Ouachita Baptist University’s School of Fine Arts Division of Music will host Dr. Ryan Lewis in a faculty percussion recital Tuesday, Sept. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Mabee Fine Art Center’s McBeth Recital Hall on Ouachita’s campus.
Lewis, OBU’s new assistant professor of percussion, will perform five eclectic solo percussion pieces using instruments ranging from cowbell to bass drum.
“Many concert-goers have no idea regarding the vast amount of instruments at a percussionist’s disposal,” he said. “I feel it is my job to expose audiences to a wide range of genres, instruments, moods and colors in an effort to dissipate the stigma that drummers just bang around on stuff.”
Lewis will open the recital with Brett Dietz’ “Rechargeable Light,” followed by Mark Glentworth’s “Blues for Gilbert” and B. Michael Williams’ “Another New Riq,” a piece for a riq, an Egyptian tambourine.
Next, Lewis will perform Andrew Thomas’ “Merlin” on the marimba, during which he will be joined on stage by Dr. Amy Sonheim, professor of English. Sonheim will read excerpts of the American poet Edward Arlington Robinson’s epic poem “Merlin” (1917) which was the inspiration for the music by Andrew Thomas. Lewis said he believes this will “add a great deal to the enjoyment of the work.”
Christopher Deane’s “Prelude No. 3: Timpani Solo, On West African Rhythms” will conclude the performance.
Lewis earned a Bachelor of Music degree in instrumental music education from Furman University in Greenville, S.C., a Master of Music in percussion performance from Florida State University and a Doctor of Musical Arts in percussion performance from the University of South Carolina. He is a member of the International Percussive Arts Society, the College Music Society and is an Artist-Educator for Innovative Percussion sticks and mallets.
Before coming to Ouachita, Lewis served with the music faculties at Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C., University of South Carolina and Florida State University. He has played with a wide range of philharmonic and symphony orchestras performing from Rome, Italy, to New York City. He also performs with his own piano-percussion group, Duo Matre.
Lewis said he moved to Arkadelphia with his wife and two children to accept his “dream job,” which he defines as “the opportunity to teach, perform and study music at a small, liberal arts and religious-affiliated institution.”
He said his goals for the year include this faculty recital, a Percussion Ensemble concert performed by students and accompanied by a guest artist and to begin a Caribbean Steel Drum Ensemble in partnership with community organizations.
Beginning his first semester at Ouachita, Lewis says, “The students are terrific, my colleagues supportive and I have been welcomed by everyone at OBU.”
The recital is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Ryan Lewis as email@example.com.
By Rebecca Stone