Opus Colorado

Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra 2015-16 Season: Remembrance
September 28, 2015, 8:54 am
Filed under: News

Pro Musica Colorado Creates, Celebrates, and Observes Memories

Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra (PMC) presents its 2015-16 Season: Remembrance.
Music has incredible power to evoke poignant memories and to create new memories. In this season, PMC presents unforgettable collaborations with pianist Larry Graham and St. Martin’s Chamber Choir. And PMC creates new memories in two commissions, a work by CU Composition Competition Winner, Kurt Mehlenbacker, and another by a rising star, composer D. J. Sparr.

Who: Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra, Cynthia Katsarelis, Music Director and Conductor, with guests, Larry Graham, piano, St. Martin’s Chamber Choir, CU Composition Competition Winner, Kurt Mehlenbacher, and composer D. J. Sparr.

Please Note:
Friday performances are given at the First Baptist Church of Denver, 1373 Grant St., Denver, 80203
Saturday performances are given at First United Methodist Church, 1421 Spruce St., Boulder, 80302

PMC has a new home in Denver, performing all Denver concerts at First Baptist Church of Denver. In Boulder, PMC continues to perform at First United Methodist Church.

How Much: Tickets are available online at: http://www.promusicacolorado.org, or by calling 720-443-0565. Season ticket pass $67.50, Single Ticket prices are $25 General seating, $5 Student Tickets.

What: Mozart and Larry Graham
Friday, November 20, 2015 and Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Concert at 7:30 pm, Pre-Concert Talk at 6:30 pm

Wolfgang A. Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, K. 491, Larry Graham, pianist
Wolfgang A. Mozart: “Prague” Symphony No. 38, in D Major, K. 504
World Premiere: CU Composition Competition winner, Kurt Mehlenbacher

Colorado legend Larry Graham joins Pro Musica Colorado in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor. “This concerto is one of only two piano concertos that Mozart wrote in the minor key and it is spell binding,” says Cynthia Katsarelis, Music Director and Conductor of PMC. “The minor key opens doors to more interesting colors, harmonies, and key areas, making the listening process and the final resolution even more engaging.” Larry is a Colorado treasure who has won competitions, concertized internationally, and captured the hearts of music lovers in Colorado. Also on the program is Mozart’s Symphony No. 38, The Prague Symphony, premiered in Prague in 1787 and repeated many times there. Prague loved Mozart.

What: Pro Musica Colorado presents Shostakovich: Dedication

January 22 & 23, 2016, Concert at 7:30 pm, Pre-Concert Talk at 6:30 pm

Dmitri Shostakovich: Chamber Symphony for String Orchestra,  Op. 110a dedicated to victims of fascism and war
Pavel Haas: Study for Strings
J. S. Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3
World Premiere: D. J. Sparr based on Brandenburg Concerto No. 3

In January, PMC presents Shostakovich: Dedication. On this program, PMC, features the Chamber Symphony, Op. 110a, by Shostakovich, a work that is “dedicated to victims of fascism and war.” Also on the program is the Study for Strings by Pavel Haas. Haas was a victim of fascism; he was one of many musicians interred by the Nazi’s in Terezin Concentration Camp and ultimately sent to Auschwitz where he perished. “Haas and the other composers at Terezin were writing great music, their fate is a sad ‘lost generation’ of music that would have been embraced by classical music audiences. Fortunately, some of the music survives for us to enjoy today,” says Katsarelis. The program includes Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and a new work by composer D. J. Sparr
that pays homage to the Bach with the same orchestration.

What: Pro Musica Colorado presents Mozart Requiem w/ St. Martin’s Chamber Choir

April 8 & 9, 2016, Concert at 7:30 pm, Pre-Concert Talk at 6:30 pm

Wolfgang A. Mozart: Requiem
Wolfgang A. Mozart: Ave Verum Corpus

In April, Pro Musica Colorado joins with St. Martin’s Chamber Choir in Mozart’s Requiem and Ave Verum Corpus. Mozart’s Requiem was finished by his student, Süssmayr, and has been retouched and virtually recomposed over time. PMC will end with Ave Verum Corpus, to insure that Mozart has the last word! PMC presents a great deal of Mozart’s music and has a point-of-view that blends modern instruments with concepts from the historically informed performance movement.

