Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Poetry, Music, and Friendship: Join Us for Our Final Summer Concert of 2013

The 2013 summer season's final concert is upon us!

We're featuring
  • a flute and cello sonata by the great Baroque composer Georg Phillip Telemann
  • poetry by Greencastle's own Joe Heithaus, who will also read poems by the great Persian mystic Jelaluddin Rumi (in extraordinary translations by Coleman Barks)
  • the Indiana premiere of Chris Lastovicka's hauntingly beautiful "When Words Fail"
  • and to end the evening, a terrific flute, cello, and piano trio by the best composer you've probably never heard of: Lousie Farrenc, a renowned pianist and composer in the 19th century.  
Joining me in this final "friends making music for friends" concert is the flutist Akal Dev Sharonne, who has been my friend and colleague for nearly twenty years.  Akal Dev has started at least four concert series in three states--and it was her example that inspired me to start our summer festival here.  

John Clodfelter, my DePauw colleague whom I've known twenty years or so since he was a student at DePauw, will join Akal Dev and me for the Lastovicka and Farrenc works.  And Joe?  Well, who doesn't love Joe?  His poetry is as touching and insightful as he is a wise, warm, and delightfully human human being.  

What a delight it is for me to bring these three friends of mine to perform together for the first time.  Come join us for this final concert of the 2013 summer season!


Monday, August 12, 2013

May Phang Takes Us Time Traveling Wednesday

We've had some fantastic pianists this summer, but none more fantastic than our own May Phang.  (If you haven't already experienced for yourself just how fantastic an artist she is, listen to her online performances.)

If there's anything I've learned over the nine summers of organizing these concerts, it is how fortunate we are to have so many world-class musicians based right here in Greencastle. It really is an extraordinary thing!

And this Wednesday (August 14, at 7:30 PM in Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church), you can hear May perform a program she's calling "Timeless Treasures."

It features the world premiere of "Time Travel Phantasie" by Sy Brandon; transcriptions of compositions by Richard Wagner by his father-in-law, Franz Liszt and also Louis Brassin; and some other virtuoso "timeless treasures," including arrangements of three Stephen Foster tunes.  

It's going to be another fantastic evening.  

May Phang has given numerous solo recitals and chamber music concerts in Singapore, Canada, the United States, and Europe, performing in venues such as the Goethe Institute in Singapore, Victoria Concert Hall, Singapore Conference Hall, Chapelle historique du Bon Pasteur and Place-des-Arts in Montreal, the Concertgebouw, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Kennedy Center for the Arts and National Gallery in Washington DC, the Chicago Cultural Center, and at festivals such as the Singapore Festival of Arts, the Montreal International Piano Festival, and the Karol Szymanowski Festival in Zakopane, Poland.

A prizewinner of several competitions including the Chopin Young Pianists' Competition in Buffalo NY, Canadian Music Competition, Concours d'orchestre symphonique de Montréal, and Pontoise International Young Artists Competition in France, Dr. Phang has performed with orchestras such as the Banff Chamber Players, Singapore Symphony, Montreal Symphony, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Radio and television appearances include profiles on Singapore Broadcasting Corporation's "Life and Times" and "Arts Around" and broadcasts on Radio-Canada, Vermont Public Radio, WFLN, Philadelphia and WFMT, Chicago. An active music educator, she is a teaching artist of Young Audiences of Indiana, the state's oldest & largest provider of professional arts education programs for children. She has adjudicated competitions for the Waukesha Symphony and PianoArts of Wisconsin, presented masterclasses at institutions including Idyllwild and Interlochen, and given presentations for music teachers' associations. 

May Phang began piano studies in her native Singapore where she obtained her Associate and Licentiate diplomas from the Trinity College of Music (London) by the age of twelve. A graduate of McGill University in Canada, she obtained her doctorate from Temple University in Philadelphia. Currently Assistant Professor of Piano at DePauw University, Indiana, her prior teaching positions include Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee. She is represented by Great Lakes Performing Artists Associates, and has served on the faculty of the DePauw University School of Music since 2003. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Meet the Euclid Quartet Members

The Euclid Quartet is a truly international group--each young man was born in a different country.  While all four have received extensive training in the United States, their diversity of background brings a unique freshness and energy to their music making.  

