Jason C. Tramm Leads the Morris Choral Society in the New Jersey premiere of Karl Jenkins' THE PEACEMAKERS

Jason C. Tramm Leads the Morris Choral Society in the New Jersey premiere of Karl Jenkins' THE PEACEMAKERSJason C. Tramm leads the Morris Choral Society in the New Jersey premiere of Karl Jenkins' "The Peacemakers" May 20th at the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts, Drew University


"Peace, Triumphant Peace! will feature the Morris Choral Society with the Morristown based MidAtlantic Opera Orchestra and internationally renowned guest soloists pianist Cristiana Pegoraro and violinist Byung-Kook Kwak under the baton of MCS Music Director Jason C. Tramm in a concert dedicated to peace and peacemakers worldwide. The concert program will feature the New Jersey premiere of Karl Jenkins' monumental work for chorus and orchestra "The Peacemakers", Mendelssohn's serene a capella work for choir "Verleih uns Freiden" (Grant us Peace) and Beethoven's majestic "Choral Fantasy, Op. 80" uniting piano, voice and orchestra. The concert will take place in the Dorothy Young Center Concert Hall, at Drew University. The magnificent chamber music and recital hall, renowned for its crystal-clear acoustics opened in 2005, and was immediately adopted by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center as their New Jersey home.

Tramm - whose 2015 Carnegie Hall concert "Prayer for Peace" culminated his 2015 NJ/NYC "Peace Trilogy" and underscored his reputation as a champion of classical music as an instrument of peace - responded to the Morris Choral Society members' desire to conclude their 2016-17 season with a concert dedicated to peace and peacemakers worldwide. Upon securing the rights to present the NJ premiere of contemporary Welsh composer Karl Jenkins's masterwork the "The Peacemakers" Tramm engaged noted Korean -American violinist Byung-Kook Kwak, as both concertmaster and featured soloist to perform Jenkins' challenging violin solo movements, a signature feature of the composer.

"The Peacemakers," Tramm said "continues Jenkins' thematic work extolling the healing power of music in the face of violence. No one can forget the power and solace Jenkins Mass provided when it was performed as a centerpiece for the 10th Anniversary Commemorative Concert of 9/11 at Lincoln Center." Scored for full symphonic orchestra and three choirs" Tramm added 'The Peacemakers' has 17 movements reflecting lyrics from world renown multi-cultural 'peacemakers' including Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Terry Waite, Martin Luther King, Gandhi and Anne Frank. Jenkins sets these wonderful "voices" in a timeless, dreamlike setting directly speaking to us with a sense of urgency, bridging continents and the ages."

Jenkins creates a musical environment that helps identify the peacemaker's origin or culture. The composer himself points out his use of the bansuri (Indian flute) and tabla in the Gandhi movement, the shakuhachi (a Japanese flute associated with Zen Buddhism) and temple bells in the selection inspired by the Dalai Lama, African percussion in the Mandela movement and echoes of the blues of the deep American South (as well as a quote from Schumann's Träumerei (Dreaming) in his tribute to Martin Luther King and of course the movement 'Healing Light: a Celtic prayer' uses uilleann pipes and bodhrán drums.

Responding to the news of the New Jersey premiere of "The Peacemakers," Dr. Lynn L. Siebert, Director of Arts Participation & Communications with Morris Arts, was delighted and said "Morris Choral Society, led by the distinguished conductor Jason Tramm, is presenting this special peace-themed concert in the spirit of Leonard Bernstein's famous quote: "'This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before." Morris Arts, dedicated to building communities through the arts, is proud to help support such worthy efforts."

