Marshall professors perform music of French composers, others during recital


Summer Jewell

Wendell Dobbs, professor of flute and flute theory, and Johan Botes, professor of piano and collaborative piano, perform during the “About Bizet” recital Sept. 4.

The Jomie Jazz Forum was filled with music and guests as two Marshall University staff members performed on Wednesday, Sept. 4. 

Wendell Dobbs, professor of flute and flute theory at Marshall, played the flute while Johan Botes, professor of piano and collaborative piano, was on piano during the recital entitled “About Bizet.” The event was free and open to the public. 

The music featured was composed around the time of George Bizet. Bizet was a French composer known for his arrangements and operas, including his most famous opera, “Carmen.”

“We don’t really have any stand-alone flute pieces from Bizet, but we do have a lot of really wonderful excerpts in his operas and other orchestral pieces,” Dobbs said. “I just don’t think that he was as appreciated as he should have been while he was alive in Parisian society.”

In addition to some of Bizet’s own works, the recital featured compositions by Ambroise Thomas, Gabriel Fauré, Georges Enesco, Arthur Brooke, Marcel Moyse, Albert Andraud, Louis Moyse and François Borne.

In between pieces, Dobbs gave historical explanations to the songs and biographical information about Bizet.

The Jomie Jazz Forum is a smaller area than the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center’s auditorium and was designed to allow the performers to interact more with their audiences.

Botes said the Jomie Jazz Forum was different than playing larger venues.

“Bigger halls are harder because you have to project much further,” Botes said. “(In) smaller halls, you don’t have to push as much.”

Dobbs said he liked playing the Jomie Jazz Forum because it was more intimate. 

“You are really near the people for whom you are playing so you can draw energy from them,” Dobbs said.

The performers were also able to draw from each other by playing the recital together as opposed to doing solo recitals. 

Dobbs said working with Botes allowed them to play a larger repertoire of music and playing with someone else can make a performer feel supported. 

“There is a certain support that you have there, you know, with someone playing behind you,” Dobbs said. 

Botes said chamber music is more fun than solo music because you get to work with someone else and trade melodies.

“Together is so much more fun because you can sort of play off of each other,” Botes said, “whereas when you’re on your own, you have to do all of the listening yourself.”

Summer Jewell can be contacted at [email protected]