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Department of Music presents 25 concerts during the fall 2009 semester, August 30 – December 6, 2009.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY-The Vassar Department of Music will present 25 concerts during the fall 2009 semester, beginning with the class of 2013 "Welcome Concert" and closing with "A Service of Lessons and Carols." The concert series will feature world-renowned musicians from Vassar's music faculty; Vassar vocal, instrumental, and orchestral ensembles; as well as acclaimed guest performers including the vocal ensemble Chanticleer, early music ensemble La Follia Barocca, Brazilian guitarists Sérgio and Odair Assad, and Steve Turre from the Saturday Night Live Orchestra with his jazz ensemble, the Steve Turre Sextet. 

Unless otherwise noted, the programs will all take place in the acoustically-superb Martel Recital Hall in Skinner Hall of Music at Vassar College. All programs are free and open to the public, with no reservations needed for general seating.


Following the celebratory "Welcome Concert," on Sunday, August 30, presented by members of the Music Department faculty for the Vassar class of 2013 (8/30, 8pm), the fall concert series will offer five concerts in September including:

  • A program of classical and jazz selections by faculty member Louis Pappas, double bass, and friends, will be offered on Saturday, September 12. Pappas, the former bassist with the United States Military Academy Band (Jazz Knights), Oklahoma City Symphony Orchestra, and the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra, is principal bass with the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra. He will be joined by fellow faculty members Ed Xiques, saxophone, and Peter Tomlinson, piano; and guests Kaylyn Kinney, flute and piccolo; Noriko Futagami Herndon, viola; Janice Nimetz, piano; Ron DeFesi, bass-baritone; Peter Einhorn, guitar; and T. Xiques, drums. They will be perform works by Bach, Mozart, and Schulhoff. (9/12, 8pm)

  • Acclaimed pianist and faculty member Todd Crow will perform the music of Schumann and Debussy in an afternoon recital on Sunday, September 13. Crow, the George Sherman Dickinson Professor of Music, has been highly praised for his performances in North and South America, and Europe. The New York Times has described his playing as "heroic, [showing] endless flair, color, and stamina." The Times of London has called his playing "spine-chilling" and "exhilarating," and The Wall Street Journal raved that his playing exhibited "stunning control and a wonderful sense of musical architecture." (9/13, 3pm)

  • Soprano and faculty member Christine R. Howlett will appear with the guest ensemble, the Chatham-Wood Duo (Holly Chatham, piano, and Patrick Wood Uribe, violin), in a recital on Friday, September 18. Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music, Howlett is also the Artistic Director of Cappella Festiva and the Poughkeepsie Boys Choir, and founder of the Summer Choral Festival at Vassar. (9/18, 8pm)

  • Trombonist Steve Turre, a member of the Saturday Night Live Band since 1984, is one of world's preeminent jazz innovators. He will bring the Steve Turre Sextet to Vassar for a special Thursday evening presentation on September 24. (9/24, 8pm)

  • The Hudson-Fulton Quadricentennial of the Hudson Valley will be celebrated on Saturday, September 26, with a "Musical Bridge Concert," Christine R. Howlett, Edward Lundergan, and Lee H. Pritchard, conductors. This evening of choral music celebrating the Quadricentennial will feature 200 voices through the combined efforts of the Cappella Festiva Chamber Choir, Kairos, Camerata Chorale, Ulster Choral Society, and the Vassar College Choir. (9/26, 7pm, Chapel)

October will be highlighted by a return visit to Vassar of the award-winning choral ensemble Chanticleer, as well as three faculty recitals, including:

  • An evening of solo and chamber music featuring works by Mozart, Hovhaness, Eckmezoglu, and Terry Champlin, will be offered on Saturday, October 3, by guitarist, composer, and music faculty member Terry Champlin and friends. Champlin, who was featured on WNYC-FM's program "Around New York," will be joined by guests Jeff Haynes, percussion; Helen Avakian, voice and guitar; Sabina Torosjan, violin; and Vilian Ivantchev, guitar. (10/3, 8pm)

