Composer Chuck Owen To Present Lefler Lecture at Gustavus

Posted on April 11th, 2016 by

Composer & Guggenheim Fellow Chuck Owen

Composer & Guggenheim Fellow Chuck Owen

The Lefler Lecture Series and the Gustavus Department of Music are thrilled to welcome GRAMMY® nominated composer and Guggenheim Fellow Chuck Owen to campus on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. An avid outdoorsman and moving water aficionado, Owen will speak to a community audience in Björling Recital Hall at 7:00 p.m. about his approach to depicting a picturesque aesthetic as an aural soundscape. His lecture will be directed towards music lovers of all skill levels.

Chuck Owen is Distinguished University Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of South Florida and President of the International Society of Jazz Arrangers & Composers (ISJAC). A committed, passionate, and nationally respected educator for over 30 years, he is recognized these days, however, just as readily for his unique compositional voice and creative, colorful approach to arranging/orchestration. While steeped thoroughly in the jazz tradition, Owen does not hesitate to draw from a diverse array of additional influences – ranging from contemporary classical and American folk/blues to Latin styles, funk/hip-hop, and even country (and western!). The result is an evocative, thoughtful, and very frequently playful/joyous body of work.

Owen’s most recent work, River Runs, A Concerto for Jazz Guitar, Saxophone, & Orchestra, is a 5-movement, hour-long, genre-bending composition that draws its inspiration from various American Rivers, . . . . and specifically, Owen’s float trips down them. Composed under the auspices of a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, the work soars majestically through its unique blend of large-scale symphonic forces, propulsive jazz rhythms, evocative solos, and tinges of folk/roots touches (Owen at one point referencing – and thoroughly deconstructing- the folk-classic “Shenandoah”). Of River Runs, producer/composer Bob Belden states simply, ”Jazz has never sounded better!” while bassist/composer, Rufus Reid, calls it “ . . .  a tour de force in contemporary orchestral composition.”

The Lefler Lecture by GRAMMY® nominated composer and Guggenheim Fellow Chuck Owen is open to the public at no charge. It will begin at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 12, 2016, in Björling Recital Hall on the Gustavus Adolphus College campus.

More information on Chuck Owen can be found at



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