POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—The Vassar College Department of Music spring concert series will present a special program on Sunday, April 3, at 3:00pm. The Vassar College Choir, directed by Christine R. Howlett, will perform the Brahms' Requiem in a four-hand version with Todd Crow and Richard Wilson, piano; Courtenay Budd, soprano; and Charles Wesley Evans, baritone.
Howlett, assistant professor and director of choral activities, noted that “ I am overjoyed to have Mr. Wilson and Mr. Crow performing with the Vassar College Choir - in my 8 years at Vassar, this will be a first! Although I often use student soloists, I am thrilled to have Ms. Budd and Mr. Evans joining us in this challenging work.”
“We are I am thrilled to have the opportunity to present this grand work, Requiem by Johannes Brahms, sung in German, in an intimate setting for chorus, soprano and baritone soloists, and piano four-hands,” noted Howlett. “Brahms created this arrangement himself, and the first performance of this version (with the exception of the fifth movement which was, at this time, unwritten) was on July 18, 1871 in London at the home of Sir Henry Thompson and his wife, Lady Kate Loder Thompson. It was sung in English.”
Later in April, the Vassar College Choir will join with Bard Chamber Chorus, Cappella Festiva Chamber Choir, and members of the American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, at Bard College’s Fisher Center in another performance of the Requiem. Howlett concluded, “This will be a great opportunity for the Vassar College Choir to experience this magnificent work in two very different yet equally inspiring performances.”
About the ArtistsCourtenay Budd, soprano, has been praised as "a voice for connoisseurs." She has appeared with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the National Symphony, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and repeatedly at Carnegie Hall, Spoleto USA, and the Grand Teton and Bard Music Festivals. Budd won First Prize in the 2001 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, leading to acclaimed recital debuts at Washington, DC’s Kennedy Center, Boston’s Gardner Museum, and New York’s 92nd Street Y, prompting Darrell Rosenbluth of New York Concert Review to applaud: "Ms. Budd effortlessly took New York; the East Coast is secured.” Critic Wes Blomster calls Courtenay Budd “one of the fastest-rising stars on the American opera stage.” A Metropolitan Opera National Finalist, her operatic performances include Ilia in Idomeneo at Alice Tully Hall, Baby Doe, Zerbinetta, Zerlina, Pamina, Amy in Little Women, Laurie in the Tender Land, and Marie in The Daughter of the Regiment, with such companies as Central City Opera, Opera Omaha, Atlanta Opera, and the Colorado and Charleston Symphonies.
Todd Crow, piano, has been widely acclaimed for performances in North and South America and Europe. He made his Carnegie Hall debut as soloist with the American Symphony in 1992 and his London orchestral debut at the Barbican Centre with the London Philharmonic in 1986. He has performed recently with the Jerusalem Symphony in Israel, and with Milano Classica and I Solisti Aquilani in Italy. He has also been heard in recital or in chamber music at Washington’s National Gallery of Art, London’s Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. He is heard on BBC Radio in both live and recorded performances and on many American radio stations. Since 1996, he has been music director and pianist of the Mount Desert Festival of Chamber Music in Northeast Harbor, Maine. His CDs include sonatas of Haydn and Schubert, works by Taneyev and Dohnányi, Liszt’s piano solo transcription of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Ernst Toch’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the NDR-Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, and most recently, Todd Crow: The BBC Recordings, containing works by Moscheles, Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Liszt from broadcasts on BBC Radio 3. Born in Santa Barbara, California, he is an honors graduate of the University of California and the Juilliard School. In 1986 he received the University of California’s Distinguished Alumni Award. A member of the Vassar faculty since 1969, he is the George Sherman Dickinson Professor of Music.
Charles Wesley Evans, baritone, is establishing a fine career as an early music artist, recitalist and professional chorus member for the Carmel Bach Festival Chorale, Trinity Choir of Trinity Church Wall Street, and Conspirare in Austin, Texas. Most recently he performed a recital of works by composer William Horne and the role of Jesus in Bach’s St. John Passion with conductor Andrew Parrot and Trinity Choir, Charles is looking forward to performances with Conspirare, the Trinity Choir and recital collaborations with recital partner Damien Sneed in the coming months. He holds a BA in Music from Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, GA.
Born in Cleveland, Richard Wilson studied piano with Leonard Shure and cello with Ernst Silberstein. Much of his early musical study, including composition, took place at the Cleveland Music School Settlement. Upon completing his bachelor's at Harvard, he received the Frank Huntington Beebe Award which afforded him the opportunity to study piano in Munich with Friedrich Wuhrer and composition in Rome with Robert Moevs, his composition professor at Harvard. Wilson has composed over 70 works, ranging in medium from solo tuba to full orchestra, which have been played in major halls around the world. Among those who have performed his music are Dawn Upshaw, Amy Burton, Jan Opalach, Ursula Oppens, Fred Sherry, Walter Trampler, the Muir Quartet, the Delme Quartet, the Composers Quartet, the San Francisco Symphony under Herbert Blomstedt, the London Philharmonic, the Pro-Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston and the American Symphony all under Leon Botstein, and the Orquesta Sinfonica de Colombia under Luis Biava. Wilson has received numerous awards, including the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy--Institute 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 under which he composed his first opera--Athelred the Unready that was featured this year with performances at Vassar’s Modfest and Symphony Space in New York City. He is composer-in-residence with the American Symphony, where he gives pre-concert lectures. A member of the Vassar faculty since 1966, Wilson currently chairs the music department and holds an endowed professorship, the Mary Conover Mellon Professor of Music.
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 websitehttp://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 atwww.vassar.edu/directions.