Here are their individual biographies.

Jameson Cooper, originally from Sheffield, England, began playing the violin at
age 6.  At 13 he joined the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and later
became concertmaster of the National Youth Chamber Orchestra.  He studied with
Malcolm Layfield and Wen Zhou Li at The Royal Northern College of Music, where
he earned a Graduate of Music Degree with Honors and a Professional Performance
Diploma.  Mr. Cooper first came to the U.S. as a participant in the Aspen Music
Festival.  Since then, he has studied with Dorothy DeLay, Masao Kawasaki, and
Roland and Almita Vamos.  He earned Masters Degrees in Violin and Conducting
from Kent State University, where he later served as Assistant Professor of Violin and
Viola at the University's Hugh A. Glauser School of Music.  He has performed as
soloist with orchestra, recitalist, and chamber musician throughout the U.S. and
Europe.  In the 2001-02 season, Jameson played in the Audubon Quartet in its
Beethoven Quartet cycle series.

Recipient of numerous prizes, including the Prince's Trust Award, and first prize in the
Tuesday Musical Club of Akron and Kent State University Concerto Competitions, Mr.
Cooper has also recorded Icelandic music for Musart, and new music by Kent State
University composers on Innova.  Jameson has given masterclasses at Virginia Tech,
Michigan State University, and Morningside College, and is a former faculty member
of the Lyceum Music School of Oldham, England.

A founding member of the Euclid Quartet, Jacob Murphy hails from Fresno,
California.  He began his violin studies at the age of 6, and soon earned acclaim as
soloist with the Kings Symphony Orchestra and the Fresno Youth Philharmonic
Orchestra.  He was also a recipient of the Fresno Arts Council Horizon Award for
Outstanding Contribution to the Arts.

Mr. Murphy continued his studies at the Eastman School of Music, where he received
his B.M. in 1998.  He then attended Kent State University as a graduate assistant,
where he received his M.M. in 2000.  His principal teachers included Charles
Castleman, Gregory Fulkerson, Camilla Wicks, and Claudia Shiuh.  He attended such
festivals as the Heidelberg (Germany) Castle Festival, the Quartet Program at
Bucknell University, Aspen Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, and the
Orford Arts Centre.

On top of being an accomplished quartet musician, Mr. Murphy has made a point
of gaining knowledge and expertise in all styles of classical music.  He has
performed with a baroque period performance ensemble, which was led by the
famous lutenist Paul O'Dette.  On the other side of the spectrum, Jacob has also
been involved with several new music ensembles, and has recorded contemporary
music for the Innova label.

Luis Enrique Vargas, violist, is a native of Barquisimeto, Venezuela.  He began
viola lessons at age 14, studying at the Vicente Emilio Sojo and the Simon Bolivar
Conservatories of Music in Venezuela.  Throughout his career, Mr. Vargas has studied
with many internationally known musicians.  Among them are Jose Manuel Roman,
Richard Young, Gerard Causee, Li-Kuo Chang, James Dunham, Michael Tree, Earl
Carlyss, and the Vermeer and Emerson string quartets.

In his native land, he was an active performer and educator and was part of the 
internationally acclaimed “Sistema” of the Venezuelan National Youth Orchestra, 
collaborating with its expansion and educative mission in remote regions of Venezuela.  
He was a member of the Venezuelan Lara State and the Simon Bolivar Symphony 
Orchestras.  He toured to Brazil, Spain, and France, performing at the Festival de la 
Radio France et Montpellier in 1993.  With the Simon Bolivar Orchestra he performed 
in Paris in 1995 at the UNESCO and at the Sorbonne University, and in Madrid at the 
Bela Bartok Concert Series.  Also with them he recorded "Latin-American Lollipops," 
a compilation of Latin-American masterpieces on the Dorian label.  Mr. Vargas has 
participated in several international chamber music festivals, including Aspen, 
Norfolk, and Great Lakes, and has performed as a chamber musician throughout the US, 
South America, Canada, and Europe.