  • The Chapel will resound with the music of Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, and Reger, on Sunday, October 4, with a performance by faculty member and noted organist Gail Archer. A recent review in the New York Times noted that, "Within Ms. Archer's vivid, muscular performance . . . were moments of striking simplicity . . . that open several movements and seem like straight forward professions of faith before the inevitable grappling with the terrors of the sublime." (10/4, 3pm, Chapel)

  • Eduardo Navega, conductor, will lead the Vassar College Orchestra in a concert on Saturday, October 10. A full Symphony Orchestra with of about 60 students, the orchestra performs master works of the symphonic repertoire. (10/10, 8pm)

  • Chanticleer, selected in 2008 as Musical America's "Ensemble of the Year" and inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame for "flawless intonation, fascinating repertoire, and uniquely beautiful sound," will return to Vassar on Sunday, October 11, in a program titled "In time of . . . songs of love & loss, war & peace." Internationally renowned as "An Orchestra of Voices," for the seamless blend of its 12 male voices ranging from countertenor to bass and its original interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance to jazz, and from gospel to venturesome new music, Chanticleer was named "the world's reigning male chorus," by the New Yorker magazine. (10/11, 3pm)

  • Pianist, composer, and faculty member Richard Wilson and guest artist, violinist Joseph Genualdi will perform together in recital on Friday evening, October 30. The program will feature Mozart's Sonata for Violin and Piano in Bb, K. 454; Bach's Partita for Solo Violin in D minor; Brahms' Sonata No. 3 for Violin and Piano in D minor; and the preview performance of Wilson's composition Mnemonics for solo piano. Mnemonics is a three-movement work dedicated to Elliott Carter in recognition of a longstanding friendship (the official premiere will be in New York at the Kosciuszko Foundation on Sunday afternoon, November 1 at 3:00pm). A member of the Vassar faculty since 1966, Wilson, who holds an endowed professorship, the Mary Conover Mellon Professor of Music, has composed over 90 works, ranging in medium from solo tuba to full orchestra. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Academy Award and the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the Creative Arts Award in Music from the City of Cleveland; the Stoeger Award from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; and a Guggenheim. Genualdi, one of the most respected chamber musicians of his generations, has recorded on Music Master, Pickwick, Cedille, Sony Classics, Angel-EMI, and the Marlboro Recording Society. (10/30, 8pm)

Eleven concerts will fill the month of November with music, and will offer a variety faculty and senior recitals, guest events, and vocal and instrumental ensemble concerts, including:

  • A recital by faculty member and pianist Anna Polonsky on Sunday, November 1. According to the Washington Post, pianist Polonsky is "consistently captivating, especially in transitions. In her fingers, a chromatic scale or a single chord held and released could become tantalizing or profound. She was equally convincing in music that called for delicacy... and that demanded heft." Polonsky will perform works by Schumann, Brahms, Debussy, and Honegger. (11/1, 3:00pm)

  • A 12-member early music string ensemble from Milan, Italy, La Follia Barocca, will perform a program titled "Un Viaggio Nel Barocco Italiano," featuring baroque composers from various regions of Italy, on Friday, November 6. Vassar is the final stop on La Follia's seven city U.S. tour. The group's most recent recording of the complete Concerti Grossi Opus 1 by Pietro Antonio Locatelli has received rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic--named CD of the month by the premiere Italian classical music magazine, Classic Voice and "strongly recommended" by the American magazine Fanfare. Among the featured selections are Geminiani-Corelli's "La Follia" by Geminiani-Corelli as well as works by Fiorenza, Vivaldi, Locatelli, and Leonardo Leo. The leaders of the group, Enrico Casazza, violinist, and Marcello Scandelli, cellist, will appear as soloists. Hudson Valley native Steven Slade, violin, will return to the area in this performance with La Follia. (11/6, 8:00pm)

