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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Bach Arias and more presented at URI, March 4-6

Media Contact: Music Department, 401-874-2431

KINGSTON, R.I. – February 17, 2011 – The University of Rhode Island’s Fine Arts Center Concert Hall will be a busy place on March 4, 5 and 6, with five music events happening in that three-day period. Highlights include the next University Artist Series concert, featuring arias from the sacred cantatas of J.S. Bach with special guest performers including cellist Theodore Mook; a concert by the URI orchestra featuring the winners of the annual concerto solo competition, and a concert by the URI Symphonic Wind Ensemble featuring a 25-minute "sound-surround" work by composer Jesse Ayers, with Ayers in attendance.

The scheduled events are:
  • Friday March 4, 8 p.m., URI Concert Band, with the Mt. Hope High School Band from Bristol, RI
  • Saturday, March 5, 1-5 p.m., R.I. Percussive Arts Society Festival, and
    8 p.m., URI Symphony Orchestra
  • Sunday March 6, 3 p.m., University Artist Series: Bach Arias Concert, and 7 p.m., URI Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

    Admission to each of the concerts is $10 general public, $5 students, and admission to the Percussive Arts Festival is free.

    Directed by Brian Cardany, on Friday evening the URI Concert Band will perform Scenes from The Louvre by Norman Dello Joio, Incantation and Dance by John Barnes Chance, Elegy by John Barnes Chance, and Suite Provencale by Jan Van der Roost. They will share the concert with the Mt. Hope High School Band from Bristol, RI, whose program was TBA.

    On Saturday afternoon, the R.I. Percussive Arts Society will hold their annual festival at URI. High school percussion ensembles from the region participate in a juried competition with awards given to the best ensembles. The event is open to the public with free admission.

    Saturday evening, the URI Symphony Orchestra will perform Festival Prelude by Alfred Reed and the 2nd Symphony of Vittorio Giannini. Ann Danis directs. The concert will also present the winners of the Annual Concerto Solo Competition: Erin Dawson, euphonium, a sophomore Music Education major from Irvington, NY, and Christina Stavrakas, viola, who is a sophomore from Medfield, MA. Dawson will play the last movement of the Potiyenko Concerto, and Stavrakas will perform the Fantasie by Hummel.

    The Bach Arias Concert on Sunday at 3 pm will feature URI faculty vocal artists Margaret Frazier, soprano, and Rene de la Garza, baritone, with guest vocalist Esperanza Tannehill, alto, who will be joined by faculty instrumentalists Susan Thomas, flute, and Jane Murray, oboe, oboe d'amore and English horn, with guest instrumentalists Fred Jodry, organ and Theodore Mook, cello. In addition to at least eight arias selected from Bach’s many cantatas, the concert will include two instrumental pieces, a gamba sonata in G major BWV 1027 featuring Theodore Mook, and a flute sonata in e minor BWV 1034, featuring Susan Thomas.

    Bach wrote over 300 cantatas, of which some 200 survive. Designed to be included in church services, they tend to be short, dramatic and lyrical “gems” of his craft, with each one including sections for chorus, duets, and solo arias accompanied by organ and cello continuo, and featuring "obbligato" instruments, usually violin, flute and members of the oboe family. Arias on the program for the University Artist Series concert include: from cantata BWV 93 "Ich will auf den Herren schaun" for Soprano with Oboe, and from cantata BWV 61 for Soprano with Continuo; from cantata BWV 94 "Die Welt is wie ein Rauch" for Baritone with Continuo, and two more, from cantata BWV 8 for Baritone with Flute and from cantata BWV 56 for Baritone with Oboe; from cantata BWV 94 "Betorte Welt" for Alto with Flute, and from cantata BWV 6 “Hochgelobter Gottessohn” for Alto with English horn; and from cantata BWV 9 "Herr, du siehst statt guter Werke" duet for Soprano and Alto with Flute and Oboe d'amore.

