Evansville Philharmonic Hires John 'Jack' Bogard as Concertmaster to Lead Strings on Stage
Bogard and three other lead EP musicians have a dual role — leading their sections to cohesive performances, but also educating the community about music
“Sometimes when we're trying to make something really, really excellent, It's simple single notes that are the most glaringly obvious,” new concertmaster Jack Bogard said to his sectional violinists, helping them refine a piece for the upcoming concert.
Bogard is the new concertmaster of the Evansville Philharmonic. He is replacing Jia Rong Gan who stepped down this summer.
He comes from Bloomington and his prior experience includes the Richmond Symphony, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and the Indiana University New Music Ensemble.
In concerts, he’ll sit right up in front as conductor Roger Kalia’s “right hand musician,” and he plays the difficult solo bits.
“I'm also responsible for facilitating cohesion within the strings during rehearsal, leading them with the violin, that's kind of really what a concertmaster is,” he said.
You’ll also see him leading the Eykamp String Quartet with other principal musicians of the Evansville Philharmonic.
Said Bogard, “there's a Principal Second Violinist, my friend Michael Chu, he leads the second violins — Principal Viola Mark Hatlestad, Principal Cello Graham Cullen, and then Principal Bass, Greg Olson. And so,us five work to keep our sections unified.”
A lesser-known job of the first four principals, is to teach music through out the community — such as conducting these sectionals for University of Evansville community symphony musicians.
Both the Evansville Philharmonic and the UE Symphony Orchestra are in rehearsal mode ahead of the concert season.
“So a sectional really helps us without the chaos of what's going on around us to focus our sound. Make sure we're all really clear,” Bogard said. “There are multiple ways to play the same thing on violin. So a sectional is a great place where we can talk about how to make as unified of a sound as we possibly can.”
These principals lead sectionals with the UE Symphony Orchestra, whether providing foundational advice or higher-level fine tuning.
Violist Mark Hatlestad said he tries to meet students where they’re at, musically, “and give them the tools they need to feel ownership of their playing and develop a greater awareness of playing together in a section.”
Cellist Cullen said education is a big part of their job. “ We work with students from the ages of 3 all the way up through high school and college and beyond,” he said.
“And that involves us going in and playing at elementary schools and introducing our instruments to middle school in high school, we go in and we work with students in sectional settings, just showing them the finer ins-and-outs of the instrument.”
Technically all four are both employees of the philharmonic and the University of Evansville as an “artist in residence.”
Bogard said while this teaching relationship between an orchestra and community isn’t unique — they exist in many larger cities with orchestras — it is important.
“I think it's like one of the most valuable things that we do here at the Evansville Philharmonic, you know, teaching and playing, they are really two sides of the same coin,” he said. “I wouldn't have been able to play without my teachers before me. And now it's sort of my job to pass that on as well.”
Cullen said such a music ecosystem is important.
“It's great for everybody,” he said. “This, the students growing up, are fascinated with instruments and music and they want to learn, and that's why we're here to there to teach them the ins and outs of music … then everyone in the community gets to just observe and be entertained by our concerts, and then we enjoy having an appreciative audience. So it all feeds into it itself.”
The first EP concert is September 30th, October third for the UE Symphony Orchestra.
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