Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Announces Holiday Schedule - Handel's MESSIAH, CIRQUE DE LA SYMPHONIE and More!
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) celebrates the 2015 holiday season with a wide variety of concert programming, from the traditional annual performances of Handel's Messiah with the Concert Artists of Baltimore to a one-of-a-kind experience that pairs world-class acrobats and gymnasts with music by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, in an exciting program titled Cirque de la Symphonie.
The holiday season begins with Grammy Award-winning performer Judy Collins, at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, on Sunday, November 29, at 4 p.m. Singer of such hits as "Both Sides Now," "Chelsea Morning" and "Send in the Clowns" brings her solo show to the Meyerhoff for one performance only. Opening the concert is singer-songwriter and guitarist Ari Hest. (Please note: the BSO does not perform as part of this concert.)
Edward Polochick and the Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale join the BSO for what has become a Baltimore holiday tradition: Handel's Messiah,Friday, December 4, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, December 6, at 3 p.m., at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Leading the orchestra from the harpsichord, Maestro Polochick has brought his nuanced interpretation of Handel's oratorio to Baltimore audiences for more than 30 years. Solists for this concert are soprano Jennifer O'Loughlin, mezzo-soprano Nancy Maultsby, and bass-baritone Soloman Howard.
BSO Associate Conductor for Education Ken Lam leads the BSO in a showing ofPolar Express, as part of the Family Concert Series, on Saturday, December 5, at 11 a.m., at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Enjoy the music of Robert Kapilow as still images are projected onto the stage, an experience for all ages.
Tony Award-winning Broadway phenomenon Brian Stokes Mitchell brings seven performances of traditional and contemporary holiday favorites to the BSO SuperPops, with Damon Gupton conducting. From "I'll Be Home for Christmas" to Stokes' signature songs "Through Heaven's Eyes" and "Grateful." Concerts are Wednesday, December 9, at 2 p.m., at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Thursday, December 10, at 8 p.m., at the Music Center at Strathmore, Friday, December 11,and Saturday, December 12, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, and Sunday, December 13, at 3 p.m., at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.
Conductor Eric Conway and the nationally acclaimed Morgan State University Choir will join the BSO for two concerts with repertoire ranging from Classical to gospel. Known and internationally acclaimed for its emphasis on preserving the heritage of the spiritual, MSU's performance will open with John Rutter's Christmas classic "Gloria," after which the choir's 40-voice a cappella group will perform set of spirituals and other holiday classics. The concert will culminate in "We Believe," a Gospel Christmas cantata featuring the full choir accompanied by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Two concerts only: Thursday, December 17, and Friday December 18, at 7:30 p.m., at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.
The highly engaging Music Box Concert Series, a participatory, family-oriented music program for young children ages six months to three years old, presents Sleigh Ride. This program features host Shannan E. Johnson joining an ensemble of BSO musicians performing songs about winter, bells and sleigh rides. Performances are on Saturday, December 12, at 10 a.m., and 11:30 a.m., at the Silver Spring Civic Building, and Saturday, December 19, at 10 a.m., and 11:30 a.m., at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the American classic film Home Alone, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Baltimore Choral Arts Society conducted by BSO assistant conductor Nicholas Hersh will perform the score in real-time to an HD viewing of the original movie, live-score accompaniment of John Williams' memorable and poignant score. Known for his iconic movie scores Star Wars, E.T., Close Encounters, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones, and countless others, Williams is the most prolific and revered film composer of our time, and his works are a ubiquitous part of our country's culture. This is the first time a Williams score has been adapted for a live film format. Concerts are Saturday, December 19, at 3 p.m., and 7 p.m., at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.
Cirque de la Symphonie brings the most amazing veterans of exceptional cirque programs throughout the world-aerial flyers, acrobats, contortionists, dancers, jugglers, balancers, and strongmen-to perform against the backdrop of a live, symphony orchestra. Performers will dazzle and delight audiences with carefully choreographed acts set to Classical masterpieces performed with live accompaniment by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. BSO Principal Pops conductor Jack Everly conducts the BSO for Cirque de la Symphonie on Thursday, December 31, at 8 p.m., Friday, January 1, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, January 2, at 3 p.m., at theJoseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Holiday 2015 Events Calendar
Judy Collins with special guest Ari Hest
Sunday, November 29, 2015 at 4 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Note: The BSO does not perform on this program
Tickets start at $33 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org .
Edward Polochick, conductor
Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale
Jennifer O'Laughlin, soprano
Nancy Maultsby, mezzo-soprano
Soloman Howard, bass-baritone
Tickets start at $29 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org .
Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 11 a.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Ken Lam, conductor
Presenting Sponsor: Sylvan/Laureate
Supporting Sponsor: Macy's
Curriculum and Assessment Partner: Transamerica
Tickets start at $15 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org .
BSO SuperPops: 'Tis the Season with Brian Stokes Mitchell
Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at 2 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Thursday, December 10, 2015 at 8 p.m. - The Music Center at Strathmore
Friday, December 11, 2015 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Sunday, December 13, 2015 at 3 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Presenting Sponsor: Whiting-Turner Contracting Company
Christmas with the Morgan State University Choir
Eric Conway, conductor
Morgan State University Choir
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Tickets start at $32 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org .
Music Box: Sleigh Ride
Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. - Silver Spring Civic Building
Saturday, December 19, 2015 at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
For babies and toddlers six months to three years and their families.
Presenting Sponsor: Macy's
Early Education Sponsor: PNC
Single tickets for children and adults are $10 for concerts at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, and $12 for concerts at the Silver Spring Civic Building. Tickets to these concerts are available in advance through the BSO Ticket Office, 1.877.BSO.1444 or BSOmusic.org and can also be purchased at the venues the day of the performance, subject to availability.
Saturday, December 19, 2015 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Nicholas Hersh, conductor
Baltimore Choral Arts Society
Tom Hall, director
Tickets start at $32 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org .
Cirque de la Symphonie
Thursday, December 31, 2015 at 8 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Friday, January 1, 2016 at 8 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Saturday, January 2, 2016 at 3 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Jack Everly, conductor
Cirque de la Symphonie
Tickets start at $33 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org .
While current at the time of publication, this calendar is subject to change. Updated calendars are issued regularly. For the most recent version, please contact the BSO Public Relations Office.
- Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall is located at 1212 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, Md.
- The Music Center at Strathmore is located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane, Bethesda, Md.
- Silver Spring Civic Building is located at 1 Veterans Place, Silver Spring, Md.
Tickets for concerts at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, The Music Center at Strathmore and Silver Spring Civic Building can be purchased through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000, 1.877.BSO.1444 or at BSOmusic.org.
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Holiday 2015 Artist Biographies
Judy Collins has inspired audiences with sublime vocals, boldly vulnerable songwriting, personal life triumphs, and a firm commitment to social activism. In the 1960s, she evoked both the idealism and steely determination of a generation united against social and environmental injustices. Five decades later, her luminescent presence shines brightly as new generations bask in the glow of her iconic 50-album body of work, and heed inspiration from her spiritual discipline to thrive in the music industry for half a century.
The award-winning singer-songwriter is esteemed for her imaginative interpretations of traditional and contemporary folk standards and her own poetically poignant original compositions. Her stunning rendition of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" from her landmark 1967 album, Wildflowers, has been entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Judy's dreamy and sweetly intimate version of "Send in the Clowns," a ballad written by Stephen Sondheim for the Broadway musical A Little Night Music, won "Song of the Year" at the 1975 Grammy Awards. She's garnered several top-ten hits gold- and platinum-selling albums. Recently, contemporary and classic artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Shawn Colvin, Arlo Gutherie, Joan Baez, and Leonard Cohen honored her legacy with the album Born to the Breed: A Tribute to Judy Collins.
Judy began her impressive music career at 13 as a piano prodigy dazzling audiences performing Mozart's "Concerto for Two Pianos," but the hardluck tales and rugged sensitivity of folk revival music by artists such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger seduced her away from a life as a concert pianist. Her path pointed to a lifelong love affair with the guitar and pursuit of emotional truth in lyrics. The focus and regimented practice of classical music, however, would be a source of strength to her inner core as she navigated the highs and lows of the music business.
In 1961, she released her masterful debut, A Maid of Constant Sorrow, which featured interpretative works of social poets of the time such as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, and Tom Paxton. This began a wonderfully fertile thirty-five year creative relationship with Jac Holzman and Elektra Records. Around this time Judy became a tastemaker within the thriving Greenwich Village folk community, and brought other singer-songwriters to a wider audience, including poet/musician Leonard Cohen - and musicians Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman. Throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and up to the present, she has remained a vital artist, enriching her catalog with critically acclaimed albums while balancing a robust touring schedule.
Based on the success of the CD/DVD Judy Collins Live At The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, which aired on PBS, Judy Collins filmed another spectacular show in Ireland, on September 29, 2013 at Dromoland Castle. The show features some classic Judy Collins songs likeChelsea Morning, Cat's In The Cradle, Bird On A Wire as well as some of her favorite Irish tunes... Wild Mountain Thyme, She Moved Through the Fair (featuring the amazing Mary Black) and of course, Danny Boy. JUDY COLLINS LIVE IN IRELAND will air on PBS nationwide in early 2014.
