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Work to be performed in celebration of 2015 Bicentennial, special education and outreach initiatives offered in conjunction with work
Friday, March 30, 2012 at 7.30pm
Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 3pm
Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA
Subscriptions and single tickets may be purchased through the Handel and Haydn Box Office by phone at 617 266 3605, online at handelandhaydn.org, or in person at the Handel and Haydn office, Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston (M–F, 10am–6pm). Single tickets range from $20 to $78. Student rush available starting one hour before curtain: $15 cash only with valid ID, best available seats subject to availability. Groups of 10 or more receive a 20% discount.
Given its first complete performance in this country by the Handel and Haydn Society in 1879, J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion is considered by many to be one of the greatest masterpieces of all time. One of a multitude of significant works premiered in the US by H&H, Bach’s brilliant work is a moving setting of the Gospel of St. Matthew. The St. Matthew Passion was written in 1727 for solo voices, double choir, and double orchestra. Two distinctive aspects of Bach’s setting can be heard in his other church endeavors: the double-choir format, which stems from his double-choir motets with which he routinely started Sunday services, and the extensive use of chorales, which appear in standard four-part settings. The work was first performed on Good Friday in 1727 at the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, where Bach was Kapellmeister.
“Bach’s St. Matthew Passion is now revered the world over and it remains as innovative today as it must have sounded to the congregation in Leipzig almost 300 years ago. It's not just the make up of the work – large double choir choruses, fiendishly difficult arias, chorales for the people, an evangelist who communicates to us like a modern day news reporter – it’s Bach’s invention, both dramatic and textual, which is staggering. With our performances we will demonstrate just why it probably is the greatest work ever written,” said Harry Christophers.
The narration of the Gospel texts are sung by the Evangelist in recitative accompanied only by continuo. Soloists sing the words of various characters, also in recitative; in addition to Jesus, there are named parts for Judas, Peter, two high priests, Pontius Pilate, Pilate's wife, two witnesses, and two maids. H&H boasts a stellar cast of guest artists, led by Joshua Ellicott, who makes his H&H debut singing the role of the Evangelist, and Matthew Brook, who returns to perform as Christus. Soprano Gillian Keith, alto Monica Groop, tenor Jeremy Budd, and baritone Stephan Loges round out the cast.
The concert is the focal point of Project Bach, an initiative supported by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Project Bach continues the Handel and Haydn Society’s exploration of historically significant works premiered in the US by H&H, which takes its audience on a journey from its founding in 1815 as a choral society dedicated to the betterment of cultural life in Boston to its Bicentennial in 2015. A wide range of education and outreach initiatives will complement the performances in order to deepen audiences’ understanding of the work and enhance their musical experience; engage children, students, and adults of diverse backgrounds in Baroque and Classical music; and strengthen H&H’s connections with its community.
As part of Project Bach, St. Matthew Passion will feature members of the Young Men’s and Women’s Choruses, which are part of H&H’s Vocal Apprenticeship Program. The students will join the H&H chorus for the opening movement as well as select chorales throughout the work. H&H will also be partnering with Massachusetts College of Art (MassArt) for a multisciplinary exploration of the work. Juniors in the Illustration department will be given the opportunity to hear the music and react to it by creating visual art. Students will film videos discussing their experience, and select artwork will be displayed at Symphony Hall during the concert weekend. To further extend H&H’s reach into the community, lectures and discussions will be held at Boston Public Library branches.
“As part of its mission, H&H strives to entertain and inspire audiences, provide unique educational experiences for students at all levels, and reach all citizens in the community through broad outreach efforts. Project Bach, supported in part by a generous grant from the NEA, allows us to expand our reach as we perform and share Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, one of the greatest works ever written and a work central to the rich history of H&H,” said Handel and Haydn Society Executive Director/CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard.
Harry Christophers marks his third season as Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society with the 2011–2012 Season. Since September 2006, when he led a sold-out performance in the Esterházy Palace at the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, he has conducted Handel and Haydn each season and, following his appointment in 2008, Christophers’ tenure as Artistic Director began with the 2009-2010 season. Christophers and Handel and Haydn have since embarked on an ambitious artistic journey 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 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 Sixteen’s “Choral Pilgrimage,” a tour of British cathedrals from York to Canterbury. With that ensemble, 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, and 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.
Joshua Ellicott makes his H&H debut in Bach St. Matthew Passion. Born in Manchester, England, Ellicott read music at York University before continuing his vocal studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where he won a full scholarship from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust to study with Adrian Thompson on both the Postgraduate Vocal Studies and Opera courses.
