SONG FOR HUMANITY – Billings Symphony Skip to content


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Classic Series


Feb 10, 2024


Alberta Bair Theater

2801 Third Ave. N.

$20 - $69

Tristan Rais-Sherman, Guest Conductor
Julien Rollins, Bassoon
Suzanne Ramo, Soprano
Joseph Parrish, Baritone
Billings Symphony Chorale
Dr. Steven Hart, Chorale Director
Daren Small, Director of MSU-Billings Chorus

Carl Maria von Weber | Hungarian Andante and Rondo
Johannes Brahms | A German Requiem

Grand in scale yet intimate in its message, Brahms’ “Human Requiem” (his preferred title) offers consolation for the living rather than judgment for the dead. In keeping with the composer’s intention that this work would be “for all people,” this performance will be presented in English. Former bassoon intern and MASO competition winner Julien Rollins makes his solo debut.

  • The Brahms Requiem is dedicated to Robert Schumann, Brahms's own mother, and to Humanity.Brahms probably already had early ideas about writing a Requiem, but he was inspired to finish it by the deaths of Robert Schumann and Brahms's mother.
  • It took Brahms three years to finish it. A preview of the first three movements went horribly wrong since a timpani player misread the score and played his part way too loudly for several minutes, drowning out the rest of the orchestra. A shame, but hilarious nonetheless!

    The first performance of the entire piece was in a cathedral on Good Friday. This time everything went well, and the piece was a massive critical success.




Creating electrifying performances that connect with modern audiences, Tristan Rais-Sherman is an American conductor devoted to revitalizing classical music’s place in modern culture.

Following a successful tenure as Conducting Fellow with The Philadelphia Orchestra during the 2022-23 season, Tristan has been promoted to Assistant Conductor for the 2023-24 season. In this role, he will continue to lead the orchestra in a variety of performances and events.

Establishing his presence on the global music scene, Tristan recently competed in the renowned Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition with the Bamberger Symphoniker in 2023. Further solidifying his international standing, Tristan made successful debuts with The Philadelphia Orchestra and the San Diego Symphony. Looking ahead to the 2023-24 season, he is scheduled to debut with the Baltimore Symphony, in addition to maintaining ongoing engagements with The Philadelphia Orchestra.

In recognition of his growing impact in the orchestral field, Tristan has twice received the Career Assistance Award from the Solti Foundation US in 2022 and 2023. His dedication to nurturing future generations is reflected in his educational work, which includes leading the World Youth Symphony Orchestra at Interlochen, conducting guest masterclasses at the Philadelphia International Music Festival, and implementing educational programs with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, and the NEC Symphony.



A bassoonist and proud Montanan, Julien Rollins has performed with the Billings Symphony since he was seventeen years old. In fulfilling his Magnum Opus for his high school honors program, Rollins founded the Magic City Winds, a woodwind trio that has presented several “wonders of classical music” programs to local Boys and Girls Clubs. Since 2021, Rollins has performed on multiple recitals in Boston, and on contrabassoon with the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, conducted by Benjamin Zander. In 2023, he was runner-up in the Montana Association of Symphony Orchestras Young Artists Concerto Competition. He is currently studying at the New England Conservatory, where he is earning a bachelor’s degree in bassoon performance, and at Tufts University, where he is earning a bachelor’s degree in history. Rollins enjoys fly fishing, biking, and skiing in his native state.


Lauded by the San Francisco Chronicle for an ease with coloratura that one hears “blazing forth brightly” as well as her “lyrical phrasing sweetly rendered,” Suzanne Ramo recently returned from a solo recital in Italy as part of the MusicFest Perugia, as well as a residency at the Uruguayan National Opera School in early 2023. Other recent performances include Brahms’ Requiem with Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Sol Mayor Festival Internacional Música in Paraguay, and Orff’s Carmina Burana with Ballet Austin.  

With the San Francisco Opera she sang the title role in The Ballad of Baby Doe, Der Königen der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte, Woglinde in both Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung, and Der Waldvogel in Siegfried, in addition to joining the company for its productions of Rigoletto, Falstaff, Der Rosenkavalier, and Semele. Other roles include Donizetti’s Rita; Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro; Musetta in La bohème; Micaela in Carmen, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus; Madame Mao in Adams’ Nixon in China; and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte 

A prolific interpreter of oratorio and concert repertoire, she has joined the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra under the baton of Nicholas McGegan for Beethoven’s Christus am Ölberge, the Laredo Phil for Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder, Modesto Symphony for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, and Carmina Burana with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Panamá at the Alfredo Saint-Malo Festival, among others. 

A native of Cheney, Washington, Suzanne was twice selected for the Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera and continued on to the prestigious Adler Fellowship. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Whitworth University, and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. She is currently Associate Professor of Voice at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. 


Joseph Parrish has appeared in opera, concert, and recital. In 2023 he was a recipient of the Bayreuth Stipendiate, a semi-finalist for the Queen Elisabeth Voice Competition in Brussels, Belgium, and an encouragement award in the inaugural Duncan Williams Voice Competition. In 2022, he was a first prize winner of the 2022 Susan Wadsworth YCA International Auditions, first prize winner of the 2022 Gerda Lissner Foundation Art Song Competition, and a finalist in the 2022 George London Foundation Competition.

This coming season, Parrish will make his debut in the as a Young Concert Artist in the Terrace Theater at the Kennedy Center. His season also includes his Carnegie Hall Debut under the baton of Kent Tritle as the bass soloist for Handel’s Messiah, his Ann Arbor Symphony debut under the baton of Earl Lee singing John Adams’ The Wound Dresser and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, William Still in Paul Moravec’s oratorio Sanctuary Road with Princeton Pro Musica, Brahms' Ein Deutches Requiem with Baltimore Choral Arts, Mahler’s Rückert Lieder with the Aiken Orchestra, and solo recitals with Carnegie Hall Citywide, Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, the Port Washington Library, and the West Philadelphia Committee for the Philadelphia Orchestra.

He has performed at various types of venues including Carnegie Hall, The Cincinnati Art Museum, The Kennedy Center, The Green-Wood Cemetery, Le Flagey in Brussels, Belgium, WQXR, and Madison Square Garden.

As a current artist diploma candidate in opera studies at the Juilliard School, Parrish is passionate about giving back to the various communities that have nurtured him. He has been both a Music Advancement Program chorus teaching fellow and Gluck Community Service fellow at the Juilliard School. Parrish is a member of the inaugural cohort of Shared Voices, an initiative designed to address diversity, equity, and inclusion through collaboration between Historically Black Colleges and Universities, top conservatories, and schools of music in the United States with the Denyce Graves Foundation. He holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, and the Juilliard School.





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