POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—This fall the Vassar College Department of Music will present 21 concerts that are open to the public without charge from August 29 through December 5, 2010. Performers will include world-renowned members of the music faculty, Vassar College student ensembles and orchestra, as well as guest artists that jazz great Rufus Reid’s quintet and the ensemble Galileo’s Daughters in a multimedia presentation that features narration by award-winning author Dava Sobel. All concerts will be held in the Skinner Hall of Music unless otherwise noted.
The season will open with the traditional “Welcome Concert” for the entering class on Sunday, August 29 at 8:00pm. This year performers will include Gail Archer, organ; Bridget Kibbey, harp; Elisabeth Romano, bassoon; Rachel Rosales, soprano; and Richard Wilson and Todd Crow, piano. The one-hour program will include works by Britten, Bach, Telemann, Duparc, and Copland.
On Friday, September 10, composer, guitarist, and faculty member Terry Champlin will be joined by guest artists, including Helen Avakian, voice and guitar; Vilian Ivantchev, guitar; and Sabina Torosjan, violin. They will perform the music of Mendelssohn, Schumann, Hovhannes, and the premiere of “Eventual Spring” by Champlin.
Female composers will be highlighted during the performance by the guest ensemble SATORI - a mixed ensemble of winds, strings, and piano - on Sunday, September 12, at 3:00pm. The program will include music by Clara Schumann, Madeleine Dring, Rebecca Clarke, Thea Musgrave, and Hilary Tann.
- Celebrating its 15th season, SATORI performs both traditional and contemporary chamber music. The enemble - Rebecca Brown, violin, Deborah Davis, cello, Adriana Linares, viola, Martha Schrempel, piano, Nora Suggs, flute, and faculty member, Cheryl Bishkoff, oboe - was formed in 1996 as a conductorless, musician-managed chamber ensemble. The musicians selected the name SATORI (a Zen term suggesting the coming together of separate parts to form a whole) as a perfect metaphor for chamber music.
Cabaret entertainment, sung in English and Italian and performed by faculty member Robert Osborne, bass-baritone, with guest artist Richard Gordon, piano, will be the focus of the concert on Sunday, September 19, at 3:00pm. “Impollinazione: the Cross Pollination of Italian and American Popular Song,” will investigate the two-way influence that popular song from America had on Italian composers and vice versa.
- Osborne has long been an admired favorite on the American orchestral-concert scene while also establishing himself as a respected operatic artist. His recitals of Lieder and art songs and his specialty cabarets have been highly acclaimed worldwide. During his eight city tour of the United States as King George III in Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King the New York Times headlined him as “A Singer Who Goes All the Way” and hailed his “thrilling performance both vocally and dramatically.” With an operatic repertoire of more than 40 roles Mr. Osborne has sung with opera companies in Berlin, Paris, Houston, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, and New York. His extensive concert repertoire has taken him to Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Théâtre de l’Odéon in Paris, Victoria Hall in Singapore, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Gran Teatro in Havana, and Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow. Osborne has also appeared with the Tanglewood, Schleswig-Holstein, Nakamichi Baroque, USArts/Berlin, Redwoods, Cape May, Aspen, and Marlboro Festivals. He is the artistic director of the Doissat Festival de Musique in southwest France.
- Pianist Richard Gordon's diverse musical career has ranged from conducting and coaching opera in the Alaskan tundra to performing solo concerts in the jungles of Africa. He has been associated with numerous opera companies, including Washington (D.C.) Opera, New Orleans Opera, Pusan (Korea) Grand Opera, St. Louis Opera, Ecuador National Opera and Chautauqua Opera. Equally at home in musical theater, he has conducted national tours and been associated with Goodspeed Opera, Playwrights Horizons, and Phillip Glass Ensemble, and with popular singers such as Audra McDonald and Linda Ronstadt. Gordon has served on the faculties of the University of Liberia (Africa), Southern Methodist University, Westminster Choir College, the American Musical & Dramatic Academy, and other institutions, and offers masterclasses for performers.
The program on Friday, September 24, at 8:00pm, will represent the traditions of brass chamber music from the United States and England with guest artists the New York Chamber Brass. Featuring Graham Ashton and Rich Clymer, trumpets; faculty member, Peter Reit, horn; Tim Albright, trombone; and Kyle Turner, tuba, the ensemble will perform the music of Carlo Gesualdo, Luciano Berio, Jan Bach, and Peter Maxwell Davies.
- New York Chamber Brass was founded as a faculty ensemble-in-residence at the Conservatory of Music Purchase College, State University of New York. New York Chamber Brass record for the Signum Classics label in London.