Judy has also authored several books, including the powerful and inspiring, Sanity & Grace. For her most recent title, the memoir Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music, she reaches deeply inside and, with unflinching candor, recalls her turbulent childhood, extraordinary rise to fame, her romance with Stephen Stills, her epic victories over depression and alcoholism, and her redemption through embracing a healthy and stable lifestyle and finding true love with Louis Nelson, her partner of 30 years. In addition, she remains a social activist, representing UNICEF and numerous other causes. She is also the co-director, with Jill Godmillow, of an Academy Award-nominated film about Antonia Brico, the first woman to conduct major symphonies around the world-and Judy's classical piano teacher when she was young.
Judy Collins, now 74, is as creatively vigorous as ever, writing, touring worldwide, and nurturing fresh talent. She is a modern day Renaissance woman who is also an accomplished painter, filmmaker, record label head, musical mentor, and an in-demand keynote speaker for mental health and suicide prevention. She continues to create music of hope and healing that lights up the world and speaks to the heart.
Judy Collins with special guest Ari Hest
Over his 15 year career, Ari Hest has released eight albums, three EPs, and "52" in 2008, an innovative project whereby he wrote, recorded and released a new song every Monday for a full year. Hest is also half of the folk pop duo The Open Sea with Rosi Golan, and half of the Brazilian music inspired pop duo Bluebirds of Paradisewith Chrissi Poland.
Hest's music has been featured in media, most notably The Lincoln Lawyer with his 2011 song "Now" as well as TV shows Private Practice, Army Wives, and One Tree Hill. Recently, Ari's song "The Landlord" appeared in an episode of NPR's "All Things Considered". In 2008, he also scored a film called Dreamriders which won several independent film awards.
Throughout his career, he has toured worldwide to support his records, most recently in Germany as well as several European countries, and built the kind of loyal fan base any musician would envy. While his newest album, 2014's Shouts and Whispers, is an excellent indication of what Hest is capable of, his live show leaves even more of an impression.
Edward Polochick is Artistic Director of Concert Artists of Baltimore, an all-professional orchestra and all-professional vocal ensemble of seventy musicians, which is celebrating its 28th season. 2014-2015 also marks his 17th season as Music Director of Lincoln's Symphony Orchestra in Nebraska. From 1979-1999 he was on the staff of the Baltimore Symphony as Director of the Symphony Chorus, and since 1979 he has been at the Peabody Conservatory as Associate Conductor of the Orchestra, Director of Choral Ensembles, and Opera Conductor. An accomplished pianist and harpsichordist, he has appeared as piano soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
Since winning the Leopold Stokowski Conducting Award and conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra, Maestro Polochick has attracted attention as an orchestral, operatic, and choral conductor. His appearances have included the Baltimore Symphony, Houston Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Aalborg Symphony of Denmark, Omaha Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Daejeon Philharmonic in Korea, St. Petersburg Symphony in Russia, and the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra in Toluca, Mexico.
Originally from the Scranton, PA area, Mr. Polochick resides in Baltimore, where he is often asked to share his knowledge and love of music at various lecture series, adjudications, and radio broadcasts. He received the Peggy and Yale Gordon Achievement Award and in 2000 he was made an honorary member of the Baltimore Music Club. In 2002 he was awarded the Johns Hopkins University Distinguished Alumnus Award, one of only three Peabody alumni to be so honored. In 2011 he adjudicated the Rosa Ponselle International Vocal Competition in Caiazzo, Italy. This season Maestro Polochick leads a set of Masterworks Series concerts on the podium of the Charleston (SC) Symphony.
Concert Artists of Baltimore
Founded by Edward Polochick and now in its 29th season, Concert Artists of Baltimore (CAB) consists of a professional chamber orchestra and professional chamber chorus. The full ensembles are featured in The Maestro Series, with performances this season at the Gordon Center For Performing Arts and St. Pius X Church. CAB also offers chamber music, The Mansion Series, with performances at The Engineers Club at the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion. This series showcases smaller forces, such as a quartet or small vocal group, and often features unique repertoire.
The orchestra and chorus are frequently hired for performances throughout the region by other organizations, including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera Baltimore, Moscow Ballet, the Baltimore Basilica, Temple Oheb Shalom, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, McDaniel College, St. Louis Church, The Holocaust Museum, The Visionary Arts Museum, The Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, and Catholic Charities. When larger forces are needed, such as when the singers of Concert Artists perform Messiah with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra each year, the chorus expands to the Concert Artists Symphonic Chorale. The 2014-15 season featured a groundbreaking collaboration with the Baltimore Rock Opera Society at 2640 Space, a partnership that continues with Convergence Maximus II: Operatic Overdrive in February 2016.
