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Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 8pm
Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 4pm
The Memorial Church at Harvard University, One Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138
Bach: Cantata No. 37, Wer da gläubet und getauft wird
Bach: Cantata No. 92, Ich hab in Gottes Herz und Sinn
Bach: Cantata No. 97, In allen meinen Taten
Mary Greer, conductor
Deborah Selig, soprano
Brenda Patterson, mezzo-soprano
William Ferguson, tenor
Sumner Thompson, bass
Handel and Haydn Society Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus
Tickets may be purchased through the Handel and Haydn Society Box Office by phone at 617 266 3605, online at handelandhaydn.org, or in person at the Handel and Haydn Society office, Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston (M–F 10am–6pm). Single tickets range from $15 to $35. Student rush available starting one hour before performance: $10 cash only with valid ID, best available seats subject to availability. Groups of 10 or more receive a 20% discount. Subscriptions for the 2011–2012 Season are also now available.
Hear three uplifting Bach Cantatas led by noted conductor and scholar Mary Greer. Originally written for performance during the church year, these works will be performed by members of the Handel and Haydn Society Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus in the glorious setting of The Memorial Church at Harvard University.
The Bach Experience, last presented by H&H in 2007, is designed to be more than a concert—it is a comprehensive musical and educational experience, welcoming audience members into Bach’s world, and is dedicated to enhancing appreciation of the sacred vocal works of Johann Sebastian Bach. While Bach's instrumental works are widely performed, his sacred vocal works, apart from the Mass in B Minor and the St. John and St. Matthew Passions, receive relatively few performances. The purpose of this program is to present three cantatas in a unique concert format to give concertgoers a deeper understanding of and appreciation for these miniature masterpieces. Dr. Greer, who developed the program, will give a short lecture and demonstration at the start of each performance, illuminating the musical, thematic, and contextual significance of each piece.
Each of the three cantatas expresses an affirmation of faith and reflects the importance of trusting in that faith. Cantata No. 37, Wer da gläubet und getauft wird, was composed for Ascension Day and first performed on May 18, 1724, just a year after Bach took up the position of Cantor of St. Thomas Church in Leipzig. Cantata No. 92, Ich hab in Gottes Herz und Sinn, a chorale cantata intended for Septuagessima Sunday, received its first performance on January 28, 1725 and was part of the second cycle of sacred cantatas Bach composed in Leipzig. Cantata 97, In allen meinen Taten, not assigned to any specific liturgical occasion, was first performed a decade later, in 1734. All three works are scored for four vocal soloists, four-part chorus, strings, two oboes, and continuo.
Harry Christophers enters his third season as Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society with the 2011–2012 Season. Appointed in 2008, he began his tenure with the 2009–2010 Season and has conducted Handel and Haydn each season since September 2006, when he led a sold-out performance in the Esterházy Palace at the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. Christophers and H&H have since embarked on an ambitious artistic journey that began with the 2010–2011 Season with a showcase of works premiered in the United States by the Handel and Haydn Society over the last 195 years, and the release of the first of a series of recordings on CORO leading to the 2015 Bicentennial.
Christophers is known internationally as founder and conductor of the UK-based choir and period instrument ensemble The Sixteen. He has directed The Sixteen throughout Europe, America, and the Far East, gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque, and 20th-century music. In 2000, he instituted the “Choral Pilgrimage,” a tour of British cathedrals from York to Canterbury. He has recorded close to 100 titles for which he has won numerous awards, including a Grand Prix du Disque for Handel Messiah, numerous Preise der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics Awards), the coveted Gramophone Award for Early Music, and the prestigious Classical Brit Award (2005) for his disc entitled Renaissance. In 2009 he received one of classical music’s highest accolades, the Classic FM Gramophone Awards Artist of the Year Award. The Sixteen won the Baroque Vocal Award for Handel Coronation Anthems, a CD that also received a 2010 Grammy Award nomination. Harry Christophers is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Granada Symphony Orchestra and a regular guest conductor with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the Orquestra de la Comunidad de Madrid.
In October 2008, Christophers was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Leicester. Most recently, he was elected an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and also of the Royal Welsh Academy for Music and Drama.
Teresa Neff received her Ph.D. in Musicology from Boston University. Her research interests center around Gottfried van Swieten, a late 18th-century Viennese patron and composer. Neff’s edition of Swieten’s symphonies will be published by Artaria later this year. She has presented papers at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the New England Chapter of the American Musicological Society and the Architecture/Music/Acoustics Conference. She presents concert preview lectures for Elderhostel and Boston Lyric Opera, and also teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Boston Conservatory.
