Baltimore Symphony Performs Handel’s Messiah and Its Re-envisioned, Gospel version, Too Hot to Handel: The Gospel Messiah, Dec. 4, 10-12
Baltimore City College Choir and Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale to perform with BSO this December
Baltimore, Md. (November 10, 2009) –The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will perform two very different versions of Handel’s Messiah this December. The traditional performance of George Frederic Handel’s Messiah takes place on Friday, December 4, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The BSO celebrates its 27th year performing Messiah with the Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale led by Edward Polochick, who conducts the entire work from the harpsichord. Soloists include soprano Georgia Jarman, mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne, tenor Ryan MacPherson and bass-baritone Michael Dean.
Maestra Alsop’s re-envisioned gospel version, Too Hot to Handel: The Gospel Messiah, takes place on Thursday, December 10 at 8:00 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore and Friday, December 11 at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, December 12 at 11:00 a.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The New York Post described Too Hot to Handel as “the jazziest, most soulful reinterpretation of Handel’s Messiah you’ll ever hear.” The piece features a dynamic line-up of musicians, including gospel pianist Clifford Carter, bassist Mike Pope and drummer Clint de Ganon. In addition, the BSO welcomes Too Hot to Handel co-arranger, Bob Christianson, performing on a Hammond B-3 Organ. See below for complete program information.
Originally premiered in 1992 at New York City’s Avery Fischer Hall, Too Hot to Handel offers audiences a fresh twist on a familiar holiday favorite. Maestra Alsop collaborated with Gary Anderson and Bob Christianson to create a revised version of Messiah that broke the traditional bounds of classical music. Maestra Alsop explains, “We started talking about this idea of re-envisioning Handel’s work, such that the DNA of the piece remained the same—the melodies, harmonies, structure and text—however, it is all treated differently. We’ve expanded the traditional orchestra to include a full rhythm section, gospel piano, electric guitars and a Hammond B-3 jazz organ. It becomes an active listening experience, when you're allowed to stand up or clap your hands."
Edward Polochick, conductor
Edward Polochick is Artistic Director of Concert Artists of Baltimore. The 2009-2010 Season also marks his twelth season as music director of Lincoln's Symphony Orchestra in Nebraska. From 1979 to 1999 he was on the staff of the Baltimore Symphony as Director of the Symphony Chorus, and since 1979 he has been at the Peabody Conservatory as associate conductor of the orchestra, director of choral ensembles and opera conductor. An accomplished pianist and harpsichordist, he has appeared as piano soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Since winning the Leopold Stokowski Conducting Award and conducting The Philadelphia Orchestra, Mr. Polochick has attracted attention as an orchestral, operatic and choral conductor. His appearances have included the Baltimore Symphony, Houston Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Aalborg Symphony of Denmark, Omaha Symphony, Modesto, CA Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Daejeon Philharmonic (Korea), St. Petersburg Symphony (Russia) and the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra in Toluca, Mexico.
About Concert Artists of Baltimore
Now in its 22nd season, Concert Artists of Baltimore consists of a professional chamber orchestra and chamber chorus. The full ensembles perform at the Gordon Center and the Lyric, and there is a chamber music series at The Engineers Club in Baltimore. CAB is frequently hired by other organizations such as The Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, Temple Oheb Shalom, St. Louis Church, The Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, The Visionary Arts Museum, Elizabethtown College, Catholic Charities and the Baltimore Symphony, to name a few. If larger forces are needed, such as when the singers of Concert Artists perform Messiah with the Baltimore Symphony each year, the chorus expands to the Concert Artists Symphonic Chorale.
Georgia Jarman, soprano
Hailed by the New York Times for her “luminous, appealing, and agile voice,” and crystalline coloratura, Georgia Jarman’s 2009-2010 season includes a return to her acclaimed performances of Violetta in La Traviata with Den Nye Opera as well as returns to Florentine Opera for Gilda in Rigoletto, Cincinnati Opera for Musetta in La Bohème, Palm Beach Opera for Micaela in Carmen, Portland Opera for Eurydice in Philip Glass’ Orphée, and both Opera Grand Rapids and Pensacola Opera for Nedda in I pagliacci. She also joins the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for Handel’s Messiah and the Portland Symphonic Choir for Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem. She also returns to the roster of the Metropolitan Opera for its production of Il barbiere di Siviglia.