The mission of Concert Artists of Baltimore is to present classical music performances of well-known and lesser-known composers by an elite professional chorus and chamber orchestra, thus providing a visceral music experience to audiences in the Greater Baltimore Metropolitan Area. In 2015 Concert Artists of Baltimore was one of 20 Baltimore arts organizations chosen by the DeVos Institute through a competitive application process to participate in "Capacity Building Baltimore".
Soprano Jennifer O'Loughlin has received critical acclaim for her performances throughout Europe, America and Japan. As Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, her charming singing has been described as "a miracle of precision." Her Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail was praised for her "magnificently dramatic coloratura" while her Cunegonde in Candide was "bewitching, brilliant and theatrical." For her performance of Cunegonde at the Vienna Volksoper, she was nominated as Best Female Lead by the Austrian Music Theater Awards.
Most recently, Ms. O'Loughlin made her debut at the New National Theater Tokyo where she enraptured the public with her voluptuous and classy Adele in "Die Fledermaus" (January 2015).
"On May 30, a number of world-famous artists embraced the good cause once again at the Red Ribbon Celebration Concert 2014: Piotr Beczala, Thomas Hampson, Yusif Eyvazov, Luca Pisaroni, Ildar Abdrazakov, Vesselina Kasarova and Jennifer O'Loughlin lent their unique voices to the motto 'United in difference'. The soloists of the gala concert were accompanied by the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Cornelius Meister" (www.lifeball.org).
With Vesselina Kasarova, Ms. O'Loughlin performed the Flower Duet from Lakme and her solo aria, "Glitter and be Gay" from Candide received a rousing ovation from the Vienna Burgtheater audience. The following evening, Ms. O'Loughlin was seen and heard live on Austrian national television performing "Apollo und Hyacinth" for the opening of LIFE BALL.
In 2013, Ms. O'Loughlin debuted triumphantly as Semele in Händel's Semele with Munich's Gärtnerplatztheater and received the Maria Callas and Audience Favorite Prizes for her performance of the Mad Scene from Lucia di Lammermoor at the Paris Opera Awards.
She has worked with such conductors as Zubin Mehta, Daniel Harding, Manfred Honeck, and James Conlon with whom she sang the American premiere of Zemlinsky's "Maiblumen blühten überall" at the Aspen Music Festival. In concert, Ms. O'Loughlin has also been heard with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra, the Tonkünstler Orchestra, the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra, and at the festivals in Salzburg and Bregenz.
Other operatic credits include: Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Bavarian State Opera, Gilda in Rigoletto and Frau Fluth in Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor with the Vienna Volksoper; Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Salzburg Festival; Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte at the Vienna State Opera and Hamburg State Opera; Messenger of Peace in Rienzi at the Théâtre du Capitole Toulouse; and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte at the Grand Théâtre de Genève.
Upcoming engagements include: Pergolesi's Stabat Mater with RAI Orchestra Sinfonica Nationale in Torino and Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte at the Gärtnerplatztheater in Munich, and Carmina Burana with Kristyan Järvi at the George Enescu International Festival in Bucharest.
At the Peabody Conservatory, Ms. O'Loughlin earned a Bachelor of Music degree, where she studied with Ruth Drucker. She continued her studies at the Manhattan School of Music, where she earned a Master of Music degree studying with Joan Patenaude-Yarnell. The following year she received a Karajan Foundation grant to attend the Zürich Opera Studio. After that season, she was engaged by the Vienna Volksoper, where she was an ensemble member for several seasons. Ms. O'Loughlin currently studies with Mark Markham.
Ms. O'Loughlin can be heard on the recordings of Acide by Haydn with the Haydn Sinfonietta Wien (BIS label), Mass by L. Bernstein with the Tonkünstler Orchestra (Chandos label) and the DVD of Rienzi at the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse (Opus Arte).
American mezzo-soprano Nancy Maultsby is in demand by opera companies and orchestras throughout the world. Her unique vocal timbre and insightful musicianship allow her to pursue a repertoire extending from the operas of Monteverdi and Handel to recent works by John Adams. She regularly performs the major heroines of nineteenth-century French, Italian, and German opera and the great symphonic masterpieces.
Highlights of Nancy Maultsby's 2015-2016 season features performances of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the San Antonio Symphony conducted by Sebastian Lang-Lessing, Handel's Messiah with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Edward Polochick, as well as a return to Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Jeibaba in Dvo?ák's Rusalka.
