Santa Fe Pro Musica brings together outstanding musicians to inspire and educate audiences of all ages through the performance of great music.
Founded in 1980 by Thomas O’Connor (Music Director and Conductor) and Carol Redman (Associate Artistic Director and Principal Flute), Santa Fe Pro Musica offers a variety of classical music programs in historic Santa Fe venues, and presents professional musical performances for orchestra, string quartet, chamber ensemble, and performances on baroque instruments. The Santa Fe Pro Musica orchestra has been internationally recognized with a 2008 GRAMMY® nomination for Best Classical Album/Small Ensemble for its recording, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Chamber Players, of Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde/The Song of the Earth.
Since 1980, Santa Fe Pro Musica has been committed to a multi-faceted music education program for the people of northern New Mexico. This approach allows us to meet the needs of a wide range of students, from children who are attending a classical music event for the first time, to those whose music goals may be college and career oriented, and to adults who desire to know more about music. Pro Musica provides a variety of opportunities to help you develop a life-long relationship with the power of music!
Holy Week Concert: Santa Fe Pro Musica Baroque Ensemble
Loretto Chapel, April 3
Every year, the Santa Fe Pro Musica Baroque Ensemble performs music from the 17th and 18th centuries at Loretto Chapel in the run up to Easter. This installment was on the short side but proved fully nourishing nonetheless. It began with a winning performance of a G-major Flute Concerto of unknown Italian parentage but, from the sound of it, sired in the 1730s. At some point, it was ascribed to Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, who spent the most notable years of his very short career attached to musical establishments in Naples. After his death at the age of 26, his biography became highly romanticized, and the attendant fame (or notoriety) made him a magnet for misattribution of works by more obscure composers. Of the 148 compositions noted in the “complete edition of Pergolesi’s works” published from 1939 to 1942, only 30 are considered genuine today. He wrote almost nothing apart from vocal music. The current edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians admits only five instrumental compositions as authentic and consigns 57 other instrumental pieces circulated under his name to the progressively more leery categories of “doubtful,” “extremely doubtful,” and “spurious.” This flute concerto falls into the middle classification of unlikelihood — “extremely doubtful” — but that in no way lessens its charm, especially when interpreted as adeptly as Carol Redman did here. Her Baroque flute blended warmly into the supporting ensemble of strings plus organ continuo. She endowed the outer movements with amiable sprightliness (her gusto even deflecting attention from some lapses in the strings in the finale), and she imbued the rather Vivaldian middle movement with an affettuoso character emblematic of the final years of the Baroque.
Henry Purcell’s Pavan and Chacony in G minor is perhaps the earliest ensemble work by that seminal English composer, probably written in 1678, just after he was appointed composer for the royal violin ensemble. Violinists Stephen Redfield and Karen Clarke and violist Gail Robertson intertwined in pungent mournfulness during the pavan and brought considerable range of personality to the variations traced above the repeated (and sometimes elongated) bass pattern.
Certifiable Pergolesi occupied the entire second half of the concert: his well-known Stabat Mater for two solo voices, strings, and continuo, one of the last pieces he completed, in the early months of 1736, when he was dying of (one early biographer said) “a severe attack of pleurisy that baffled the efforts of all the medical men to save him.” This agreeable work comprises 12 short movements. Some incorporate depictive tone painting, such as the “hammering” motif of the aria “Fac, ut portem Christi mortem,” which has to do with bearing Christ’s wounds. More often, however, Pergolesi’s setting of this long poem about the sorrowful mother weeping before the cross adheres to a generalized but pleasant operatic style of the type the radio announcer DeKoven used to describe ecstatically as “barococo.” Soprano Kathryn Mueller and mezzo-soprano Deborah Domanski both proved well suited to the style, though in different ways. Mueller, clear of timbre and often eschewing vibrato, conveyed purity and innocence; she proved especially effecting in her aria “Vidit suum.” Domanski possesses a richer instrument but, like Mueller, negotiated the work’s coloratura demands with a real spring in her step, most charmingly in the aria “Quae moerebat,” the music of which seems to have nothing to do with the grim subject.
PUBLISHED: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 10:41 am
A new work by Mr. Handel was heard on April 17.
If we were in early 18th century London, such a statement would be quite common in the publications of the day. However, in 2014 an explanation is necessary. Handel’s Gloria in excelsis Deo, a demanding work for coloratura voice believed lost, came to light only a few years ago and has had female singers the world over vying to sing it.