Mr. Vargas was the violist of the Cuarteto America (string quartet) from 1997 through
1999, during which time he pursued a Diploma in Chamber Music at Wilfrid Laurier
University (Canada) and a Masters degree from Miami University of Ohio.  He has been
violist of the Euclid Quartet since September 2001.

Si-Yan Darren Li made his professional debut at the age of nine. Since then, he has appeared in
recitals and chamber music performances at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium, Weill Recital
Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Kennedy Center, Victoria Concert Hall in
Singapore, Izumi Hall in Osaka, National Concert Hall in Taipei and the Basilica de San Lorenzo
in Florence. 

Mr. Li has received top prizes in numerous competitions, including the Tchaikovsky
International Competition for Young Musicians in Moscow, the Young Concert Artists
International Auditions in New York, the Young Artists Competition of Mann Center for the
Performing Arts in Philadelphia, and the Second China National Cello Competition. He has also
appeared in many festivals, including the Ravinia Festival, the Kronberg Academy Cello Festival
in Germany, and the Verbier Festival Academy in Switzerland. As an active chamber musician,
Mr. Li has collaborated with renowned artists, such as Emmanuel Ax, Carter Brey, Cho-Liang
Lin, Miriam Fried, Paul Katz and Lang Lang.

Mr. Li began his cello studies at the age of five in China. At the age of nine, he was accepted to
the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music. After moving to the United States in his early teens,
Mr. Li continued his cello studies with Orlando Cole in Philadelphia. He holds a Bachelor of
Music Degree from The Juilliard School and a Master of Music Degree as well as an Artist
Diploma from the Peabody Institute, where he studied with Fred Sherry, Harvey Shapiro, Alan
Stepansky and David Hardy. Mr. Li plays on a 1773 J.B.Guadagnini Cello, generously on loan
from the private collection of Mr. and Mrs. Rin Kei-Mei.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Euclid Quartet Wednesday August 7

We had a great turnout for the fabulous "Bad Boys of the Baroque" concert by Ensemble Voltaire.  This coming Wednesday, we'll be hearing the dynamic, young Euclid Quartet.  I heard them perform in New York last January, and they are terrific!  

They'll be performing the Haydn "Quinten" Quartet, movements from Wynton Marsalis's "At the Octoroon Ball," and the String Quartet No. 1 by Bela Bartok. I'm tremendously excited for this concert!

The Euclid Quartet is a dynamic string quartet known for performances filled with personality and vibrant color. The Denver Post praised them for their "electric" playing, Chamber Music Magazine  wrote, "The Euclid Quartet played the music's phrases fearlessly, with great surges of energy," and Ara Guzelimian, Artistic Advisor of Carnegie Hall, praised their “wonderful intensity, insight and communicative strength.”  The quartet has held the prestigious position of Quartet-in-Residence at Indiana University South Bend since September 2007. 

At appearances ranging from Carnegie Hall to school classrooms to radio and television broadcasts, the quartet has performed to high acclaim across the country. The quartet has earned significant recognition at major competitions, recently winning Third Place at the Osaka (Japan) International Chamber Music Competition, and Grand Prize at the Hugo Kauder International Competition for String Quartets at Yale University. This victory is added to top prizes already earned at the Carmel Chamber Music Competition and the Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition. 

In 2002 and 2003 the quartet was one of three ensembles selected worldwide to participate as a fellowship quartet at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado. They have also appeared at the Kent/Blossom (Ohio) festival, the Orford (Québec) Music Festival, the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival (Michigan), and at the Audubon Quartet Seminar (Virginia). The Euclid Quartet has also collaborated with internationally renowned artists such as Joseph Silverstein and Jennifer Culp (former cellist of the Kronos Quartet).