Mary Greer launched The Bach Experience with the Handel and Haydn Society in 2007, and founded Cantatas in Context in collaboration with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York City in 2001. She led the Woods Hole Cantata Consort for eleven years and has been a conducting fellow at the Oregon Bach Festival, Aspen Music Festival, and Conductor’s Institute at Bard College. Her repertory includes over fifty sacred cantatas, oratorios, and masses by Bach. Ms. Greer has taught master classes at Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music and Wellesley College and is in demand as a vocal coach specializing in the interpretation of Bach’s arias and duets. A graduate of Yale (B.A. and M.A.) and Harvard (Ph.D.), she was the Christopher Hogwood Research Fellow at the Handel and Haydn Society in 2002–2003 and has recently presented papers at Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music and national meetings of the American Choral Directors Association, American Musicological Society, and American Bach Society, and at numerous international conferences.
Her publications include From the House of Aaron to the House of Johann Sebastian: Old Testament Roots for the Bach Family Tree (2008), “Embracing Faith: The Duet as Metaphor in Selected Sacred Cantatas by J. S. Bach” (2003), and a study of 19th-century performances of Bach’s music in New York City (2003). “Penitence, Prayer, and Praise: The Penitential Psalms and Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ (BWV 116)” is forthcoming. A former visiting professor at the Yale School of Music, she is currently President of the American Bach Society and a member of the Board of Curators of the Bach Archive in Leipzig.
Deborah Selig is quickly gaining recognition for her rich shimmering voice and fine execution of the lyric soprano repertoire on operatic and concert stages. Ms. Selig has performed with a number of U.S. opera companies including Pittsburgh Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Central City Opera, Kentucky Opera, Dayton Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Opera Roanoke, Mobile Opera, and Connecticut Lyric Opera. She has sung with the Albany Symphony, Asheville Symphony, Cincinnati Baroque, Cincinnati Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic, Greater Bridgeport Symphony, Kentucky Symphony, and Pittsburgh Symphony, and has appeared in song recitals around the country. Ms. Selig’s training included two seasons each as an apprentice artist with the Santa Fe Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and Chautauqua Opera as well as a fellowship with both the Tanglewood Music Center and the Steans Institute for Singers at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival.
She earned an Artist Diploma in Opera and a Masters in Music from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, having earned both a Bachelor of Music and English, summa cum laude, from the University of Michigan. Upcoming engagements include song recitals with pianist Martin Katz in Ann Arbor, MI (Kerrytown Concert House) and with pianist Cameron Stowe in both Washington, D.C. (Cosmos Club Music Series) and Laramie, Wyoming (University of Wyoming Cultural Programs Concert Series); Strauss’ Vier Letzte Lieder with the University of Wyoming orchestra; Haydn’s The Creation with Nashoba Valley Chorale; Poulenc’s Gloria and Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem with Cambridge Chorus; Pamina in Mozart’s The Magic Flute with Chautauqua Opera, and Musetta in Puccini’s La Boheme with Central City Opera.
Praised by the New York Times as “a voice you want to hear and, even more, an artist you want to follow,” Brenda Patterson has recently triumphed in a number of leading roles at the Staatsoper Hamburg that include Idamante in Idomeneo, Niklausse in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, and Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro. In the 2010–2011 season, her engagements include a return to the role of Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, as well as to the Metropolitan Opera for its production of Iphigénie en Tauride. Last season her engagements included Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and two cantatas with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s as part of its Cantatas in Context series, as well as a return to the Metropolitan Opera roster for the company’s productions of Lulu and Le nozze di Figaro.
Active within in the realm of concert and chamber music, Ms. Patterson’s recent solo program of Bach cantatas with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s was hailed by the New York Sun as “beautifully, richly, and soulfully” sung. She has sung other Bach programs with the Handel and Haydn Society as well as Berio’s Folk Songs at the Greenwich Music Festival, where she has also sung Dido in Dido and Aeneas. She recently premiered Michelle Dibucci’s Charlotte Saloman at the Goethe Institute and the first modern performances of Richter’s Missa Hyemalis along with the Mozart Requiem at St. Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue, in addition to recording Su Lian Tan and Jamaica Kincaid’s Jamaica’s Songs on the ARSIS label.
She holds degrees from The Juilliard School, where she was winner of the prestigious Alice Tully Vocal Arts Debut Recital Competition, and Barnard College.
A native of Richmond, Virginia, William Ferguson appeared with the Santa Fe Opera as Caliban in the North American premier of Thomas Adès’ The Tempest, and in 2005 bowed in Sydney with Opera Australia singing Truffaldino in a new production of The Love for Three Oranges directed by Francesca Zambello and conducted by Richard Hickox—a performance which has since been released on compact disc on the Chandos label. In New York, Ferguson has performed Beppe in I Pagliacci at The Metropolitan Opera as well as the title role in Candide and Nanki-Poo in The Mikado at New York City Opera. Additional credits include appearances at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Opera Festival of New Jersey, Opera Omaha, Virginia Opera, Gotham Chamber Opera, and Opera Company of Philadelphia. He holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music degree from The Juilliard School.
