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December, 20, 2022
05:15 PM - 06:15 PM




Mike Fansler

Mike Fansler
James Stephenson

James Stephenson

Musical Companions: Stravinsky and Stephenson

Clinic Synopsis:

The successes of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat and Octet are attributed in part to his unique instrumentation. A group assembled to perform either may wish to pair a companion at the same concert. Jim Stephenson has made that possible creating: The Devil’s Tale and Octet, employing the exact instrumentation and strategic compositional “nods” to Stravinsky’s originals. Jim explains his pieces and the WIU Faculty Chamber Players will present excerpts of the newer companion pieces.

Mike Fansler - Biographical Information

Mike Fansler is Director of Bands at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois, where he leads its comprehensive band program. He is the conductor of the university wind ensemble/chamber players and teaches graduate conducting. Dr. Fansler has accepted professional invitations on five continents and regularly conducts honor bands throughout the United States. He has lectured on the music of Percy Grainger at the Midwest Clinic and, through a grant, visited the Grainger Museum in Melbourne, Australia, to further research his music and life. Under his leadership the Western Illinois Wind Ensemble maintains a demanding performance schedule presenting a range of repertoire from historically significant masterworks to exciting world premieres. Dr. Fansler’s interpretations can be heard on Navona Records "The River of Time," Klavier Records "as the fireflies watched" and Ravelo Records "The Devil's Tale." Critics have written: “An extremely timeless listen; this is a highly meticulous outing that’s executed sublimely and will have the listener hanging on every thoughtful note”– Take Effect; “As a conductor, Mike Fansler seems to have a knack for shaping lines and creating shimmering, transparent textures “– James V. Maiello, Fanfare Magazine. His education is from the University of Illinois, Syracuse University, James Madison University, and Schenectady County Community College. Dr. Fansler lives in Avon, Illinois with his wife Abby, and they remain busy chasing the countless activities of three talented kids - Jordan, Jessica, and Juliet.

James Stephenson - Biographical Information

Composer James Stephenson was never going to be a composer. In fact, he started his professional musical career playing trumpet for 17 seasons with the Naples Philharmonic. It was during a class called “Adventures in Bad Music,” where his final assignment was to compose a “bad” piece of music, that his directions started to change. His “bad” piece was actually well received, and he’s been writing “bad” music ever since. As a composer, he has received commissions from the Chicago Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Montreal Symphony and Houston Symphony. Recently, 51 orchestras (one from each state + D.C.) co-commissioned his orchestral version of “Fanfare for Democracy,” which was originally premiered at Joe Biden’s Presidential Inauguration. The San Francisco Ballet premiered his score, “Wooden Dimes,” and his 2nd Symphony “Voices,” recorded by the “President’s Own” US Marine Band, won two prestigious awards. Stephenson has written sonatas and concertos for nearly every instrument, with collaborations from principal players in many symphony orchestras and his catalog numbers near 250 works. Rounding out his diverse musical output he’s a well-known arranger, having collaborated on over 100 works with the Cincinnati Pops, the Boston Pops and orchestras world-wide. Internationally renowned violinist Joshua Bell recently engaged him to arrange several works for upcoming performances and recording projects. Jim lives near Chicago with his wife, Sally, in a nearly empty house that once had four lively and beautiful children in it.