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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Music’s Spring 2015 Performance Season Announced

Season includes professional artist series, 14 student ensemble concerts and two faculty concerts.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Music News Release, 1-9-2015

Mankato, MN. – The Minnesota State University Department of Music Performance Series announces its spring schedule of visiting artist concert events. In addition to the professional artist series, the Department of Music will offer 14 student ensemble concerts and two faculty concerts over the course of the spring semester.

The Performance Series offers contemporary and ethnically diverse music featuring nationally and internationally recognized artists. The series also integrates instruction through master classes, clinics and workshops benefitting the university community, Mankato area residents and K-12 students.

Spring semester Performance Series concert and artist highlights include:

Sunday, Jan. 25: A sister act originally born as a healing way out of a personal tragedy, The Ericksons have maintained their stark, soul-baring, go-to-the-light tone while stretching out musically on their latest CD, “The Wild”.

Thursday, Feb. 5: Peter Mulvey is an American folk singer-songwriter based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Since the early 1990s, he has developed a strong national following in the indie folk/rock scene through his relentless touring and critically acclaimed albums.

Sunday, Feb. 8: New Orleans Suspects, comprised of some of the most seasoned, highly respected players in NOLA, began playing together in 2009 as a pick-up band at the Maple Leaf in New Orleans. Their chemistry was undeniable and by the summer of 2011 they decided to tour full-time. They quickly began attracting large crowds from San Francisco to New York. In three short years they released two CDs and established themselves as one of New Orleans’ best super groups. The event is a collaboration with KMSU The Maverick.

Tuesday, Feb. 10: Erik Koskinen plays a blend of American folk, country, rock-n-roll, and blues, a sound that is distinctive and fresh while familiar and classic. Since moving to Minneapolis eight years ago, Koskinen has amassed a following as a musician, songwriter, producer and engineer with experience stemming from years of traveling north to south and coast-to-coast.

Thursday, Feb. 12: Scottie Miller is an American pianist and singer-songwriter born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His musical style is a combination of blues, soul, funk and jazz, with high-energy performances, creative song writing, dramatic lyrics and impeccable piano playing. Scottie is also the touring keyboardist for 2010 Grammy nominee and multi-Blues Music Award recipient Ruthie Foster.

Sunday, Feb. 15: The Blue Hazard’s sound merges traditional hard driving bluegrass with popular acoustic music. Blue Hazard was on the cutting edge in merging different genres with their traditional bluegrass roots before all of the “cool kids” started doing it.

Thursday, Feb. 19: Pop pianist Robert Meany is an award-winning singer-songwriter from the Twin Cities. Critics have compared his original music styles to Billy Joel, Elton John, and Steely Dan. Meany’s performance opens the annual four-day Bunny Just Piano Festival.

Sunday, Feb. 22: Classical pianist Heidi Leathwood has performed chamber music with members of the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Colorado Symphony and, since moving to Colorado in 2001, she has enjoyed working regularly with leading musicians in the Front Range area. While still a teenager, she was a prizewinner in the Stravinsky Awards International Piano Competition and the Ruth Slenzynska National Piano Competition, among others. Ms. Leathwood’s performance is the final event of the Bunny Just Piano Festival.

Saturday, Feb. 28: Jazzfest 2015 features jazz guitar virtuoso Mike Stern. After playing for a few years with Blood, Sweat & Tears, he landed a gig with drummer Billy Cobham and then broke through with trumpeter Miles Davis' comeback band from 1981 to 1983, and again in 1985.

Saturday, March 21: Minneapolis soul man Sonny Knight may have debuted with great promise in 1965, but for personal reasons he wound up retiring from music to be a truck driver, and the loss was the music world’s. Once in awhile, though, history finds a way to correct its wrongs. Sonny Knight’s new album with his band The Lakers is titled "I’m Still Here," and “Here” has multiple meanings for Knight. It’s Minneapolis, where he grew up and first started singing. “Here” also represents the soul music that he first started performing in his teens before life took him in different directions. The event is a collaboration with KMSU The Maverick.

Sunday, April 19: Lucy Kaplansky started out singing in Chicago bars. Then, barely out of high school, she took off for New York City. There she found a fertile community of songwriters and performers—Suzanne Vega, Steve Forbert, The Roches, and others. With a beautiful flair for harmony, Lucy was everyone’s favorite singing partner, but most often she found herself singing as a duo with Shawn Colvin. Kaplansky’s voice has continued to remain in high demand by her peers. Her song “Guilty as Sin” was featured in the NBC television show Ed. In addition, she can be heard on recent releases by Nanci Griffith, and on the Greg Brown tribute album Going Driftless (also featuring Ani Difranco, Iris Dement, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams and others).

In addition to Performance Series events, the Department of Music will offer a number of student ensemble concerts, including the Concert Choir, David Dickau, conductor; University Chorale, Rodney Urtel, conductor; Concert Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band, Amy Roisum-Foley, conductor; University Orchestra, Joseph Rodgers, conductor; the University Percussion Ensemble, Michael Thursby, director; and the Jazz Mavericks Big Band and Contemporary Vocal and Instrumental Ensembles, Douglas Snapp, director.

The Department will also offer faculty recitals on Monday, Feb. 16 featuring violinist Tyler Sieh, and percussionist Michael Thursby on Tuesday, March 17.

Online ticketing will be available starting Monday, Jan. 12. For more information, visit or call the Performance Series office, 507-389-5549.

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