A passionate concert and recital performer, Mr. Ferguson has appeared with The American Symphony Orchestra, BBC Orchestra (London), Boston Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (England), Houston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Musica Sacra New York, National Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Opera Orchestra of New York, Oratorio Society of New York, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and Radio Filharmonisch Orkest (Netherlands), as well as the local symphony orchestras of Bellingham, New Haven, Omaha, Richmond, Santa Barbara, Wheeling, and Winston-Salem. Furthermore, he has performed for the 92nd Street Y, Bard Music Festival, Marlboro Music Festival, Young Concert Artists, The Marilyn Horne Foundation, New York Festival of Song, and Five Borough Music Festival, and appears as Brian on the recording and DVD of Not The Messiah, an oratorio based on Monty Python’s Life of Brian recorded live at the Royal Albert Hall.
Hailed as “the real thing” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) and praised for his “elegant style” (Boston Globe), baritone Sumner Thompson continues to be lauded by audiences and music cognoscenti alike. His impeccable technique, beautiful sound, and elegant musicianship are quickly making him one of the most sought after young baritones in this country and abroad.
His appearances on the operatic stage include the role of Orfeo in Monteverdi's L'Orfeo with Contemporary Opera Denmark in Copenhagen, Uberto in La Serva Padrona with Apollo's Fire, The Traveller in Britten's Curlew River with the Britten-Pears School in Nagaoka, Japan and at the Aldeburgh Festival in the U.K., Schaunard in La Bohème with Granite State Opera, and The Count in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro with the Commonwealth Opera. His appearances in Chicago Opera Theatre's productions of Britten's Death in Venice and Rossini's Il Viaggio a Reims were universally praised. He also appeared in recital at the Goethe Institut in Boston and at the Star Island Artists Retreat in New Hampshire, and made his third European tour as Orfeo in Monteverdi's L'Orfeo with Contemporary Opera Denmark.
ABOUT HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY
Founded in Boston in 1815, the Handel and Haydn Society is the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States. Its Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus are internationally recognized in the field of Historically Informed Performance, a revelatory style that uses the instruments and techniques of the composer’s time. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Harry Christophers, Handel and Haydn’s mission is to perform Baroque and Classical music at the highest levels of artistic excellence and to share that music with as large and diverse an audience as possible.
The Handel and Haydn Society has an esteemed tradition of innovation and excellence, which began in the 19th century with the American premieres of Handel’s Messiah (1818), Haydn’s The Creation (1819), Verdi’s Requiem (1878), and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (1871) and Mass in B Minor (1887). More recently, the Society premiered Randall Thompson’s Passion According to St. Luke (1965)—commissioned for the Society’s 150th anniversary—Daniel Pinkham’s Garden Party (1977), Daniel Welcher’s Oratorio for Peace (1999), Sir John Tavener’s Lamentations and Praises (2002), and Thomas Vignieri’s Fanfare of Voices (2009), commissioned by H&H in honor of the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death. In the last 20 years, Handel and Haydn has given important historical performances of core repertoire and has introduced such innovative programs as jazz/Baroque crossover concerts, staged opera with dance, and narrative set to music, to great critical and audience acclaim.
Among recent milestones, Handel and Haydn made its London debut under Sir Roger Norrington in July 2007 as a featured performer at the prestigious BBC Proms Festival, which the London Telegraph named one of the top musical events of 2007. In September 2006, it made its debut at the Haydn Festival at the Esterházy Palace in Eisenstadt, Austria, with Harry Christophers. Between 2003 and 2006, the Society premiered new productions of baroque operas staged by director Chen Shi-Zheng. In fall 2005, two of the company’s recordings—All is Bright and Peace—were in the Top Ten on the Billboard classical music chart at the same time. Handel and Haydn Society won its first Grammy award for its recording of Sir John Tavener’s Lamentations and Praises (2002), co-commissioned with Chanticleer.
In 1985, Handel and Haydn launched the Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program to address the lack of performing arts education in public schools. Today, this award-winning program reaches 10,000 children throughout Greater Boston, mostly in underserved communities. The 2010–2011 Season marks the 25th Anniversary of the Educational Outreach Program.
As Handel and Haydn plans for its Bicentennial in 2015, Harry Christophers has set forth ambitious artistic plans that position the Society’s core identity as performer, educator, resource center, and community partner. By exploring both core repertoire and less familiar works of the Baroque and Classical periods, Handel and Haydn continues to develop a diverse audience and make its programs available to all, while expanding its national and international touring schedule, releasing live commercial recordings, and further developing its relationships with area cultural and higher education institutions. Its first recording with Harry Christophers, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, was released in September 2010 on the CORO label, and will be followed by Mozart’s Requiem in September 2011. These are the start of a series of live commercial recordings leading to H&H’s Bicentennial.
The Handel and Haydn Society is supported in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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