PMC has a new home in Denver, performing all Denver concerts at First Baptist Church of Denver. In Boulder, PMC continues to perform at First United Methodist Church.

About Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra and Cynthia Katsarelis, Music Director and Conductor

Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra is a fully professional chamber orchestra presenting inspirational performances of classic to cutting edge music. Reviews in the Boulder Daily Camera called PMC’s performances of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio “a triumph.” OpusColorado wrote that Pro Musica Colorado’s performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 was “electrifying!” Marc Shulgold wrote that the music making was “spot on.” Cynthia Katsarelis has served with the Cincinnati Symphony, Pops and May Festival, the Greensboro (N.C.) Symphony, and has conducted many professional, college, and youth orchestras. For three seasons, she has guest conducted the Colorado Music Festival’s Young People’s Concerts. Katsarelis is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, with degrees in both violin and conducting.

Colorado Ballet prepares for “La Sylphide”
September 27, 2015, 3:25 pm
Filed under: News

Saturday afternoon, September 26, I attended a rehearsal of the Colorado Ballet’s performance of La Sylphide. The music for this ballet was written by Norwegian composer Herman Severin Løvenskiold (1815-1870) when he was only 21 years old. It was written for the choreographer August Bournonville (1805-1879) whose choreography of the score was done in 1836 for the Royal Danish ballet in Copenhagen. Herman Løvenskiold’s music shows a distinct Russian influence, and indeed, part of his study was at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Bournonville was a Danish ballet master and choreographer who had been trained in France, and his best-known work as a choreographer was without a doubt La Sylphide.

Since it was a rehearsal, the dancers were dancing to recorded music, and occasionally with the music provided by Company Pianist Natalia Arefieva. I hasten to point out that Natalia Arefieva is not just an accompanist. She is the orchestra for most of the rehearsals, and she is an incredibly fine, if not formidable, pianist. Please note that Company Pianist is capitalized.

La Sylphide is a story of a young Scotsman, James, who, on his wedding day, has an encounter with a sylph, or wood nymph. He dreams of her, and when he awakens she is actually there. She eludes him, but James cannot forget her. His future wife’s girlfriends arrive with wedding decorations and gifts, and the wedding celebration begins. However, James notices that in the corner the witch, Madge, is sitting. She tells everyone’s fortune, but when she tells James’s fiancé Effy her fortune, she reveals that Effy will never marry James. James throws the witch out. All of a sudden, the sylph reappears, and she declares her love for James. But, in the following wedding celebration, James forgets all about the sylph, and he declares his love for Effy.

The second act opens deep in the forest where Madge and her allies are preparing a poisonous scarf as revenge against James. Madge gives James the scarf and shows him how to adorn the sylph with the scarf. When he sees the sylph again, he wraps her in the scarf not realizing that it will cause her death. Overcome with grief, he hears a wedding procession approaching and realizes that his fiancé Effy is marrying his rival, Gurn. Participating in the procession, the witch Madge reveals to James that she has gotten her revenge. James, speechless with horror and grief, collapses and dies.

This is a tragic story indeed, and at the rehearsal I was truly astounded by the acting ability, and the communication of that grief, given by the dancers. In the moment of the death of the sylph, her fellow sylphs gather around her and express their extreme sadness. I can promise you that I saw a real tears because the dancers were so moved by the story and by the music.