The modern world premiere was given by Patrizia Kwella with Fiori Musicali, but here in New Mexico our first hearing came in the glorious voice of Kathryn Mueller, a most excellent choice, and the Santa Fe Pro Musica Baroque Ensemble. The group’s annual Holy Week program also included works by four of the biggest names in Baroque music.
The Gloria is in eight movements, some of which were later used for his Laudate pueri dominum and Utrecht Jubilate (nothing new for Handel in that practice).
The announcement of its discovery, in typical hyperbolic fashion, hailed it as a rival to “Messiah.” That’s definitely pushing it, but the work is highly attractive and a welcome addition to the catalogue. With the alluring beauty and purity of tone for which she has become well-known to New Mexico audiences, Mueller sang the work with depth and poigniancy. A graceful Laudamus te led to a moving Domine Deus, with Mueller ultimately tossing off the rapid coloratura bursts of the final Quoniam movement with a seemingly effortless ease. Handel could not have asked for more in a first hearing.
Mueller also sang the Salve Regina of Pergolesi, one of several works of exceptional beauty he was able to compose in his short life. Here she sang with a bewitching charisma, producing gorgeous tones that especially in the reverberant acoustic atmosphere of the Loretto Chapel, seemed to hang suspended in the air like a rarefied incense of exalted fragrance.
Bach’s works for solo violin and solo cello are well known, some of the movements all but played to death. His Solo for Transverse Flute, however, is not often played. Like the other suites and partitas for solo instruments, it is based on dance movements.
The transverse flute is a wooden forerunner to the modern flute. In the hands of a master player such as Carol Redman, who began the second half of the program with this work, it can sound haunting, even mystical in character. Her playing was enthralling and otherworldly as she stood unaccompanied on the stage.
The group of five core Pro Musica Baroque players led by violinist Stephen Redfield began the evening with Henry Purcell’s Sonata No. 9, nicknamed for its popularity the “Golden Sonata.”
Also included on the program was the first published work of Arcangelo Corelli, Sonata da Chiesa in F Op. 1, No. 1. This short but highly inventive music, played here with elegance and grace, was beginning of a body of work of immense influence on later composers of the era.
Posted: Friday, April 25, 2014 5:00 am
James M. Keller
Loretto Chapel, April 18
Santa Fe Pro Music Baroque Ensemble offered an evening of well-crafted delights in the latest installment of its annual Baroque Holy Week music-making. Most aficionados of Baroque music are probably not in the market for extravagant adventure (although the 17th and early-18th centuries hold plenty of it), and this program did not shake up expectations, offering characteristic pieces by five well-known figures: Purcell, Pergolesi, Corelli, Bach, and Handel.
That’s not to say that all the music was familiar. Handel’s Gloria in excelsis Deo, for soprano, two violins, and basso continuo, was doubtless new to nearly everyone in attendance, since it was only authenticated and publicized in 2001. The score was tucked away in a volume of Handel arias in the library of London’s Royal Academy of Music, where it slumbered for nearly three centuries before anyone paid much attention to it. Handel may have composed this six-movement cantata while a teenager in Halle, Saxony, or more likely in 1707 in Rome, where he spent time as a journeyman composer. It is a technically admirable work, rich in vocal bravura, that neither augments nor diminishes the composer’s reputation. Here it was performed by soprano Kathryn Mueller, with violinists Stephen Redfield and Karen Clarke; cellist Sally Guenther and organist David Solem performed the continuo part. Mueller boasts a limber voice notable for virginal purity rather than expressive breadth. She was at her best in the sustained cantilena of the “Qui tollis peccata mundi” movement.
Earlier in the program, Mueller offered an appealing rendition of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, a work from the Neapolitan composer’s 26th (and final) year. As in the Handel, her coloratura was clearly articulated and her pitch was on target — she would be a choirmaster’s dream — yet her sustained singing left the stronger impression. In this case, it arrived with the “Et Jesum benedictum” movement, which unrolled with the pleasant lilt of 6/4 meter; by the end, it did indeed convey the composer’s marking of Andante amoroso — a “loving Andante.”
The rest of the program was devoted to instrumental pieces. An unusual entry in Bach’s catalog is the Solo pour la Flûte traversière; sometimes encountered under the name Partita, it is Bach’s only composition for unaccompanied flute. There has been speculation that he may have written it for the famous French flutist Pierre-Gabriel Buffardin, who was working in Dresden (not far from Leipzig, where Bach was living). Its four movements are stylized takes on French courtly dances, and although the program notes underscored this connection, Carol Redman (playing on a warm-toned Baroque flute) did not. Hers was an imaginative, abstracted take that essentially deconstructed the dances, constantly bending their tempos to make harmonic points and taking the allemande and sarabande at very slow tempos that might have proved undanceable.
