Performance Release Date: Sunday, December 13, 2020 | 2:30PM EST | Length: 70 minutes
Mahler’s work has often been regarded as complex and philosophical – the human condition set to music. Das Lied von der Erde, based on adaptations of ancient Chinese poetry, deeply explores all facets of the human condition from insurmountable sorrow and loneliness, to ecstasy and peace. Das Lied was written during a profoundly troubling time in the composer’s life. Within a year, he had lost his eldest daughter to scarlet fever, was diagnosed with a terminal heart condition, and was forced to resign from his post at the Vienna Opera. Even humans with the strongest of resolves would have found this to be soul-crushing.
But Mahler chose a different response. His determination to persevere through tragedy was none more evident than in one of his letters to a close friend and fellow conductor in 1909. “How should I describe such a colossal crisis?... Yet I am thirstier than ever for life and I find the ‘habit of living’ sweeter than ever.” Mahler continued composing and creating musical works of art until his final days.
Now more than ever, art and music are necessary. Artists and creators are necessary. Music helps us more deeply examine the world around us – it helps us process emotions and connects us with our fellow human beings.
Featured Chamber Ensemble: Amici Musicorum (Friends of Music) is a coalition of like-minded musicians who believe that the privilege and responsibility of shared music-making is more precious and essential than ever before. It is the bond that unites them as artists with each other and with their audiences. Led by conductor Steven White, Amici Musicorum is comprised of celebrated virtuoso instrumentalists from Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania and beyond. It is the mission of these players to confront new challenges by leading with versatility and flexibility. They aspire to give fresh voice to a diverse repertoire of familiar standards, forgotten gems and new works by new composers. They enthusiastically embrace opportunities to explore the ever- expanding possibilities of technology in their commitment to reach the broadest possible audience. In short, Amici Musicorum is a group of human beings dedicated to offering their music as a response to our changing times, and to the need and longing of the human spirit.
Akemi Takayama, violin and concertmaster
Matvey Lapin, violin
Bernard DiGregorio, viola
Kelley Mikkelsen, cello
John P. Smith IV, bass
Julee Hickcox, flute and piccolo
William P. Parrish, Jr., oboe and English horn
Carmen Eby, clarinet,E-flat clarinet, bass clarinet
Scott Bartlett, bassoon
Abigail Pack, horn
William Ray, percussion
Al Wojtera, percussion
Scott Watkins, piano
Erica Sipes, harmonium and celeste
Jeff Midkiff, mandolin
American heldentenor Clay Hilley is poised for a prominent international career in the most demanding roles of the operatic repertory. From Bacchus to Siegfried and Canio to Samson, the Georgia native has been acclaimed by The New York Times for his “vocal heft, clarion sound and stamina.”Honing his repertoire and stage experience at firs
American heldentenor Clay Hilley is poised for a prominent international career in the most demanding roles of the operatic repertory. From Bacchus to Siegfried and Canio to Samson, the Georgia native has been acclaimed by The New York Times for his “vocal heft, clarion sound and stamina.”Honing his repertoire and stage experience at first by covering in the leading international opera houses of North America, engagements have included Parsifal with Yannick Nézet-Séguin at the Metropolitan Opera, Der Ring des Nibelungen with Donald Runnicles and Turandot conducted by Nicola Luisotti at San Francisco Opera, Siegfried at the Canadian Opera Company led by Johannes Debus, and Samson et Dalila under the baton of Emmanuel Villaume at The Dallas Opera.
The 2019-20 season brings Clay Hilley to the Lyric Opera of Chicago for performances of Dead Man Walking (Father Grenville) and to cover both Siegfrieds in Der Ring des Nibelungen, to the Metropolitan Opera to cover the role of the Drum Major in the company’s new production by William Kentridge of Wozzeck, to the National Theatre Mannheim for performances of Siegfried, to the Bard Music Festival singing the role of Paul in a semi-staged presentation of Die Tote Stadt, and to Opera Roanoke for Canio in Pagliacci.In recent seasons, Clay Hilley has performed the title role of Dvořák’s Dimitrij in a new production by Anne Bogart for the Bard Music Festival conducted by Leon Botstein, the title role of Mozart’s Idomeneo both in a new production by Arila Siegert at the Salzburger Landestheater under the baton of Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and at the Theater Würzburg in a production by Stefan Suschke conducted by Enrico Calesso, Radamès in Aida with Opera Southwest and Baltimore Concert Opera, Canio in Pagliacci with Virginia Opera, and Erik in Der fliegende Holländer with Austin Lyric Opera.
Concert experience includes performances of Beethoven’s Fidelio with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with Marin Alsop and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival, with John DeMain and the Madison Symphony Orchestra, and with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra, as well as Das Lied von der Erde with The Apollo Orchestra of Washington, D.C. Emerging as a world class Straussian tenor, he has sung Menelaus in Die ägyptische Helena with Gil Rose and Odyssey Opera and Gundelfingen in Feuersnot with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.
The Wagner Society of New York presented Clay Hilley in recital, singing a program of Mahler, Janáček, Mozart, Dvořák, and Wagner following the Society’s recognition of the tenor with its Top Prize, the Robert Lauch Award, in 2015. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education at the University of Georgia, a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Georgia State University, a Professional Studies Certificate from the Manhattan School of Music, and a Performer’s Certificate from the Opera Institute at Boston University.
Stephen Powell enters his fourth decade as a leading baritone in opera companies andorchestras around the globe. With USA performances in San Diego, Detroit, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, St. Louis, Seattle, Cleveland, Nashville, Dallas, Kansas City, Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Baltimore, Washington DC, Minnea
Stephen Powell enters his fourth decade as a leading baritone in opera companies andorchestras around the globe. With USA performances in San Diego, Detroit, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, St. Louis, Seattle, Cleveland, Nashville, Dallas, Kansas City, Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Baltimore, Washington DC, Minneapolis, Miami, as well as international credits in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Wexford, Ireland; Amsterdam, Paris, Singapore, Zurich, London, Hong Kong, Montreal, Toronto, Rome, and Leipzig, Mr. Powell maintains a busy performance schedule.
He has been a member of the voice faculty at Mannes School of Music in The New School in New York City for the past six years, teaches privately out of his home outside of Philadelphia, and is a recurring guest instructor at the Potomac Vocal Institute in Washington, DC. He is also in demand for Master Classes on college campuses and young artist programs around thecountry. In addition to Jonathan Leshnoff’s Third Symphony, he will appear on two other new releases in 2020; his first solo CD, American Composers At Play (Acis), and Odyssey Opera’s world premiere recording of Norman Dello Joio’s The Trial at Rouen (BMOPsound).
Mr. Powell earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Theory and Composition (piano emphasis) from Northwestern University, his Master of Music and Certificate in Performance from DePaul University in Vocal Performance, and spent two years as a young artist in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s apprentice program. He is a member of NATS, AFTRA, AGMA and NARAS.
Mr. Powell was born and raised in West Chester, PA, and currently resides near his hometown in beautiful Chester County with his wife, soprano Barbara Shirvis, and their two sons, Benjamin and Zachary, both of whom are pursuing careers as singers and jazz musicians.