The dancers in the Colorado Ballet are known for their artistry and for their remarkable enthusiasm and constant demonstration of the love for what they do. It is readily apparent to every member of the audience. But, in the rehearsal on Saturday, I was only feet away from these marvelous dancers, sitting on the mirror side of the studio, the mirrors of which, had been hidden by a black curtain so that the dancers had to imagine an audience, rather than checking their precision in the reflection of the mirror. There were several breaks in the rehearsal where they received comments from the Ballet Mistresses. At one point most of the dancers were waiting for the music to start. There were, perhaps, ten dancers in a line “on stage,” and while they were waiting for the suggestions and comments from the Ballet Mistresses to the main characters, they stood chit-chatting on the floor. But when the music started, within half a beat, they began to complete what I think was a Dessus without a moment of hesitation, all together, with one foot crossing the knee of the supporting leg, with their feet a uniform height from the stage. To me, this was astounding, because after a three or four minute break, they knew precisely where they were in the music, they knew precisely what movement was involved, and there was absolutely no hesitation, and no one made an error. This demonstrated, without a doubt, the kind of memory, related to the movement and music, that these dancers must have. Let me make this clear: I have had many audience members come up to me after a concert, particularly after a performance with an orchestra, where the individual will ask me how I know where I am in relation to the orchestra. I explained that I have my own score to learn, but I explained that it is necessary to also learn the orchestral part. Members of a ballet audience sometimes do not realize that dancers have to learn the same thing, i.e., the music provided by the orchestra, but also the movements, which are charted out, by the choreographer. Their movements require extreme athleticism which is very difficult, and they must have enough control so that they can get their feet back down on the stage in relation to a specific beat produced by the music. It doesn’t matter how tired they get, or how hard they are breathing, it simply has to be done. It is much easier for a pianist to sit on the piano bench. But all of the dancers have to react to the music in the same way all of the orchestra members must react to the music and to the conductor. You readers must also keep in mind that members of an orchestra have the music in front of them to follow during the performance. Pianists, thanks to the precedent set by Franz Liszt and Clara Schuman, generally have to play from memory. But realize this: ballet dancers do not have a musical score in front of them, nor do they have a chart of choreography in front of them. Dwell on that for a while.

Another highlight of Saturday’s rehearsal was two very young ladies, certainly not over the age of ten. Clearly, they had been taking ballet lessons at the Academy since they were three or four years of age. They were dancing with everyone else on stage, and, I assure, you they alone are worth the price of admission on the opening night (October 2 at 7:30 PM in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House) of La Sylphide. Their movements were astonishingly precise and exactly with all of the other dancers – in the Wedding Party – on stage. The performance was so remarkable I could not take my eyes off of them, and I never saw them make a mistake. The investment that their parents are making in their ballet lessons are truly paying off, as I am convinced that these young ladies will make a name for themselves.

I have not mentioned any names in this article because I want you readers to realize (and I know some of you already do) what all of the dancers have to go through, and how they prepare for a performance. Everybody in this ballet company demonstrated at this rehearsal that they are ready for the performance. Yes, the Ballet Mistresses corrected and emphasized the minutest of details to the dancers, but the Colorado Ballet is known for always seeking perfection.

I can assure you readers that this article has only scratched the surface. Rehearsals with a live orchestra are necessary as well so that Maestro Adam Flatt and Maestra Catherine Sailer can make sure the dancers are following the rhythms of the score, and they must also learn to allow the dancers to have a certain amount of input in their interpretation of the choreography. That is to say, subtle nuances in the rhythm caused by the dancers having to lift a partner and other difficult and rhythm consuming steps. Of course, one must never underestimate and undervalue the work done by the choreographer.

This production of La Sylphide will be a remarkable production to see. The Colorado Ballet has not performed it for at least 20 years, and I can guarantee you that it will be breathtaking. Artistic Director Gil Boggs, and ballet Mistresses Sandra Brown and Lorita Travaglia have a magical effect on this wonderful company of dancers.

Ars Nova Singers Opens 30th Season October 9 & 10: The Centenary of Rachmaninoff’s Choral Masterpiece
September 19, 2015, 7:02 pm
Filed under: News

For 30 years, Boulder’s Ars Nova Singers has been bringing exceptional choral music to the Colorado Front Range and beyond. Our 2015-2016 season features dramatic, soaring works for voices performed with professional polish, stylish versatility, and a joyous spirit. Founder and Artistic Director Thomas Edward Morgan has assembled a season of some of the world’s most exceptional choral music, ranging from music of the Renaissance to the avant-garde, and traversing the range of human emotion.

