David Alpher is not only a pianist but also a composer whose works have been performed widely by some of the most celebrated chamber music ensembles in the United States. A founder and former co-artistic director of the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Alpher's compositions include a complete cycle of songs to texts by Jack Kerouac, the multi-media piece, LAS MENINAS and the chamber work ATLANTIC LEGEND, while he is currently at work on his first symphony as well as a commission to set poems by James Wright. Together with Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, he has appeared in concert and on the Angel/EMI recording of AMERICAN DREAMER, with Thomas Hampson, performing the music of Stephen Foster and the American folk repertoire.
One of the brightest stars on stages in the U.S. and abroad, charismatic soprano Harolyn Blackwell has been hailed by audiences and critics alike as a "model of agility, vibrancy, charm, and silvery tone." Recognized for her expressive and exuberant performances, as well as for her radiant voice, she is making a wide and varied career on the opera, concert, and recital stages of the world.
Since her sensational substitution two seasons ago in LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT at the Metropolitan Opera, the Washington, D.C.-born singer who trained at Catholic University and commenced her career on the Broadway stage, has performed with many of the major international opera companies, concentrating upon bel canto, Verdi, Mozart, and Strauss roles. An engaging, exciting, and communicative recitalist, Blackwell can be heard on her solo album, STRANGE HURT (RCA/Victor) and on BLACKWELL SINGS BERNSTEIN (BMG).
American pianist John Browning has used his extraordinary interpretive skills, dazzling technique, and deep commitment to place himself in the forefront of renowned musicians. Browning's career was launched in the mid-1950's; in three consecutive years he won the Steinway Centennial Award, Levenritt Competition, and second prize in the Brussels Queen Elizabeth International Concours before he made his professional debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1956. By 1960 he was a familiar face on the international concert circuit, where he has made more than twenty European tours and countless appearances through the United States.
Recognized particularly for his performances of the music of Samuel Barber, Browning won a Grammy for his second recording of the composer's Pulitzer prize-winning CONCERTO FOR PIANO AND ORCHESTRA which was written for him, and he recently collaborated with Cheryl Studer and Thomas Hampson on the award-winning complete edition of Barber's songs (which included the world-premiere recordings of several unpublished works). His numerous other discs include the complete Chopin Etudes, all five Prokofiev piano concerti, the Tchaikovsky PIANO CONCERTO NO. 1, and Richard Cumming's TWENTY-FOUR PRELUDES which were written and dedicated to him.
The pianist who celebrated his sixtieth birthday with a special three- concert celebration at Lincoln Center in 1993-1994 has also partnered with Thomas Hampson in recital in New York and Salzburg.
Jerry Hadley is regarded as the leading American tenor of his generation and remains today one of the most sought after singers of our time. He has received international acclaim for his interpretations of the great Mozart tenor roles and for those of the French Romantic and Bel Canto eras, as well as for his frequent ventures into Broadway musicals, operetta, and American popular song.
His career has taken him to all the world's leading opera houses and festivals, among them the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Royal Opera at Covent Garden, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Vienna State Opera, Salzburg, Glynebourne, and Ravinia festivals. No stranger to the concert stage or the recital platform, he is a soloist of choice for today's leading conductors, as well as an accomplished solo recitalist, who has also collaborated with Thomas Hampson on duo programs and on Hadley & Hampson, an album of opera arias (Teldec). A three-time Grammy winner and frequent nominee, his dozens of recordings reflect his wide and varied repertoire.
Marilyn Horne, one of the world's most acclaimed singers, is equally at home on the operatic stage as on the concert stage. She has appeared in every major opera house with debuts in San Francisco in 1960, Covent Garden in 1965, La Scala 1969, and at the Metropolitan Opera in 1970. At the Met she has played Adalgisa to Sutherland's Norma in a performance which ushered in a long list of opera and concert collaborations between the two artists. Her rare gift of a flexible yet dramatic mezzo-soprano started a true renaissance of Rossini and Handel operas. She has been soloist with virtually every leading orchestra, singing with the world's most prestigious conductors, and has sung over 1300 recitals worldwide.