In 2004, the quartet was appointed Resident String Quartet at Morningside College, where they taught private lessons and coached chamber music. They have also given masterclasses at Eastern Michigan University, Reed College, and high schools with highly regarded music programs throughout the state of Iowa. The quartet is committed to exposing young audiences to the joy of chamber music, and frequently perform programs tailored towards children, including a recent series of performances as "Musical Explorers" at Carnegie Hall.

The Euclid Quartet is dedicated to performing contemporary music, and has commissioned works from several noted composers. They have also given many world premieres, including works by Dan Welcher, Armando Bayolo, and James Leatherbarrow.

Monday, July 29, 2013

"Bad Boys of the Baroque" with Ensemble Voltaire Wednesday

Ensemble Voltaire, the midwest's top early-music chamber ensemble, performs their "Bad Boys of the Baroque" program for us this week.  Allison Edberg, who was a Greencastle resident for many years (and taught violin to so many local children and adults), is the group's violinist, and she's joined by her friends and colleagues Christine Kyprianides on viola da gamba and Tom Gerber on harpsichord.

Bad Boys?  Yes, although we sometimes think of classical composers as if they god-like figures no more human than the marble busts in concert halls, a lot of them got into more than a little trouble during their lives on earth.

Here are Christine's program notes:
Musicians, despite their artistic depictions as angels, are human beings like the rest of us. And throughout history there have been a fair number of scoundrels, not to say outright criminals among the musical community.  Our program today a sampling of compositions by several of these ‘bad boys’ who flourished during the Baroque era.

Johann Rosenmüller was born in Saxony and in 1653 took a position as an organist and teacher in Leipzig. He was in line to become Cantor at the St. Thomas Church, where JS Bach was appointed some 70 years later.  Unfortunately, after two years Rosenmüller was arrested for improper behavior with some of the schoolboys.  He managed to escape from prison and made his way to Venice, Italy where people were more accepting, and got a job as a trombone player (historically the instrument of choice for ‘bad boys’). Later, Rosenmüller returned to Germany with support from the Duke of Wolfenbüttel. Apparently his sins had been forgiven and forgotten.

Jean-Marie Leclair began his career as a dancer, but after an injury ‘knocked him off his feet’, he devoted himself to the violin. His second wife, Louise, was a skilled music engraver, but they divorced after eighteen years of marriage. Leclair was living in a rough suburb of Paris when his body was discovered outside his door. He had been stabbed three times. Suspicions fell on both his ex-wife and his violinist nephew. The latter was angry because his celebrated uncle had refused to advance his musical ambitions, and according to the New Grove Dictionary, “the evidence is so clearly against the nephew . . . that the only remaining mystery is that he was never brought to trial.”

German violinist Thomas Baltzer made a brilliant career in England. He seems to have lived a rather wild life and died suddenly in his early thirties. His friend and patron, the antiquarian Anthony Wood, thought he had died of “the french pox and other distempers,” but then admitted that “being much admired by all lovers of musick, his company was therefore desired; and company, especially musicall company, delighting in drinking, made him drink more than ordinary which brought him to his grave.”

Antoine Forqueray was perhaps the greatest virtuoso of his time on the viola da gamba, an instrument especially popular in France. His greatest rival was Marin Marais, who was a far more prolific composer. Forqueray was said to have played “like the devil” compared to Marais, who played “like an angel.” Antoine Forqueray married a harpsichordist, but she left him at least five times because of his fiery temper. After separating from his wife, Antoine led a carefree bachelor’s life, neglecting his family until he was forced to pay alimony and child support.

Ignazio Albertini was an Italian violinist who worked in the Austrian regions. In 1671, he was the subject of a letter between the Prince-Bishop of Olomouc and the composer Johann Heinrich Schmelzer. Schmelzer had apologized for Albertini’s ‘bad behavior’, but the Bishop had a good opinion of the Albertini. At the time of his death, Albertini was in Vienna in the service of the dowager Empress. He was stabbed to death under unclear circumstances; possibly his ‘bad behavior’, whatever it was, had resurfaced.