The season opens October 9 and 10 with Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “All-Night Vigil”, opus 37 (also known as the “Vespers”), one of the great choral masterworks of the twentieth century. Two performances will be held:

Friday, October 9 – St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1600 Grant Street, Denver

Saturday, October 10 – First United Methodist Church, 1421 Spruce Street, Boulder

Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $5 for college students and youth. Tickets are on sale at our website: http://www.arsnovasingers.org.

Composed in just two weeks during January and February of 1915, Rachmaninoff’s “Vespers” was hailed on its premiere as one of the greatest achievements in Russian choral music. However, the effects of World War I and the worsening political and economic environment made further performances in Russia impossible for many decades after the premiere. By the end of 1917, Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) and his family had left his home country, never to return. The Vespers, along with a large percentage of Russian choral music, was suppressed by the communist government.

The literal translation of the Russian title of the work (“Vsenoshchnoye Bdeniye”) is “All-Night Vigil”, and the 15 movements of the work were originally part of the liturgy of three separate services: Vespers, Matins, and Prime. For his source material, Rachmaninoff drew upon the rich tradition of Eastern chant, carried into the liturgy of the Russian Church from the Middle Ages. Ten of the movements are based on these ancient melodies. The themes of the remaining five movements are of Rachmaninoff’s own composition. Though he had a rather tenuous personal relationship with the Church (he had to negotiate a special dispensation in order to have a church wedding in 1903), Rachmaninoff was sensitive to the liturgical and musical traditions, and he often visited the Adroniev monastery, where he listened to the singing of the monks. Many of his instrumental and orchestral compositions contain themes derived from the ancient chants. In keeping with the church traditions, the music is written exclusively for voices.

The composer once described how he introduced the Vespers to two friends, including Nikolay Danilin, the conductor of the Moscow Synodal Choir, who would eventually conduct the premiere performance: “My favorite number in the work…is the fifth canticle, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace. I should like this sung at my funeral. Towards the end there is a passage sung by the basses, a scale descending to the lowest B-flat in a very slow pianissimo. After I played this passage, Danilin shook his head, saying, ‘Now where on earth are we to find such basses? They are as rare as asparagus at Christmas!’ Nevertheless he did find them. “I knew well the voices of my countrymen, and I well knew what demands I could make upon Russian basses!”

Upcoming programs in Ars Nova 30th concert season include:

Happiness and Cheer: A Colorado Holiday Tradition, accompanied by harp and oboe – December 12, 13, 17, 18

Renaissance Retrospective: Music for Many Voices, featuring music by Tallis, Striggio, and Gesualdo – February 19-20

The New Art: Shared Visions, new music from Colorado poets and composers – April 29-30, 2016

All programs performed both in Boulder and in Denver. Complete details can be found at http://www.arsnovasingers.org

Ars Nova’s 30th season is made possible in part by grants from the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (Boulder County); the Colorado Council on the Arts; the Schramm Foundation; and the Avenir Foundation. The performances in the season are accessible to persons with disabilities. For complete accessibility information, please contact the Ars Nova Singers office at (303) 499-3165.

Specializing in a cappella music of the Renaissance and the 20th and 21st centuries, Ars Nova Singers of Boulder, Colorado celebrates its 30th concert season in 2015-2016. The professional-core ensemble conducted by founding Artistic Director Thomas Edward Morgan is composed of 36 selectively auditioned choral musicians from the Denver/Boulder metropolitan region. In its history, Ars Nova has presented over 300 performances of more than 100 different concert programs.

The ensemble has received national recognition, including being selected as a semifinalist for The American Prize in choral performance (2010). Ars Nova was invited to perform in the studios of National Public Radio on its March 2006 East Coast tour.  The ensemble has been funded by the Avenir Foundation, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the Chorus Program of the National Endowment for the Arts, among others.