A recent graduate of Washington National Opera's Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, a program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Soloman Howard is garnering superlatives from the press for his vivid performances on the opera and concert stages. His voice is called "sonorous" by The New York Times, "superhuman" by The Denver Post, and "spectacular" by Maryland Theatre Guide.
Soloman Howard's 2015-16 season includes performances with Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Appomattox and Der Ring des Nibelungen with Washington National Opera, Simon Boccanegra at l'Opéra national de Bordeaux, and Don Giovanni with Santa Fe Opera.
Concert appearances of the recent past include numerous performances with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, a Carnegie Hall debut with the Oratorio Society of New York, and a European debut with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra.
Soloman Howard is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and Morgan State University.
Ken was appointed Music Director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in 2014 and will begin his tenure there beginning this September. He is currently Associate Conductor for Education of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestras, Resident Conductor of the Brevard Music Center, Artistic Director of Hong Kong Voices and Associate Professor and Director of Orchestra at Montclair State University in New Jersey.
In 2011 Ken won the Memphis Symphony Orchestra International Conducting Competition and was a featured conductor in the League of American Orchestra's 2009 Bruno Walter National Conductors Preview with the Nashville Symphony. He made his US professional debut with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in June 2008 as one of four conductors selected by Leonard Slatkin. In recent seasons he led performances with the symphony orchestras of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Pops, Baltimore, Detroit, Memphis, Illinois and Meridian, as well as he Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and the Taipei Symphony Orchestra.
In opera, he directed numerous productions of the Janiec Opera Company at Brevard and was Assistant Conductor at Cincinnati Opera, Baltimore Lyric Opera and at the Castleton Festival. In recent seasons, he led critically acclaimed productions at the Spoleto Festival USA, Lincoln Center Festival and at the Luminato Festival in Canada and his run of Massenet's Manon at Peabody Conservatory was hailed by the Baltimore Sun as a top ten classical event in the Washington D.C/Baltimore area in 2010.
Previously Ken held positions as Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Principal Conductor of the Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra.
Ken studied conducting with Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar at Peabody Conservatory. David Zinman and Murry Sidlin at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen and Leonard Slatkin at the National Conducting Institute studying with Leonard Slatkin. He read economics at St. John's College, Cambridge University and was an attorney specializing in international finance for ten years before becoming a conductor.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Damon Gupton held the post of Assistant Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony from 2006-2008. Gupton received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Michigan. He studied conducting with David Zinman and Murry Sidlin at the Aspen Music Festival and with Leonard Slatkin at the National Conducting Institute in Washington, D.C. He served as American Conducting Fellow of the Houston Symphony for the 2004-2005 season, and has made conducting appearances with the Cleveland Orchestra (as part of a Blossom program with David Zinman), the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Florida Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, the Princeton Symphony, the Toledo Symphony, the Monte Carlo Philharmonic, the NHK Orchestra of Tokyo, the Orquesta Filarmonica de UNAM, the New York University Orchestras, the Kinhaven Music School Orchestra, the Vermont Music Festival Orchestra, the Brass Band of Battle Creek, the Michigan Youth Arts Festival Honors Orchestra and the SPHINX Symphony as part of the 12th Annual Sphinx Competition. He led the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra on a national tour, culminating in performances at Carnegie Hall and a well-reviewed recording available at White Pine Music. He is a winner of the Third International Eduardo Mata Conducting Competition, held in Mexico City. Musical collaborations include work with Marcus Miller, Kenn Hicks, Kathleen Battle, and Jamie Cullum.
An accomplished actor, Gupton graduated from The Drama Division of the Juilliard School in New York. Currently, he is a star of the new television series The Divide, produced by AMC for WeTv. Other television credits include Rake with Greg Kinnear, Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom, Prime Suspect on NBC, Law and Order, Law and Order Criminal Intent, Conviction, The Unusuals, Third Watch, Hack, Drift and Dick Wolf's Deadline. On film, he has appeared in Unfaithful directed by Adrian Lyne, The Loretta Claiborne Story, Helen at Risk, Sidney Lumet's Before The Devil Knows You're Dead, M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender, This is Forty from Judd Apatow, and the upcoming Sony Pictures feature Whiplash.
