Celebrate New Beginnings with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony

Celebrate the New Year with the Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra (HSO) and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony - a joyful celebration of music, community and hope - on Thursday, December 29 at 7:30 p.m. and Friday, December 30 at 7:30 p.m. Maestro JoAnn Falletta leads the HSO, performing with the O?ahu Choral Society and Artistic Director Dr. Esther S. Yoo, and nationally noted guest soloists Rachel Schutz, soprano; Charlene Chi, mezzo-soprano; Kip Wilborn, tenor; and Jeremy M. Wong, baritone. Considered by many to be the greatest piece of music ever written, Beethoven's final symphony has become a universal anthem of humankind, with a message of optimism and faith at the dawn of the New Year. Its majestic closing movement featuring Friedrich Schiller's poem "An die Freude" ("Ode to Joy"), with additions made by the composer himself, is a breathtaking experience.

Called "one of the greatest achievements of the human spirit," Beethoven's Ninth Symphony has become synonymous with New Year celebrations. The English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams once wrote, "To my mind, two composers and two only, have been able to write music which is at the same time serious, profound and cheerful - Bach in the 'Cum Sancto' of the B minor Mass and Beethoven in the finale of the 'Choral' Symphony." Still highly relevant today, Leonard Bernstein chose to conduct Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at the international celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Celebrate new beginnings at Beethoven's Ninth Symphony! Tickets start at $34 and are on sale now at HiSymphony.org or by calling 94-MUSIC (946-8742). Active-duty military ($20) and student rush ($13) discounted tickets will be available for the concert beginning December 26. This concert also features Strauss's Death & Transfiguration.

"This is the Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra's fourth year in a row presenting Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the O'ahu Choral Society since the founding of the Orchestra," said Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Jonathan Parrish. "All of the soloists are Hawaii-based and two are members of the O'ahu Choral Society. It is a pleasure to establish a tradition that showcases all of the musical talent that we have here in Hawai'i."

About Rachel Schutz, Soprano
Hailed for her "diamantine high notes, witty characterization, and giddily delirious coloratura" (Boston Globe), soprano Rachel Schutz is increasingly in demand for her sensitive and evocative performances and wide range of repertoire. She is active both in the opera house and on the concert stage, having performed extensively around the United States, Europe and Asia. Recent operatic roles have included Papagena, Diana (Siren Song) and Johanna (Sweeney Todd) with Hawai'i Opera Theater, Thérèse (Les mamelles de Tirésias) and Jessie (Mahagonny Songspiel) with Opera Paralèlle, Susanna and Adele (Die Fledermaus) with Stockton Opera, and Blondchen and Musetta with Stony Brook Opera. A seasoned recitalist and concert singer known for her "communicative zest," Schutz has been heard at the Ravinia Festival under the direction of James Conlon, at the Ojai Festival, at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, on the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series, with the Boston Pops Orchestra, and at venues across China, Taiwan, Korea and Thailand.

About Charlene Chi, Mezzo-Soprano

Charlene Chi is an active performer of operatic, chamber and concert repertoire in Hawaii. Previously she was heavily active in the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara areas, and has also provided solo recitals in the Pacific Northwest, Denver, Canada, Korea, Germany and Italy. Recently, Chi appeared as a guest soloist in Rome's Basilica de Santa Maria del Popolo, performing Pergolesi's Stabat Mater with three women's choruses, conducted by Maestro Fabrizio Fucile. She also collaborated with celebrated Vatican organist Maestro Giancarlo Libertucci to present the newly restored and historically significant organ and mural in Bologna. In 2014, Chi was honored to be only the second singer ever to record her debut CD at the world renowned Fazioli Concert Hall in Sacile, Italy. Chi completed her doctoral degree at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music, in Vocal Performance.

About Kip Wilborn, Tenor

Tenor Kip Wilborn has enjoyed a career that has flourished in both North America and Europe. Versatile and accomplished in the classical repertoire, his credits as a leading operatic tenor include engagements in opera houses such as San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, New York City Opera, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Cleveland Opera, Cincinnati Opera, San Diego Opera, Volksoper Vienna, Trieste's Teatro Giuseppe Verdi, Essen's Aalto Theater, Berlin's Theater des Westens, Dublin Grand Opera, and Wexford Festival. Favorite roles within his repertoire include Cavaradossi in Tosca, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Calaf in Turandot, Don José in Carmen, Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana, and Siegmund in Die Walküre. On the concert stage, he has performed as a soloist with various orchestras, including the Baltimore Symphony, American Symphony Orchestra (at Alice Tully Hall), Utah Symphony, Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, Russian Philharmonic Orchestra of Moscow, Theater im Pfalzbau Orchestra, Lehar International Orchestra, and Irish Radio Symphony.

About Jeremy M. Wong, Baritone

Baritone Jeremy M. Wong is rapidly building a name for himself as a soloist and ensemble singer on both the international and U.S. stages. He made his European debut in 2015 singing as both soloist and chorister with the Junges Stuttgarter Bach Ensemble (JSB Ensemble) in Stuttgart, Germany under Maestro Hans-Christoph Rademann and Kathy Saltzman Romey. Since then, he has been invited back to Germany twice more to sing as a chorister with the Weimar Bach Cantata Academy under the baton of Maestro Helmuth Rilling. Domestically, he has sung as a core member of the Berwick Chorus of the Oregon Bach Festival under the direction of Matthew Halls and Maestro Rilling, where he sang in the world premiere of James MacMillan's A European Requiem, alongside performances of masterworks by the great composers. Locally, he regularly collaborates with Early Music Hawai'i as conductor, soloist, and chorister, and has performed numerous solos with the Bach Chamber Orchestra and Lutheran Church of Honolulu Choir.

Active-duty military ($20) and student rush ($13) discounts will be available for this concert beginning, Monday, December 26. Tickets must be purchased at either the Blaisdell Box Office or at the HSO Box Office in-person. Appropriate ID must be presented at the time of purchase. For more information, call the Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra Box Office (808) 94-MUSIC -(808) 946-8742 from Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

About the Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra

The Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra was founded in 2011 and made its debut in 2012. The new HSO carries on the legacy of the Honolulu Symphony, which was founded in 1900 and performed for more than a century. The orchestra employs 84 professional musicians and presents classical masterworks, pops, educational and community programs.

The mission of the Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra is to present the highest-quality performances of great music, bringing national and international distinction to the orchestra and its community; to delight and educate audiences of all ages and backgrounds, and enhance the cultural vitality and quality of life in these Islands; and to operate in a financially sound manner.

For more information or to make a donation, please visit www.HawaiiSymphonyOrchestra.org. Share your Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra experience with the #HiSymphony hashtag on Twitter and Instagram @HawaiiSymphonyOrchestra and on Facebook: facebook.com/HawaiiSymphony.

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