Beethoven & Brahms

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Brian Ganz

Brian Ganz is regarded internationally as one of the leading pianists of his generation. “One comes away from a Brian Ganz recital not only exhilarated by the power of the performance but also moved by his search for artistic truth.” Joan Reinthaler, Washington Post.

Mr. Ganz is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music where he studied with Leon Fleisher.  He also studied with Ylda Novik and the late Claire Deene.  A gifted teacher, he has been Artist-in-Residence at St. Mary’s College of Maryland since 1986, and in 2000 joined the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory.  He has been honored to serve on numerous competition juries, including the Long-Thibaud Competition.

Mr. Ganz deems himself “an active explorer of the many ways in which the study and performance of great music can remind us of the Spirit that unites all living things.”  He has donated numerous performances in benefit concerts and was a founding member of the Washington Chapter of Artists to End Hunger.

brianganz.net

Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto

Beethoven’s piano concerto No. 5, otherwise known as the Emperor Concerto, premiered on January 13, 1811 in Leipzig, Germany. It has grown in popularity over the years, becoming mandatory for any professional pianist to play.  The name Emperor Concerto  was given by the English publisher Johann Baptist Cramer. It is doubtful that Beethoven would have approved of the name due to his immense dislike of Napoleon Bonaparte who invaded Vienna in 1808 when Beethoven was working on the concerto.

The Emperor Concerto is the last complete piano concerto Beethoven wrote.

Allegro

Adagio

Rondo

 

 

Symphony Royale

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Bach Brandenburg Concerto #2

The Brandenburg Concertos are a series of 6 concertos written by J.S. Bach for the Margrave (prince of the holy empire,) of Brandenburg, Christian Ludwig. They were written as a job application (which he did not get.) Bach presented them to the Margrave in 1721. They are arguably the best orchestral music of the Baroque era.

The Water Suite

The Water Music Suite by Joseph Handel was first performed aboard the Royal Barge for King George I on July 17, 1717. It is said King George wanted to show the people of London he was as full of life as his son( who threw magnificent parties.) He invited key members of the aristocracy to join him on the Royal Thames for a trip to Chelsea. A 50 piece orchestra joined  the ride on a separate barge to provide the entertainment. Londoners lined the river bank to enjoy the show. The Water Suite was enjoyed so much by King George I that he requested it be played over and over again until they reached Chelsea, then again the entire ride home.

Motown Magic

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Motown Records was founded on January 12, 1959 by Berry Gordy. During the 1960’s, Motown exploded on the music scene with acts like: Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (first act to be signed), The Supremes (the most successful group to be signed), Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, the Jackson 5, and many more. With more than 180 number one hits, and the development of the Motown sound, Gordy “reached across the racial divide with music that could touch all people, regardless of the color of their skin.” (Gordy’s induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame)
britannica.com/topic/Motown

 

Sydney Morton

Sydney Morton is thrilled to bring the music of Motown to Billings!  Originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, Sydney started training in ballet at four years old.  Growing up in a musical family (her grandfather was a Broadway performer and music teacher), she also sang in school choirs and played piano from a young age.  Her interest in the performing arts grew, and eventually included other styles of dance and acting.  Sydney went on to receive a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Michigan (go blue!), as well as studying Shakespeare in London at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.  Upon graduating, Sydney moved to New York and began performing in professional theatre, first landing the role of “Gabriella” in HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL at Paper Mill Playhouse.  From there, she joined the Chicago company of the hit, JERSEY BOYS, playing the role of “Francine.”  Broadway soon followed, as she had the honor of performing in four Original Broadway Casts: MEMPHIS, EVITA, AMERICAN PSYCHO, and MOTOWN, where she worked closely with Berry Gordy himself and played the controversial member of the Supremes, “Florence Ballard.” Other theatre experience includes THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (“Esmeralda,” Ogunquit Playhouse), AN OCTOROON (“Zoe,” Berkeley Rep), and FLASHDANCE (“Alex,” First National Tour). You can see Sydney playing “Cheryl Overstreet” in Spike Lee’s hit series, SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT on Netflix.  The first season is currently streaming, with the second season due to premiere in 2019.  Other TV and Film appearances include YOUNGER (“Skye,” TV Land), THE SOUND OF MUSIC LIVE (NBC), THE INTERN, SERVICE TO MAN, and the short film LOVE, NEW YORK.  sydneymorton.com