Five concerts will be presented in October, including three by guest artists, a duo piano concert by faculty artists Blanca Uribe and Richard Wilson, and a performance by the Vassar College Orchestra:
One of today’s premiere bassists on the international jazz scene, bassist Rufus Reid and his quintet - Sumi Tonooka, piano, Tim Horner, drums, Freddie Hendricks, trumpet/flugelhorn, and Rich Perry, saxophone - will be featured in the guest concert on Saturday, October 2, at 8:00pm.
- Rufus Reid was awarded the 2005 Mellon Jazz Living Legacy Award by the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, who saluted him as “an American treasure with the vision to make a difference and turn possibilities into results.” His extensive jazz background and discography reads literally like the “Who's Who in Jazz,” as he has traveled, performed and recorded with many of the greats, including Dexter Gordon, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, and Dizzy Gillespie. In addition to his quintet, Reid continues to perform and record in collaboration today with other wonderful musicians, such as Lee Konitz, Jim McNeely, Nancy Wilson, Roni Ben-Hur, Bob Mintzer, George Cables, Billy Hart, Bill Mays, Ed Soph and Marvin Stamm, Bobby Hutcherson, and Michele Rosewoman. In 2007, Motema Music released a CD/DVD set of the quintet’s performance at the Kennedy Center, which was also featured on NPR’s JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater.
Longtime Vassar faculty members, pianists Blanca Uribe and Richard Wilson, will perform Mozart's Sonata in D for Two Pianos, K. 448; Schumann's Andante and Variations, Op. 46; and Debussy's La Mer (arr. Caplet) on Sunday, October 3, at 3:00pm.
- Blanca Uribe, now professor emerita, held the George Sherman Dickinson Professorship of Music at Vassar College for 36 years. She is currently professor of piano at Eafit University in Medellin, Colombia. Uribe’s honors include the General Francisco de Paula Santander Medal, awarded for outstanding contribution to Colombian Culture; the Order of Saint Charles, which she received in 1986 from the President of Colombia; and an Honorary Doctorate from the Valle University in Colombia; as well as the first Dutchess County Artist Award. She is particularly noted for her interpretations of the 32 sonatas of Beethoven, which she has performed in cycle on several occasions, and the complete Iberia Suite of Isaac Albeniz.
- A member of the Vassar faculty since 1966, Richard Wilson holds an endowed professorship, the Mary Conover Mellon Professor of Music. A pianist and composer, Wilson has composed over 90 works, ranging in medium from solo tuba to full orchestra, which have been played in major halls around the world. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including 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 Fellowship. He is composer-in-residence with the American Symphony Orchestra, where he gives pre-concert lectures.
The multimedia program “Perpetual Motion: Revolutions in 17th-Century Science & Music” will be presented on Friday, October 8, at 8:00pm. Award-winning author Dava Sobel (Longitude, Galileo’s Daughter) will eloquently narrate the story of coinciding revolutions in science and music in the 17th century, as breathtaking images of earth and the heavens will compliment the performance by the baroque ensemble Galileo's Daughters, featuring the Sarah Pillow, soprano, and Mary Anne Ballard, viola da gamba, joined by guest artist Ronn McFarlane, lute and theorbo. Together they will present a visceral link to the past and bring to light the exquisite beauty of our world.
- Sarah Pillow has built a unique career by drawing on her equal expertise in jazz and classical repertoire. Her jazz festival appearances include the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, where she received an award for excellence in performance by Downbeat Magazine. Her work as a classical musician casts a wide net: from Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 (Andrew Parrott and the New York Collegium) to Sweeney Todd (Andrew Litton and the New York Philharmonic) at Avery Fisher Hall. She performs regularly as a solo recitalist in several venues in Europe and the United States, performing repertoire from the 17th century to modern music.
- Mary Anne Ballard, viola da gamba, also tours and records with the Baltimore Consort, and is a member of the Oberlin Consort of Viols and of Brio, a medieval/Renaissance quartet based in Charleston, SC, as well as of Fleur de Lys, a baroque ensemble in Indiana. She also performs in recital and has appeared with groups such as the Philadelphia Classical Symphony, the Bethlehem Bach Festival, and the Smithsonian Chamber Players. Formerly active teaching viol and directing early music at the Peabody Conservatory and Princeton University, Ballard founded the University of Pennsylvania Collegium Musicum, which for 14 years explored the music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, including the Play of Daniel and several other liturgical dramas, which she edited.