On stage, he has been seen in the Broadway production of Bruce Norris' Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning Clybourne Park. He received an AUDELCO nomination for best supporting actor for originating the role. Other theater credits include Superior Donuts (The Geffen Playhouse), Christina Anderson's Inked Baby (Playwrights Horizons), Meg's New Friend (The Production Company), Wendy Wasserstein's An American Daughter (Arena Stage), True History and Real Adventures (The Vineyard Theatre), and Treason (Perry Street Theatre). He starred opposite Tony award-winner Phylicia Rashad in the world premiere of Tracey Scott Wilson's The Story at New York's Public Theater. He also performed the title role of Academy Award-winner Eric Simonson's Carter's Way at Kansas City Repertory Theater, and in the title role in the critically acclaimed Heart of America Shakespeare Festival production of Othello.
Mr. Gupton has been featured as narrator in many venues including The Grant Park Music Festival, The St. Louis Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Grand Teton Music Festival, The Memphis Symphony, and on the The Videmus recording Fare Ye Well.
Awards include the Robert J. Harth Conducting Prize and The Aspen Conducting Prize. Mr.Gupton is the inaugural recipient of the Emerging Artist Award from the University of Michigan School of Music and Alumni Society. He was named a Presidential Professor by the University of Michigan in January 2009.
Dubbed "The Last Leading Man" by the New York Times, Brian Stokes Mitchell has enjoyed a rich and varied career on Broadway, television and film, along with appearances in the great American concert halls.His musical versatility has kept him in demand by some of the country's finest conductors and orchestras. He has performed selections from "Porgy and Bess" with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony at Carnegie Hall; Performed works by Aaron Copland and various contemporary composers at the Hollywood Bowl with the L.A. Philharmonic under the batons of Leonard and John Mauceri; Broadway tunes at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC under the baton of the late Marvin Hamlisch (most recently at the National Symphony Orchestra's 75th season Pops concert debut), and Jazz and standards with Maestro John Williams at Disney Hall and with the Boston Pops. He debuted Pulitzer prize-winning composer David Del Tredici's "Rip Van Winkle" with the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leonard Slatkin. He has been invited to the White House and has performed for Presidents Carter, Clinton and Obama. He reprised his Tanglewood performance in John Williams' Jazz version of "My Fair Lady" at Disney Hall singing opposite Dianne Reeves. In 2005 he made his cabaret debut as both singer and musical arranger in New York at Feinstein's at the Regency in his critically acclaimed one-man show "Love/Life" which then moved to the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center. He received both the New York Bistro and Nightlife awards for his cabaret debut. He returned there in November of 2008 with a critically acclaimed concert where he was accompanied by a guitarist, a bassist and a percussionist.
He headlined the Carnegie Hall concert presentation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific" with Reba McEntire, which aired on PBS in the Spring of 2006. It was also released on DVD and CD . He reprised his role along with Reba McEntire in July of 2007 at the Hollywood bowl then returned to The Hollywood bowl in August of 2008 starring as Javert in Les Miserables. His Broadway career includes performances in "Man of La Mancha" (Tony nomination and Helen Hayes Award); "Kiss Me Kate" (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards); "Ragtime" (Tony nomination); August Wilson's "King Hedley II" (Tony nomination); "Kiss of the Spider Woman;" "Jelly's Last Jam;" David Merrick's "Oh, Kay!" and "Mail," which earned him a Theatre World award for outstanding Broadway Debut. In 2011, Stokes returned to Broadway after a 7-year absence to do concerts, film and TV and spend some family time with his young son. The show was Lincoln Center Theatre's production of "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" which also starred Patti LuPone. Based on the Pedro Almodovar film of the same name, Stokes played the philandering Ivan. The cast album was released the same year. At Encores he has starred in "Do, Re, Mi" and "Carnival" most recently starring in "Kismet." In 1998 he joined the likes of Helen Hayes, Sir John Gielgud, Alec Guinness and James Earl Jones when he became the sole recipient of that year's Distinguished Performance Award from the Drama League, the nation's oldest theatrical honor, for his performance in "Ragtime." His long television career began with a seven year stint on "Trapper John, MD." Numerous film and TV appearances more recently include"One Last Thing" which debuted at this year's Toronto Film Festival, recurring roles on "Crossing Jordan" and "Frasier," PBS'"Great Performances," DreamWorks' "The Prince of Egypt" (singing "Through Heaven's Eyes"), and his "Presidential Debut" in "The Singer and the Song" from the White House. In May of 2011, Stokes appeared in the film "Jumping The Broom" playing opposite Angela Bassett for the 2nd time (The first being "Ruby's Bucket of Blood" for Showtime). Stokes played Mr. Watson, the well-to do father of the bride. Stokes has continued to stay active in the recording world as well. He has appeared on more than 20 albums as a cast member or special guest. In 2006 he released his self-titled album as the inaugural artist on the newly-formed Playbill Records label. In addition to singing, Stokes produced the album and also wrote many of the arrangements and orchestrations. It was mixed by 15 -time Grammy winner Al Schmitt and the liner notes were penned by John Williams. In late 2012, Stokes released his Sophomore album "Simply Broadway." Inspired by classic piano/vocal albums of the American Songbook, Stokes decided to use this same simple approach using songs from the Broadway Cannon. Stokes and his pianist, Tedd Firth, coarranged and recorded 25 songs, 12 of which made it onto "Simply Broadway" (a release of the other songs is sure to follow). The recordings were made in the "old style" - singer and pianist recording together in the same room at the same time without overdubs.