He won four of the top prizes at the 2006 International Vocal Competition in ’s-Hertogenbosch, including the overall first prize. He was also a finalist in the 2007 Royal Overseas League Singing Competition.
In demand at home and abroad as a concert singer, Ellicott works regularly with the UK’s leading orchestras and ensembles, including The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and the Binchois Consort. He has made numerous recordings for the BBC, including a live broadcast from the Barbican Centre of Copland’s opera The Second Hurricane under Leonard Slatkin.
Future engagements include the Evangelist (St. Matthew Passion) with the Orchestra of the Age of Englightenment; a Messiah tour with the King’s Consort, Richard Dauntless (Ruddigore) for Opera North; and Andres (Wozzeck) with the Philharmonia Orchestra, touring to Dortmund, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and New York.
Matthew Brook returns to H&H after performing in Handel Messiah in 2009. Brook has appeared as a soloist throughout Europe, Australia, South Africa, and the Far East. He has worked with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Richard Hickox, Sir Charles Mackerras, Harry Christophers, Christophe Rousset, and Paul McCreesh; and many orchestras and groups including the Philharmonia, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Freiburger Barockorchester, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,
the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the English Baroque Soloists, the City of London Sinfonia, Collegium Vocale Gent, the Gabrieli Consort, Les Talens Lyriques, the Sixteen, and Orchestra Nationale de Lille.
Recordings include: Berlioz’s L’Enfance du Christ with Richard Hickox and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, broadcast on BBC Television; Idomeneo with Sir Charles Mackerras, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and the Edinburgh Festival Chorus on EMI; a Gramophone Award-winning recording of Handel’s Dublin score of Messiah; Bach’s St. Matthew Passion; and, most recently, Handel’s Acis and Galatea and Bach’s B Minor Mass with the Dunedin Consort for Linn Records. He has also recorded for DVD the acclaimed production of The Full Monteverdi with I Fagiolini.
Recent performances include Nielsen’s Symphony No. 3 with the Hallé Orchestra and Sir Mark Elder; Bach’s Mass in B Minor and St. Matthew Passion with Collegium Vocale Gent and Philippe Herreweghe; recording the role of Friar Tuck in Sullivan’s Ivanhoe for Chandos Records; Bach’s St. John Passion with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Oleg Caetani; Bach cantatas with Marcus Creed and the Tonhalle-Orchester, Zurich; Elijah at the Three Choirs Festival with the Philharmonia Orchestra; Handel’s Apollo e Dafne with Retrospect Ensemble and Matthew Halls at Wigmore Hall; Haydn’s The Seasons with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir; Messiah in Boston with Harry Christophers and the Handel and Haydn Society, and with The Sixteen; a tour of Australia with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Richard Tognetti; and Bach’s St. John Passion with the Gabrieli Consort & Players and Paul McCreesh.
Gillian Keith made her H&H debut in 2008 and was last seen performing in Handel Messiah in 2010. Keith has emerged as one of Canada’s leading lyric sopranos. Her superb voice and musicianship are at home both on the opera stage and on the concert platform‚ making her one of the most stylish and versatile artists of her generation.
A past winner of the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Award‚ she made her Royal Opera‚ Covent Garden debut as Zerbinetta in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos and has gone on to repeat the role with great success‚ most recently at the Opera de Oviedo. She has sung Tiny in Britten’s Paul Bunyan for the Bregenz Festival‚ Elmira in Opera North’s Croesus‚ Ginevra in Handel’s Ariodante in Halle‚ The Woodbird in Scottish Opera’s Siegfried, and Poppea in Basel and in Boston.
Her concert performances include Mozart’s Mass in C Minor at Boston’s Symphony Hall‚ Mahler Symphony No. 8 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra‚ Haydn’s The Creation with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra‚ Bach’s Mass in B Minor at London’s Barbican Hall, and Handel’s Messiah with The Toronto Symphony‚ as well as regular appearances at The Edinburgh Festival‚ under such conductors as Sir John Eliot Gardiner‚ Daniele Gatti‚ Sir Richard Armstrong‚ Peter Schreier‚ Sir Richard Hickox‚ Gianandrea Noseda‚ Harry Christophers, and Sir Mark Elder.
Recordings include Handel’s Gloria with Gardiner for Philips and several Bach Cantatas as part of his Bach Pilgrimage on Soli Deo Gloria. She has recorded orchestral songs by Dallapiccola with Gianandrea Noseda with the BBC Philharmonic‚ and most recently the role of Zerbinetta for an upcoming release of Ariadne auf Naxos with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Sir Richard Armstrong‚ both for Chandos. Her recital discs include Debussy: Early Songs for Deux-Elles and Schubert Lieder with fellow Canadian Gerald Finley on Marquis‚ as well as an all-Strauss programme with pianist Simon Lepper.
