June 12, 2018

An international sensation

Dr. Greg Kehl Moore, Professor of Music and Jazz Program Director at UW-Superior, ventured halfway around the world to Russia to take part in a renowned music festival.

Dr. Greg Kehl Moore, Professor of Music and Jazz Program Director at UW-Superior, ventured halfway around the world to Russia to take part in a renowned music festival.

UW-Superior’s Dr. Greg Kehl Moore takes part in renowned Russian music festival

While many students spend the time between fall and spring semesters relaxing, taking J-term classes or working, Dr. Greg Kehl Moore, Professor of Music and Jazz Program Director at UW-Superior, ventured halfway around the world to Russia to take part in a renowned music festival.

The town of Petrozavodsk, a city of 300,000 near Finland, host to a fine music conservatory, the Glazunov Conservatoire and its annual music festival, the Silver Sounds: VIII International Contest of Ensembles of Musicians.

“The now-retired music professor from UMD, Alexander Chernichez, invited me,” said Moore. “He’s a former faculty member of the Conservatoire. He approached me last year and asked if I would be interested in traveling to Russia to perform. I jumped at the opportunity. He contacted his friends – a saxophonist and jazz band director at the Conservatoire – and they took me around, served as my translators and generally took care of me.”

During this trip, which took place March 22 to April 1, Moore was involved with many activities of the festival.

“We judged 20 different small ensembles,” he said. “I was one of a panel of faculty and we evaluated the performances and gave them ratings and they were awarded trophies at the end. It was a big deal for them. They were really prepared. They took their business very seriously.”

For music students in Russia, the learning process differs from in America.  

“When you decide to become a professional musician in Russia, you have eight years of musical training starting at age 16,” said Moore. “That’s after starting music school at even younger ages where they go after school to a music program. At the age of 16, typically, they go into a four-year degree they call Music College and then a four-year degree at the Conservatoire.”

While the festival offered the opportunity to experience Russian musical influences, Moore was able to share his stylings.

“I performed in a saxophone quartet with the saxophone teacher and two of his students,” he said. “We performed an arrangement of mine – it’s a piece by Maurice Ravel called ‘Le Tombeau de Couperin.’ Also, I performed with their big band. We did one of my jazz compositions called ‘Dawson’s Freak’ and also was a featured soloist on a piece that I recommended to them. They were looking for a hot, contemporary big band piece to perform. I recommended a piece to them that I’ve soloed on called ‘Everything in its Right Place.’ That was originally by the band Radiohead and arranged by James Miley for big band.”

The 10-day visit left Moore exhausted, but appreciative of the individuals he met and the powerful connection music can make.

“It was really wonderful,” said Moore. “They received me so warmly. Even though it’s a cliché, it bears repeating, the language barrier disappears when you’re speaking music. When you’re making music for other people they understand that. I didn’t learn to speak Russian – a few words, but not much. But being able to speak musician to musician was very powerful.”

Dr. Greg Kehl Moore, Professor of Music and Jazz Program Director at UW-Superior, ventured halfway around the world to Russia to take part in a renowned music festival.

Dr. Greg Kehl Moore, Professor of Music and Jazz Program Director at UW-Superior, ventured halfway around the world to Russia to take part in a renowned music festival.

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