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Renowned Composer to hold Master Class on Contemporary Commercial Music

Bethlehem, Pa., October 23, 2007—Moravian College will host a master class featuring internationally-renowned composer, teacher and performer Robert Edwin. Sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the program will focus on the pedagogy that supports Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) or contemporary “neoclassical” performers. The master class will be held on Saturday, November 3, 11:30 a.m., in Peter Hall, Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus. General admission tickets will be available at the door for $10, and $5 for students with I.D.

“There's classical singing," says Eduardo Azzati, artist-lecturer in voice and conducting at Moravian College, “and then there's everything else.” The “everything else” category is also known to music teachers as “contemporary commercial music,” or CCM. “It's anything that's not classical music or opera: rock, jazz, blues, musical theater,” he says. “And there's a trend right now among professionals and teachers to differentiate the two.” Student interest in CCM is on the rise, he says, and that has implications for the institutions that train them. “These days, schools tend to be not only classical or not only musical theater,” he says. “There's more interaction between styles, and we're coming to understand that this may mean a different pedagogical approach to training singers besides the classical tradition.”

Azzati and colleagues founded the Lehigh Valley chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Chapter about two years ago. “There are so many institutions of higher education, community choruses and singers of all levels in the Lehigh Valley, that we thought it was important to have a chapter here,” he says. The Edwin workshop is the group's second event of this kind; last year's workshop focused on vocal acoustics and resonance and was also held on Moravian's campus. "The class is geared towards teachers of singing and students who study voice," says Mr. Azzati, “And that includes music majors at the collegiate level or any singers who want to learn more about what they like to do.” Attendees will enjoy a light lunch, followed by a multimedia presentation by Robert Edwin who will then demonstrate vocal techniques by working with three students on stage. “He's a big advocate of the idea that we can't teach a classical singer and a musical theater singer in the same way,” Mr. Azzati says. “We're interested in seeing what he's going to propose.”

Robert Edwin has gained international recognition as a singer, composer, teacher, and writer. He has sung Bach cantatas in church cathedrals and rock songs in Greenwich Village coffeehouses, recorded for Avant Garde and Fortress Records, and toured extensively throughout the United States and abroad. He has performed in New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Town Hall, and has appeared with such outstanding artists as opera star Jerome Hines, jazz legend Duke Ellington, and actor-director Ossie Davis. His TV and radio credits include several NBC Christmas specials as well as commercials for everything from politicians to hot dogs.