Her versatility and wide-ranging interests have expanded her repertory both into contemporary music and into the popular field. She has garnered innumerable honors, among them the NATIONAL MEDAL OF THE ARTS, the HANDEL MEDALLION, the FIDELIO GOLD MEDAL, the COVENT GARDEN SILVER MEDAL, the title of COMMENDATORE OF THE ITALIAN REPUBLIC, the 1996 recipient of the KENNEDY CENTER HONORS, as well as several Grammies and PRIX DU DISQUE awards.
Molly Mason grew up hearing fiddle and country songs from her family in Washington State. While in her teens, she earned a reputation as an accomplished and versatile accompanist on the guitar, later adding piano, bass, and singing to the list.
She began her musical career in the mid 1970's, performing and recording with many folk and traditional artists, and acquired her first radio experience during a year with Garrison Keillor's A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION. Mason moved to New York in 1980 to join Fiddle Fever, headed by Jay Ungar. Ungar and Mason have composed and recorded several sound tracks including BROTHER'S KEEPER, a documentary for American Playhouse, and have just completed an album for Angel/EMI entitled THE LOVERS WALZ.
Pianist Craig Rutenberg studied with Pierre Bernac, Geoffrey Parsons, and John Wustman before working at the San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera,Glynebourne Festival, Festival d'Aix-en-provence, and l'Opéra- Comique de Paris. He has been accompanist for Frederica von Stade, Erie Mills, Sumi Jo, Patricia Schuman, Olaf Bär, Stanford Olsen, Roberta Peters, and Régine Crespin and has often worked with Thomas Hampson. Rutenberg can be heard on the fortepiano on the Deutsche Grammophon recording of LE NOZZE DI FIGARO with James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, on a recital with Stanford Olsen for the Musical Heritage Society, and on a soon-to-be-released album of songs to texts by Walt Whitman with Thomas Hampson (Angel/EMI). He has served as head of the music staff of the Metropolitan Opera and on the faculty of Yale University, and he currently holds an appointment as Music Supervisor of the Opera institute at Boston University, while remaining active in giving master classes at the Chatauqua Institute, the Santa Fe Opera, the Wolf Trap Opera, and L'Ecole Lyrique de la Bastille, Paris.
Jay Ungar was first introduced to Bluegrass and Old-Time string band music in his early teens. He soon traveled through North Carolina and Tennessee and eventually Scotland and Ireland in search of traditional fiddling masters. Over the years Ungar has performed in concert halls, festivals, and clubs across the country and has written, recorded and performed everything from rock and roll to Celtic airs. In 1991 he was nominated for an Emmy for his composition ASHOKAN FAREWELL, the musical centerpiece of the Grammy Award-winning sound track for Ken Burns' PBS series, THE CIVIL WAR. Ungar concertizes regularly with his wife, Molly Mason, and together they run Fiddle and Dance at Ashokan, a music and dance camp for adults and families in New York's Catskill Mountains. Visit the Jay Ungar and Molly Mason Home Page.
Since making her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1984, while a member of the Met's Young Artist Development Program, soprano Dawn Upshaw has fashioned a career of unusual breadth. She is renowned in major opera houses world-wide as an interpreter of the great Mozart roles, many of which she has also recorded with the likes of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, James Levine, and Roger Norrington. Equal acclaim has come for performances in operas from more remote corners of the repertoire, for example, Messiaen's ST. FRANCIS D' ASSISI, which she essayed in a widely celebrated production by Peter Sellars.
FREDERICA VON STADE
As she enters the third decade of an extraordinary career, Frederica von Stade continues to reign as one of the world's most beloved musical figures. With seemingly effortless versatility, she traverses an ever- broadening spectrum of musical styles and dramatic characterizations. A noted Bel Canto specialist as well as an unmatched stylist in the French repertoire, she has also won acclaim on the the world's great stages for her Mozart and Strauss roles and her work in contemporary opera
Much in demand as a concert soloist with the leading international orchestras and conductors, she has also made over three dozen recordings for every major label of repertoire ranging from complete operas, aria albums, symphonic works, solo recital programs, and popular crossover albums, which have garnered her an array of awards. A veteran of television, she has performed in opera, concert, and special broadcasts, collaborating frequently with PBS, just as she has often performed in duo recital programs with Thomas Hampson.
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