Julie Boulianne, mezzo-soprano
Winner of the Prix Lyrique Français, French-Canadian Julie Boulianne is known for the agility and expressive power of her dark-hued mezzo-soprano voice. During the 2009-2010 season, she makes her New York City Opera debut as the wily Lazuli in Chabrier’s comedic opera L’Étoile; sings Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at Vancouver Opera; and portrays the title role in Massenet’s Cendrillon at l’Opéra de Montréal. Her concert calendar includes Ravel’s Shéhérazade with the Utah Symphony, Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’Été with l’Orchestre Symphonique du Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean and Handel’s Messiah with the Baltimore and Pacific symphony orchestras.
She has appeared frequently at Montreal Opera, Quebec Opera and McGill Opera and has performed extensively in France. In March 2009, Naxos Records released a recording of Shéhérazade and L’enfant et les sortileges featuring her with the Nashville Symphony. She is a regular guest of symphony orchestras including L’Orchestre de la Francophonie Canadienne, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, L’Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and Les Violons du Roy.
Ryan MacPherson, tenor
Tenor Ryan MacPherson has appeared with the New York City Opera as Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan Tutte, as Anathol in Barber’s Vanessa and is a recent recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Award honoring his contribution to the company. He recently added the role of Don José in Bizet’s Carmen to his repertoire in performances with Opera Memphis, Festival Opera of Walnut Creek and at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. He made his company debut at the Opera National de Paris (Bastille) in R. Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten, performed Ruggero in Puccini’s La rondine with Sarasota Opera and Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with Utah Symphony and Opera. Last season’s roles included Tamino in Mozart’s The Magic Flute with Florentine Opera and the title role in Bernstein’s Candide with Toledo Opera. He looks forward to performing Ferrando in Così fan Tutte with Portland Opera and the Duke Rigoletto with Nashville Opera in the coming months.
Michael Dean, bass-baritone
American bass-baritone Michael Dean is in-demand worldwide in both concert and operatic repertoire, appearing with many of the leading opera houses and orchestras of the U.S. and Europe. He has made frequent appearances at New York City Opera, where he has performed the title role in The Marriage of Figaro, Leporello in Don Giovanni, George in Of Mice and Men and Papageno in The Magic Flute. Recent appearances have also included Jason McFarlane in a "Live from Lincoln Center" broadcast of Lizzie Borden; the title role in Don Giovanni and Silva in Ernani at the Landestheater in Linz, Austria; Figaro in Antwerp, Belgium; Of Mice and Men at Arizona Opera; and Colline in La Bohème in Strasbourg and Berlin. He has also received critical praise for his numerous recordings of baroque opera including Agrippina, Ottone, Dido and Aeneas, Radamisto, Giustino and Serse. His 2009-2010 season is filled with Messiah performances, among others with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Baltimore Symphony and Alabama Symphony. Michael Dean is currently a member of the Voice Faculty of UCLA.
Too Hot to Handel: The Gospel Messiah:
Marin Alsop, conductor
Hailed as one of the world’s leading conductors for her artistic vision and commitment to accessibility in classical music, Marin Alsop made history with her appointment as the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. With her inaugural concerts in September 2007, she became the first woman to head a major American orchestra, which mirrored her ongoing success in the United Kingdom, where she served as the Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony from 2002-2008 and now holds the title of Conductor Emeritus. In 2005, Marin Alsop was named a MacArthur Fellow, the first conductor ever to receive this prestigious award. In 2007, she was honored with a European Women of Achievement Award and in 2008 she was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Maestra Alsop is a regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic. She also appears frequently as a guest conductor with many distinguished orchestras worldwide. After a highly successful 12-year tenure as music director of the Colorado Symphony, Ms. Alsop continues her association as conductor laureate. She also continues as music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California. Marin Alsop attended Yale University and received her master’s degree from The Juilliard School. In 1989, her conducting career was launched when she became a prizewinner at the Leopold Stokowski International Conducting Competition.
About Baltimore City College Choir
The Baltimore City College High School Choral Program consists of more than 100 students in grades nine through 12. The choir takes pride in performing a wide variety of repertoire, including music from the works of Praetorius and Handel to the spirituals and works of Dawson, Hogan and Ellington. The Full Choir and Mixed Chorus have been divided into several ensembles: The Concert Choir, an auditioned group of about 50 students who serve as the main performing group; The "Singing/Swingin' Knights" Ensemble, consisting of 25 students with advanced levels of music training, who perform literature written for small ensembles from the Renaissance period to the present; and The "Knights and Daze" Show Choir, who perform jazz, pop and show literature with choreography. The Baltimore City College Choirs have delighted audiences on television, radio and stages in the Baltimore Metropolitan area, throughout the United States, as well as internationally. The choirs have also participated in numerous competitions and adjudications in which they have consistently received superior ratings with numerous awards and trophies. The choir has also recorded popular albums Vision for the Millennium and Living the Vision: The Europe Tour, A New Vision.