Jarran Muse

Jarran Muse recently performed the role of Marvin Gaye on Broadway and in the National Touring productions of Motown the Musical. Some of his other Broadway/International Tours include Green Day’s American Idiot, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Dreamgirls, Hairspray, 42nd Street, and the newly Broadway bound inspirational musical Born For This.

This Jersey boy studied at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and at various Acting Studios in Los Angeles and New York City. He is currently finishing his degree with Full Sail University in Florida. Jarran will perform during our outreaches and talk about the impact Motown made on the integration of Black artists to popular music. He will generate discussions on racism and how to help break down prejudices. Jarran is passionate about erasing racism and bringing the cultures of the world closer together. A true Soldier of Love, he believes that so much is possible with the power of Love.

Holiday Pops

Diane Penning

“clear, free flying and of exciting timbre” “thrilling…exquisite…with gorgeous top notes.” These are but two critic descriptions of coloratura Diane Penning’s voice.

Equally at home in classical repertoire and pops, Diane has performed with over thirty orchestras around the country in programs of each genre.  Symphony appearances include concerts with the Arkansas, the Dayton Philharmonic, Calgary Philharmonic, Elgin, Firelands, Grand Rapids, and Grant Park Music Festival Symphonies; the Greensboro and Interlochen Arts Academy Symphonies; the Las Cruces, Mobile, Ocean City Pops, Pensacola, Phoenix, Pueblo, Rockford, Tacoma, Traverse and West Michigan Symphonies as well as others.

Her musical theatre credits include Cunegonde in Candide, Marian in The Music Man, Amalia in She Loves Me, and Maria in the concert version of West Side Story as well as “the grouch” in Robert Kapilow’s Green Eggs & Ham. Diane’s work in oratorio includes David Fanshaw’s African Sanctus, Bach’s Bm Mass and Christmas Oratorio; Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Mass in C minor; Fauré’s Requiem; Handel’s Messiah; Haydn’s Creation, Harmonie Messe and Lord Nelson Mass; Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass; Orff’s Carmina Burana; Poulenc’s Gloria; Rutter’s Magnificat and Requiem, and Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, with such organizations as the Apollo Chorus in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall and the Kalamazoo Bach Festival. Her opera roles include Adele in Die Fledermaus, Frasquita in Carmen, Musetta in La Bohéme, Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana, Pamina, Papagena and Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute.  Diane’s professional recordings include Phantom Phantasy with the Grand Rapids Symphony; Christmas Festival with the Czek National Orchestra; Simply Gershwin with pianist Paul Bisaccia; Everything Under the Sun with pianist Rich Ridenour and Sacred Space with Composer/Performer Nicholas Palmer.

www.dianepenning.com

Here are a few examples of what you will here:

Fantasia

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Mark SoueidiMark Soueidi

Growing up right here in Billings, MT, Mark Soueidi began his trombone studies early on with BSO Trombonist, Larry Lynam, and former BSO Principal Trombonist, the late Jim Robertson. After graduating from Billings Senior High in 1990, Mark continued his studies with Lance Boyd at the University of Montana, earning his Bachelor of Music in Trombone Performance. His professional experiences began early on in Montana with performances with the Billings, Bozeman, and Glacier Symphony Orchestras, including a four-year appointment with the Missoula Symphony Orchestra. Mark continued his studies at Northwestern University with Chicago Symphony Orchestra trombonists, Frank Crisafulli and Michael Mulcahy, earning his Masters in Music. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Music at Indiana University.

