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Orchestra Seattle and the Seattle Chamber Singers Close Their Season with REFLECTION AND WONDER, 5/10

Orchestra Seattle and the Seattle Chamber Singers Close Their Season with REFLECTION AND WONDER, 5/10 Orchestra Seattle and the Seattle Chamber Singers (OSSCS) closes their 2013-2014 season with Reflection and Wonder at the First Free Methodist Church in Queen Anne. Clinton Smith conducts the following pieces for the final concert of his inaugural season as music director.

Charles Ives (1874-1954): The Unanswered Question Gabriel Fauré (1845 - 1924): Après un rêve, Op 7 No. 1 Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): Singet dem Herr nein neues Lied, BWV 225 Samuel Barber (1910-1981): Knoxville: Summer of 1915 Edward Elgar (1857-1934): The Music Makers, Op 69

For Ives' The Unanswered Question Smith notes that, "the strings' slowly changing chords represent the ethos, or the continuum of the universe. And with ever-increasing frenetic energy, four flutes represent human beings reacting to the question of existence that cannot be answered." Smith considers Faurè's Après un rêve, a gorgeous meditative piece, originally for voice, that depicts a dreamer's longing for someone encountered in the dream. Bach's motet for double chorus is a treasured favorite of the Chamber Singers and Barber's Knoxville sets to music memories of the summer before a father's death. Barber dedicated the work to his own father, with the deliberate casting of a solo soprano to relay the nostalgia of childhood. After intermission, Elgar's rarely performed masterwork, The Music Makers quotes from a number of the composer's previous works, most notably the "Nimrod" movement of the Enigma Variations. Smith emphasizes that, "the performers of OSSCS are the music makers and this is the perfect anthem with which to conclude our initial season together."

Soprano soloist Karin Wolverton has been described by Opera News as "a young soprano to watch," having "a lovely warm tone, easy agility and winning musicality." During the 2010-2011 season, she joined the Dayton Philharmonic for a gala performance, sang Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with the Minnesota Orchestra, and performed Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Opera Omaha. She recently took on the challenging role of Anna Sörensen in the world premiere of Kevin Puts' Silent Night with Minnesota Opera and made her Carnegie Hall debut with the Minnesota Orchestra in Nielsen's Symphony No. 3. karinwolverton.com

Mezzo-soprano Sarah Larsen is a recent alumna of the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program, where her mainstage roles included Mercédès in Carmen, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Tisbe in La Cenerentola and the First Touriere in Suor Angelica. The News Tribune praised her Suzuki as "smart, succinct and with a sultry mezzo that belied her demure demeanor." In 2013, she premiered a new song cycle, Farewell, Auschwitz, by Jake Heggie and Gene Sheer with Music of Remembrance. In 2014 she returned to Seattle Opera as Maddalena in Rigoletto and the Secretary in The Consul. sarahlarsenmezzo.com

Concerts take place at the First Free Methodist Church on Queen Anne Hill where parking is free and convenient. Advance single tickets are available online at BrownPaperTickets.com or by phone at 1-800-838-3006. General Admission tickets are $25 for adults; $20 for seniors; $10 for students; and youth ages 7-17 are FREE. Visit the website at OSSCS.org

About Clinton Smith

Clinton Smith is artistic director and principal conductor of the St. Cloud Symphony and currently serves on the music staff of Santa Fe Opera covering and preparing performances of La traviata and Le nozze di Figaro. He will also conduct at the University of Michigan Opera Theater's production of Il barbiere di Siviglia in the coming season.

Recently Clinton served as cover conductor for Juilliard Opera's production of The Cunning Little Vixen and Portland Opera's Don Giovanni. He was assistant conductor and chorus master for San Francisco Opera's Merola Opera Program, assistant conductor for Glimmerglass Opera's productions of Tolomeo and The Tender Land, conductor of Madama Butterfly at Hamline University and Mademoiselle Modiste for Skylark Opera, music director of Western Ontario University's Canadian Operatic Arts Academy, and guest coach at the National University of Taiwan. He also served on the music staff for Kentucky Opera's Don Giovanni and Ash Lawn Opera's productions of Gianni Schicchi, Die Zauberflöte and The Music Man.

For four seasons, Minnesota Opera engaged Clinton as cover conductor and chorus master, covering the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Opera Orchestra in over 20 productions. In 2011, Clinton conducted a workshop and prepared the world premiere of Kevin Puts' opera Silent Night, which subsequently won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music. For Minnesota Opera's New Works Initiative, and as an avid fan of new music, Clinton prepared workshops of Douglas J. Cuomo's Doubt, Ricky Ian Gordon's The Garden of the Finzi-Continis and the North American premiere of Jonathan Dove's The Adventures of Pinocchio, as well as Dominick Argento's Casanova's Homecoming and Bernard Herrmann's Wuthering Heights. With the St. Cloud Symphony's Young Composer's Competition, Clinton premieres a new work every season.

Previous positions include music director and conductor of the Franco-American Vocal Academy in France; the Austrian-American Mozart Academy in Salzburg; and the University of Michigan Life Sciences Orchestra. Clinton served as assistant conductor for the Austin Symphony, International Institute of Vocal Arts in Chiari, Italy, the University of Michigan Opera Theater, and the University of Michigan Symphony and Philharmonia Orchestras.

A native Texan, Clinton received his D.M.A. ('09) and M.M. ('06) in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Kenneth Kiesler and Martin Katz, and a B.M. in Piano Performance ('04) from the University of Texas at Austin.

Orchestra Seattle and the Seattle Chamber Singers (OSSCS) is a thriving volunteer based organization with deep roots in the Seattle community. It consists of a 60-member semi-professional orchestra and a 45-voice chorus. Membership in both groups is by audition and includes professional musicians, music teachers, and highly skilled amateurs who came together to work under the direction of OSSCS founder and visionary George Shangrow. During its 44-year history, OSSCS has made an extensive tour of the orchestral and choral literature and has sought to promote new music by Northwest composers using the finest local instrumental and vocal soloists. The ensembles have attained special recognition for their interpretations of the music of Handel and Bach and have introduced rarely-heard choral masterpieces to Seattle audiences, such as Handel's Israel in Egypt, Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers, and Haydn's The Seasons. Praised by critics for their vibrant sound and spirited, disciplined singing, the Seattle Chamber Singers also delight in performing classics such as Handel's Messiah, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and Brahms' German Requiem. After George Shangrow's unexpected and tragic death in 2010, OSSCS presented three seasons of concerts led by guest conductors. In 2013 OSSCS welcomed Clinton Smith as music director to usher in a new era of music by, and for, the Northwest.

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