Recent collaborative performances include a world premiere of Peter-Anthony Togni’s “Warrior Songs” with legendary jazz percussionist Jerry Granelli (October 2014); a program of music for solo violin and chorus at Macky Auditorium with internationally acclaimed violinist Edward Dusinberre (February, 2014); the U.S. premiere of Arvo Pärt’s “Salve Regina” with Sphere Ensemble (October 2013); an acclaimed rendition of Giya Kancheli’s “Amao Omi” with the Colorado Saxophone Quartet (October 2012); Morten Lauridsen’s “Lux Aeterna” with the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra (April 2011); the Colorado premiere of Carol Barnett’s “The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass” with Jake Schepps and Expedition (September 2010); Osvaldo Golijov’s cantata “Oceana”, presented in collaboration with the professional chamber orchestra Pro Musica Colorado (May 2008); and a critically acclaimed performance of Terry Riley’s “Sun Rings” with the renowned Kronos Quartet at the Colorado Music Festival (July 2006). Ars Nova Singers has been heard in radio broadcasts throughout the world, including such National Public Radio programs as Performance Today, The First Art, Music from the Hearts of Space, and locally on Colorado Spotlight and Colorado Matters. Ars Nova has released ten independent recordings on compact disc and performed on seven internationally released recordings with Boulder composer and instrumentalist Bill Douglas.

Thomas Edward Morgan, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Ars Nova Singers, has been acknowledged as a leading interpreter of new music in Colorado. Under his leadership the choir has become one of the premier ensembles in the region. Mr. Morgan received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota and the Master of Music degree in composition from the University of Colorado. In addition to his work with Ars Nova Singers, he serves as Music Director of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Boulder, a position he has held for 27 years. Mr. Morgan studied choral and orchestral conducting with Dale Warland, Helmut Rilling, and Giora Bernstein, and has taken master classes with Eric Ericson and Herbert Blomstedt.

As a composer, Mr. Morgan was an artist-in-residence of the Lucas Artists program at the Montalvo Center for the Arts in Saratoga, California (2006-2008). He collaborated with New York visual artist Lesley Dill in the production of “I Heard a Voice”, an extended work for a cappella chorus premiered by the Ars Nova Singers in September 2002.  His composition “Psalm 88” for orchestra and chorus received the prestigious BMI Award, and his choral work “Four Poems of e. e. cummings” was presented on the opening program of the eighth Internacional Musica Nueva festival in Mexico City. Several of his works have been performed internationally by the Peiyang Chorus of Tianjin, China.

Augustana Arts and Stratus Chamber Orchestra presents Anniversaries: 150th Birthday of Sibelius
September 19, 2015, 6:55 pm
Filed under: News

Featuring the Valor Symphonics Youth Orchestra, David Rutherford, Music Director and Conductor

October 16 and 17, 2015

Stratus Chamber Orchestra (formerly the Musica Sacra Chamber Orchestra) begins its season with a celebration of Jean Sibelius’s 150th Birthday.  Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite and Aaron Copland’s Outdoor Overture begin the program, and then Stratus welcomes Valor Symphonics Youth Orchestra to the stage for a side-by-side performance of Sibelius’s grand and charming Symphony No. 3.

Augustana Arts and Stratus Chamber Orchestra presents Anniversaries: 150th Birthday of Sibelius at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 16 at Valor Christian HS, 3775 Grace Blvd., Highlands Ranch, CO 80126 and Saturday, October 17 at Augustana Lutheran Church, 5000 East Alameda Avenue, Denver, CO. Tickets are $25 adult; $20 senior; $15 student; $10 children age 4-17 years and are available online at http://www.augustanaarts.org or by calling 303-388-4962.

The works of Jean Sibelius established a strong sense of national musical tradition in Finland – a tradition that has flourished ever since, especially at the Academy of Music in Helsinki which adopted his name in 1939.

Sibelius’s music grew out of the Romantic tradition of Tchaikovsky, Berlioz and Wagner. The core of his oeuvre is his set of seven symphonies and his symphonic poems. He developed a personal and cogent symphonic style: every symphony has its own individual distinction, the third being known for its good-natured and triumphant sound.

His status as one of Finland’s most important artists comes from his ability to combine his original style with a profound national historical awareness and a strong connection with Finnish nature.