Mark enjoys making his way home each summer to teach and work at the Red Lodge Music Festival, under the direction of Billings West High teacher and BSO Bass Trombonist, Steve Patton. When Mark’s not spending time with his family, he can be found cycling or “teaching” bicycles in the bike shop.  His passion for bicycles included leadership positions in both the non-profit group, TrailNet, and the Billings Chamber of Commerce, where he helped to further develop an effective bicycle infrastructure in the Billings community.

Trombone Concerto in C

Nino Rota (1911-1979) Composed his Trombone Concerto in 1966. It first premiered in 1969 at the Conservatorio di Musica in Milano, Italy. It was performed by Bruno Ferrari. It will be performed by Billings Symphony Orchestra trombonist, Mark Soueidi.

 

Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain

Night on Bald Mountain was written by Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881.) He wanted to paint a musical picture of the events of St. John’s Eve ( the celebration of the birth of Saint John the Baptist) on Bald Mountain (a hill in Poland known as a place for Pagan rituals to be held.) It is one of the first tone poems by a Russian composer. His mentor, Mily Balakrev,  refused to play it. It was never played during Mussorgsky’s lifetime. It wasn’t until 5 years after his death did his friend Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov publish his own arrangement of Night on Bald Mountain. This is the popular version most played today.

Night on Bald Mountain:

 

Dukas’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice 

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was written in 1897 by French composer Paul Dukas (1865-1935.) It was inspired by the 1797 poem by Wolfgang Von Goethe of the same name. It is a story of an old wizard who leaves his young apprentice to clean up his mess. The apprentice, deciding he doesn’t want to do the work, enlists the help of an enchanted broom. It soon becomes apparent the apprentice cannot control the wizards magic and things quickly spiral out of control. Eventually the wizard returns and takes over the magic. The apprentice must then do all the chores himself, under the disapproving eye of the old wizard.

Sorcerer’s Apprentice:

 Respighi’s Pines of Rome

Composer, violinist, and musicologist Ottorino Respighi (1879-1934) wrote Pines of Rome in 1924. It was first performed on December 14, 1924 at the Augusto Theatre in Rome. It is the second of three pieces composed about the city of Rome. Pines of Rome, as the name suggests, tell about the pine trees around Rome and how they look at different times of the day.

Pines of Rome:

Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto

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Sergey Pospelov

Born in Rostov-on-Don, Sergey Pospelov is a graduate of the Moscow Conservatory studying under Eduard Grach (2014). He won the 1st David Oistrakh International Violin Competition in Moscow (2006), the 41st Concertino Praga International Competition for Young Musicians (2007), the 15th Alberto Curci International Violin Competition in Naples (2008), and the 6th Abram Yampolsky Competition in Moscow (2012). He performs regularly in Russian cities, as well as in Italy, France, Poland, Israel, China, and Japan. He collaborates with the Novaya Rossiya Symphony Orchestra, the Moscow Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, and the Svetlanov Symphony Orchestra among others.

tch15.medici.tv/en/artist/sergei-pospelov

TchaikovskyTchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major

Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major was written while Tchaikovsky was on vacation at Lake Geneva. The concerto only took a month to compose. He was joined by his pupil (and lover) Iosif Kotek. Together they played and composed. Moreover, they played Édouardo Lalo’s  Symphonie espagnole. They fell in love with the beautiful melodies and the overall lightness of the piece. It was a stark contrast to the darkness of the piano concerto he was previously working on.

Tchaikovsky wanted to dedicate his violin concerto to Kotek but he was afraid of the gossip that would surround  them. He decided to dedicate it to Leopold Auer . However despite already having the premiere scheduled and the copy published, Auer refused to play it. He didn’t think it was good enough and didn’t want to hurt his career. Tchaikovsky had to postpone the premiere until he could find another soloist. That soloist was Adolph Brodsky who performed Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major for the first time on December 4, 1881 in Vienna.

It has become known as one of the most important violin works in the history of Romantic music.

