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Bradley Hilltopics

Winter 2011 • Volume 17, Issue 1  



Bradley Chorale Spring Tour

Bradley Chorale Spring Tour

Friday, March 11
Concerts at schools in and near St. Louis
Concert at Bellefontaine United Methodist Church, 7:30 p.m.
10600 Bellefontaine Road, St. Louis
Contact: Norman Porch, 314-867-0800

Saturday, March 12
Concert at Independent Presbyterian Church, 7 p.m.
4738 Walnut Grove Road, Memphis
Contact: Jennifer Velazquez, 901-685-8206

Sunday, March 13
Concert at Trinity Episcopal Church, 5 p.m.
1329 Jackson Avenue, New Orleans
Contact: Jean Montes, 504-522-0276

Monday, March 14
Tuesday, March 15
Concerts at schools in New Orleans

Wednesday, March 16
Concert at Calvary United Methodist Church, 7:30 p.m.
3701 Hillsboro Road, Nashville
Contact: Deborah Graham, 615-297-7562

Sunday, March 27
Concert at Dingeldine Music Center, 3 p.m.


Peoria Symphony taps professor as composer


Dr. John Orfe, temporary assistant professor of music at Bradley, has been named the Peoria Symphony Orchestra's composer in residence, a new position with the 110-year-old symphony. The position, which Orfe calls "a working relationship between a composer and a community," will last at least two years.

Orfe was named composer in residence shortly after the symphony selected its new music director, George Stelluto. "Even before the whole music director search happened, I had wanted to write something for the Peoria Symphony," Orfe explained. "George has a lot of ideas, and one of his ideas was, 'Let's go further than just having a local composer write a piece for the local orchestra; let's institute this position of composer in residence.'"

Dr. John Orfe, temporary assistant professor of music and the Peoria Symphony Orchestra's new composer in residence, performs at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles with Alarm Will Sound and Dirty Projectors in February 2010. Orfe is a composer and keyboardist with Alarm Will Sound.

For the first concert conducted by Stelluto, Orfe composed a five-minute fanfare entitled The Journeyman Progressions. Orfe said, "This piece was a celebration. I wanted something that said, 'All right, here we are at a new beginning, and we're going to make a good thing better.'"

Originally from the Chicago area, Orfe found his way back to the Midwest after accepting an artist residency with the Prairie Center of the Arts. He has been teaching at Bradley since 2008. Before returning to Illinois, Orfe received degrees from the University of Rochester and Eastman School of Music in New York. He later earned master's degrees in music and musical arts and a doctorate in musical arts from the Yale School of Music.

Despite his increasingly busy schedule, Orfe continues to give his attention to his music theory and ear training teaching duties at Bradley. "It's an awesome responsibility to teach fundamentals," he said, "because everything a person goes on to do depends on how well he or she has learned at that fundamental level." Orfe is also active on campus as a composer and pianist. He often gives supplemental lesson advice to composition and instrumental majors and has played with a majority of Bradley's instrumental and vocal faculty.

Web Extra

to hear The Journeyman Progressions, the first piece Dr. John Orfe wrote for the Peoria Symphony.

Orfe's duties as the composer in residence are still being planned. He will write at least one major piece for 2011. He is also making plans with Stelluto that will further engage the Symphony with the greater Peoria community, and they are planning a new music festival. "This is very exciting," Orfe said, "because the idea is to focus on music being written now locally and internationally, and invite the community to hear major trends in symphonic and concert music in recent decades." An educational aspect of the residency is also being discussed that would have Orfe meeting with conductors at local schools.

Connecting with the community is important to Orfe. "This is really the chance to make a mark, to help make contemporary classical music more appealing and immediate — and less museum-like," he said. "I want to do what I can to meet and exceed expectations."


Focus on Afghanistan

More than 200 students and members of the community attended Bradley's Institute of International Studies Distinguished Speaker lecture, delivered by Ronald Neumann, the former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and the president of the American Academy of Diplomacy, in September at the Marty Theatre. The event was co-sponsored by the Peoria Area World Affairs Council. Neumann discussed American diplomatic and military strategy in Afghanistan and offered insights on the road ahead for American policy. He also signed copies of his 2009 book, The Other War: Winning and Losing in Afghanistan. Neumann has been an ambassador in Nigeria and Bahrain. He has held the post of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs. Earlier in the day, Dr. Shah Tarzi, professor of international studies at Bradley, hosted a luncheon for the Neumanns and Bradley international studies majors. Tarzi is the Lee L. Morgan Chair of International Economics.