Seattle Chamber Orchestra: Transfigured Night
$15-$150 sliding scale
Jack Van Zandt — La Nuit Étoilée - New Commission (2024) - World Premiere
Arnold Schoenberg — Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4
Join us on Friday April 12th 2024, at 8pm, for a concert dedicated to the theme of Transfiguration, seen both in religious terms as well as in earthly setting. The idea of transformation has inspired many composers and for this concert we have picked important wrks othat embody this idea.
J.S. Bach's cantata Ich habe genug (English for "I have enough or I am content") is one of Bach's most performed and recorded pieces. The text stresses the desire to escape the misery of life on earth and be united with Christ, which is the fulfillment of a joyful state. The Cantata is scored for baritone solo, oboe and orchestra and will feature baritone Charles Robert Stephens and oboist Darlene Franz.
Arnold Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht ("Transfigured Night") is considered his earliest important work. It was inspired by Richard Dehmel's poem of the same name, which describes a man and a woman walking through a dark forest on a moonlit night. The woman shares a secret with her lover: that she bears the child of another man. The stages of Dehmel's poem are reflected throughout the composition, beginning with the sadness of the woman's confession, a neutral interlude wherein the man reflects upon the confession, and a finale reflecting the man's bright acceptance and forgiveness.
In between the Bach and the Schoenberg you will also have the chance to listen to the world premiere of a new SCO commission to Irish-American composer Jack Van Zandt and his new piece La Nuit Étoilée scored for harp, piano and orchestra, featuring two Grammy Awards winners, harpist Alison Bjorkedal and pianist Nadia Shpachenko. The works on the program will be performed by the Seattle Chamber Orchestra conducted by Music Director Lorenzo Marasso.
Concert will be held at Tagney Jones Hall at the Seattle Opera (363 Mercer Street, Seattle, 98109). Join us at 7:15pm for a pre-concert talk. Concert begins at 8pm. Admission includes the pre-concert talk and the performance, accompanied by wine and appetizers.
Founded in 2021, Seattle Chamber Orchestra seeks to bring music lovers tantalizing combinations of the traditional and modern, performed by world-class professional musicians. Brought to life through thoughtful programming that educates as much as it inspires, SCO seeks to reinvigorate live classical music, which has suffered most of all during the pandemic, by providing opportunities musicians and audiences to explore new music and challenge established boundaries.https://www.seattlechamberorchestra.org/
About Alison Bjorkedal, harp
Hailed by the LA Times as an "excellent player" and "a force field unto her own, yet joined in something bigger" Alison Bjorkedal is a passionate ambassador for the harp, with a focus on new music. A 2014 GRAMMY award winner, Alison also specializes in performing the music of Harry Partch on replicas of his unique instruments.
Her symphonic, operatic and ballet performances include The Industry, San Diego Symphony, Pasadena Symphony/Pops Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony, San Luis Obispo Symphony, Downey Symphony, Long Beach Opera, San Diego Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Opera at the Broad, Golden State Pops Orchestra, Los Angeles Film Orchestra, American Contemporary Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Wordless Music, and MUSE/IQUE. She is principal of Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra.
Chamber and solo performances include Jacaranda Chamber Music, wasteLAnd, Partch Ensemble, wildUP, Sundays at Two (Beverly Hills), The Echo Society, Wadada Leo Smith's Pacifica Coral Reef Orchestra, Salastina Chamber Music Society, Microfest, Just Strings, and Southwest Chamber Music. Since 2004, Alison is part of Duo Ondine with flautist Boglarka Kiss.
Alison was featured as soloist with the Pasadena Symphony, Downey Symphony Orchestra, California Chamber Orchestra, American Contemporary Ballet, Southwest Chamber music, and UC San Diego New Music Ensemble "Palimpsest".
As an advocate for contemporary music, Alison's notable world premieres include William Kraft's Encounters XII for harp and percussion; James Tenney's "Changes for 6 harps"; Anne LeBaron's HSING for solo harp and LeBaron's "Some Things Should Not Move" for soprano, flute, harp and double bass; and Wadada Leo Smith's Ten Freedom Summers, a 2013 Pulitzer Prize finalist. Notable solo performances include Lei Liang's "Harp Concerto" with UC San Diego New Music Ensemble "Palimpsest", Eve Beglarian's "Melancholy Fate", Luciano Berio's Sequenza II.
Her chamber recordings include Grammy-winning "Plectra and Percussion Dances", Southwest Chamber Music's "Complete Chamber Music of Carlos Chávez, Volume 4" and William Kraft's "Encounters", both Latin-Grammy nominated. As part of Just Strings, she released "Harrison: Works for harp, guitar and percussion".
Alison was born and raised in Kennewick, WA. She began musical studies at age 3 with Suzuki piano. Her freshman year of high school, Alison fell in love with the harp after seeing a classmate perform in the school talent show and begged her parents for lessons. Early studies included driving to Portland, OR to study with Denise Fujikawa.
