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Messiah Sing – Twenty Years and A First At Hudson Hall, Sunday, December 17, 4 PM

Gwen Gould has led her annual Messiah Sing around the Christmas Holidays for over twenty years.  However, firsts are the order of the day at Hudson Hall.  Classics on Hudson, in collaboration with Hudson Hall at the Historic Hudson Opera House, presents the first, annual Messiah Sing conducted by Gwen Gould. The sing provides the audience with an opportunity to enjoy Handel’s marvelous Messiah and to sing one of four parts, accompanied by four professional vocal soloists and a five-instrument ensemble.

Composed in just three weeks during the summer of 1741, Messiah became a Christmas tradition while the composer was still alive, and received annual benefit performances in London from 1750 until Handel’s death. From its soaring solos to the famous “Hallelujah” chorus, Messiah has earned a place among the favorite works in the classical canon.

“We are delighted to present this thoroughly enjoyable event for Messiah lovers.  Gwen weaves a magical spell with her conducting and I look forward to a marvelous, full house chorus,” said Eugenia Zukerman, artistic director of Classics on Hudson.

The audience is invited to seat themselves in the Soprano, Alto, Tenor, or Bass sections to sing the Christmas portion (plus the Hallelujah Chorus) of Handel’s masterpiece.

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From Bach to Bernstein – Three Voices – Saturday, March 24, 2018, 7 PM

Classics presents three accomplished voices: Arianna Zukerman, soprano; Vale Rideout, tenor; and Bob McDonald, baritone present an engaging and uniquely entertaining selection of vocal music — from across the centuries.

Arianna Zukerman  Renowned for her pure, luminous, rich soprano, persuasive performances and dramatic ability, Arianna Zukerman is considered one of the premiere vocal artists of her generation. An international artist known for concert and opera performances, Ms. Zukerman is also an avid chamber musician, and regularly collaborates with some of today’s foremost chamber players. The Washington Post says “Arianna Zukerman possesses a remarkable voice that combines the range, warmth and facility of a Rossini mezzo with shimmering, round high notes and exquisite pianissimos that would make any soprano jealous.”

Ms. Zukerman is the featured soloist on the critically acclaimed, GRAMMY nominated 2013 Naxos recording of James Whitbourn’s oratorio, Annelies: the first major choral setting of the Diary of Anne Frank. The Guardian (UK) praised her performance on the CD¸ stating, “Arianna Zukerman sings with subdued beauty.”

Vale Rideout   American tenor Vale Rideout has garnered critical acclaim for his musical artistry and superb stagecraft throughout the United States and Europe. Possessed of both a beautiful instrument and an ability to consistently deliver passionate, energetic performances, he is equally in demand for leading tenor roles from the standard repertory to contemporary works.

The Colorado native can be heard on his recently released solo CD of Britten and Finzi songs, as well as on live recordings of Rio de sangre (Albany Records, Grammy Award nomination) and, as Frank Shallard, in Elmer Gantry (on Naxos, received two Grammy awards, and voted No. 1 by Opera News “Best of the Year”), both produced by Florentine Opera. He is the tenor soloist in a live recording of Carmina Burana with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

Bob McDonald  Baritone Bob McDonald holds a BA in Vocal Performance and an MA in Opera Directing from Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He enjoys a diverse career across many artistic disciplines, including musical theatre, opera, and the concert stage, as well as his job as a baritone in the US Army Chorus.

Mr. McDonald has performed a variety of musical theatre roles on various Washington DC stages, including Louis in Sunday in the Park with George; Lombardi in Passion; Sweeney Todd (Kennedy Center); the Husband in Putting it Together (Signature Theatre); and principal roles in HMS Pinafore, The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance and Down at the Old Bull and Bush (Interact Theatre). Regionally, he has performed Curly in Oklahoma!, Fred in Kiss Me Kate and The Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance. Bob also had acting roles in Don Quixote and The Second Shepherd’s Play at the Folger Elizabethan Theatre.

As an opera singer, Mr. McDonald has performed Papageno in The Magic Flute, Marcello in La Boheme, Paquillo in La Perichole, the title role in Don Giovanni, and Escamillo in Carmen, among others. As baritone soloist, Mr. McDonald has performed with groups such as The Choral Arts Society of Washington, the New Dominion Chorale, the Fairfax Choral Society and the Folger Consort. Regionally, he as appeared with the San Francisco Symphony and Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, among others.

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Classics Family Concert – The Lively Artist: Iva Bittova, Sunday April 8, 2018, 3 PM

Iva Bittova –  The Harmony Project Hudson – Hudson Hall

Classics on Hudson and the Hudson Opera House have collaborated for four years in presenting young people’s concerts that constitute an afternoon of uniquely developed programming to acquaint these youth with the breadth of classical and contemporary music composition and performance.