Since 1997, Augustana Arts has been serving the community by presenting the artistry of resident performing groups, internationally renowned touring artists and accomplished locally-based ensembles of many genres. The resident groups, Stratus Chamber Orchestra and the Colorado Women’s Chorale (CWC) perform at a variety of venues in addition to the majestic Augustana Lutheran Church in Denver. Augustana Arts serves educational outreach through the City Strings program, an inspired vision to provide youngsters with great need access to high quality, small group music instruction free of cost afterschool at several metro locations.

Augustana Arts concerts and programs are made possible in part by generous support from the citizens of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, the Colorado Creative Industries, a state agency which is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, the Augustana Foundation, the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation and several other community partners.

Augustana Arts and Stratus Chamber Orchestra
Anniversaries: 150th Birthday of Sibelius
Friday, October 16 at 7:30 p.m. at
Valor Christian HS, 3775 Grace Blvd., Highlands Ranch, CO 80126

Saturday, October 17 at 7:30 p.m. at
Augustana Lutheran Church, 5000 East Alameda Ave., Denver, CO 80246
Tickets are $25 adult; $20 senior; $15 student; $10 children ages 4 – 17 years
303-388-4962 or online at http://www.augustanaarts.org

Local choral group brings rare 17th Century music to Denver and Boulder
September 14, 2015, 7:47 pm
Filed under: News

Seicento Baroque Ensemble to perform Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 October 24-25

Today, Seicento Baroque Ensemble announced the dates of their 2015-2016 concert season, to include the performance of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 on October 24 in Boulder and on October 25 in Denver.

Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 is considered to be one of the most ambitious religious compositions before Bach, and is described as “…90 minutes of the most exciting and brilliant music one could ever hope to hear” (Charles Cole, the New Liturgical Movement). The piece calls for seven soloists, double chorus, and a period-instrument orchestra of baroque strings, sackbuts, and cornettos.

“The vocal soloists have a huge roll as the music demands highly agile and rapid singing to implement early baroque ornamentation and vocal fireworks. We have superb soloists and three of the best Monteverdi tenors around. Seicento performs with period instruments and will collaborate with the Washington Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble, a professional group of players from the East Coast,” said Artistic Director Evanne Browne. “Because of the type of singing and specific period instruments called for, the piece was never performed in the state of Colorado until 2010, the 400th anniversary of the publication of the Monteverdi Vespers. That first Colorado performance was my honor to conduct, and it helped launch Seicento, a group that specializes in the 1600s, the Seicento. I am thrilled to bring it back to Denver and Boulder audiences.”

Preceding the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 performances, on October 23 the Seicento Baroque Soloists will present “Music of 17th Century Venice” with virtuosic singers and period-instrument players performing Italian 17th century music, including works by Monteverdi, Rossi and Castello.

Performances by Seicento Baroque Ensemble have been described as “Superb” by Opus Colorado, and Browne “does an admirable job of advocating for early Baroque music and creating a very fine vocal and instrumental ensemble.”

The Seicento Soloists concert is on Friday, October 23 at 7:30 p.m., and the 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinee performance of the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 will be performed at St. Paul Lutheran Church at 1600 Grant in Denver. The Boulder performance of the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 will be at the First United Methodist Church (1421 Spruce Street) on October 24 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets and information are available at seicentobaroque.org.

About Seicento Baroque Ensemble
Seicento Baroque Ensemble is Colorado’s premier choir specializing in the historically informed performances of 17th and 18th century choral music under Artistic Director Evanne Browne. The group is an auditioned chamber choir which uses historically informed performance practices and period instruments as it brings to life the rarely heard gems of Monteverdi, Carissimi, Schütz, Purcell, Biber, Mielczewski, Scheidt, Charpentier, Vejvanovsky and others. Seicento Baroque Ensemble’s concerts are performed by early music specialists playing baroque strings, violas da gamba, harpsichord, recorders, sackbuts, baroque flute and baroque oboe, and vocal soloists.

Augustana Arts presents Faythe Freese, Organ, Saturday, October 3, 2015
September 14, 2015, 7:13 pm
Filed under: News

Dr. Freese’s performances have been hailed as “powerful …masterful… impressive … brilliant.”

