Princeton Symphony Orchestra Opens Season with Beethoven's 9th

Princeton Symphony Orchestra Opens Season with Beethoven's 9th

On Saturday, September 16 at 8 pm and Sunday, September 17 at 4 pm, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) opens its six-concert Classical Series with two iconic works in the orchestral repertoire - Beethoven'sSymphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 "Choral" and Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. The Beethoven's 9th concert marks the first collaboration with the highly regarded Westminster Symphonic Choir since Rossen Milanov became PSO music director in 2009. Both performances will be held at historic Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall on the campus of Princeton University and include a free Pre-Concert Talk for ticket holders featuring Mr. Milanov and choir director Joe Miller.

Rossen Milanov describes the opening concert as "a celebration of two great musical institutions of Princeton coming together to perform two joyful and triumphant works-a glorious start to our season."

The Westminster Symphonic Choir is directed by Joe Miller and composed of juniors, seniors, and graduate students at Westminster Choir College. Recognized as one of the world's leading choral ensembles, the Westminster Symphonic Choir has recorded and performed with major orchestras under virtually every internationally acclaimed conductor of the past 82 years. The choir's 2017-2018 season will include a performance of Holst's The Planets with The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Cristian Macelaru; the premiere of Machover's Philadelphia Voices with The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin; Mozart's Mass in C Minor with the Orchestra of St. Luke's conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado; and Handel's Messiah with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Andrew Manze.

Beethoven's "Choral" Symphony, written as a clarion call to liberty and fraternity for all peoples, culminates in a stirring final movement incorporating the "Ode to Joy." Soloists are Alexandra Batsios, soprano; Anne Marie Stanley, alto; Francis Williams, tenor; and Thomas Lynch, baritone, all graduates of Westminster Choir College.

Alexandra Batsios, soprano

Hailed as a "coloratura tour de force" (Opera News), Alexandra Batsios is garnering attention as a promising operatic talent. Recent credits include the Queen of Shemakha (The Golden Cockerel) and Leonora (Il trovatore). She has appeared at St. Petersburg Opera, Sarasota Opera, Palm Beach Opera, New Opera NYC, and Opera North. Ms. Batsios was a top prize winner in the 2015 Sullivan Foundation competition. She holds performance degrees from Millikin University and Westminster Choir College.

Anne Marie Stanley, alto

Anne Marie Stanley received her bachelor's degree from Westminster Choir College and earned her master's degree in voice performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. At Rice, she performed the roles of Dinah in Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti and Giulio Cesare in Handel's Giulio Cesare in Egitto. She was recently a second-year apprentice singer at the Santa Fe Opera for their 2017 season. Anne Marie currently lives in Houston, Texas where she studies with Dr. Stephen King.

Francis Williams, tenor

Francis Williams is making his Princeton Symphony Orchestra debut. Past credits include Caius (Falstaff), Almeric (Iolanta), and Acis (Acis and Galatea). A graduate of Westminster Choir College, he spent a lot of his time in the early music setting. His training under Dr. Eric Rieger has led him to sing the works of Bach throughout the country and internationally. Most recently, he sang the aria "Ach mein Sinn" in Bach's St. John Passion under the direction of Dr. Andrew Megill at the Illinois Bach Academy.

Thomas Lynch, baritone

Hailed as "effective" by The Post and Courier, Thomas Lynch has sung in a number of concerts and operas with Westminster Choir College including Falstaff from Verdi's Falstaff, Capellio from Bellini's I Capulteti e I Montecchi, and Buonafede from Haydn's Il mondo della luna. At Spoleto, he soloed in Carissimi's Jepthe, and Beethoven's Choral Fantasy. Mr. Lynch recently debuted at the Caramoor Festival as the Gran Sacardote in Rossini's Aureliano in Palmira.

The 1812 Overture, Op. 49 was written by Tchaikovsky in 1880 to commemorate Russia's expulsion and defeat of Napoleon's army. In the mid-1960s, American-born conductor Igor Buketoff transcribed the score to include choral settings, restoring the Russian Orthodox chant and folk songs Tchaikovsky used thematically in his original work.

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra's performances of the Beethoven's 9th concert are made possible by the Edward T. Cone Foundation, Bryn Mawr Trust, Taft Communications, Mr. and Mrs. David A. Tierno, Mr. and Mrs. Jay Vawter, and many generous individuals who are sponsoring the PSO's Season-Opening Celebration.

Tickets for BEETHOVEN'S 9th and other PSO Classical Series concerts are on sale starting at $35. Pricing includes admission to the Pre-Concert Talk, held one hour prior to concert start time. Six-concert subscriptions are also available. Purchase at www.princetonsymphony.org or call (609) 497-0020.

Additional guest artists on the PSO's 2017-2018 season are LARK Quartet, pianist Shai Wosner, pianist Simone Dinnerstein, cellist Joshua Roman, violinist Ilya Kaler, and conductor Teddy Abrams. The orchestra will perform works by four living composers, including PSO co-commissions by Philip Glass and Saad Haddad.

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