Iva Bittova’s artistry is uniquely aligned with this mission. Her combination of original compositions in song with classic violin and her deep association with Czech folk music exemplify the best wellsprings of inspiration that are the ongoing tradition of classical music. Ms. Bittova is also well known for her emotive, exciting performance and for inclusion of young people in her work and performance.

The Harmony Project Hudson works with elementary school youngsters in the Hudson City School System to learn to play musical instruments. This audience for Ms. Bittova’s pcrfonnancc will be augmented by the middle-school students with whom Classics ha.s developed a relationship througb its now annual, five in-school lecture/demonstration Music Mentors Program. Music Menlors i s funded again for 2018. Iva Bittova will conduct two workshops for Harmony Project students at the Hudson Opera House followed by a fully produced, main stage performance. The audience of students in both school-based programs reflect the full diversity ofl-Iudson young people.

Iva Bittova

Harmony Project Hudson

Classics on Hudson / Music Mentors Program.

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Quintessentially Classy Quintet — Seraph Brass — Saturday, April 28, 2018 — 7 PM

Seraph Brass is a dynamic brass quintet drawing from a roster of America’s top female brass players. 

Committed to engaging audiences with captivating programming, Seraph Brass presents a diverse body of repertoire that includes original transcriptions, newly commissioned works, and well-known classics. Recently, Seraph commissioned and premiered “Wolf” for solo soprano and brass quintet from Philadelphia-based composer, Joseph Hallman and has had several arrangements made by trumpeter Jeff Luke and composer Thomas Oltarzewski. Seraph will commission and premiere new works by American composers Rene Orth and Catherine McMichael this season.

Members of Seraph Brass have performed with such esteemed ensembles as the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Musicians from Marlboro, the Luzern Music Festival in Switzerland, National Symphony, Brass Band of Battle Creek, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Daejeon Philharmonic in Korea, and the Auckland Philharmonia in New Zealand. They hold positions in the Richmond Symphony, the Louisville Orchestra, Sarasota Opera Orchestra, the Artosphere Orchestra, New Chicago Brass, Tennessee Tech University, and the University of Virginia.

Enthusiastic about education, Seraph has developed strong relationships with Venezuelan “El Sistema” programs in Philadelphia and Washington DC, performing fundraising concerts for Play-On Philly! and Bridges: Music Through Harmony. Seraph has also taught masterclasses at esteemed universities such as University of Virginia and Rowan University. Additionally, this season they will perform and give masterclasses at several universities, including Stephen F. Austin University, Western Illinois University, Penn State Erie, Piedmont College, and SUNY Cortland. Members of Seraph Brass have performed with Adele on her 2016 Tour.

Upcoming engagements include performances in Florida, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Georgia, and New York. Seraph is proud to be on the highly acclaimed touring roster of Allied Concert Services and will perform two extensive tours of the MidWest in the 2016-17 Season. Seraph will also be the featured ensemble at the 2017 International Women’s Brass Conference and at the Lieksa Brass Week in Finland.

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Genre-Bending Blend of Bluegrass, Jazz & Classical – Tessa Lark & Michael Thurber – Saturday, May 12, 2018 — 7 PM

TESSA LARK & MICHAEL THURBER bring a genre-bending blend of bluegrass, jazz, classical, and original works to life in high-energy performances built on audience interaction, and a fun, welcoming stage presence. Lark & Thurber met as alumni of NPR’s From the Top, and have grown their duo collaboration out of the unique musical variety show series “Thurber Theatre,” which Michael regularly hosts at beloved New York City nightclub Joe’s Pub. Building on the massive success of these intimate and varied musical evenings at Joe’s Pub, Lark and Thurber now offer their signature sound and charisma to venues across North America.

Michael Thurber enjoys a reputation as one of the most versatile young musical talents currently active in New York City. Whether playing bass on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, composing music for the Royal Shakespeare Company, co-founding the smash YouTube channel CDZA, or hosting his “Thurber Theater” variety show at Joe’s Pub, Thurber’s musical voice defies genre and category.

Tessa Lark earns consistent praise from critics and audiences alike for her astounding range of sounds, technical agility, captivating interpretations, and multi-genre programming and performance. In the classical music world, Tessa has earned many of the top competition prizes available to young artists including, among many others: a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Silver Medal in the 2014 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, and a first-place finish in the 2012 Naumburg International Violin Competition.

In their respective careers thus far, Tessa and Michael have had the privilege of collaborating with some of the world’s leading musicians in a wide variety of genres — to name just a few: Mitsuko Uchida, Itzhak Perlman, and Mark O’Connor (Tessa), and Yo-Yo Ma, James Taylor, and Cee Lo Green (Michael).

Lark and Thurber both gained their first musical training at Midwestern institutions; with Michael attending The Interlochen Arts Academy and Tessa participating in the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music’s Starling Preparatory String Project. Tessa went on to study with Miriam Fried at the New England Conservatory, and recently earned her Artist Diploma from The Juilliard School, while Michael also studied at Juilliard.

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