Purcell’s much-loved Golden Sonata bounced along with quirky cheerfulness. Violist Gail Robinson joined the other string players to fill in the proto-orchestral texture. The ensemble’s approach sounded just a bit old-fashioned now that cutting-edge Baroque performance style has grown to emphasize rhetorical inflections, but its rendition of Corelli’s Sonata da chiesa in F Major, op. 1, no. 1, from 1681, was welcome in its warmheartedness, a lovely reminder of the elegance its composer achieved when the modern harmonic system was just becoming established with both feet on the ground.
Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014 5:00 am
James M. Keller
Santa Fe Pro Musica Orchestra
Lensic Performing Arts Center, Jan. 25
Two works of surpassing loveliness occupied the first half of Santa Fe Pro Musica Orchestra’s program on Jan. 25 at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Ralph Vaughan Williams drew the melody of his Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis from a third-mode hymn Tallis had published in a 1567 collection of psalm settings. The third (or Phrygian) mode is a scale arrangement that differs slightly from modern major or minor scales, and the 1567 psalter characterized it thus: “the Third doth rage: and roughly brayth.” In the Fantasia Vaughan Williams produced three and a half centuries later, in 1910, the composer neither rageth nor brayeth. On the contrary, he offers a refined study in sustained ecstasy that plumbs the sonic possibilities of a string orchestra that is divided into two sub-orchestras and a string quartet. On a larger stage than the Lensic’s there would be space to separate the component forces, as the composer recommended, but even without the extra spatial perk, Thomas O’Connor extracted a finely crafted performance. The solo quartet — violinists Stephen Redfield and Karen Clarke, violist Kim Fredenburgh, and cellist Myron Lutzke — was outstanding, but there was depth throughout the sections, which obviously put much preparation into rehearsing as an ensemble. The program notes pointed out that Vaughan Williams wrote his Fantasia after studying with Ravel in Paris. That three-month stint, which Vaughan Williams called acquiring his “French polish,” contributed to the sonic finesse of this work, but I am surprised that interpreters rarely approach the Fantasia as they might a Ravel piece, with surging phrases superimposed over a restrained core. O’Connor followed the more standard approach, emphasizing terraced dynamics rather as if the various string forces were different ranks of an organ, and that proved effective too.
What followed was still more exceptional: a riveting performance of Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto, featuring soloist Cármelo de los Santos. Barber was swimming against the critical current when, in 1941, he unveiled a work that maintained so firm a grasp on Romantic ideals. (“Lyric and rather intimate” was his description of the piece.) De los Santos, a native of Brazil, serves as associate professor of violin at the University of New Mexico and enjoys a solo career that is more modest than it should be judging from this exemplary performance. His ravishing tone displayed a layer of delicious sweetness spread over a fundamentally powerful timbre with a smoky underpinning, the latter particularly compelling in passages that lay on the G string. (He plays an instrument built in 1929 by the respected Chicago luthier Carl G. Becker.) He brought color, clarity, security, and momentum to his interpretation, which stressed lyric opulence in the opening movement, dramatic passion in the Andante, and vigorous energy in the finale. The orchestra seemed swept up by his intensity, even to the point of overpowering him at several places. The performance was a triumph for De los Santos, easily rivaling interpretations one would expect from soloists whose names are more widely recognized.
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 received a solid if not particularly detailed reading after intermission, with the wind sections offering rich-hued section work. Among the delights of this concert was the fact that it did not include speeches, a welcome rarity that placed the spotlight on the ensemble and its admirable work from the get-go.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Program of music¹s notorious jokesters
By D.S. Crafts / For the Journal
Pianist Conrad Tao, a familiar fixture with the Santa Fe Pro Musica over the past years opened that organization¹s new season last weekend. After playing a solo recital on Friday night, Tao joined the Pro Musica Orchestra at the Lensic Performing Arts Center on Saturday and Sunday for two performances of two piano concertos, one by W.A. Mozart and one by Dimitri Shostakovich. A Joseph Haydn symphony rounded off the program conducted by Music Director Thomas O¹Connor a program of music by three of music¹s most notorious jokesters.