Perhaps Johann Sebastian Bach was not as ‘bad’ as some of our other composers, but there’s little doubt that he could be difficult. As a young man in his first important job in Arnstadt, he received permission from the town council to visit the city of Lübeck to hear the famous organist, Dietrich Buxtehude. He overstayed his leave by three months and upon his return, refused to apologize. He further antagonized his employers by playing “surprising variations and irrelevant ornaments which obliterate the melody and confuse the congregation.”  Then the council accused Bach of “entertaining a strange damsel” in the church organ loft (probably his cousin Maria Barbara, who became his first wife). He soon left Arnstadt for bigger and better things, but continued to quarrel with his bosses throughout his life.

Alessandro Stradella, an Italian aristocrat and brilliant composer, led a dissipated life as an embezzler and libertine. His amorous adventures are too numerous to list in detail here, but he was in constant trouble from angry rivals. In 1677, the Venetian nobleman Alvise Contarini engaged Stradella to teach music to his mistress. Stradella seduced the girl and Contarini then forced the two to marry. After the ceremony, the musician was attacked in the street by hired thugs, who failed in their murderous attempt. After recovering from his wounds, Stradella went to Genoa, where he was finally dispatched by a more skillful assassin several years later.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Amy and Steven Talk About Wednesday's Concert

Soprano Amy Elaine Hayes and tenor Steven Linville talk about their concert this Wednesday with Amanda Hopson.

Amy Elaine Hayes and Steven Linville: Reunited in Song Wednesday Night

The Greencastle Summer Music Festival continues this Wednesday at 7:30 PM in the air-conditioned comfort of Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church with  "Reunited - A Night of Musical Memories" featuring soprano Amy Elaine Hayes and tenor Steven Linville.  Hayes and Linville are both alumni of the DePauw University School of Music and now sing professionally.  Their program features a wide variety of songs by British and American composers.  Wednesday's program is free, as are all events in the festival.

"This concert truly exemplifies the 'friends making music for friends' mission of the Festival," says founder/director Eric Edberg, Professor of Music at DePauw.  "Amy and Steven have been great friends since their student days, and bring an infectious enthusiasm and sense of entertainment along with their wonderful training."

Hayes, founder of the Intimate Opera company in Indianapolis, says, "This concert bring together some of my musical favorites from Marc Blitzstein’s song “Stay in My Arms” which is a great traditional musical theatre piece to a lyrical aria, “Down You Go”, with a fresh and hilarious tone from Jonathan Dove’s opera Flight (if you’ve seen the movie “The Terminal” with Tom Hanks, then you basically know the plot).  I also have the chance to perform a scene from the opera we are producing for the 2013 IndyFringe Festival in August. It’s a real treat for Greencastle to get a sneak preview since we rarely perform scenes ahead of time. Our show “The Witch of the Place” is a one-woman show based on the character Miss Havisham from Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before. While she’s a disturbing character, she’s also quite funny and by far the most interesting character I’ve ever played. These are just a few of the pieces that I will be performing. Other works include, “Glitter and be Gay” from Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, the song cycle Despite and Still by Samuel Barber, and the aria “I never travel without one…a hand mirror” by Dominick Argento from his opera Postcard from Morocco."

Linville adds, "This concert is a chance for me to perform some of the works that I love best.  I’ve fallen in love with every piece on this recital at some point – music from The Tender Land that I first learned at DePauw in 2003; Britten’s On This Island that I originally learned for my first master’s recital at IU; and New York Lights, an aria that I perform any time I can.  Of course, a selection of my favorites would not be complete without some musical theatre – especially pieces from The Secret Garden and Company.  It’s very exciting to be performing in Greencastle again, as well as to be returning to Gobin after 4 years.  I’m equally excited to share this music with everyone and to reunite with all of the friends in the Greencastle community who I don’t get to connect with regularly."