In addition to Jenkins' contemporary masterwork which concludes both the concert and the Morris Choral Society's 2016-17 season, "Peace, Triumphant Peace" will also showcase the strengths of the Morris Choral Society in beautiful classical works inspired by peace written in earlier ages. Mendelssohn's 'Verleih' uns Frieden' (1831) heavily influenced by the music of Bach, incorporates an instrumental introduction featuring split cellos. The bass section of the chorus sings a simple, chorale-like melody. The altos then take up that melody while the basses sing a countermelody. The final, culminating section is a 4-part choral harmonization of the initial theme with full orchestral accompaniment. Ultimately Mendelssohn creates a graceful and romantic prayer for peace.

Beethoven's exquisite "Choral Fantasy, Op. 80" (1808) was intended to be a "grand finale" originally performed by Beethoven himself at the piano when the work premiered in Vienna.

Internationally acclaimed Italian pianist Crisitana Pegoraro will perform the virtuosic score Beethoven composed to underscore his sentiments about the power of beauty, peace and joy. Hailed by The New York Times "An artist of the highest caliber" Italian-born pianist Cristiana Pegoraro has performed on the most prestigious stages in Europe, United States, South America, Asia and Australia, including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the United Nations, the Guggenheim Museum (New York); the Sydney Opera House; Festspielhaus (Salzburg); Musikverein (Vienna); Royal College of Music (London); Auditorium Parco della Musica, Casa del Jazz (Rome); Teatro alla Scala (Milan); Centro Cultural de Belem (Lisbon); Theatro Municipal (São Paulo); Theatro Municipal (Rio de Janeiro), the Opera House (Manaus), Budapest Spring Festival, Umbria Jazz Winter, Sorrento Jazz Festival, S. Petersburg Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Klavierfestival Ruhr (Germany), Shabyt Festival Astana (Kazakhstan), Aichi World Expo (Japan) and Saragoza World Expo (Spain), among others.

Cristiana Pegoraro is the first Italian female pianist to perform classical concerts in Bahrain, Yemen and Oman as well as to perform all 32 Sonatas for piano by Ludwig van Beethoven. As an ambassador of the classical piano repertoire Cristiana Pegoraro has appeared in front of the highest world dignitaries, such as the President of Italy, the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Governor of NY, Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, the Italian Minister of Economic Development and the President of the Austrian Senate. Her piano artistry can be heard on 25 compact discs. Her latest CD "Astor Piazzolla Tangos" received the Gold Medal at the prestigious Global Music Awards. Ms. Pegoraro graduated with highest honors from the Conservatory of Terni, Italy, at the age of sixteen. She continued her studies with Jörg Demus in Vienna and Hans Leygraf at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. She later studied with Nina Svetlanova at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

Morris Choral Society Music Director, Jason C. Tramm is a seasoned professional conductor and artistic director whose work in the operatic, symphonic and choral realms has received critical acclaim throughout the Unites States and abroad. Maestro Tramm serves as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the MidAtlantic Opera with whom he made his Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium) in 2015 with his critically acclaimed "Prayer for Peace" concert. He also serves as the Music Director/Principal Conductor of Teatro Lirico d'Europa, a touring professional opera company, with whom he will conduct Madama Butterfly (Puccini), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini), Rigoletto (Verdi) and Aida (Verdi) in the 2017-18 season in theaters in Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Massachusetts. He will also be returning this season as guest conductor for Opera New Hampshire (Manchester, New Hampshire) and Palmetto Opera (Columbia, South Carolina). Last season's tour repertoire included Turandot (Puccini), Madama Butterfly (Puccini), La Traviata (Verdi) and Carmen (Bizet).

An accomplished educator, Tramm serves on the faculty at Seton Hall University as Director of Choral Activities, where he leads the University Choir, Chamber Choir, Orchestra, and teaches voice and conducting. He is also actively sought as a clinician and regularly presents lectures. Dr. Tramm was named the 2017 University Faculty Teacher of the Year by Seton Hall University. He holds degrees in music from the Crane School, the Hartt School, and a DMA in Conducting from Rutgers University, where he was the recipient of their prestigious Presidential Fellowship. In 2003, he joined the ranks of Metropolitan Opera Stars Renee Fleming and Stephanie Blythe in being honored with the Rising Star Award from the SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association.

