The OU School of Music will present Grammy-nominated saxophonist Tia Fuller virtually April 22 as part of its Resonance Series.
In addition to receiving a Grammy nomination, Fuller was featured in Pixar’s “Soul” and is a former saxophonist for Beyoncé and Esperanza Spalding. She is currently a professor at the Berklee College of Music in the Ensembles Department.
The Resonance Series is a lecture series hosted by the School of Music with the goal of connecting students to contemporary music professionals, said Eric Walschap, an adjunct music instructor and coordinator of the series.
“A lot of the focus of most schools of music across the country is a bit more classical, focusing on European composers that lived in the 1600s to the 1800s,” Walschap said. “That's absolutely one of the most essential parts of learning music and its history, but what this series really focuses on is celebrating diversity and contemporary music that we wouldn't normally be talking about.”
The Resonance Series was started in response to the pandemic. In a typical year, music students would be required to attend concerts in person, and the series is a way to bring musicians to the students instead of students going to them, Walschap said.
Since beginning the series last fall, the School of Music has hosted over 20 artists, including 10 Grammy winners. Some of the artists featured previously include Shaun Martin, eight-time Grammy award-winning keyboardist; Nikki Glaspie, drummer for Beyoncé, Kanye West and Jay-Z; and Judith Hill, a Grammy- and Oscar-winning singer for Michael Jackson, Prince and Stevie Wonder, Walschap said.
“Artists like Kanye West and Jay-Z are still around, and they're still performing,” Walschap said. “This opportunity lets us not only discuss artists that are out there, it's what students actually listen to.”
Walschap said the series will continue in the future, featuring other prominent artists including Bobby Sparks, a 16-time Grammy-winning organist, and Kristopher Pooley, the musical director for American Idol and the Super Bowl.
Fuller is speaking at 3 p.m. April 22 via Zoom and Facebook Live.
Ultimately, Walschap hopes the series will help students gain exposure to the music business in the real world.
“(The goal) is to connect students in general with these musicians, as they're not able to go to concerts still, and they get to hear the stories of the biggest people in the business,” Walschap said. “They get to hear stories of how to network and how to survive, even in the lean times like right now.”