An old friend and new friends in Fort Wayne

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby featherIn 1972, I was having a private lesson with Dr. Erwin C. Mueller, my percussion teacher at Ball State University. Transferring to Ball State in the Winter semester, I was having my 2nd or 3rd lesson with him--when the phone rang. It seemed that the principal percussionist of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic had fallen very ill, the day before a crucial romantic music festival concert at Clowes Hall in Indianapolis. The phone call to Dr. Mueller was to see if he could fill in for the fallen percussionist. He hung up the phone and told me that I should go to Indianapolis, play the dress rehearsal and performance. Although I was just 19 years old at the time, I came with several years of experience with various community and regional orchestras around Chicago and beyond. Playing orchestral percussion was my focus in life--at that time. I played the dress rehearsal and concert, and the conductor Thomas Briccetti was impressed--offering me a section position with the orchestra. I played section percussion there from 1972-74 while finishing my undergraduate degree at Ball State. Thomas Briccetti played a big part in my life. After finding out that I had Hungarian ancestry, he suggested that if I learned the cimbalom part to Kodaly's Hary Janos Suite he would program it with the Omaha Symphony (he added that orchestra to his directorships). So in 1981 I played the part--and continued to make recordings and do performances to this day. Actually, not as many performances these days as my day job (as Dean of CU Denver's College of Arts & Media) takes a great deal of time, energy and effort. Thomas Briccetti always remembered my filling in on a major concert with his Fort Wayne Orchestra. He recommended me to played extra percussion in the Omaha Symphony while I was percussion teacher at Drake University in Des Moines. We had coffee together in the late 80's while I was doctoral student at the University of Michigan and he was visiting Ann Arbor. He taught me a great deal about music and loyalty.
Old friend, Andre Gaskins. Now principal cellist of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.
Old friend, Andre Gaskins. Now principal cellist of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.
New friends of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Violetta Todorova, guest concertmaster, and Derek Reeves, principal violist (who sounded great on the extended solo in the 3rd moment of Kodaly's Hary Janos Suite.
New friends of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Violetta Todorova, guest concertmaster, and Derek Reeves, principal violist (who sounded great on the extended solo in the 3rd moment of Kodaly's Hary Janos Suite).
Laurence Kaptain

About Laurence Kaptain

The College of Arts & Media at CU Denver We envision a world made smaller, and more fully human, by the artist’s interpretation of the human experience. Our students come to us with passion for artistic expression. Our goal is to send them out into the world confident of purpose, ready to succeed. Mission Our mission is to effect change by preparing students to successfully pursue their passions. Our students acquire the skills they need to excel in an academically rigorous, experiential learning environment energized by creative exchange, real-world experience and diversity of voice. Laurence Kaptain, Dean of the College of Arts and Media at the University of Colorado Denver, brings 16 years of higher education leadership experience at leading public and private universities to his new assignment. As a recording artist he can be heard on a Grammy-winning recording (2001) with New York's Orpheus Chamber Ensemble, as well as numerous recordings with the Chicago Symphony (Solti, Boulez, Jarvi), St. Louis Symphony (Slatkin), St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (Wolf) and LaScala Opera (Reynolds). He is currently a Fellow in the Royal Society of the Arts, a member of the National Advisory Board of the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), a member of the Board of Directors of the Denver School for the Arts Foundation, Dr. Kaptain served as the Director of Creative Initiatives in the Department of Research and Economic Development and Paula Manship Professor of Music, and prior to that, Dean of the College of Music and Dramatic Arts and Penniman Family Professor of Music at Louisiana State University from 2009-14. Prior to assuming this post at LSU, he was Dean of Shenandoah Conservatory near Washington, DC, Director of the heralded Schwob School of Music in Georgia, and Vice-Provost for Faculty Programs and Academic Quality at UMKC. He received the first doctorate in percussion instruments at the University of Michigan, where he was a Fulbright Scholar to Mexico and received the prestigious Rackham Graduate School Pre-Doctoral Fellowship.