In music as in literature the first element to fall to the passage of time is humor. Jokes too quickly become unintelligible as the social or idiomatic landscape changes. Haydn¹s Symphony No. 83, the most popular of his group of Paris Symphonies, takes its nickname ³The Hen² (La Poule) from what sounded to contemporary listeners as chicken-like clucking in the first movement.
The work is replete with musical jokes beyond the chicken, though unfortunately mostly lost on modern audiences. But Haydn incorporates his jokes with such skill that even if the satire goes unrecognized, the beauty of the music remains.
The opening has all the gravitas of Mozart in minor key, yet the second ³chicken² theme is purely playful papa Haydn. O¹Connor deftly led the music vacillating between the two themes which could not be more different.
The comically pompous finale took on a brilliance of airy agility full of sparkling dance rhythms.
Placing the Shostakovich between the two classical works proved an excellent idea, causing us to hear each work with fresh ears. The Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings is not exactly a duo concerto (the piano part is significantly larger) but it does call upon the trumpet (Brian Shaw) to illuminate certainly crucial passages, especially the lovely theme of the second movement.
Tao¹s playing was bold and decisive, much in the Russian style of playing, and much the way the composer himself would have played it. More than merely dazzlingly technical, Tao also brought out the comedy of this musical satire, especially in the final Allegro, which is often described as quasi circus music. O¹Connor masterfully held together all these wildly competing musical forces, especially his energetic pianist, as rambunctious as a young stallion out of the gate.
The youthful Piano Concerto No. 9 in E flat ³Jeunehomme,² is often thought to be Mozart¹s first great masterpiece, full of surprises for contemporaries who would have expected certain formalities of style. Here Tao well demonstrated that his talent is more than that of a brilliant technique. His playing remained bold but with a grace necessary to the subtleties of the music.
This was a deeply felt, passionate and consummate account, full of emotional drama, even operatic at moments. Finally, a delicious sense of mischief informed the Rondo capping off Sunday¹s afternoon of music-making of the highest order.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Pasa Reviews: Taking it Slow
James M. Keller
Solo recital, Sept. 19, St. Francis Auditorium
With the Santa Fe Pro Musica Orchestra, Sept. 21, Lensic Performing Arts Center
Last week, Santa Fe Pro Musica hosted pianist Conrad Tao in his annual visit to town, during which he played a solo recital (on Sept. 19 at St. Francis Auditorium) and appeared in concertos by Shostakovich and Mozart (on Sept. 21 and 22 at the Lensic Performing Arts Center, of which I heard the former). The recital was chockablock with interest, beginning with a reading of Bach¹s Italian Concerto that boasted clear textural differentiation and rhythmic élan, perhaps at a tempo that was a notch too slow for comfort in the Andante and a notch too quick in the finale. The program¹s high point was Ravel¹s Gaspard de la nuit. Its third movement, ³Scarbo,² is a touchstone of virtuosity. Tao managed it well, with fine attention to sonics in the sustained bass tones, but his best work came in the opening movement, ³Ondine,² depicting a seductive water sprite. Here the pianist negotiated its cascades of notes with hands that, octopus-like, seemed everywhere on the keyboard at once. But Tao¹s greater triumph was again his delicate sensitivity to rhythm, through which Ravel¹s sweeping lines were subsumed into the ceaseless current. It is not often that music and musician seem so completely conjoined.
Although he delivered firmly executed accounts of four Rachmaninoff preludes (especially appealing in the purling figuration of op. 23, no. 7) and Prokofiev¹s Seventh Sonata (which worked up to a forceful rendition of its toccata-like finale), Tao did not seem motivated by a desire to dazzle. His interpretations instead emphasized warmth, seriousness, logic ‹ and invariably that intangible aptness of rhythm. Tao¹s musical pursuits extend to composing, and he included his own well-wrought suite (from 2012) titled Vestiges, each of its four movements conveying something about strange images that had arisen in a dream. It will not devalue his originality to suggest that composers of the past guided him to the musical language of this work. Its opening movement, ³upon walking alongside green glass bottles,² seemed for a moment like Hindemith on magic mushrooms, and later the suite bowed to Gershwin and Messiaen. All in all, though, these seemed mostly the dreams of a young man who had been practicing Gaspard de la nuit during his waking hours. It is heartening to encounter an emerging composer who has digested such excellent models.
