Pianist Michael Coghlan headlines the Faculty Concert Series

For his upcoming Faculty Concert Series performance, York music professor, composer and pianist Michael Coghlan has conjured a concert of original material as diverse as his own musical interests, spanning multiple genres and instrumentation and featuring a wealth of guest talent. The concert takes place Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 7:30pm in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall, Accolade East Building on York’s Keele campus.

Left: Michael Coghlan

Coghlan will play a selection of four short piano solos from a suite of more than 30 such compositions that he has written, collectively called Travel Postcards. Inspired by a place he has visited or a postcard he has seen, these musical vignettes present aural snapshots of Vancouver, Hollywood 1937, Varadero and Eagle Beach.

Acclaimed Canadian bass-baritone Daniel Lichti will join Coghlan onstage to perform Four Songs of Love and Loneliness: The Lonely Traveler, Prayer, Go Heart Hurt and Love Song. As well as composing the music, Coghlan also wrote the lyrics for these songs, with the exception of Go Heart Hurt, which is a musical setting of a medieval poem.

Lyric soprano Inga Filipova-Williams lends her expressive spinto vocals to two arias from Coghlan’s chamber opera Frankie and Johnnie. Based on the popular American folk poem of the same title that was first published in the early 1900s, it tells the tale of a spurned lover’s revenge and demise. Filipova-Williams will sing Roll Me Over Easy and My Love Burns Cold from the opera.

A program that didn’t include jazz wouldn’t be a proper showcase for Coghlan’s skills as a composer and pianist. Together with his faculty colleague Mike Murley on sax, plus Anthony Michelli on percussion and Neil Swainson on contrabass, Coghlan will present a selection of his compositions for jazz quartet: Dreamin’, Dance of the Snow Angels and Blues for “X”.

The director of York’s Graduate Program in Music, Coghlan has extensive professional credits as a composer, performer, conductor, record producer and music director. Known nationally for his work in the development and application of new media technologies in music, he has worked in a wide range of musical genres and techniques, from medieval and classical to jazz, popular, world and contemporary music. As a composer, his credits include dozens of published scores and recorded compositions. His most recent compositions include: Peregrine Riffs and Lucky Cube 343, two works commissioned for the Royal Canadian College of Organists’ 100th anniversary in 2009. He also composed the music and scripted the English and Latin texts of The Aeneid: A Compendium of Scenes from Virgil, created for York’s 50th anniversary celebrations (see YFile, Nov. 2, 2009).

Coghlan’s recital is the fourth of five performances in the Faculty Concert Series, spotlighting faculty artists in the Department of Music. The series concludes with jazz drummer Barry Elmes on March 2. 

Tickets are $15, or $5 for students and seniors. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the York University Box Office Web site or call 416-736-5888.