USA today picked "Simply Broadway" as one of the "Best albums of 2013" and Stokes continues to tour his concert version of that album. Simply Broadway is available on iTunes, Amazon ad CD Baby.In Late 2013, Stokes put together a brand new Christmas Concert that was performed in Denver with the Colorado Symphony, The Kennedy Center with the NSO and at Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic. Stokes and Tedd Firth created delightfully creative new arrangements of various Holiday classics and Stokes arranged and orchestrated 2 of the songs himself. He also wrote and performed a new Christmas song called "Christmas Is All About" that was debuted at these concerts. In 2014 Stokes continues to tour all over the United States with "Simply Broadway" and various other concerts. In May, he will be performing as King Arthur in a one -night-only Gala concert at the Kennedy Center in "Camelot." That will be followed with his "Shakespeare in the Park" debut as Don Pedro in "Much Ado About Nothing" in Central park, directed by Jack O'Brien. For the 2014 holiday season, Stokes will be touring with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under the baton of John Morris Russel once again performing Holiday favorites at various cities across the US. As a writer Stokes was a contributor to the book "Hirschfeld's Harlem," wrote the preface to "At This Theatre," and was a co-author of "Lights on Broadway with Brian Stokes Mitchell."
For fun he has been known to fly planes and jump out of them, and can ride a bicycle on a high wire.
Stokes has enjoyed working with numerous charitable organizations from the March of Dimes to the USO, most recently participating in a concert, CD and DVD that raised money for the community of Sandy Hook, NY after their terrible tragedy.
He is in his 10th term as Chairman of the Board of the Actors' Fund (www.actorsfund.org). Stokes resides in New York City with his wife, son and rescued mutt, Diggidy.
Morgan State University Choir and Dr. Eric Conway
Christmas with the Morgan State University Choir
The Morgan State University Choir is one of the nation's most prestigious university choral ensembles. The choral forces of this critically acclaimed choir include The University Choir, which is over 120 voices strong, and The Morgan Singers - approximately 40 voices. While classical, gospel, and contemporary popular music comprise the choir's repertoire; the choir is noted for its emphasis on preserving the heritage of the spiritual, especially in the historic practices of performance.
The Morgan State University Choir has performed for audiences throughout the United States and all over the world - including Virgin Islands, Canary Islands, Canada, Africa, Asia and Europe. One of the Choir's most historic moments came with the opportunity to sing under the baton of Robert Shaw, conducting the Orchestra of St. Lukes and joined by Jessye Norman and others in Carnegie Hall's One Hundredth Birthday Tribute to Marian Anderson. A major milestone and historical movement occurred in the 1996-1997 season with the sounds of the "Silver Anniversary" concert being broadcast into households throughout the state of Maryland. The concert won three Emmy Awards for Maryland Public Television (MPT).
Known for their consistency of excellent performances, the Choir probably performs with more major orchestras of the United States than any other university choir. During the 1999-2000 season, the Choir was featured with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in a (then) newly commissioned work for the millennium, "All Rise," by Wynton Marsalis. The Choir reprised "All Rise" in Prague, in October 2000 and recorded it with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra; the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and in 2003, the Choir recorded it in Paris. In December 2003 the Choir performed "African Portraits" with the Baltimore Symphony at the Gala Concert for the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. In their May 2004 issue, Reader's Digest named the Morgan State University Choir "the Best College Choir in the U.S.' in its list of "America's 100 Best."
In February 2005, at the personal invitation of Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice, the choir performed for the State Department for their annual African American History Month Celebration. In October of the same year, the Morgan State University Choir sang for the service honoring Rosa Parks, the unassuming matriarch of the civil rights movement, who became the first woman to lie in honor at our nation's Capitol Rotunda. In March of 2006, Cox Communications sponsored the choir in a special presentation on television to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans to critical acclaim. During the summer of 2006, the Choir traveled to Prague, Czech Republic, for two concerts with maestro Paul Freeman and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. In November 2006, the ensemble participated in a concert celebrating the Bicentennial Celebration and Re-opening of the Basilica of the Assumption - the first cathedral in America! In March 2007, the Choir sang at the Kennedy Center for a Living Jazz Legends Concert where the Choir performed with legendary Jazz performers as Nancy Wilson, Billy Taylor, Regina Carter, Jon Faddis, and T.S. Monk!
