April 20, 2012

Breznikar plans ‘fun’ guitar concert on April 25

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Selling out the 1,214-seat Shryock Auditorium at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in the wake of his “George Harrison Remembered” CD release in 2004 is a memory Joseph Breznikar is likely to hold onto indefinitely.

His concert on April 25 is part retrospective, part farewell, part promotion of the guitar program he helped build at the SIU Carbondale School of Music.  The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church on Main Street in Carbondale.  Tickets are $15 for the general public, $10 for students, and proceeds will benefit student scholarships.

Breznikar said he wants this concert to be “fun,” and so he’s chosen some songs likely to be familiar to a wide audience -- including some of the songs from the George Harrison tribute CD.  Harrison, of course, was most famous as the “quiet” Beatle, and also for his solo career after the Beatles disbanded.  Breznikar’s CD, inspired in part by a request from Harrison’s sister Louise, presented some of Harrison’s famous songs re-arranged into a classical guitar format.

The concert will also include some of Breznikar’s own compositions, particularly from his “Cascade: A Rhapsody for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra” CD.  Some selections will be solo guitar, some for more than one guitar, some with other chamber instruments, and some with voice, featuring Jeanine Wagner, soprano and director of the School of Music.

Breznikar also appears as a guest during the April 29 Southern Illinois Chamber Music Society concert.  That concert begins at 3 p.m. at the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship on Parrish Lane.  Tickets are $15 for the general public, $5 for students, and again, proceeds benefit music scholarship funds.

Breznikar presents his final Guitar Ensemble concert on May 3, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall.  The Guitar Ensemble features student performers, many of them showcasing difficult pieces of classical guitar music. That performance is free.

Breznikar has presented more than 60 such performances during his career at SIU Carbondale.

“I think there has been, over the years, an upsurge of interest in classical guitar in Southern Illinois,” he said.  “Maybe a deeper appreciation, too, of the level of musical prowess some of these students demonstrate.  It’s been my pleasure, since coming to SIU Carbondale, to find students with the talent and the desire, and I’ll miss working with those students.  As for myself, I don’t plan to retire from the guitar.”

Breznikar is, however, retiring from SIU Carbondale.  “It’s been a wonderful 32 years,” he said.