York’s Music Program Starts Its Master Class Lecture Series

Aruan Ortiz at the Master Class Lecture class. Photo Credit: Asar John

By Asar John

The York College Music Program hosted its first lecture in the new Lecture+Masterclass Series on Oct. 10, featuring pianist and composer, Aruán Ortiz.  

The Masterclass Series is an ongoing program that will host different music artists throughout the year with students performing music pieces for them while they lecture and advise students about their music careers. Ortiz had the opportunity to attend the first of the series.

“This was Dr. George Lam’s idea to call Mr. Ortiz because he would be the perfect person to talk about jazz, improvisation and hear someone else say this information other than Dr. Lam or myself,” said Mark Adams, the coordinator of the Masterclass Series and a professor of Music at York. 

Ortiz said that he was looking to see where students were in their minds while performing their music. 

“I wanted to see how they were hearing their music and then try to challenge them from their own musical experience,” said Ortiz.

George Lewis, a York student majoring in Music, was one student who performed for Ortiz. Lewis said that the piece he performed for the series, Straight, No Chaser by Thelonious Monk, was one suggested by Adams. 

“He brought it to me a couple of weeks ago and said he would like for me to learn it because he knows I’m really rhythmic with a lot of songs,” said Lewis. 

Lewis noted that the experience with Ortiz helped him learn to not be too original, but to have something in the structure of his work that is individual. 

“This means don’t just sound the same, try to twist things a little bit,” he said 

Other performances at the Masterclass included Dat Dere by Bobby Timmons, played by Kareem Enniss, a junior majoring in Music. 

After listening to feedback from Ortiz, Enniss said he is trying to work on the idea of independence in his performances. 

“I feel like that will help me with me my soloing because I have to play the chords with my left hand while soloing with my right hand, and at the same time I have to keep a rhythm and a sense of time so it will sound clean and smooth,” said Enniss. 

According to Professor Adams, the Music Program Lecture+ Masterclass Series will continue throughout the school year. The next meeting will be hosted on November 21st, featuring singer and songwriter Toni-Ann Semple. 

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