In the orchestral concert two days later, Thomas O¹Connor led his Santa Fe Pro Music Orchestra in its most polished performances in a good while, at least in my experience. It opened with a solid, assured interpretation of Haydn¹s Symphony No. 83 (³La poule²), and then moved on to Shostakovich¹s Piano Concerto No. 1, in which Brian Shaw handled the obbligato trumpet part adeptly. Tao again came across as an essentially earnest player, which did not get in the way of his tossing off the circus-flavored portions with aplomb. Apart from some ooziness of tempo in the first movement, Mozart¹s ³Jenamy² Concerto in E-flat Major (K.271) also met with marked success. (It¹s time to retire the piece¹s former nickname, ³Jeunehomme,² now that we know it was simply a misspelling of the surname of the pianist for whom Mozart wrote the piece, Mlle. Victoire Jenamy.) It was a fine, warm-hearted job throughout, but where Tao most stands apart from the crowd is as an interpreter of slow music, which made the central Andantino especially cherishable.
So What Will He Do When 20?
Conrad Tao, at Le Poisson Rouge
By CORINNA da FONSECA-WOLLHEIM
Published: May 24, 2013
Meet Conrad Tao. A composer, concert pianist and award-winning violinist, he also runs a festival in Brooklyn,"Unplay, which starts on June 11. He will turn 19 that day. His Wikipedia page features a photo of him with Hillary Rodham Clinton from when he was named a Davidson Fellow laureate. In 2011 he joined Lady Gaga, Adele and Taylor Swift on the Forbes list of the 30 most influential people under 30.
On Tuesday evening at Le Poisson Rouge Mr. Tao performed works for solo piano from his latest CD, Voyages, which will also be released on his birthday. While there was much to admire in his confident and sensitive playing, it was above all the program, with pieces by Rachmaninoff and Ravel, Meredith Monk and Mr. Tao himself, that conveyed the scope of his probing intellect and openhearted vision.
The theme of his album and Tuesday’s concert was motion, both in the literal sense of traversing distance and in the swooping virtual movement of dreams, which inspired Ravel’s haunting “Gaspard de la Nuit” and Mr. Tao’s own “vestiges.”
The program opened with Ms. Monk’s brief “Railroad (Travel Song),” which establishes a chugging ostinato in the left hand, punctuated by chords in the right. Rachmaninoff’s Prelude (Op. 32, No. 5), the first of five preludes that Mr. Tao rearranged into an emotionally charged narrative arc, employed a similar device, with the left hand creating a musical conveyor belt that transported an array of beautiful figures.
In fortissimo passages Mr. Tao produces a signature sound that is powerful and sharp, and in the first of his “vestiges,” “upon waking alongside green glass bottles,” it aptly rendered the quality of a material that is both hard and transparent. There were chiseled rhythms in “upon ripping perforated pages,” too, which gave way to a brooding hush in “upon being.” In “upon viewing two porcelain figures,” the music took on a dialectic current, with one hand seemingly fighting to break out of the repetitive strictures created in the other.
Ravel’s “Gaspard de la Nuit” brought forth a more finely graded palette in Mr. Tao’s playing, although, in these acoustics at least, it lacked the Impressionistic softness idiomatic to French music. But Mr. Tao’s “iridescence” for piano and iPad (with piano sounds transformed by an app) created an alluring sound world in which subtle crackling, scratching and static noises wrapped themselves around a surreal and dreamy waltz.
Conrad Tao’s Unplay Festival runs from June 11 through 13 in the Powerhouse Arena, 37 Main Street, Dumbo, Brooklyn; conradtao.com.
A version of this review appeared in print on May 25, 2013, on page C3 of the New York edition with the headline: So What Will He Do When 20?.
On Jan. 27, 28, and 29, Santa Fe Pro Musica offered what is called its Classical Weekend at the Lensic Center for the Performing Arts, a burst of music making in which two orchestral concerts sandwiched a recital by the pianist Cecile Licad, who was also the soloist in the opening symphonic performance. I attended that first concert as well as the solo recital. Living as we do in challenging times for classical music, we may consider it a boon that a classical weekend should be realized at all. That said, one had to wonder if Santa Fe Pro Musica was overly optimistic about what it could achieve in so concentrated a time.