- Narrator Dava Sobel, a former New York Times science reporter, is the author of the bestselling work Longitude, the award-winning Galileo's Daughter (1999 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for science and technology), and The Planets. As a science journalist she has written for many magazines, including Audubon, Discover, Life, and The New Yorker, served as a contributing editor to Harvard Magazine and Omni, and co-authored five books, including Is Anyone Out There? with astronomer Frank Drake. In 2001, Sobel received the Individual Public Service Award from the National Science Board “for fostering awareness of science and technology among broad segments of the general public.” Also in 2001, the Boston Museum of Science gave her its prestigious Bradford Washburn Award for her “outstanding contribution toward public understanding of science, appreciation of its fascination, and the vital role it plays in all our lives.” She is currently working on a stage play about 16th-century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.
- One of the most outstanding lutenists performing today, Ronn McFarlane is largely responsible for bringing the transcendent charm and timeless quality of the lute into the musical mainstream and making it accessible to a larger audience. In 1979, McFarlane performed his first solo recitals on the lute and became a member of the Baltimore Consort. Since that time, he has toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Europe with the Baltimore Consort and as a soloist. He has numerous recordings on the Dorian label including six solo recordings, four lute song recordings with Julianne Baird, soprano and Frederick Urrey, tenor, ten CDs with the Baltimore Consort and three ballad recordings with Custer LaRue and members of the Baltimore Consort.
The Vassar College Orchestra, led by Eduardo Navega, conductor, will perform in concert on Saturday, October 9, at 8:00pm. The featured soloist with the orchestra will be Janice Hwang '11, cello. (There will be a live webcast of the concert.)
- A full symphony orchestra with about 60 students, the orchestra performs master works of the symphonic repertoire. A native of Brazil, conductor Eduardo Navega was awarded the prize of “Up and Coming Conductor of the Year” by the APCA, a prestigious critics association in the State of Sao Paulo. In addition to serving on the music faculty at Vassar, Navega teaches each summer at The Conductors Institute at Bard College.
Based at the Indonesian Consulate in New York City, Gamelan Dharma Swara under the direction of master Balinese artists, I Nyoman Saptanyana, music director, and Ida Ayu Ari Candrawati, dance director, will perform traditional works and contemporary compositions for Balinese gamelan ensemble on Saturday, October 30, at 8:00pm. A World Music Fund Event.
- Numbering about 20 members from a variety of academic, professional, and artistic backgrounds, Gamelan Dharma Swara just returned from a tour of Bali, where it performed in several villages and as the first non-Balinese group to compete against professional Balinese ensembles in the annual "battle-of-the-bands" concerts at the Bali Arts Festival. Participants study and perform traditional and new works for Balinese music and dance. Through performance and education, they bring Balinese gamelan to the widest audience and participant base possible, and “endeavor to perform with spirit, dedication, and gratitude.” Music director I Nyoman Saptanyana has performed in international tours in Asia and Europe. He is currently a local staff member at the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in New York City. Dance Director Ida Ayu Ari Candrawati has performed in international tours in Asia and Europe.
One of the first American “original instrument” ensembles founded in 1973, The Aulos Ensemble, will present the program “Music at Versailles: a Royal Entertainment,” featuring selectiongs by Rameau, Couperin, and Balbastre on Friday, November 5, at 8:00pm.
- The Aulos Ensembles accomplishments over the past four decades have given it pre-eminence in the early music movement. The ensemble members - Christopher Krueger, flute; Marc Schachman, oboe; faculty member Linda Quan, violin; Myron Lutzke, cello; and Arthur Haas, harpsichord - are among the world’s leading performers on baroque instruments today. “The Aulos players were their usual expert selves. In all, it was an utter delight,” noted a review in the New York Times of the ensemble’s Acis and Galatea. “If the performers had changed their minds and offered a second run-through after all, many of the loudly appreciative audience members would surely have stayed to hear it again."
- The Vassar College and Community Wind Ensemble was founded in 2001 and is a 50-member ensemble of student and community musicians. The ensembles repertoire features works of the wind and band repertoire, including original band pieces by John Barnes Chance, Eric Whitacre, and Robert Russell Bennett, as well as the Festive Overture by Dmitri Shostakovich and a suite from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana in arrangements for wind ensemble. Osborn, who is the founder and director of the Vassar College Jazz Ensemble, enjoys a busy performing and teaching career, performing throughout the northeast with several ensembles including the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Gene Krupa Orchestra, Sammy Kaye Orchestra and many others.