    The four URI faculty members in the concert are well known to audiences that attend concerts regularly, and more details about them can be found on the URI Music Department website. Rene de la Garza was recently named Artistic Director of Opera Providence. He will also be developing an Arts in Education program that will bring opera into the public schools and begin a collaboration between URI's Opera Theater and Opera Providence.

    Margaret Frazier, international performer and recording artist, has collaborated and toured with the Boston Camerata since 1990 and has recorded five CD's with that chamber vocal ensemble. A frequent recitalist, she is also the soprano soloist at the First Baptist Church in America in Providence.

    Susan Thomas is an award-winning soloist and an active orchestral and chamber musician in the New England area. She is Principal Flute with the Rhode Island Philharmonic and a founding member of the Block Island Ensemble, a prize-winning woodwind quintet. She has garnered prizes in a range of noted competitions, including the Concert Artists Guild, the Performers of Southern Connecticut and the American Wind Symphony Orchestra.

    Jane Murray plays principal oboe and English horn in several New England area orchestras including the Rhode Island Philharmonic. She has appeared as a soloist and performed in concerts with numerous orchestras and in many music festivals including the Newport, Aspen, Bach Aria, and Norfolk festivals. She also is oboist and founding director of the Northeast Chamber Ensemble, and coordinates the chamber music program and the Community Music Program at URI.

    Special guest cellist Theodore Mook performed regularly with the Orchestra of St. Lukes, Musica Sacra, on Broadway, on film scores, on recordings, and with countless other orchestras and ensembles during almost 30 years in New York City. Now based in RI, he has been (and remains) an active proponent of contemporary music, particularly microtonal music, and has performed at the Library of Congress, the American Academy in Rome, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and on concert series and festivals throughout the US and Europe. His 2010-11 season includes appearances in NYC, Bremen, Oldenburg, Porto, Brussels, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Perth and Brisbane.
    Frederick Jodry holds a Bachelor's Degree in Organ Performance and a Master's degree in the Performance of Early Music from New England Conservatory, where he studied organ with Yuko Hayashi. He was awarded the Chadwick Medal, given to a promising graduate for distinction in musical performance and academic excellence. He is the founder of the Schola Cantorum of Boston, a 14-voice ensemble dedicated to Renaissance sacred music. For the past 25 years, the group has performed throughout New England, acclaimed for their lively and engaging concerts. Jodry teaches Music History and Theory at Brown University, where he conducts the University Choirs, and also serves as Music Director at the First Unitarian Church of Providence.

    A native of Cuba, Esperanza Tannehill came to the U.S. with her family and grew up in RI. She studied music at Rhode Island College and continued her vocal training at the Boston University School of Music. She has performed opera, oratorio, lieder, spirituals, and musical theatre, and has sung with numerous vocal ensembles including the Providence Singers, the South County Chamber Singers, Ecclesia Consort of New England, and the Gregorian Chant Choir of the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul. In January 2010, she was the mezzo soloist for the RIAGO-sponsored performance of the Mack Wilberg Requiem. She is currently the alto soloist for the First Baptist Church in America, Providence, and also sings for Temple Sinai, Cranston.

    The Symphonic Wind Ensemble concert on Sunday evening will offer a program of Spiritual Music. The featured work on the program is ...And They Gathered On Mount Carmel by Jesse Ayers, a 25-minute, three movement piece with surround-sound and spatial effects typical of this award-winning composer’s work. Ayer’s music has been performed in Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Russia, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, and over 100 U.S. cities, and has twice been selected to represent the United States at the prestigious World Music Days Festival. The composer, who hails from Tennessee and holds multiple degrees in music, will be in attendance at the final rehearsal and at the concert. Other works on the program are: Mother Earth by David Maslanka, Liturgical Dances by David Holsinger, and Zion by Dan Welcher.

    The URI Concert Hall is handicap-accessible, and parking is available in the lot behind the Fine Arts Center, off Bills Road.

    For more information, please contact the URI Department of Music, 874-2431, or check the website: www.uri.edu/artsci/mus.