In collaboration with the American Guild of Organists, Augustana Arts presents University of Alabama organ professor Dr. Faythe Freese, the first woman to record at L’Eglise de la Sainte-Trinite’, Paris.  Dr. Freese has received critical acclaim world-wide and will present an eclectic program sure to showcase the King of Instruments.

Augustana Arts presents Faythe Freese at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 3 at Augustana Lutheran Church, 5000 East Alameda Avenue, Denver, CO. Tickets are $25 adult; $20 senior; $15 student; $10 children age 4-17 years and are available online at http://www.augustanaarts.org or by calling 303-388-4962.

Dr. Faythe Freese lived in Magdeburg, Germany for over three months in spring 2015 during her sabbatical and played and performed on over fifty historic organs in nine countries.  She collaborated with early performance practice experts such as Ton Koopman, Montserrat Torrent, Pieter van Dijk, Aude Heutermatte and João Vaz on period repertoire.

She was a featured lecturer at the 2014 American Guild of Organists National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts; and was a featured lecturer and concert artist at the 2010 American Guild of Organists National Convention in Washington, D.C.; the 2011 American Guild of Organists Region IV Convention in Greensboro, NC; the 2001 American Guild of Organists Region VII Convention in San Antonio, TX.; and the 2011 Association of Lutheran Church Musicians Biennial Convention.   Dr. Freese was also faculty and featured performer at the 2011 Boston Pipe Organ Encounter Advanced (POEA), the 2011 Birmingham POE, the 2012 Gainsville POE and the 2004 Atlanta POE.

Dr. Freese holds degrees in organ performance and church music from Indiana University.  She has held faculty positions at Indiana University, Concordia University in Austin, University of North Dakota-Williston, and Andrew College.  As a Fulbright scholar and an Indiana University/Kiel Ausstausch Programme participant, she studied the works of Jean Langlais with the composer in France, and the works of Max Reger with Heinz Wunderlich in Germany.  Her organ teachers have included Marilyn Keiser, Robert Rayfield, William Eifrig and Phillip Gehring.  More information at http://www.faythefreese.com.

The American Guild of Organists (AGO) is the national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields. The Guild serves approximately 17,000 members in more than 300 chapters throughout the United States and abroad.

Founded in 1896 as both an educational and service organization, the Guild seeks to set and maintain high musical standards and to promote understanding and appreciation of all aspects of organ and choral music

Since 1997, Augustana Arts has been serving the community by presenting the artistry of resident performing groups, internationally renowned touring artists and accomplished locally-based ensembles of many genres. The resident groups, Stratus Chamber Orchestra and the Colorado Women’s Chorale (CWC) perform at a variety of venues in addition to the majestic Augustana Lutheran Church in Denver.

Augustana Arts serves educational outreach through the City Strings program, an inspired vision to provide youngsters with great need access to high quality, small group music instruction free of cost afterschool at several metro locations.

Augustana Arts concerts and programs are made possible in part by generous support from the citizens of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, the Colorado Creative Industries, a state agency which is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, the Augustana Foundation, the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation and several other community partners.

Augustana Arts
Faythe Freese, Organ
Saturday, October 3 @ 7:30 p.m.
Augustana Lutheran Church, 5000 East Alameda Ave., Denver, CO 80246
Tickets are $25 adult; $20 senior; $15 student; $10 children ages 4 – 17 years
303-388-4962 or online at http://www.augustanaarts.org

Denver Young Artists Orchestra Welcomes New Conductors to the Podium for its 2015-2016 Season – Brave New World
September 8, 2015, 2:39 pm
Filed under: News

Denver Young Artists Orchestra (DYAO) proudly announces a new conductor for its String Ensembles and three new conductors for its Conservatory Orchestras for its 2015-2016 Season. Carmen Wiest will conduct the String Ensembles for the season and Christopher Dragon, Gal Faganel, and Carmen Wiest will share the podium for the Conservatory Orchestras for the season.

“We are very excited for the upcoming season, and are especially looking forward to seeing the musicians in our String Ensembles and Conservatory Orchestra continue to develop as musicians under the guidance of the very talented and accomplished conductors who will be leading them this year,” said DYAO Music Director Wes Kenney. “The level of outstanding artistry that all three of these conductors will bring to the Denver Young Artists Orchestra Association will be clear as we watch them take the podium and prepare the orchestra for concerts throughout the next season.”