The first of three senior recitals this fall on Friday, November 12, at 5:00pm, will feature Laurel Walker ’11, mezzo-soprano, with Gretchen Eng ’12, soprano, performing music of Schubert, Wolf, Strauss, Britten, Copland, and featuring Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben. This program will be held in Thekla Hall (Room 400) of the Skinner Hall of Music.
On Saturday, November 13, at 8:00pm, the Vassar College Women’s Chorus, with Christine R. Howlett, conductor, will perform Mendelssohn’s Drei Motetten, Op. 39, Eleanor Daley’s Seasons of Love, as well as other works by Schubert, Schumann, Stephen Hatfield and Abbie Betinis. (There will be a live webcast of the concert.)
- The Vassar Women's Chorus is an auditioned ensemble, which was formed in the fall of 1997. Repertoire includes a cappella and accompanied works from the renaissance to the 20th century. Canadian conductor and soprano, Christine R. Howlett is the Director of Choral Activities at the college. In addition to the Vassar College Women's Chorus, she directs the Vassar College Choir and teaches music theory and voice. Her choruses have sung at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, and have toured in Italy, Turkey, Germany, Spain and in the United States. Recently, the Vassar College Women's Chorus performed at both the National Collegiate Choral Association at Yale University in November, 2009 and at the American Choral Directors Association Eastern Conference in Philadelphia in February 2010.
Drew Minter will conduct the Vassar College Madrigal Singers in the program "For All the Saints..." that features sacred music by William Byrd, including the Mass for Five Voices and the Propers Motets for All Saints Day on Sunday, November 14, at 3:00pm. (There will be a live webcast of the concert.)
- A select ensemble of 12 to 20 voices, the Vassar College Madrigal Singers specializes in works for chamber choir and more difficult works from the 20th century. Regarded for over two decades as one of the world’s finest countertenors, Drew Minter has sung with many of the world's leading baroque orchestras, including Les Arts Florissants, the Handel and Haydn Society, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Freiburger Barockorchester, and as a guest at festivals such as Tanglewood, Ravinia, Regensburg, BAM's Next Wave, Edinburgh, Spoleto, and Boston Early Music. He also directs the Vassar Opera Workshop.
The second senior recital on Saturday, November 20, at 4:00pm will feature Grant Miller ’11, baritone, who will perform music of Brahms, Tosti, Leoncavallo, Bracchi, Stephen Sondheim, and Jay Gorney.
The Vassar College Choir, Christine R. Howlett, conductor, will perform music of Mendelssohn and J.S. Bach, featuring Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150 with string orchestra, and music for Advent on Saturday, November 20, at 8:00pm. (There will be a live webcast of the concert.)
- The Vassar College Choir is an auditioned mixed choral ensemble of approximately 50 singers. The repertoire has included a cappella and accompanied works from the renaissance to the 20th century, as well as major works for orchestra including Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass and Mozart's Requiem.
The second Vassar College Orchestra concert of the fall season on Sunday, November 21, at 3:00pm, with Eduardo Navega conductor, will feature a performance by faculty member, Anna Polonsky, piano. (There will be a live webcast of the concert.)
- Pianist Anna Polonsky is widely in demand as a soloist and chamber musician. She has appeared with the Moscow Virtuosi, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Memphis Symphony, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, and many others. She is regularly invited to perform chamber music at festivals such as Marlboro, Chamber Music Northwest, Seattle, Music@Menlo, Cartagena, Bard, and Caramoor, as well as at Bargemusic in New York City. Polonsky has given concerts in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Alice Tully Hall, and Carnegie Hall's Stern, Weill, and Zankel Halls, and has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia.
The fall 2010 concert series will conclude with three concerts in December:
On Friday, December 3, at 8:00pm, the Vassar College Jazz Ensemble, with James Osborn, director, will showcase a colorful variety of sub-genres of jazz music. (There will be a live webcast of the concert.)
- The Vassar College Jazz Ensemble is a 20-piece group of student musicians playing saxophones, trumpets, trombones, piano, double bass, guitar, and drums; vocalists are often featured as well. The ensemble performs literature ranging from the Big Band Era to jazz-rock fusion.
Concluding the fall concert series on Sunday, December 5, at 7:00pm will be the annual presentation of A Service of Lessons and Carols, with Christine R. Howlett, conductor, held in the Vassar College Chapel. The program, which includes readings, choral anthems, and congregational carols and culminates in a candle lighting ceremony, will feature performances by the Vassar College Choir, Women’s Chorus, and Cappella Festiva Chamber Choir.
About the Department of Music
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 15, 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 at www.vassar.edu/directions.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.