Allegro moderato (D major)

Canzonetta: Andante (G minor)

Finale: Allegro vivacissimo (D major)

Cindy McTee

Hailed by the Houston Chronicle as a composer whose music reflects a charging, churning celebration of the musical and cultural energy of modern-day America, Cindy McTee brings to the world of concert music a fresh and imaginative voice. cindymctee.com

Zoltán Kodály: Dances of Marosszék

Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) is the inventor of the Kodály System of Musical Education and the composer of Dances of Marossék. He began working on it in 1923. he put it aside to work on Psalms hungaricus. He picked it up again and finished it in 1927. It was initially written for the piano, which surprised those who knew him because he played the cello and was not known for his piano playing abilities. Dances of Marossék is based on Hungarian folk songs that originated in the Székeley province of Hungary.

Carmen

 

The Symphony season comes to a close with a semi-staged presentation of Carmen. See for yourself why this is the world’s most beloved opera. A first for the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale.

Featuring: Billings Symphony Chorale, Kristee Haney (Carmen), Christie Conover (Micaëla), Benjamin Cleveland  (Don José), Gregory Gerbrandt (Escamillo) , Bret Weston (Zuniga), Amy Logan (Mercédès), Janie Sutton (Frasquita), Eric Hudgson (Morales), Geneva Copeland (Remendado), Carrie House ( Danciare),  NOVA Center for the Performing Arts ROCK Choir

Directed by Susan Sommerfeld

Susan Sommerfeld

Susan has been a part of the music and theatre community in Billings for many years as a singer, actor, director, and choreographer.  Some of her favorite roles include Lady of the Lake, in BST’s production of “Spamalot”, as Frau Blucher, in “Young Frankenstein the Musical” and as Norma Desmond, in “Sunset Boulevard”, with Venture Theatre at Nova.  Her memorable works as a director include “Chicago”, “Forever Plaid”, “Les Miserables”, and “It’s a Wonderful Life – a Radio Show”.  Susan has also been a guest vocal artist with the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale.  When not at the theatre, she spends her time at her art glass studio, Kennedy’s Stained Glass.  She has a BFA in Musical Theatre from the United States International School of Performing and Visual Arts.


Carmen

Written by French composer George Bizet, Carmen premiered at Opèra-Comique on March 3, 1875. At first, it received critical reviews. It wasn’t until several shows ran outside of Paris, did it begin to gain notoriety. After its return to Paris in 1883, Carmen really became popular world-wide. Bizet passed away unexpectedly after Carmen’s 33rd show. He never knew the international acclaim his opera would achieve.


Kristee Haney

Kristee Haney (Carmen,) – Mezzo-Soprano – is known for her performance of Carmen in George Bizet’s Carmen. Haney has performed throughout North America and Europe, most notably with the New York City Opera. She is an accomplished soloist with numerous symphony orchestras.


Christie Conover

Christie Conover (Micaëla) – Soprano – is a Billings native and has received national attention through esteemed competitions. Conover’s performances of Micaëla have garnered her critical acclaim. She made her international debut with the Komische Oper Berlin during the 2015-2016 season. She has performed with symphony orchestras all over the nation.


Gregory Gerbrandt

Gregory Gerbrandt (Escamillo) – Baritone – has performed over 70 principal roles with top opera, musical theatre, and symphonic organizations on five continents, singing for ambassadors and other officials from all over the world.  Gerbrandt has created the lead role in four World Premiere operas and is constantly in high demand to perform the prominent standards of Italian, French, English, and Russian opera.


Ben Cleveland (Don José) – Tenor – is from Spokane, WA. He has worked as an apprentice artist at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and was an Emerging Artist  at Opera New Jersey. Ben is currently performing with Seattle Opera’s touring production of Cinderella en España, and recently sang the role of Don Josè in Pacific Opera Northwest’s production of Carmen. Other recent performance credits include Rodolfo in La bohème, Boris in Katya Kabanova, Sam in Susannah, and Tamino in Die Zauberflöte.