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FIRST CONCERTS OF THE ASCO BARD-VASSAR SERIES FEATURE GUEST ARTISTS SOPRANO KAREN HOLVIK AND PIANIST RICHARD WILSON September 7 and 8 concert program includes works by Barber, Mozart, and Haydn
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-The first concerts of the American Symphony Chamber Orchestra (ASCO) Bard-Vassar 2001-02 Series-on Friday, September 7, at Bard College, Olin Hall, and Saturday, September 8, at Vassar College, Skinner Hall-will feature guest artists soprano Karen Holvik and pianist Richard Wilson. The concerts, presented by The Bard Center, begin at 8:00 p.m., with a preconcert talks at 7:00 p.m. A three-concert series subscription is $40; single concert tickets are $15.
The program features a performance of Samuel Barber's masterpiece, Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24, with soprano Holvik. Barber, inspired by James Agee's prose poem, composed this work for soprano Eleanor Steber in 1947. Through the eyes of a small child, it depicts a backyard summer evening in Tennesse with the whole family assembled. Also included on the program are Haydn's Symphony No. 103 in E-flat Major ("Drum Roll"); and Mozart's Concerto No. 27 in B-flat Major, K. 595, with pianist Richard Wilson. Wilson is making his 10th concerto appearance with Maestro Leon Botstein (eight of which have been in concertos by Mozart).
Of Holvik's Alice Tully Hall debut, Bernard Holland noted in the New York Times that she is "a singer who will certainly make her way in the music world . . . Holvik's light, pleasant soprano has a liquid fluency." Holvik brings a wealth of experience in a wide range of musical styles to her performances. She has pursued an eclectic musical career, building a large repertoire of chamber music, oratorio, and operatic roles. Highlights of her work in regional opera include appearances with Houston Grand Opera's Spring Opera Festival, Skylight Opera, Opera Festival of New Jersey, Opera Illinois, Anchorage Opera, Texas Opera Theater, and Western Opera Theater. She has toured extensively in the United Sates, Canada, and Western Europe, singing both popular and classical repertoire. The Richard Tucker Gala Concert marked her Avery Fisher Hall debut (recorded by RCA Victor Red Seal and shown nationally on PBS); she made her Carnegie Hall debut singing in Handel's Messiah with the Masterwork Chorus and Orchestra, and her debut recital at Alice Tully Hall was sponsored by Joy in Singing. Holvik has been an opera fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and has since returned as a guest artist to sing works by Bach, Mozart, and Gershwin. A champion of contemporary American song and operatic repertoire, she has premiered works by Ricky Ian Gordon, Aaron Jay Kernis, John Musto, James Sellars, Stewart Wallace, and Richard Wilson. Holvik appears with baritone William Sharp and pianist Steven Blier on a New York Festival of Song recording, Zipperfly & Other Songs by Marc Blizstein. She lives in New York City and is a member of the voice faculty at Vassar College.
"A terrific pianist," Richard Dyer wrote in the Boston Globe about pianist and composer Richard Wilson. Composer of some 80 works in many genres, including opera, Wilson has earned numerous honors, including the Hinrichsen Award (from the American Academy/Institute of Arts and Letters), the Stoeger Prize (from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center), the Cleveland Arts Prize (from the Women's City Club of Cleveland), and a Guggenheim fellowship. Recent commissions have come from the Koussevitsky and Fromm Foundations. Wilson's orchestral works have been performed by the San Francisco Symphony, London Philharmonic, American Symphony, the Pro-Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, Orquesta Sinfonica de Columbia, Residentie Orkest of The Hague, and Hudson Valley Philharmonic. During the past year four recordings of Wilson's work have been released, including his complete choral music performed by the William Appling Singers; his Symphony No. 1 performed by James Sedares and the New Zealand Symphony (also including his Viola Sonata, Gnomics, and Tribulations); A Child's London (Ongaku); and Affirmations, Transfigured Goat, Intercalations, and Civilization and Its Discontent (Albany Records). This spring, Wilson celebrated his 60th birthday with the world premiere of a concert version of his opera, Æthelred the Unready, at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. Wilson holds the Mary Conover Mellon Chair in Music at Vassar College; he is also the composer-in-residence with the American Symphony Orchestra, for which he gives preconcert talks.
Leon Botstein is music director of the ASCO, coartistic director and conductor of the Bard Music Festival, music director of the American Symphony Orchestra, and president of Bard College. He is editor of The Musical Quarterly and has published several books, including The Compleat Brahms and Jefferson's Children: Education and the Promise of American Culture.
The concert series will continue on February 8 and 9, with a program that includes Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari's Suite-concertino in F Major, Op. 16, with bassoonist Charles McCracken; Joan Tower's Piano Concerto (Homage to Beethoven), with pianist Bari Mort; and Richard Strauss's Metamorphosen. The final concerts of the series, on April 26 and 27, features Richard Wagner's Siegfried Idyll; Harold Farberman's Concerto for Cathy, with oboist Robert Ingliss; and Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68, ("Pastorale").
Single concert tickets are $15; a series subscription is $40. For further information about the ASCO Bard-Vassar concerts, call The Bard Center at 845-758-7425.
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