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Bard Orchestra Concert on March 23 Features World Premiere Performance with Grammy® Award-Winning Mezzo-Soprano Kelley O'Connor

Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Bard Orchestra, conducted by Nathan Madsen, presents a concert on Sunday, March 23, at 3:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. The free concert features the GRAMMY® Award-winning mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor in the world premiere performance of Laments by the Sea, for soprano and chamber ensemble, by composer Jennifer Jolley. In addition, the program includes Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Five Variants of “Dives and Lazarus” for string orchestra and harp, and Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 2.

“Jolley’s work features three poems by English novelist Charles Kingsley, which explore ideas of loss and separation against the backdrop of a cold, bleak, unforgiving North Sea,” explains conductor Madsen.


The featured guest artist is mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, of whom the Los Angeles Times writes: “Her [O’Connor’s] dark, low mezzo-soprano and expressive stage presence are those of a riveting singer emerged, not emerging.” During the 2007–08 season the California native’s impressive calendar includes performances with Iván Fischer and National Symphony Orchestra, Jirí Belohlávek and Dallas Symphony, Norman Mackenzie and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Bernard Labadie and San Francisco Symphony, and Esa-Pekka Salonen and Los Angeles Philharmonic. She will offer performances of Peter Lieberson’s Neruda Songs with Bernard Haitink and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and make her New York City recital debut at Weill Hall in a Carnegie Hall presentation. O’Connor has received unanimous international critical acclaim for her performances as Federico García Lorca in Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar. She created the role for the world premiere at Tanglewood under the baton of Robert Spano and subsequently has given performances at Walt Disney Hall, Santa Fe Opera, Lincoln Center, the Barbican Centre, and the Ojai, Ravinia, and Colorado Music festivals. In the present season, she bows in performances of Ainadamar at Opera Boston, Adelaide Festival of Arts, Barbican Centre, and with Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She enjoys a particularly warm musical collaboration with Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra, with whom she has sung numerous performances. Additional highlights of past seasons have included collaborations with Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic, both Louis Langrée and Edward Gardner with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Michael Christie and the Phoenix Symphony. Recognized by Opera Now on its annual “Young Artists: Who’s Hot?” list of 2006, O’Connor received a bachelor of music degree from University of Southern California and a master’s degree from UCLA while studying with Nina Hinson.


Composer Jennifer Jolley is a 2003 graduate of the University of Southern California’s (USC) Thornton School of Music with a B.M in music composition. She is currently pursuing an M.M. in music composition at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. Her composition teachers include Stephen Hartke, Frank Ticheli, and Joel Hoffman. While at

USC, Jolley placed first in the arts category at the Undergraduate Symposium for Creative and Scholarly for her chamber opera Fish, and in 2006 placed third in Music 06’s composition competition for her piano quartet Fantasy on WOODSTREET.

Nathan Madsen, recently appointed music director of the Bard Orchestra, just completed his third season as staff conductor at the Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra, and this season will begin work with the Empire State Youth Orchestra. Recent appearances as guest conductor include performances with the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, Bard College Conservatory of Music, Da Capo Chamber Players, and Bard Musical Theater Group. A strong and passionate advocate of new compositions, Madsen founded the USC Friends of Music, a chamber orchestra that juxtaposed newly composed music with more familiar works. Always looking for new ways to approach music and engage audiences, he formed an outreach organization at USC that sought to make classical music more familiar to nonmusic majors, dubbed SCound Bites. Madsen delivered his own alternative preconcert talks prior to performances of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and LA Opera, and drew enthusiastic support from the USC community. He regularly appears at the Conductors Institutes’ Composer-Conductor Week, and collaborated last season with the Scottish conceptual artist Martin Creed in a British commission for the dedication of the CCS Hessel Museum of Art. This season he assisted James Bagwell and Dawn Upshaw in the production of a new opera by English composer David Bruce. Madsen received a master’s degree from the Conductors Institute at The Bard College Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Harold Farberman. He holds a dual degree in music and East Asian languages and cultures from the USC. A recipient of a grant from the Freeman Foundation, he also attended the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

For further information, call the Music Program at 845-758-7250.

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This event was last updated on 04-04-2008