Honoring the Life of Composer Alfred H. Bartles: A Tribute Concert
On Sunday, December 6, 2015, Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music and the Jean and Alexander Heard Library hosted a tribute concert in honor of composer Alfred H. Bartles. Born and raised in Nashville, Bartles was a prolific composer and arranger, as well as a cellist, jazz pianist, and pedagogue.
Bartles was part of the first generation of musicians who felt equally comfortable writing in both classical and jazz styles. Throughout his career, which spanned across several decades and two continents, his music displays his mastery of each of these styles and his pedagogical insights.
The concert featured both performers from the Blair School of Music and visiting guest artists. The memorial program included the Blair Big Band with the Ballad for Flugelhorn and Jazz Ensemble, a joint tuba ensemble from both the Blair School and Tennessee Tech University performing When Tubas Waltz, a student of Kirsten Cassel Greer performing selections from Bartles’ pedagogical Seven Easy Pieces for Beginning Cellists, and several more pieces. As Bartles often collaborated with eurhythmy performers, the concert also featured a demonstration of this performance art by Pittsburgh-based dancer Gail Langstroth.
In addition to the tribute concert, the afternoon’s events featured the unveiling of the Wilson Music Library’s archival collection of Alfred H. Bartles’ papers, donated by his family. This extensive collection contains manuscripts, sketches, recordings, and professional and personal correspondence of the composer, including items from his time in Tennessee, Germany, and New York City. The entire collection is housed in the Wilson Music Library, and a sampling of his works and correspondence was displayed at the concert.
The concert began at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 6, 2015 in the Steve and Judy Turner Recital Hall at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. A reception was hosted in the lobby of Turner Hall following the concert.