About the Performers
Amy Elaine Hayes received her Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from DePauw University, where she began her operatic career as the Fire and the Nightingale in Ravel’s L'enfant et les sortilèges. Further performances included Countess in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Nella in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. At DePauw, she developed a love for concert work as well when she was cast as the soprano soloist in Schola Cantorum’s annual performance of Handel's Messiahand Orff's Carmina Burana. She continued her vocal studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison augmenting her repertoire of often performed works with less common works from Baroque era composers. One of Miss Hayes’s most rewarding collaborations have been with the Madison, Wisconsin Early Music Ensemble, where she performed works by Louis-Nicolas Clérambault and Luzzasco Luzzaschi, and with the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble which featured works by such composers as Kaija Saariaho and Arleen Zallman.
Throughout her career Ms. Hayes has found various opportunities to express her versatile singing ability. Her roles range from many performances of the Countess to Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, First Lady in Die Zauberflöte, the Fifth Maid in Richard Strauss’s Elektra, Antonia in Les contes d'Hoffmann and everything in between. As she has explored the different abilities of her voice, she has developed as a promising dramatic coloratura soprano and in August performed with the Midwest Institute of Opera singing her debut as the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, a role she wishes to further develop. 
Ms Hayes's love of opera and dedication to led her to found Intimate Opera of Indianapolis with her partner and fellow vocalist, Larry Allen Goens. With the mission to bring underperformed staged music and local talent to the Indianapolis area, Intimate Opera did just that in their first engagement, Mozart’s The Impresario, in the seventh annual Indy Fringe Festival.  One reviewer stated that Ms. Hayes’s performance of Madame Goldentrill "embodied the rivalry... lustily and [she] performed with calculated brilliance."
Upcoming performances will include Miss Havisham in "The Witch of the Place," a combination of readings from Charles Dickens's Great Expectations and Dominck Argento's Miss Havisham's Wedding Night and as Woman in the Midwest Premiere of Scott Perkins's opera Charon.
Steven Linville is an active soloist, conductor, director, and stage performer.  Steven has performed in a variety of roles including Don Basilio (Le Nozze di Figaro), Gherardo (Gianni Schicchi), Pluto (Orpheus in the Underworld), Monostatos (The Magic Flute), Ivan (Die Fledermaus), Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in the world premiere of Bernard Rands' opera Vincent, and Mayor Upfold in Albert Herring.  He has also worked as director, musical director, and vocal coach for productions including Bat Boy: The MusicalUrinetown: The MusicalThe Who’s: TommyChildren of Eden, and Into the Woods.  In addition to his opera and directing work, Steven has performed in musicals such as Guys and Dolls (Rusty Charlie), Hello, Dolly! (Rudy), You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown! (Charlie Brown), The Music Man (Barbershop Quartet - First Tenor),Godspell (John the Baptist/Judas), Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Steward), Cabaret(Quartet; Nazi), The New Yorkers (Mr. Wentworth), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Bazzard), andSweeney Todd (Pirelli).  His most recent production was Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night as Sir Toby Belch.
Steven has also performed as a concert soloist, including selections from Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass. Steven was previously a member of the Indianapolis Opera Chorus and performer in the Indianapolis based opera company "The Steele Project."  Steven graduated cum laude from DePauw University with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance in 2006, and received his Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in 2012. Steven's vocal training includes work with Karri York, Stanley Irwin, Caroline B. Smith, and Brian Horne.
In addition to performing as a free-lance artist and teaching private students, Steven currently works at DePauw University as the Academic Coordinator and Assistant to the Dean of the School of Music, as well as performing, directing, and serving as Executive Producer for Intimate Opera of Indianapolis.
Upcoming performances include a concert titled "An Evening of Argento," "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)," Scott Perkins's "Charon," and direction of "Miss Havisham's Wedding Night" by Dominick Argento.