SPOKANE, Wash. – Composer-pianist Amy Rubin will perform at 7:30 p.m. today in Room 101 of College Hall at Gonzaga University in a concert titled “The Fascinating Rhythms of North and South America.” The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Humanities Washington and Gonzaga College of Arts and Sciences Dean Marc Manganaro.
This multimedia concert is focused on how a culture’s art reflects its heart and soul and reveals its history. Ragtime, barrel house, boogie-woogie, tango, milonga and salsa are rhythms that originated in West Africa and Western Europe. As these rhythms were transported to the new world they took on new flavors, new sounds, new forms and new meanings to create music that is distinctly American. The audience will be introduced to new ways of listening, which will shed light on the technical ingredients that make rhythms fascinating and distinct. Rubin also includes stories about the societies and individuals who created, developed, and shaped the sounds that have become a lasting treasure of American culture.
Amy Rubin has written and performed music in all genres – for the concert stage, jazz ensemble, film, television and theater, both in the United States and abroad. Her fearless eclecticism and desire to embrace all music regardless of style have brought her recent awards including the Washington State Artist Trust Fellowship, the King County Special Projects Award, the 2005 Jack Straw Artist Support Award and commission funds from the Seattle Arts Commission.
As a senior Fulbright Scholar in 1992-93, she lived in Ghana, West Africa, where she was a Professor at the National Academy of Music and the National Institute for Film and Television. While in Ghana she produced and directed the First National Conference on African Music: “Traditions and Innovations.” As a visiting professor at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle she conducted pre-concert talks with visiting performers and co-produced a festival of Music of West Africa.
Rubin also has served as a Master Teacher at the Lincoln Center Institute, the Oregon Institute for Arts and Education, The Memphis Institute for Arts and Education, and has been an educational consultant to the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Chamber Music Society, and New Jersey Symphony.
Prior to composing for the concert stage, Rubin worked as a composer of music for theater and film. During this time she was fortunate to create scores for Peter Brook, Joseph Chaikin, The Acting Company, The Hartford Stage Company, the Juilliard drama department and others. She also worked as a pianist, music director on and off-Broadway and at Lincoln Center, for Joseph Papp. Her fascination with music as narrative informs all of her work, regardless of genre.
The New York Times noted about Rubin: “She manages to bring world cultures home . . . to stretch familiar images into fresh perspectives . . . presenting landscapes that we already know but that are transformed by unusual palettes.”
Having grown up in New York City, Rubin now lives in Seattle where she composes, performs, teaches, lectures and collaborates. The past few years she has enjoyed creating music with the Seattle Chamber Players, Seattle Chamber Music Society, Seattle Symphony, and the Jack Straw Foundation. She is working on a number of new projects including “Piano Portraits,” a series of radio pieces funded by the Jack Straw Foundation. Also, she is working on a film about her field research in Ghana, “Chasing the African Tale,” and a large musical/visual landscape comprised of new compositions for solo and multiple keyboards presented in combination with her current work in photography.
For more information please contact the Gonzaga music department at (509) 313-6733 or visit its website.