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April 15, 2009 – Someone You Should Know


CD cover image courtesy of Nancy Gamso

‘With Blackwood and Silver’ & Style
OWU professor Nancy Gamso releases her first music CD

Photo courtesy of Nancy Gamso
If you ask Ohio Wesleyan University music professor Nancy Gamso what instruments she plays, be prepared to take notes. Not only does Gamso play the clarinet and flute—as evident on her new CD, “With Blackwood and Silver”—but she also plays the saxophone, oboe, and bassoon.

Gamso says she began learning to play the clarinet while in fifth grade. “My older sister played, and my parents wanted to get more mileage on an expensive instrument,” she recalls.

It wasn’t until high school that Gamso picked up the flute. And her love of the woodwinds continued to grow when she went to college.

Her passion for music, just like her talent, is undeniable. For proof, just check out the review of her CD in the March 2009 edition of “The Clarinet Journal,” the official publication of The International Clarinet Association. Click here to read the review. (3152k PDF*)

Of one track, music reviewer Wesley Ferreira writes: “Gamso captures the listener’s attention from the onset with a rich and full-bodied tone and fluid finger technique.” He also praises her “ever-changing dialogue of energetic, playful, lyrical and sometimes aggressive interaction with the piano.”

Tracy Cowden, a former OWU faculty member, plays piano on the CD, a contemporary classical album that drew inspiration from folk, jazz, popular dance, and more.

“I wanted to do 20th century music pieces that would be beneficial to [music] teachers,” Gamso says. “One of my goals is that teachers have good examples for their students.”

“With Blackwood and Silver” was recorded in four days, and was an OWU team effort, Gamso says. Professor Jim Krehbiel, chair of the fine arts department, created the cover art, and Jason LaMar, director of information services, finalized the CD layout.

In the classroom, Gamso says she enjoys watching her students grow as artists. “I get a real kick out of seeing what the students create,” she says. She also finds it gratifying to see students graduate and succeed in their chosen careers.

Gamso joined the OWU faculty in 1991. She holds a bachelor of science degree in music education from the University of Alabama; a master’s degree in music, multiple winds performance, from Florida State University; and a doctorate in musical arts, woodwinds, from the University of North Texas.

Gamso is not the only talented member of her family. Her husband, Pete Mills, is a jazz musician and music professor at Denison University. Their daughter, Abby Tapia, is a singer and song writer who also plays guitar and harmonica. “My husband and I are more instrumental, and my daughter is the vocalist. It’s funny to get together and hear each other’s music,” Gamso says.

When not at OWU, Gamso enjoys gardening, attending jazz concerts, and traveling to the Caribbean. She and her husband are scuba divers. “We love the beach so we spend a lot of time there,” she says.

In addition to making music, Gamso also is working to complete her first novel, “The Long Haul,” about a platonic relationship between a woman in her 30s and an older gentleman. “Novel writing gives a chance for me to play with words in a way that I don’t get to do with instrumental music,” she says.

While her novel is not yet finished, Gamso already is talking about recording a second CD, which she will start to research soon. She also hopes to get into composing and arranging music.

Click here to listen to a sample track from the CD. (4041k MP3)

– Shade Fakunle ’10


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