Concert to honor retiring Lycoming College music professor

Concert to honor retiring Lycoming College music professor

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Jeff Thayer moved to Williamsport at the age of 1 when his father accepted a position on the music faculty at Lycoming College. Now, 36 years later, the violinist, concertmaster of the San Diego Symphony and faculty member of the Music Academy of the West will return to present a concert honoring his father, Dr. Fred Thayer, Lycoming professor of music and director of choirs, on Friday, Sept. 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the College's Clarke Chapel. The concert is free and open to the public.

Jeff Thayer will be joined by wife, Julie Thayer, on French horn, as well as friend and colleague, Jonathan Feldman on piano. Repertoire will include Dvorak's "Romance," Brahms' "Horn Trio" and music by Ravel and Kreisler.

"Not only did I do a lot of growing up around the college, going to many events and choir concerts throughout each school year, I spent a lot of time in Clarke Chapel with my violin," Jeff Thayer remarked. "I greatly look forward to performing again in this special space and having many memories and feelings of nostalgia running through me."

Professor Thayer joined Lycoming's music faculty in 1976. Since then, he has kept an active schedule of teaching and conducting. He has led the choir on 34 spring break tours and nine overseas trips, and has touched the lives of countless students. He plans to retire at the conclusion of the 2012-13 academic year.

Professor Thayer, an avid composer, has earned numerous ASCAP Standard Panel Awards and Meet the Composer Grants. Among his compositions for choral ensembles, orchestra and band are a large-scale mass and two operas. His work is published by E.C. Schirmer, Lawson Gould, Bourne Co., Laurendale Associates and Roger Dean Music. For 22 summers, he was the associate conductor of the Gregg Smith Singers at the Adirondack Festival of American Music in Saranac Lake, NY. He and his wife, Pat, who taught Suzuki violin for 32 years, have two sons, Jeff and Marc. Marc also plans to perform at the College later in the academic year.

"My parents are of course the reason that I am a musician today," Jeff Thayer said. "Not only did my mother start me on the violin [at age 3], I grew up immersed in music thanks to both of my parents' professions, influence and encouragement. It is a privilege to have been asked and an honor for me to be a part of my father's storied tenure at Lycoming College."

Jeff Thayer has held positions as assistant concertmaster of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, associate concertmaster of the North Carolina Symphony, and concertmaster of the Canton (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra. He is also a founding member of the chamber music series, Camera Lucida, in residence at the University of California, San Diego, along with violist Brian Chen and cellist Charles Curtis. He is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Eastman School of Music, and the Juilliard School's Pre-College Division. He has appeared as soloist with an array of orchestras and his talents have been recognized with numerous awards.

Julie Thayer is acting fourth horn of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She is on a short leave of absence from the Houston Symphony, where she has been fourth horn since 2009. She attended The Eastman School of Music and began playing the horn professionally in Rochester, N.Y., first as a substitute with the Syracuse Symphony and then as acting fourth horn of the Rochester Philharmonic. She continued her studies at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, subbing with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, San Diego Symphony and the Houston Grand Opera. Julie has also performed at the Kennedy Center, where she was a featured artist in the first-ever Conservatory Series, which highlights young talent from the top music schools in the country. Julie has participated in numerous summer festivals including Breckenridge Music Institute, National Orchestral Institute and Music Academy of the West, where she met Jeff in summer 2003.

Feldman is a leading chamber musician and accompanist, and has performed on four continents with some of the world's greatest instrumentalists. He regularly appears with the New York Philharmonic, and as a chamber musician appears in concert as a member of the trio Zephyr. A graduate of Juilliard, Feldman joined the Juilliard faculty in 1989 and today chairs the school's collaborative piano department. He can be heard on soundtracks for many movies, including "Music of the Heart" with Meryl Streep and "The Man Who Wasn't There," directed by the Coen brothers. Feldman was a guest artist at the Music Academy of the West and has been a faculty member since 2003.

Lycoming College is a four-year, residential liberal arts and sciences school dedicated to the undergraduate education of 1,400 students. Located near the banks of the Susquehanna River in Williamsport, Pa., the College fosters academic rigor, a supportive faculty and successful outcomes. It offers 36 academic majors and is recognized as a Tier 1 educational institution by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1812, Lycoming is one of the 50 oldest colleges in the nation.

  • Dr. Fred Thayer

    Dr. Fred Thayer

  • Thayers and Feldman

    Thayers and Feldman

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