  • On Saturday, November 7, the Vassar College Women's Chorus, Christine R. Howlett, conductor, will perform the Psalm Trilogy by Canadian composer Srul Irving Glick, Libby Larsen's Canticle of Mary, and the inventive and captivating music of British composer, Tarik O'Regan. (11/7, 8:00pm)

  • The following afternoon, on Sunday, November 8, Brazilian-born brothers Sérgio and Odair Assad, who have created a new standard of guitar innovation, ingenuity, and expression will perform works a selection of works. The Washington Post noted that they are "the best two-guitar team in existence, maybe even in history . . . no amount of anticipation could have prepared me for the Brazilian brothers' daringly flexible, eerily unanimous style of playing." The Assad's exceptional artistry and uncanny ensemble playing stem from both a family rich in Brazilian musical tradition and from studies with the best guitarists in South America. They have worked extensively with such renowned artists as Yo-Yo Ma, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Fernando Suarez Paz, Paquito D'Rivera, Gidon Kremer, and Dawn Upshaw. (11/8, 3:00pm)

  • The Vassar Camerata and the Mahagonny Ensemble, conducted by Emily Bookwalter '10, Nicholas Rocha '11, Catherine O'Kelly '11, and Mark Van Hare '10, will perform works including Pablo Casals' "O vos omnes," William Walton's "Façade," and a new work by Vassar alumnus Nathan Hall, class of 2004. (11/13, 8:00pm)

  • Saturday, November 14 will open with the music of Bach, Enesco, Arban, Rodrigo, and Chick Corea, with arrangements by Isaac Leslie and others, at the senior recital of Isaac Leslie, trumpet (11/14, Skinner Hall of Music, 4pm). This will be followed by a program of British choral music with works by Elgar, Holst, and O'Regan, and featuring the stunning Requiem by Herbert Howells, performed by the Vassar College Choir, Christine R. Howlett, conductor. (11/14, 8pm)

  • A concert by the Vassar College Community and Wind Ensemble, James Osborn, conductor, will be the highlight of Sunday, November 15. (11/15, 3:00pm)

  • Two senior recitals will be held on Saturday, November 21. First baritone Seth Biberstein will present perform, assisted by David Alpher (11/21, Skinner Hall of Music, 1:30pm). The second recital will feature composer Mark Van Hare. (11/21, 4:00pm)

  • Vassar College Madrigal Singers, Drew Minter, conductor. (11/22, 3:00pm) 

The fall 2009 concert series will conclude with three concerts in December, including:

  • Friday, December 4, there will be a program by the Vassar College Jazz Ensemble, James Osborn, director. (12/4, 8:00pm)

  • The Vassar College Orchestra will perform the second concert of the semester the following evening on Saturday, December 5. (12/5, 8:00pm)

  • Continuing the Vassar tradition, "A Service of Lessons and Carols," will conclude the series on Sunday, December 6. This candle light concert in the Chapel will feature the Vassar College Choir, Women's Chorus, Madrigal Singers, and Cappella Festiva Chamber and Treble Choir. Christine R. Howlett, Drew Minter, and Susan Bialek, conductors. (12/6, Chapel, 7:00pm)

Music has occupied a place of prominence at Vassar College since its founding, in its curriculum, faculty, student activities, and facilities. Formed in 1865, the Department of Music offers an extensive program encompassing opportunities for majors and non-majors to explore performance, composition, history, and theory in depth. Students are encouraged to gain a broad perspective in several or all of these areas. With a student-to-faculty ratio of approximately eleven to one, and an average class size of fifteen, the department is able to support individual students as they work to realize their full musical potential.

For additional information and details on all Vassar College Department of Music concerts, please call (845) 437-7294 or visit the website http://music.vassar.edu. The Skinner Hall of Music at Vassar College is wheelchair-accessible. People with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Free parking is available at Skinner Hall, and the campus's adjoining south parking lot. Directions to the Vassar campus are available online.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Tuesday, August 11, 2009