In my experience, Pro Musica has made its strongest showing over the years through its chamber-music concerts, many of which have been top-notch. The organization’s music director, Thomas O’Connor, has participated in many of those performances as an oboist, but he has made it clear that, at this point, he is more interested in conducting an orchestra. This raises a formidable challenge on an institutional level. Symphony orchestras are complicated organisms that are expensive to support – so expensive, in fact, that they have been going out of business across the country with alarming regularity. It’s hard to go halfway with an orchestra; outside major metropolitan areas, an orchestra has essentially no hope of achieving much refinement except through an ongoing investment of time, and this is an industry in which time costs bushels of money. I have to wonder whether current resources are most wisely deployed in supporting a full symphony orchestra that convenes only sporadically and on those occasions seems stretched to the very limits of its abilities.
That Pro Musica’s orchestra is capable of impressive work was made clear in the development section of the first movement of Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony and again in that work’s scampering finale, in which the violins achieved unity that was elsewhere elusive. Indeed, the precision of the playing at the finale’s opening was remarkable, and considerably more individual and group rehearsal time must have been devoted to that section than to expanses of the symphony that might have seemed, on paper, to be less perilous. A listener wished that similar care had been expended on, for example, the phrasing of the principal theme of the Allegro vivace, which Beethoven notated meticulously to underscore an interesting alternation of very quick notes and silences. It is admittedly a difficult effect to convey at high velocity, but Beethoven left no doubt about what he wanted, and it’s up to an orchestra to deliver it.
(About Baroque Christmas) “The presentation was evenly divided between dramatic recitation and music provided by the unfailingly excellent Santa Fe Pro Musica Baroque Ensemble crowned by Santa Fe’s Deborah Domanski, a voice I have long considered Metropolitan Opera quality.”
“This summer’s Bach Mass in B Minor was simply an embarrassment, notwithstanding the instrumental presence of the Santa Fe Pro Musica. Thirty seconds into the Kyrie I was wishing Pro Musica’s Thomas O’Connor were conducting.”
Pro Music (sic) ably fills the symphonic void
By D.S. Crafts
For the Journal
Finally, we have to face it. There is no longer a professional symphony orchestra in Albuquerque. The demise of the New Mexico Symphony is a loss to everyone, whether they know it not, symphony-goers or not. The only consolation is that within an hour’s drive up Interstate 25 there are still excellent orchestras to be heard.
In its final concert of the season, titled “Lenny & Friends,” the Santa Fe Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra performed music by American composers “Lenny” Bernstein and Aaron Copland on Sunday afternoon at the St. Francis Auditorium.
The two Bernstein pieces that began an ended the afternoon, the Sonata for Clarinet and the Serenade, are both a far cry from the more familiar “West Side Story.” Bernstein’s style here covers an eclectic range of influences: Stravinsky, jazz, American folk music, neo-Romanticism – anything but atonalism, which the composer vehemently opposed.
The arrangement of the two-movement Clarinet Sonata, originally for piano accompaniment but here given with strings and percussion, makes a decided difference in the atmosphere of the piece. Besides the usual trade-off of intimacy for power in orchestrations of chamber works, the music takes on a feeling of ensemble in which the clarinet sound is not quite as predominant.
Clarinetist Michael Anderson played it with a warm and ingratiating sonority, drawing one enticingly into the expressive qualities of the instrument.
The Serenade, from 1951, is intended as a musical re-creation of major characters in Plato’s dialogue “Symposium.” The speakers discourse on the subject of love in all its many aspects. The music is in no way intended to reflect an ancient Greek atmosphere (whatever that might have been), but is very much in an idiom reflecting mid-20th-century America.
Colin Jacobsen took the stage as solo violinist in this veritable violin concerto. His elegantly rich and singing tone lent itself luminously to the two low lyrical movements, the opening Phaedrus-Pausanius and the adagio Agathon, possibly the composer’s most beautiful creation.
The final movement begins starkly depicting the somber philosophy of Socrates describing the demonology of love. It began with Jacobsen in a poignant duet with solo cello (James Holland). In mid-sentence Socrates is brashly interrupted by the uninvited Alcibiades and his band of drunken followers, for which Bernstein invoke a jazz-imbued sense of revelry and generally disorderly conduct. Built over a jazz (pizzicato) bass (Aaro Heinonen), the reading was full of deftly athletic rhythms and syncopations.
“Appalachian Spring” is essentially a fantasia based on the Shaker folk tune “Simple Gifts.” It tells the story of a pioneer bride and groom in early 19th-century Pennsylvania. In this as throughout concert, Thomas O’Connor skillfully conducted these rhythmically complex works, eliciting a sparkling precision from the ensemble.
