Arts & Culture

Alumnus from Broadway to Fredonia as guest conductor for Wind Ensemble

The Fredonia Wind Ensemble will present an exciting concert on Sunday, March 3, featuring guest conductor and State University of New York at Fredonia alumnus Brian Usifer, currently Music Director of “Frozen” The Musical on Broadway.

The event, at 4 p.m. in King Concert Hall, is free and open to the public. Dr. Paula Holcomb is the Wind Ensemble’s faculty conductor.

Mr. Usifer will be celebrating the legacy of his great, great uncle, Paul Lavalle, who was the radio voice and conductor of Bands of America, and conductor of several musicals on Broadway. Usifer will conduct performances of Lavalle’s music by the ensemble, including “Joe the Tuba,” the “Bands of America March” and Lavalle’s arrangement of “I Could Have Danced All Night.”

The Wind Ensemble will also premiere “Aquatic Pastorale” for Wind Ensemble by Ethan Fields, a senior double major in Music Composition and Sound Recording Technology with a concentration in Horn Performance. The concert closes with Joseph Turrin’s “Hemispheres,” written for the New York Philharmonic in celebration of Kurt Masur’s retirement.

Usifer is a New York City-based music director, pianist, orchestrator/arranger, producer and composer, who graduated from the Fredonia School of Music in 2003.

He was formerly the Music Director of “Kinky Boots” on Broadway, which won six Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Score. The cast recording won the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album.

In addition, he was also the Associate Music Supervisor of “The Book of Mormon” on Broadway and on tour as well as “Kinky Boots” on tour, and in London and Toronto.

Usifer has played in the Broadway and off-Broadway orchestras of “Spelling Bee,” “Avenue Q,”  “Altar Boyz” and “The Book of Mormon.” Credits also include more than five years of regional theatre including “Follies” (Barrington Stage Co.). Concerts include Clay Aiken’s “Tried and True DVD,” for PBS. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Fredonia and a master’s degree in Collaborative Piano from New York University.

As an arranger/orchestrator, Usifer’s projects have included “Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money,” with music by Motown legend Lamont Dozier; NBC’s “The Wiz Live,” “A View From The River” by Will Van Dyke and Jeff Talbott; “Fantasy Football: the Musical?” by David Ingber, “Pool Boy” by Niko Tsakalakos and Janet Allard, “The UnCivil War” by Rick Kunzi, “Barnstormer” by Douglas Cohen and “The First Snow” by Tsakalakos.

Usifer also provided additional arrangements for “Kinky Boots” and “Frozen.”

Shows in development include “Heart of Rock and Roll” with music from the Huey Lewis catalog, “Into The Wild” with music and lyrics by Tsakalakos and Allard, and “Swept Away” with music by the Avett Brothers.

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