Finnish alto Monica Groop makes her H&H debut in Bach St. Matthew Passion. Groop has performed with many of the major opera companies and orchestras of the world, including the Bayrische Staatsoper, Amsterdam, Covent Garden, Munich State Opera, Royal Opera in Stockholm, Los Angeles, Cologne, Paris, and the New York City Opera, the Glyndebourne, and Aix-en-Provence festivals. Orchestra appearances include the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Houston Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Symphony, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, NDR Radio Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Vienna Symphonic, Vienna Philharmonic, and Accademia di Santa Cecilia. An accomplished recitalist, Groop has given solo recitals at New York´s Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall, London´s Wigmore Hall, and Vienna’s Musikverein. She appears regularly with pianists András Schiff, Rudolf Jansen, and Roger Vignoles.
Recent seasons have included performances of the title role in Britten´s The Rape of Lucretia with the Teatro Real in Madrid and the title role of Adriana Mater with the Santa Fe Opera.
Groop has made over 60 recordings. Her operatic recordings include Linda di Chamounix with Edita Gruberova, Don Giovanni conducted by Sir Georg Solti, The Marriage of Figaro, Cosi fan tutte, Haydn´s La fedeltá premiata, and Berlioz’ Benvenuto Cellini.
English tenor Jeremy Budd makes his H&H debut in Bach St. Matthew Passion. Budd is a former Head Chorister of St. Paul’s Cathedral. As a treble soloist he performed extensively, both at home and abroad, including appearances with the London Symphony Orchestra and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He recorded a CD entitled Hear my Prayer during that time. He was the boy soloist at the premiere performance of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio, also recorded.
Budd is currently in his final year at the Royal Academy of Music, where he studies under David Lowe. He is a member of the choir of St Bride’s, Fleet Street and of European Voices, and also sings regularly at St Paul’s Cathedral. Recent engagements include Mozart’s Requiem, Dvorak’s Mass in D, Georg Frideric Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Schubert’s Mass in C, J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, and Stainer’s Crucifixion, Pilade in Handel’s Oreste at the Linbury Studio Theatre at Covent Garden and Pilatus in Passio by Avro Part at Westminster Cathedral. He has worked on many projects with Richard Hickox.
In December 2005, Budd toured as a soloist with the Monteverdi Choir and John Eliot Gardiner through Europe with Bach’s Magnificat and Christmas Cantatas. In 2006, he toured with John Eliot Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir, and the English Baroque Soloists through USA and Europe performing Mozart’s Requiem and the Missa in C Minor. In April 2006, he performed Bach’s St. John Passion with Gürzenich-Orchester Köln under the baton of Markus Stenz.
Born in Dresden, Stephan Loges makes his H&H debut in Bach St. Matthew Passion. Loges was the winner of the 1999 Wigmore Hall International Song Competition. He regularly gives recitals throughout the world at venues including Wigmore Hall, London; Carnegie Hall, New York; Concertgebouw Amsterdam; Klavierfestival Ruhr; La Monnaie, Brussels; Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Kuhmo Festival; Santiago de Compostela; and the Vocal Arts Series in Washington with pianists Roger Vignoles, Simon Lepper, Alexander Schmalcz, and Eugene Asti.
Current and future plans include Bach’s St. John Passion with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; Berlioz’ L’Enfance du Christ with the BBC Concert Orchestra; Bernstein’s Candide with the Staatsoper Berlin; Mendelssohn’s Walpurgisnacht with the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale, Florence; Ottokar’s Der Freischütz with the LSO and Sir Colin Davis; Handel’s Messiah and Bach Cantatas with the Academy of Ancient Music in London; and a recital with Simon Lepper for the Neuss Shakespeare Festival, Germany.
Concerts have included Britten’s War Requiem with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Haydn’s The Creation with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and Paul McCreesh and with the Mozarteum-Orchestra in Salzburg; Haydn’s The Seasons with the Semperoper Dresden and Peter Schreier; Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius in Stuttgart and Darmstadt; Elijah with Paul McCreesh; Messiah with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, San Francisco, and Detroit; Saariaho’s The Tempest Songbook with Scharoun Ensemble at Philharmonie Köln; and regular appearances with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, including Brahms’ Vier ernste Gesänge and Schubert’s lieder arrangements conducted by Olari Elts.
Loges was a member of the Dresden Kreuzchor before studying at the Hochschule der Kunste Berlin and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
Teresa Neff received her PhD in Musicology from Boston University. Her research interests center around Gottfried van Swieten, a late 18th-century Viennese patron and composer. Artaria will publish Neff’s edition of Swieten’s symphonies 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.
Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program
Established in 1985, the Handel and Haydn Society’s Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program was created with strong ties to the organization’s early leaders. Lowell Mason, best known as the founding father of music education in American public schools, enjoyed a long association with Handel and Haydn, first as musical editor and later as President of H&H from 1827–1832. Mason taught classes at the Bowdoin Street Church and founded the Boston Academy of Music in 1833 to promote music education to the public. When H&H launched its official educational initiative in 1985, it focused on public education with its free school visits that now reach public schools in nine Massachusetts districts; the Collaborative Youth Concerts followed in 1987, in which students from different school districts and cultural backgrounds come together to perform for their communities alongside Handel and Haydn musicians. Collaborative Youth Concerts celebrate their 25th Anniversary in 2012, and honor a rich history of providing students with a sense of achievement and musical ownership in ways that traditional youth concerts cannot.
In 1994, H&H started the Vocal Apprenticeship Program (VAP) with Youth Chorus (grades 6–8) and the High School Soloists pre-professional program, held at New England Conservatory. Later, VAP reached younger students with Singers (grades 3–5) and high school students with its Young Men’s (grades 8–12) and Young Women’s (grades 9–12) Choruses, so that students could grow with the program for several years, increasing their individual sense of accomplishment as they passed through each level. Students enrolled in VAP learn music theory and receive performance opportunities throughout each season. VAP classes take place in the state-of-the-art music division wing of the Boston Latin School, located in one of the most culturally accessible neighborhoods of Boston, next to Massachusetts College of Art; the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
The Handel and Haydn Society is the only professional music organization in Massachusetts serving as a parent to its own youth ensemble program and regularly presenting them in conjunction with its professional series at Symphony Hall. VAP is also the only youth ensemble program in New England to include individualized scholarships for vocal instruction, diction, and other classes for potential music majors in collaboration with New England Conservatory.
Lectures and Symposia
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 5pm
Killian Hall, MIT, 160 Memorial Dr, Cambridge, MA
Renowned composer John Harbison will give a talk at MIT's Killian Hall entitled, "Toward and Away from Bach's St. Matthew Passion.”
Co-sponsored by MIT Music and Theater Arts and the Handel and Haydn Society. With support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Monday, March 19 at 2pm
Hyde Park Branch, Boston Public Library, 35 Harvard Avenue, Hyde Park, MA
H&H’s Vocal Quartet performs Voices of the Stage, featuring music from Orfeo ed Euridice to Rent to show how opera, oratorio, and musical theater each tell a story through music.
Monday, March 26, 2012 at 7pm
Hyde Park Branch, Boston Public Library, 35 Harvard Avenue, Hyde Park, MA
Musicologist Teresa Neff will discuss the history and composition of Bach's great work.
Friday, March 30, 2012 at 6:30pm
Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 2pm
Higginson Hall, Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA
Free with concert tickets
Musicologist Teresa Neff gives an illuminating look inside the music and historical context of the program.
H2 Young Professionals Reception
Friday, March 30, 2012, post-concert
Lucca Back Bay, 116 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
Free with concert tickets
Join us after the concert at Lucca Back Bay for cocktails, conversation, and making connections. We invite you to meet staff, musicians, and other young arts enthusiasts to experience Baroque and Classical music in new and exciting ways.
ABOUT HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY
Handel and Haydn Society (H&H) is a professional Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus and an internationally recognized leader in the field of Historically Informed Performance, a revelatory style that uses the instruments and techniques of the composer’s time. Founded in Boston in 1815, H&H is the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States and has a longstanding commitment to excellence and innovation: it gave the American premieres of Handel’s Messiah (1818), Haydn’s The Creation (1819), Verdi’s Requiem (1878), and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (1879). Handel and Haydn today, under Artistic Director Harry Christophers’ leadership, is committed to its mission 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. H&H is widely known through its local subscription series, tours, concert broadcasts on WGBH/99.5 Classical and National Public Radio, and recordings. Its recording of Sir John Tavener’s Lamentations and Praises won a 2003 Grammy Award and two of its recordings, All is Bright and Peace, appeared simultaneously in the top ten on Billboard Magazine’s classical music chart. In September 2010, H&H released its first collaboration with Harry Christophers on the CORO label, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor—the first in a series of live commercial recordings leading to H&H’s Bicentennial in 2015. The 2010–2011 Season marked the 25th anniversary of Handel and Haydn’s award-winning Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program, which brings music education, vocal training, and performance opportunities to 10,000 students annually throughout Greater Boston and beyond.
Handel and Haydn Society is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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