Santa Fe Pro Musica Recording
Nominated for Grammy Award
Santa Fe, NM – Santa Fe Pro Musica is thrilled to announce that its recording of Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde/The Song of the Earth has been nominated for a Grammy Award in the classical category of Best Small Ensemble Performance. Nominations for the 50th Annual Grammy Awards were just announced; and the awards will be presented on February 10, 2008.
The Dorian/Sono Luminus recording, released in 2006, is a collaboration between Santa Fe Pro Musica, which specializes in the performance of works for chamber orchestra and chamber ensembles, and the Smithsonian Chamber Players, dedicated to exploring the worlds of the master instruments from the collection of the Smithsonian Institution. This performance of Mahler’s masterwork is based on the chamber orchestra transcription by Arnold Schonberg (completed by Rainer Riehn), and is conducted by Kenneth Slowik, artistic director of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, and features soloists John Elwes, tenor, and Russell Braun, baritone.
Thomas O’Connor, general director of Santa Fe Pro Musica, expressed his delight over the nomination. “Coming as a total surprise in the middle of our twenty-sixth season, this nomination is a wonderful validation of the success of Santa Fe Pro Musica, the Smithsonian Chamber Players, and the importance of the chamber orchestra repertoire and performance. The nomination is a great honor, and we are very grateful.”
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
J. Revell Carr, President
Bernard van der Hoeven, Vice President
Lynda MacKichan, Treasurer
Don Close, Secretary
M. Carlota Baca
Thomas O’Connor Biography
Thomas O’Connor is the Co-Founder, Music Director and Conductor of Santa Fe Pro Musica. Mr. O’Connor is also a highly regarded oboist who has performed extensively on modern and historical oboes. He has performed with all of the major classical music organizations in New Mexico including the Santa Fe Opera, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire and the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. He frequently performs outside of New Mexico with festivals and orchestras including the International Festival at the Domaine Forget (Canada), Oregon Bach Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Oregon Festival of American Music, Philharmonia Baroque ˙Orchestra (San Francisco), San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival (California), Maryland Handel Festival, American Bach Soloists (San Francisco), the Bach Ensemble, Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, Dallas Chamber Orchestra, and Boston Baroque. He was formerly the Artistic Director of the Ernest Bloch Music Festival at Newport (Oregon) and also served on the faculty of Texas Tech University. He has recordings with Sony, Telarc and Dorian including a GRAMMY® nominated disc of the chamber version of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde for Dorian Records. Mr. O’Connor is a graduate of the University of New Mexico and has pursued graduate studies at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri at Kansas City and at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Musicale, Montreux, Switzerland.
Joshua Roman, cello
Deborah Domanski - Mezzo-soprano
Brentano String Quartet
Calidore String Quartet
Anne-Marie McDermott, piano
Stephen Redfield - Violin - Concertmaster, Santa Fe Pro Musica - Stephen performs with Victoria Bach Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Arizona Bach Festival, and chamber music and solo appearances throughout the U.S. and internationally - He is a prize winner in the Coleman and the Monterey Chamber Music Competitions, and was awarded Quartet Fellowships at Aspen and Chautauqua Festival - He plays a Kloz violin (which was Mozart’s violin maker), and a Baroque violin from the Hopf family of makers - Stephen is currently violin professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, and his favorite listening music is jazz.
Ida Kavafian, violin
Avery Amereau - Mezzo-soprano
Melissa Marse, piano
Ms. Marse’s Carnegie Weill debut recital (with the Lincoln Piano trio) was presented by the late Isaac Stern in 2001. In addition to her acclaim as a pianist, Ms. Marse sings professionally with the Grammy-winning ensemble Conspirare. Additionally, she is a founding artist member of America’s Dream Chamber Artists and founding Artistic director of the Houston Chamber Music Society. Ms. Marse’s past academic appointments include Harvard University, Texas State University, Mannes Art Song Institute, and a teaching fellowship at Yale. Most recently, she served as the head of the keyboard department at Houston Baptist University.
Benjamin Beilman, violin
Kathryn Mueller - Soprano
Thomas O’Connor - Music Director, Conductor, co-founder and former oboist of Santa Fe Pro Musica - He has performed with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Le Festival International du Domaine Forget (Canada), Oregon Bach Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Oregon Festival of American Music, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (San Francisco), American Bach Soloists, Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera, Boston Baroque, and is a 2008 Grammy nominee - When not absorbed in music, Tom likes to explore the scenic highways and byways of Northern New Mexico, especially the ones with curves.