Alison received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Oregon (magna cum laude) where she studied harp with Sally Maxwell and Laura Zaerr. Alison earned her Masters and Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in harp performance from the USC Thornton School of Music, where she studied with JoAnn Turovsky.https://www.alisonbjorkedal.com/
About Lorenzo Marasso, conductor
Lorenzo Marasso is an impassioned and sympathetic conductor, concert pianist, chamber musician, educator and radio host. Dubbed the "king of repertoire," Lorenzo's creative programming reveals lesser known masterpieces and rarely performed arrangements. Lorenzo's performances have been broadcast in numerous media outlets, including Seattle's 98.1 Classical King FM and NPR. In 2021 Lorenzo founded the Seattle Chamber Orchestra and is serving now as the ensemble's music director. In the same year he also started hosting a weekly radio program called Dress Rehearsal on 107.3FM KBFG Seattle. Equally inspired by contemporary music, Lorenzo has commissioned and performed world premieres of new works by several international composers who have written and dedicated pieces to him. In July 2020 he completed the Invention Project, a commission of new pieces for piano inspired by J.S. Bach's Inventions and Sinfonias. Further commissions included works composed by Michael Finnissy, Edward Cowie and Bernhard Lang.https://www.lorenzomarasso.com
About Charles Robert Stephens, baritone
Charles has enjoyed a career spanning a wide variety of roles and styles in opera and concert music. His performances have shown "a committed characterization and a voice of considerable beauty." (Opera News, 1995) At the New York City Opera he sang the role of Professor Friedrich Bhaer in the New York premiere of Adamo's Little Women, and was hailed by the New York Times as a "baritone of smooth distinction." Other New York City Opera roles since his debut as Marcello in 1995 include Frank in Die Tote Stadt, Sharpless in Madame Butterfly, and Germont in La Traviata. He has sung on numerous occasions at Carnegie Hall in a variety of roles with the Opera Orchestra of New York, the Oratorio Society of New York, the Masterworks Chorus, and Musica Sacra.
Now based in Seattle, Charles has sung with the Seattle Symphony, Tacoma and Spokane Symphonies and Opera Companies, Portland Chamber Orchestra and many other orchestras and opera companies in the Pacific Northwest. He joined the roster of the Seattle Opera in 2010 for the premiere of Amelia by Daron Hagan.
Recent collaborations with early music expert Stephen Stubbs include the role of Haman in Handel's Esther with Pacific Musicworks as part of the Seattle Handel Festival, Messiah with Portland Baroque and the role of Tiresias in the Boston Early Music Festival's lavish production of Steffani's Niobe, Queen of Thebes. A long association with Maestro Gary Thor Wedow has recently led to two performances with the Seattle Symphony: Messiah and "Opera Festival."http://www.charlesrobertstephens.com/
About Nadia Shpachenko, piano
A "gifted and versatile pianist" (San Francisco Chronicle) and GRAMMY Award-winner Nadia Shpachenko enjoys bringing into the world things that are outside the box—powerful pieces that often possess unusual sonic qualities or instrumentation. Nadia's concert highlights include recitals at Concertgebouw, Carnegie Hall, Disney Hall, on the Piano Spheres, and Los Angeles Philharmonic's Green Umbrella and Chamber Music Series, and with numerous orchestras in Europe and the Americas. An enthusiastic promoter of contemporary music, Shpachenko premiered more than 100 works by Armando Bayolo, Elliott Carter, Christopher Cerrone, Paul Chihara, George Crumb, Ian Dicke, Daniel Felsenfeld, Tom Flaherty, Annie Gosfield, Yuri Ishchenko, Vera Ivanova, Dana Kaufman, Leon Kirchner, Amy Beth Kirsten, Han Lash, James Matheson, Missy Mazzoli, Harold Meltzer, David Sanford, Isaac Schankler, Alexander Shchetynsky, Adam Schoenberg, Lewis Spratlan, Evan Ware, Gernot Wolfgang, Iannis Xenakis, Peter Yates, Pamela Z, Jack Van Zandt, and many others.
Described as "The outstanding contemporary-music disc of the year" (Fanfare Magazine), Nadia’s 2022 Reference Recordings album Invasion: Music and Art for Ukraine (with 100% of proceeds being donated to Ukraine humanitarian aid) features world premiere recordings of music by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lewis Spratlan and art by numerous Ukrainian artists. Nadia’s 2019 Reference Recordings album The Poetry of Places, featuring world premieres of architecture-inspired works, won the Best Classical Compendium GRAMMY Award. She can be heard on seven other internationally released albums of world premieres.
Born in Kharkiv, Ukraine, she is a Steinway Artist, Schoenhut Toy Piano Artist, and professor of music at Cal Poly Pomona University.http://nadiashpachenko.com/