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9.

The Concert Band also performs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14.

Sac State’s Jazz Ensembles repeatedly have been invited to the annual Monterey Jazz Next Generation Festival. They’ll demonstrate why when they perform at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8. They’ll be back on stage at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3. Each concert features both of the University’s Jazz Ensembles.

More classical music can be heard when the Symphony Orchestra presents a concert at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20. The orchestra performs again at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8.

The music of jazz legend Herbie Mann will be featured when flute professor Laurel Zucker joins the Latin Jazz Ensemble in concert at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27. The Latin Jazz Ensemble returns with its jazz/Latin fusion sounds at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30.

Sac State’s Chamber Choir, Women’s Chorus, and University Choir get together for great choral music at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14. Later in the semester, they’ll present the annual Procession of Carols, a program filled with holiday music that has become a Sacramento tradition. Performances are at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6. All the concerts will be performed in the magnificent acoustics of Sacred Heart Church, 39th and J streets.

Talented and caring: The University’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble performs a benefit concert at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20. There is no admission charge, but donations to selected charities will be accepted. The Jazz Ensemble has been the recipient of numerous awards from Downbeat magazine over the years.

It’s an evening of nothing but Amadeus when the Opera Theatre presents Mozart! Mozart! The troupe will perform the best of Wolfgang’s operatic scenes. They take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24.

It might be cold outside, but inside Capistrano Hall, it definitely will be hot when the annual Winter Jazz Festival takes place Saturday, Dec. 12. The festival provides clinic and performance experiences for jazz groups from elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as colleges. Doors open at 8 a.m. This year’s festival includes a noon concert by renowned drummer Carl Allen performing with the Sac State Jazz Ensemble. The festival concludes at 6:30 p.m. when the Sacramento Jazz Orchestra performs Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite. The cost is $10 at the door for the entire day.

Camerata Capistrano, the School of Music’s premier chamber ensemble, goes “Beyond Baroque” at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13. The program includes Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, the full orchestra version of Bartok’s Romanian Dances, and a motet by Francois Martin featuring faculty guest artist bass-baritone Omari Tau.

The semester ends with a free performance from the school’s String Project. The String Project provides children in fourth grade and up with affordable violin and cello lessons, taught by the School of Music’s own students. It’s one of the more charming concerts performed in Sacramento and a great way to enjoy the holiday. The performance starts at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14.

All performances are in the Capistrano Concert Hall, except where noted. Tickets for the Procession of Carols are $15 general, $10 seniors and $7 students. All other student group performances are $10 general, $7 seniors and $5 students.

Tickets for all offerings at the School of Music may be purchased at the University Ticket Office, or (916) 278-4323.

For more information on music programs, visit or call (916) 278-5191.

Theatre & Dance

Choreographers CollectiveDancers rehearse for “Choreographers Collective.”

Sac State dance students don’t rest during the summer. They’ve been rehearsing for the past several weeks for their first production, Choreographers Collective 2015. Directed by Professor Philip Flickinger, the dance concert is a riveting mix of dance styles featuring original student works. Performances are at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 9 and 10; 8 p.m. Sept. 11 and 12; and 2 p.m. Sept. 13; all in Solano Hall 1010 Dancespace.

Set on a Georgia plantation in 1858, Charlayne Woodard’s FLIGHT tells the story of a little boy who climbs a pecan tree after seeing his mother sold off the plantation. In an effort to coax him down, the other enslaved men and women share lessons of spiritual strength through folktales, music, dance, and puppetry. Directed by Professor Melinda Wilson Ramey on the main stage of the University Theatre, FLIGHT will be performed at 8 p.m. Oct. 21-24 and 30; 6:30 p.m. Oct. 28 and 29; and 2 p.m. Oct. 25, 31, and Nov. 1.

Jeffrey Hatcher’s Compleat Female Stage Beauty is set in Restoration England, when women were first starting to appear in professional theater. This causes emotional turmoil for a male actor renowned for portraying females on stage, resulting in jealousy, violence, and a quest for revenge. The play has been described as “an intimate psycho-sexual backstage historical comedy.” Directed by Michelle Felten in Playwrights’ Theatre, Compleat Female Stage Beauty will be performed at 8 p.m. Nov. 12-14 and 20-21; 6:30 p.m. Nov. 18-19; and 2 p.m. Nov. 15 and 22.

The University’s dance faculty and special guests come together for Dance Sites 2015 in the University Theatre. This diverse annual concert on the main stage offers the performers and choreographers a larger venue and more extensive lighting and stage design, creating a “must-see” dance experience for audiences. Dance Sites is directed by Professor Lorelei Bayne and will be presented at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 9-10; 8 p.m. Dec. 11-12; and 2 p.m. Dec. 13.

Tickets for 6:30 p.m. performances are $8 general and $5 for children. All other performances are $12 general, $10 for students and seniors, and $8 for children. Tickets are available at the University Ticket Office,, or by calling (916) 278-4323.

For more information on Theatre & Dance programs, visit or call (916) 278-6069.


Autumn begins with exhibits in the Library Gallery by two of Sac State’s own art instructors.

The main gallery hosts Tom Monteith’s Earth Island Sept. 8 through Dec. 19. The show features large-format paintings covering a 20-year period and engaging with “earth” as a figurative image.

Brenda LouieBrenda Louie exhibits her works in the Library Gallery Annex.

Next door in the Gallery Annex, Brenda Louie will display her paintings in Going Forward, Looking Back, Sept. 8 through Oct. 24. Louie melds elements of ancient Chinese writing with modern Western art theory. The free exhibit features works from many of her series, including Rivers United.

A reception for both exhibits will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10.

Library Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call (916) 278-4189 or visit

Sac State has opened the vaults of five campus art collections to present some very special pieces in Treasure Revealed: Art from the Sacramento State Art Collection. The free exhibit runs Aug. 31-Sept. 24 in the University Union Gallery. Regular gallery hours are 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, plus 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. A reception will be held 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, and there will be a panel discussion 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, in the Union Orchard Suite. For more information, call (916) 278-6166 or visit

The Robert Else Gallery in Kadema Hall will present four exhibits during the fall semester.

Intrigued by the irony of an ax handle being made from the material the instrument is meant to fell, Kevin Ptak created The Underlying Aspiration to Cast More Shade. Running Aug. 31-Sept. 25, the exhibit uses metal and other materials to capture the nature of wood. A reception will be held 5:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3.

Art student Chelsea Thompto presents her advancement-to-candidacy show in the gallery Oct. 5-16.

“small,” a group show curated by instructor Joy Bertinuson, will be exhibited Oct. 26-Nov. 13. Participating artists are Eddie Stein, Garr Ugalde, Linda S. Fitz Gibbon, M. Parfitt, and Phillip Altstatt. The works represent different styles, but all share an attention to detail. A reception will be held 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, and includes a gallery talk from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Artist M. Parfitt gives a lecture in Kadema Hall 145 from 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4.

Renowned local artist Tony Natsoulas brings his whimsical ceramic sculptures to the gallery Nov. 18-Dec. 18 for Then and Now. Natsoulas specializes in large-scale, humorous figurative ceramic sculpture.

The Witt Gallery hosts a series of weeklong student exhibits throughout the semester. Regular hours for the Robert Else and Witt galleries are noon to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information on Art Department programs, visit or call (916) 278-6166.

Updates on events, exhibits, lectures and more Sac State attractions are posted regularly on the University’s Facebook site. Become part of the Sac State community at