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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer Michael Colgrass To Visit UCO For Series of Workshops and Concerts

Michael Colgrass

Feb. 27, 2013

Media Contact: Angela Morris, Staff Writer, University of Central Oklahoma College of Fine Arts and Design, 405-974-3752,


The University of Central Oklahoma School of Music will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Michael Colgrass as its guest artist in three workshops and three concerts in early March.           

Colgrass began his musical career as an international drummer and later composed works commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and The Boston Symphony.  In 1978, Colgrass won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for “Déjà vu,” and in 1982, he received an Emmy Award for the PBS documentary “Soundings: The Music of Michael Colgrass.”      

In addition to winning numerous awards and recognitions for his performances and compositions, Colgrass stands out as an exceptional teacher whose methods have been adopted into the curriculum of various education systems.           

“Colgrass is the epitome of a transformative teacher.  Anyone could gain valuable information from his workshops,” said Brian Lamb, D.M.A., UCO director of bands.

Colgrass will lead his first workshop at Central, “Creativity,” from 8-11 a.m., March 5 in the Nigh University Center (NUC) Ballrooms.  The workshop will explore the creative process from a multitude of perspectives, including acting, composing and dancing.  This event is co-sponsored by the Oklahoma Center for Arts Education, a division of the UCO College of Fine Arts and Design.

The second workshop, “Excellence in Performance,” will take place from 8-11 a.m., March 6, in the NUC Ballrooms.  This workshop will teach participants how to manage their mental state to optimize performances, interviews, auditions, or any kind of public presentation. This event is co-sponsored by the UCO Center for Excellence in Transformative Learning and Teaching.

Colgrass will present his final workshop at Central, “The Key to Creativity: How to Think Like a Kid,” from 9-11 a.m., March 7 in the NUC’s Constitution Hall.  This workshop will cover the importance of the arts in a complete education and draw on examples from how children think and learn.  A small group of 13-year-olds will participate in the workshop to demonstrate a spontaneous composition of music.  This event is co-sponsored by Oklahoma A+ Schools.           

Each workshop is free and open to the public.

Colgrass will also participate in three concerts during his visit, beginning with a show at 7:30 p.m., March 6 at UCO’s Mitchell Hall Theater. The concert will feature Central’s Symphonic Band performing “Apache Lullaby” and “Mysterious Village,” two compositions by Colgrass.  The UCO Chamber Collegium will also perform Colgrass’ setting of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” at this concert.

The second concert will take place at 2 p.m., March 7 at the Radke Fine Arts Theatre located in the UCO Center for Transformative Learning.  Two of Colgrass’ chamber works will be performed, “New People” and “Percussion Music,” followed by a discussion led by Colgrass.   

The last concert will take place at 7:30 p.m., March 7, at UCO’s Mitchell Hall Theater.  The UCO Wind Symphony, under Lamb’s direction, with the UCO Chorale will perform a variety of Colgrass’ compositions.           

“Colgrass’ music is exceptionally difficult and three concerts dedicated solely to his work has been a challenge for the students.  Knowing that a Pulitzer Prize-winner will be here to host workshops with the students and faculty has been most inspiring,” said Lamb.         

While the students have been anticipating Colgrass’ arrival, so has Colgrass himself.           

“I am especially looking forward to my visit to UCO, where I know I'm going to have fun and feel satisfied being in the company of such a professional level of performing,” said Colgrass.           

This project is funded through the UCO Office of Research and Grants.

Tickets for the evening concerts on March 6 and 7 are $8 for adults, $6 for senior citizens, Central faculty or non-UCO students, and $4 for Central students with a UCO I.D.  Tickets can be purchased by calling the Mitchell Hall Theater Box Office at 405-974-3375. Admission to the afternoon concert on March 7 is free.           

For further information about Colgrass’ visit to UCO, contact Lamb at         

For a complete listing of UCO College of Fine Arts and Design events and performances, visit


Editor’s Note:  Download art to accompany this release at

Cutline:  Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Michael Colgrass will visit UCO for a series of workshops and performances March 5–7.