About

The Widener University Recital Series brings world renowned musical performers to our students and community. Performances are presented in the superb acoustics of our newly designed Recital Hall. Its 120-seat amphitheater design makes for an intimate, engaging, and personal concert experience.

As the series enters its fourth season, it reaffirms our commitment to support and cultivate a cultural environment, which is well represented in our programming and facility, as we aspire to be a destination for performers of great talent and accomplishment.

About Artistic Director John Vanore

Trumpeter, composer, educator, record producer—John Vanore has enjoyed a rich career for more than four decades. Growing up in the Philadelphia suburbs, John began playing the trumpet at age seven. While attending a summer program directed by Oliver Nelson at the Indiana University, John experienced the pivotal moment of his career—leading to the decision to pursue music. Nelson’s unique identity as a composer and player was inspirational. Back in Philadelphia, lengthy studies in composition and improvisation with Dennis Sandole forged and intensified the same type of identity thinking.

After college, John joined the legendary Woody Herman Band. Upon returning he became a mainstay in the trumpet sections for performers visiting Philadelphia including Tony Bennett, Michel LeGrand, Mel Torme, Louis Bellson, Peggy Lee, and many others as well as for Broadway shows, concerts, and recording sessions. Mr. Vanore is a voting member of NARAS (The Grammy Awards).

During this time, John became the Director of Music at Widener University, developing an intensive program specializing in non-majors.  The Jazz Ensemble and Wind Ensemble form the core that resulted in nine east coast tours by the Jazz Ensemble. John produced 12 recordings of Widener ensembles including nine by the Jazz Ensemble, two by the unique Pep Band, and another, Suite for Bhopal—an original suite featuring the Widener Winds. Widener has named John Artist in Residence.

In the 80’s, John formed a uniquely instrumented big band. With a strong place in his heart for the power and energy that is part of the big band and the passion for improvising, the prospect of melding that concept into a new and innovative ensemble led to the development of a new 12-member ensemble. In honor of that pivotal experience he named it Abstract Truth as testimony to the innovative Nelson. Multiple albums, including Blue Route and Curiosity, released by Abstract Truth led to yet another career component —producing records.

Projects for EMI, Atlantic, PBS, Miramax, and many others, along with extensive experience in major New York studios, necessitated a hiatus from Abstract Truth. Highlights of this time include the awarding of a Gold Record for producing “On Eagles Wings” for Michael Crawford on Atlantic Records, producing the soundtrack and accompanying CD Voices for the PBS special “The American Promise,” and performing as trumpet soloist on the soundtrack for the animated film “My Dog Tulip.” 

John has produced/recorded ensembles from the Philadelphia Orchestra, Minnesota Symphony, and others.

In 2004, John was commissioned to write a piece to honor the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal, India tragedy. This solemn work in five movements is recorded on Suite for Bhopal.

By 2008, the need to reform Abstract Truth was primary, resulting in fresh compositions highlighted in the new recordings Contagious Words and Culture. To honor that pivotal musical experience from 1966, John conceived a new project for the re-imagination of the music of Oliver Nelson, leading to the recording Stolen MomentsCelebrating Oliver Nelson, which has received critical acclaim and international recognition.

Most recently, the discovery of previously assumed “lost tapes” has led to their release—two recordings of live concerts by Abstract Truth—titled Back to School and Divergence, and a duet recording, Primary Colors.