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Gettysburg professor closes last semester with final concert

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Retiring Gettysburg College professor Dr. Paul Austerlitz performed a showcase with jazz musicians Sunday.  

Combining years of college involvement with decades of bass clarinet experience, Austerlitz brought his passion for jazz music to the Junction.

Showcasing the power of the lesser-known bass clarinet, as well as the joy of musical improvisation, along with Austerlitz was the renowned The Marcus Quartet, composed of Todd Marcus on bass clarinet, Harry Appleman on piano, Blake Meister on bass, and Eric Kennedy on drums. The ensemble came from Baltimore and Washington D.C.

Special student accompaniment also included Andrew Lee, Class of 2025, on clarinet and David Grant, Class of 2024, on tenor saxophone.

The bass clarinet, which has more in common in shape with a saxophone than an average clarinet, is by far much more of a softer sounding instrument. Bass clarinets are rare to hear outside of classical music performances. The ensemble said it was not only a pleasure to be able to perform together, but see two bass clarinets on stage.

“This is a special treat for me to make music from the heart with great musicians,” Austerlitz said.

As improvisation is a key component in composition, the musicians held a “battle of the bands” and freestyled much of the performance.

The musicians also played pieces by other jazz composers and presented their original works.

Originally from Finland, Austerlitz has taught ethnomusicology, an anthropology for music, for 15 years in Gettysburg, he said.

Austerlitz has been grateful for the opportunities provided by the college that allowed him to develop his creative projects.

Following the end of the school year, Austerlitz now looks forward to pursuing music performance full time in New York City.

More information about the Todd Marcus Quartet can be found at https://toddmarcusjazz.com/.

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A.L. Grabenstein is a graduate of Philadelphia's La Salle University with a B.A in Communication and has been a journalist since 2016. She has reported for the Gettysburg Times and the Times Herald in Norristown, PA. Grabenstein moved to Gettysburg from Montgomery County in 2019. She was born in San Antonio, TX., and previously lived in Virginia, and North Carolina. Grabenstein is actively involved in the borough of Gettysburg and loves giving voices to the local community.

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