Currently in his 11th season as Director of Music, in Residence, of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, Tramm leads the choral, orchestral, and oratorio performances in the 6,500-seat historic Great Auditorium in the summer months. In addition to the historic Ocean Grove Choir Festival, the largest sacred music festival on the East Coast, Tramm conducts orchestral and sacred masterworks. He has appeared on two National Public Radio broadcasts with organ virtuoso Gordon Turk and a large orchestra. He also serves as the Artistic Advisor/Conductor of the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra, with whom he will conduct Brahms Symphony No. 4 and Rachmaninoff's second piano concerto (Drew Petersen, Soloist) in January of 2018. Tramm led the NJ State Opera as principal conductor and Artistic Director from 2008 to 2012, where he collaborated with some of the finest voices in opera, including Samuel Ramey, Vladimir Galouzine, Angela Brown, Gregg Baker, and Paul Plishka. His 2009 HDTV broadcast with PBS affiliate NJN of "Verdi Requiem: Live from Ocean Grove," garnered a regional Emmy Award nomination.

A frequent guest conductor, Jason Tramm has led operatic and symphonic performances in Italy, Romania, Albania, and Hungary, where he recorded an album of rarely heard French operatic arias with the Szeged Symphony. In July 2017, he has been invited to conduct the Narnia Arts Festival (Narni, Italy), where he will conduct fully-staged performances of Puccini's Suor Angelica and Gianni Schichi at the Teatro del Opera.

Now celebrating its 44th year, the Morris Choral Society is one of Northern New Jersey's oldest and most active and beloved not for profit arts organizations dedicated to enhancing community life by performing and presenting the highest quality classical choral repertoire from the last three centuries. Since its founding in 1973 the Morris Choral Society (MCS) has dedicated itself to the residents of Morris County and has played a significant role in Northern New Jersey's artistic community, nominated by its peers for the 2016 New Jersey People's Choice Award, Choral Group Division. Traditionally each performance season includes two major concerts as well as several concert appearances at many of Morristown's annual celebrations: Independence Day, the historical Holly Walk, its popular Fall Festival On the Green, and First Night. The MCS has performed with Judy Collins in her Christmas Show; with Dave Brubeck in La Fiesta de la Posada, at the Mayo Performing Arts Center. The Morris Choral Society has received international recognition performing successful concerts in England in 1990, Ireland in 1994, Scotland and Wales in 1996, France in 1998 and Italy in the summer of 2000. The MCS has been represented by "ambassadorial" choral contingents in multi-choral units in Eastern Europe in 1997 and 2000. Over the past 5 decades the MCS has assembled a vast and varied musical repertoire, the cornerstone of which is an impressive library of music from the Renaissance to the present. Since 2010 the Morris Choral Society sponsors an annual scholarship open to New Jersey residents or students currently attending a New Jersey school, age 19 or older who are pursuing a major or course of study in one of the following disciplines: vocal performance, vocal conducting, or music education with a major in voice.

MCS is home to the popular sextet, Express Male a lively, fun-filled sextet with a dazzling repertoire consisting of serious choral pieces, traditional gospel songs, Broadway favorites and a variety of popular tunes. Formed four years ago as an independent vocal ensemble within The Morris Choral Society, Express Male continues to entertain audiences at major MCS concerts and is featured in concerts throughout the region.

"Peace, Triumphant Peace!" and the work of the MCS, is funded in part by Morris Arts, through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Department, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. To learn more about the Morris Choral Society and its programming visit www.morrischoralsociety.org

"Peace, Triumphant Peace!"

Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 8:00 PM

Dorothy Young Center Concert Hall, at Drew University

36 Madison Avenue

Madison, New Jersey 07940

Tickets: General Admission $26, Seniors (60+) $21 and Students $16.

To secure your tickets contact the MCS at 973-723-6424 or by visiting the Morris Choral Society at www.morrischoralsociety.org

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