Danny Bond - Bassoon - Danny lives in Taos, NM, his family home is in Mississippi, but his work is in Amsterdam (Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century) and San Francisco (Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra) - He received his solo diploma with distinction in baroque bassoon from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague in 1977, then appointed teacher at the conservatory, a position he held until 1992 - Danny has made many orchestral and solo recordings, including Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto and Vivaldi concertos with Academy of Ancient Music, and sonatas of Boismortier, Corrette, Devienne, and Ozi.
David Felberg - Violin - David performs throughout the southwest as concert soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and conductor, and made his New York debut in Merkin Hall in 2005 - He is Artistic Director and co-founder Chatter (Albuquerque), Concertmaster Santa Fe Symphony, Associate Concertmaster New Mexico Philharmonic, Music Director Albuquerque Philharmonic, and teaches contemporary music at University of New Mexico - He received his Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Arizona and a Master of Music in Conducting from the University of New Mexico - David plays an 1829 J. B. Vuillaume violin and is an Albuquerque native.
Justin Pollak - Violin - Justin plays violin and viola in many area groups including Santa Fe Pro Musica, New Mexico Philharmonic, Santa Fe Symphony, Pueblo Symphony Orchestra, Figueroa Music Project, Opera Southwest, Performance Santa Fe Orchestra, Albuquerque Chamber Soloists, Chatter, Cathedral Church of St. John Chamber Orchestra, and with Willy Sucre and Friends on the Placitas Artists Series - A Santa Fe native, Justin studied violin at the University of New Mexico with Leonard Felberg and Bernard Zinck, and viola with Kim Fredenburgh - When not playing music he enjoys cooking, mountain trail running, hiking, and practices yoga and meditation.
Gail Robertson - Viola - Gail is a founding member of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra (Boston), and was a member of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, Wolf Trap Chamber Players, Pacific Symphony, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Kirov Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet - She was Principal Viola for the Mantovani Orchestra nationwide tours, and the first recipient of Austrian Government Ministry of Education Scholarship - After leaving the classical music world for seven years, it was flamenco and musical theater that renewed her passion for the classics - Gail plays violin and viola, both modern and baroque, and is the Santa Fe Pro Musica CHAMPS! Coordinator.
Carol Redman - Flute - Carol is Associate Music Director, Principal Flute and co-founder of Santa Fe Pro Musica - She has performed with the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, festivals in California, Colorado, Oregon, Texas, Canada, Maryland, Germany, Japan - Carol has Bachelor of Music degree, magna cum laude, from the University of New Mexico, and was a 2008 Grammy nominee for Best Classical Album/Small Ensemble - She is currently Flute Instructor at the New Mexico School for the Arts - Carol plays a gold Brannen Bros flute (Boston, 1997), and for Baroque performances she plays a 1760 C. A. Grenser ebony copy made by Rod Cameron (2005, Mendocino, CA).
David Solem - Harpsichord and Organ - David was born and raised in Washington D.C. and has a Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Peabody Conservatory of Music where he studied organ, harpsichord, and piano - He is currently assistant organist for First Presbyterian Church (Santa Fe), and an active performer in the northern New Mexico area - He has 30 years experience in liturgical music, and has taught applied music and choral arts at Loyola University Chicago - He is also a psychotherapist in private practice in the Santa Fe area - In his spare time he provides sensitive and creative support as a keyboard accompanist for Santa Fe’s musical community.
James Holland – Cello – James received performance degrees from the University of Alabama and the Eastman School of Music. Before relocating to New Mexico, he was principal cellist of the Charleston Symphony for 11 years and is currently principal cellist for Santa Fe Pro Musica and the Breckenridge Music Festival. He performs chamber music throughout New Mexico and is Artistic Director of Albuquerque Chamber Soloists. James can be heard on jazz legends Eddie Daniels and Roger Kellaway’s award winning live recording “Duke at the Roadhouse.” He also maintains a large private teaching studio and directs orchestras at the Montessori Elementary and Middle School in Albuquerque.
Rick Lohmann- violin
Tom O'Connor, Music Director and Conductoremail 505.988.4640 ext 1001
Carol Redman, Education and Associate Artistic Director email 505.988.4640 ext 1001
Elizabeth Harcombe, Executive Director email 505.988.4640 ext 1003
Janet Gilchrist, Box Office and Artistic Operations Manager email 505.988.4640 ext 1000
Jessie Ayala, Development Manager email 505.988.4640 ext 1004
505.988.4640 / 800.960.6680 - santa fe pro musica © 2016-2017