In August 2007, at the invitation of US Ambassador Bridgewater, the choir traveled to Ghana to help that country celebrate its 50th year of Independence. Also, in 2007, the choir was the recipient of a Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation grant which help underwrite performances around the Mid-Atlantic Region. Under the auspice of this grant, the choir performed throughout the region with performances at The Strand Performing Arts Center in Harrisburg, PA, Strathmore Hall in Rockville, MD, and the several area colleges including Juniata College, Delaware State, Frostburg State, Hood College, Harford Community College, and University of Virgin Islands to mention a few.
In April 2008, the Morgan State University Choir sang at Carnegie Hall performing Faure's Requiem Mass with Bobby McFerrin and the Orchestra of St. Lukes. October, of the same year, the Morgan State University Choir returned to Carnegie Hall, this time with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The BSO featured a seldom-performed piece - Leonard Bernstein's Mass - to celebrate the 90th birthday of the composer. In this work, the critics proclaimed the choir as "brilliant, refined and spirited as ever" in their presentation. During the following year, the recording of Mass was released on Naxos records heralded by critics as the definitive recording of the work! As a result of this acclaim, the recording was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Album of 2009.
In 2009, the choir traveled to two international destinations. In June of 2009, the choir sang in Bogotá and Medellín, Colombia at the invitation of the US Ambassador to that country. In July, the choir traveled to South Africa to sing in an international Choral festival. One of the highlights of the tour was singing Happy Birthday to Nelson Mandela on his 90th birthday celebration on national South African television.
In May 2010, the choir received acclaim for their performance with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Kathleen Battle on a program entitled the Underground Railroad. A week later, the choir was off to a ten-day, five-city tour of China. The highlight of the Chinese tour were two concerts at the Shanghai Expo - The World's Fair- at the American Pavilion, again mesmerizing the audience with their eclectic program mixture from Beethoven to Michael Jackson.
In October 2010, the choir travelled to St. Petersburg, Russia to participate in a Conservatory-week Festival at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, one of only three U.S. universities to participate. In May of 2011, Maryland Public Television, released a new DVD of the choir in high definition, simply entitled: Lift Every Heart. During the summer of 2011, the choir travelled to Italy, to including performances at the Vatican in Rome.
During 2011-2012 academic year, the choir had several prominent performances. In August, the choir sang for an event celebration the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, DC. On September 11, 2011, the choir sang for the unveiling of the Maryland State 911 Memorial in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. In November, the choir sang with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in a concert at Carnegie Hall singing Honneger's Joan of Arc at the Stake. Just this past April, the choir premiered a symphony "Affirmations" by Williams Banfield with the acclaimed group Sweet Honey in the Rock and the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center. Last summer, the choir travelled to Brazil for a ten-day tour. Following Brazil excursion, the choir toured Jamaica, at the invitation of US Ambassador to Jamaica, Pamela Bridgewater, helping that country celebrate 50 years of independence during the 4 th of July holiday. This summer, June 2013, the choir will travel to Australia to share their music!
The Morgan State University Choir has shared its musical gifts on many grand stages all over the world - with numerous dignitaries and celebrated performers - making them cultural ambassadors for Morgan State University, the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland and the United States. Please visit www.msuchoir.org for additional information.
Assistant Conductor with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, conductor Nicholas Hersh has served as Music Director of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra in Indiana and Assistant Conductor with the National Repertory Orchestra in Colorado. He has appeared in concert with the New World Symphony in Miami and the Southern Great Lakes Symphony in Detroit, and he has served as cover conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and the Aspen Music Festival. In 2011 and 2012 he was a Conducting Fellow at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, and he is a recipient of the Solti Foundation US Career Assistance Award.
Nicholas grew up in Evanston, Illinois and started his musical training with the cello. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Music from Stanford University and a Master's Degree in Conducting from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, studying with David Effron and Arthur Fagen. He also counts Robert Spano, Hugh Wolff and Larry Rachleff among his conducting mentors, and has participated in masterclasses with Bernard Haitink and Michael Tilson Thomas.
Hersh's performance credits span a diverse range of genres beyond the traditional concert canon, including opera, Broadway, pops, choral, Viennese dance, ballet, and film music. An avid performer of