Orff's Carmina Burana Hits the Peristyle Stage February 8 and 9, 2013, featuring the Toledo Symphony & Massive Chorus
O fortuna! Carmina burana remains of the the most popular works of classical music ever written. On February 8 & 9 at the Peristyle, the Toledo Symphony is joined by large choruses and acclaimed soloists Philip Cutlip, Joshua Stewart, and Kathryn Lewek.
James Meena conducts the full power of the TSO and BGSU combined choruses along with the Ottawa Hills Elementary Children's Chorus for a rollicking Journey from spirited song to sheer vocal strength. To add artful flourish, we also feature the symphony's own Merwin Siu and the North American premiere of Fazil Say's 1001 Nights in the Harem.
Merwin Siu, violin (Featured soloist on Fazil Say's 1001 Nights in the Harem)
Merwin Siu holds the David W. Robinson Chair as the Toledo Symphony's Principal Second Violin, and also serves as the TSO's Artistic Administrator.
Merwin has made numerous solo appearances with the TSO, specializing in local premieres of twentieth and twenty-first century compositions. He made his Classics Series debut in 2008, performing Karl Amadeus Hartmann's Concerto funèbre. Other recent highlights include regional premieres of works by Alban Berg, Chen Yi, John Corigliano, Lou Harrison, Keith Jarrett, DBR, and Bright Sheng. In 2007, Merwin appeared with former TSO music director Andrew Massey, premiering Massey's new violin concerto with the Racine Symphony. Merwin is a regular guest on performing arts series throughout the Midwest both as a recitalist and as chamber musician. Alongside appearances with numerous guest artists, he regularly performs with the Zin String Quartet and the Bezonian Piano Trio. He is featured on the MSR Records CD, Deep River, with pianist Phoenix Park-Kim.
Fazil Say's 1001 Nights in the Harem (North American Premiere)
Faz?l Say wrote his first piece - a piano sonata - as early as 1984, at the age of fourteen, when he was a student at the Conservatory of his home town Ankara. It was followed, in this early phase of his development, by several chamber works without an opus number, including Schwarze Hymnen for violin and piano and a guitar concerto. He subsequently designated as his opus 1 one of the works that he had played in the concert that won him The Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York: the Four Dances of Nasreddin Hodja. This work already displays in essence the significant features of his personal style: a rhapsodic, fantasia-like basic structure; a variable rhythm, often dance-like, though formed through syncopation; a continuous, vital driving pulse; and a wealth of melodic ideas that may often be traced back to themes from the folk music of Turkey and its neighbours. In these respects, Faz?l Say stands to some extent in the tradition of composers like Béla Bartók, George Enescu, and György Ligeti, who also drew on the rich musical folklore of their countries. He attracted international attention with the piano piece Black Earth (1997), in which he employs techniques familiar to us from John Cage and his works for prepared piano.
After this, Say increasingly turned to the large orchestral forms. Taking his inspiration from the poetry (and the biographies) of the writers Nâz?m Hikmet and Metin Alt?ok, he composed works for soloists, chorus and orchestra which, especially in the case of the oratorio Nâzim, clearly take up the tradition of composers such as Carl Orff. In addition to the modern European instrumentarium, Say also makes frequent and deliberate use in these compositions of instruments from his native Turkey, including kudüm and darbuka drums and the ney reed flute. This gives the music a colouring that sets it apart from many comparable creations in this genre. In the year 2007 he aroused international interest with his Violin Concerto 1001 Nights in the Harem, which is based on the celebrated tales of the same name, but deals specifically with the fate of seven women from a harem. Since its world premiere by Patricia Kopatchinskaja, the piece has already received further performances in many international concert halls.
Philip Cutlip, baritone
In 2012-13 Philip Cutlip sings the title role in Eugene Onegin (Edmonton Opera); Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus (Virginia Opera); Messiah (Vassar College, Oratorio Society of New York, and Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra); returns to Toledo Opera as the title role in Don Giovanni, and to Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in Carmina Burana; and performs Faure's Requiem at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (NYC). Recent highlights include Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas (Cal Performances); Guglielmo in Così fan tutte (New York City Opera); Handel's Alexander's Feast (Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra); Brahms' Requiem (Spokane Symphony); Splendiano in Bizet's "Djamileh" (American Symphony Orchestra); Haydn's The Seasons (St. Paul Chamber Orchestra); title role in Philip Glass' Orphée (Portland Opera, recorded for Orange Mountain Music, first performed for Glimmerglass Opera); Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles (Minnesota Opera); Ariodate in Serse (Houston Grand Opera); Maurice Bendix in The End of the Affair (Seattle Opera); Bach cantatas (Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century at Concertgebouw); de Falla's Suite from Atlantida (Boston Symphony Orchestra), and Dvo?ák's Te Deum and excerpts from Jacobin (Chicago Symphony Orchestra). His performance as Joseph de Rocher in Heggie's Dead Man Walking has been recorded and released on Virgin Records.
Kathryn Lewek, soprano
As the 2011 grand prize winner of the Opera Foundation's International Vocal Scholarship, Soprano Kathryn Lewek is rapidly establishing herself as one of the most promising emerging artists today. Last season, Ms. Lewek accepted a contract with the Deutsche Oper Berlin where she performed roles in thirteen productions including Queen of the Night and First Lady in Mozart's The Magic Flute, Frasquita in Bizet's Carmen, Heavenly Voice in Verdi's Don Carlo, Sandman and Dew Fairy in Humperdink's Hansel and Gretel, Barbarina in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, and Pisana in Verdi's Due Foscari.
Ms. Lewek will make several important company debuts in the coming season, performing Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute with English National Opera in the fall of 2012, Nashville Operas as well as Opera de Toulon in the spring of 2013, then at the Bregenz Festival in the summers of 2013 and 2014, as well as Handel's Messiah with Musica Sacra of New York at Carnegie Hall and Carmina Burana with the Toledo Symphony. At the Bregenz Festival, she will also perform the role of Jessica in André Tchaikowsky's The Merchant of Venice in 2013. Next season, Ms. Lewek will make her Washington National Opera debut as well as her Metropolitan Opera debut in a prominent role and will return there the season after in 2014.
Joshua Stewart, tenor
Joshua, a recent graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is in his first year of the opera studio at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Germany. He has appeared on the concert stage, operatic stage, and the recital stage, including: the tenor soloist is Handel's Messiah, Mozart's Requiem, Nemorino in L'elisir d'amore, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Tom Rakewell in The Rake's Progress, Conte d'Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Toni Reischmann in Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers and numerous recitals.
This season, Joshua appears again as Toni Reischmann in a new production of Henze's Elegie für junge Liebende, Priest in the world premiere of Jörg Widmann's Babylon, Parpignol in La Bohéme, Jeppo Liverotto in Lucrezia Borgia with Edita Gruberova, Ruiz in Il Trovatore with Jonas Kaufmann at the Bayerische Staatsoper, also returning to the United States to sing Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with the Toledo Opera and Carmina Burana with the Toledo Symphony.
Joshua has received a number of awards, including awards from the Opera Foundation, the Solti Foundation, the Shoshana Foundation, and the Gerda Lissner Foundation.