Carmen Wiest has been named the conductor for the String Ensembles and also opens the Conservatory Orchestras season in the fall, joining the DYAO family as an award winning educator, newcomer to Denver, and parent to current DYAO musician. “I am honored and thrilled at the opportunity to join DYAO as a conductor,” said Wiest. “Providing a dynamic and engaging orchestral experience for our youth is something that I am very passionate about. This position allows me to help grow the DYAO program so that it can reach even more young people and provide them with exciting opportunities to create and share the love and benefits of musical expression.” Prior to joining DYAO, Wiest conducted the Central Illinois Youth Symphony ensembles, several middle and high school ensembles, and University of Wisconsin collegiate ensembles. In addition to conducting the Conservatory Orchestra and String Ensembles, Wiest teaches at Cresthill Middle School.

The String Ensembles, conducted by Wiest, give young music students an opportunity to experience the wealth of string orchestra literature. The ensembles are designed for those who have developed facility in bowing techniques, reading music, and using vibrato. Comprised of approximately thirty members, the String Ensembles perform three to four concerts each season in conjunction with the Conservatory Orchestras.

The Conservatory Orchestras, DYAO’s advanced level ensembles for students working to further their orchestral performance skills for advancement into DYAO or collegiate programs, perform three to four concerts annually in conjunction with the String Ensembles. Students receive regular coaching throughout the season and attend an overnight retreat in September. Conservatory Orchestra conductors Carmen Wiest, Christopher Dragon, and Gal Faganel, will lead the ensembles throughout the 2015-2016 season in challenging repertoire ranging from Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony to Sibelius’ Karlelia Suite and more.

Gal Faganel comes to DYAO as an accomplished conductor and cellist, currently serving as an Assistant Professor of Cello at the University of Northern Colorado, and formerly held the position of Principal Cellist in the Phoenix Symphony. “Thinking about making music with the talented young musicians in the DYAO Conservatory Orchestras excites me,” said Faganel. “I look forward to teaching, inspiring, and working towards artistic growth of the ensembles. I hope to instill a lifelong love for music in every orchestra member and contribute to the continued growth of this wonderful organization.”

On his appointment to the Conservatory Orchestra conducting roster, Christopher Dragon stated “it is a huge privilege to be joining the DYAO family this season. I look forward to exploring more of Colorado and working with these talented young musicians!” Dragon joins DYAO from nearly three years as the assistant conductor of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and has recently accepted the position of Associate Conductor at the Colorado Symphony. He has also conducted the Princess Galyani Vadhana Youth Orchestra in Thailand and studied under notable conductors including Paavo and Neeme Jarvi at the Jarvi Summer Festival, Fabio Luisi, Jorma Panula, and Asher Fisch.

The Young Artists Orchestra, DYAO’s most advanced ensemble, has an exciting season planned as well, including a Side-by-Side concert with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in February, the Travels in Music Concert & Gala featuring all five DYAO orchestras, and a tour to New York featuring two performances at Carnegie Hall in June 2016. The DYAO opening concert features Silver Ainomäe performing Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, Copland’s Billy the Kid Suite, and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” at the June Swaner Gates Concert Hall on October 11, 2015.

The 2015-2016 Denver Young Artists Orchestra Season is made possible through the generous support of CoBank, Platinum Season Sponsor, The Scientific & Cultural Facilities District, the Bonfils Stanton Foundation, The HBB Foundation, Colorado Creative Industries, Metropolitan Homes and Investment Trust.

For tickets and more information about DYAO’s new conductors and its 2015-2016 season, visit http://www.dyao.org or call 303-433-2420.

The mission of the Denver Young Artists Orchestra Association (DYAO) is to provide the finest possible youth orchestra programs, inspiring and educating young musicians through the performance of great works of music, and offering valuable cultural opportunities to the community. The organization’s five orchestras, chamber ensembles, and group strings classes train over 300 students, ages seven to twenty-three, from more than eighty schools across Colorado.


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