Bob Christianson, Hammond B-3 organ
This past year, Bob Christianson has been busy co-scoring the television show “Life Is Wild” (CW) with multi-platinum artist Maurice White of “Earth, Wind & Fire” fame. His new musical, Take Me America (book and lyrics by Bill Nabel), was presented at the Midtown Manhattan Theater Festival this summer, and took several major prizes, including Best New Musical. Mr. Christianson was also the most called upon composer for the HBO series “Sex And The City.” He was nominated for an Emmy for his music for ABC Sports, and has scored many series for the Discovery family of networks. He has also written more than 25 award winning sports themes for CBS, ESPN and ABC. With his writing partner, Cappy Caposella, he has written the ground-breaking new rock musical entitled Grail. Mr. Christianson started in New York as musical director/conductor for such Broadway Shows as Godspell, Gilda Radner-Live From New York and The Magic Show. His film credits include Vibrations, Machiavelli Rises, Mindbender and Kounterfeit.
Clifford Carter, piano
Keyboardist and composer Clifford Carter has blazed his mark in the worlds of jazz, pop, rock ‘n’ roll and gospel. Mr. Carter has performed and recorded with legendary artists including Paul Simon, James Taylor, Natalie Cole, Bette Midler and Carly Simon. His songs have been recorded by Michael Franks, Phyllis Hyman, Vanessa Williams and The Four Tops. He owns Secret Road Studios, a versatile production environment, where he plays, writes, arranges and produces. Most recently, Mr. Carter has toured Europe with Bill Evans, appeared with the Ralph MacDonald Band at the Pan Royal Festival in Trinidad, performed a three-week engagement at the Oak Room at the Algonquin with Broadway star Melissa Errico, recorded and arranged for Kiss drummer Peter Criss and toured the Czech Republic and Slovac Republic with singer-songwriter Richard Muller. Every year since 1993, Carter has been a featured pianist in the performance of Too Hot To Handel with several orchestras and has also appeared on the live recording.
Mike Pope, bass
Mike Pope earned a bachelor’s degree in jazz studies performance through North Texas State University's prestigious jazz program. Since 1993, Mr. Pope has become a fixture on the New York jazz scene. He has performed or recorded with some of the world's most venerated musicians including Michael and Randy Brecker, Mike Stern, Joe Locke, Chuck Loeb, Steve Smith and Jeff "Tain" Watts. He has also toured internationally as a member of several high-profile projects including Chick Corea's Elektric Band, David Sanborn, The Manhattan Transfer and Bill Bruford's Earthworks. Mr. Pope has merged his precise technical command of acoustic upright and electric bass with his composing and arranging skills on two projects, Walk Your Dogma (1997) and The Lay Of The Land (2002).
Clint de Ganon, drums
In 2008, Clint de Ganon completed a month-long tour in Europe with the legendary singer Art Garfunkel, and he continues his year-round performance schedule with pop diva Linda Eder. He also recorded the just-released Phoebe Snow Live, recorded with critically-acclaimed jazz guitarist John Basile, and worked with five-time Grammy winner Christopher Cross. Mr. de Ganon has played on more than 1,000 recording sessions and 75 tours including Billy Preston, The Blues Brothers, Kid Rock, Edgar Winter, Bob James, David Pack, Dionne Warwick, Mark Cohn, Ann-Margret, Christine Ebersole, Judy Collins, Cissy Houston, Fantasia, Tom Scott, Michael Franks and the Saturday Night Live Band. Mr. de Ganon is known for his work with the late Hiram Bullock. For seven years, the power trio consisted of the singing and playing of Bullock, Mr. de Ganon and David Letterman’s bassist Will Lee.
EVENT DETAILS: Handel’s Messiah
Friday, December 4, 2009 at 7:30 p.m.—The Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Edward Polochick, conductor and harpsichord
Georgia Jarman, soprano
Julie Boulianne, mezzo-soprano
Ryan MacPherson, tenor
Michael Dean, bass-baritone
Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale
Tickets for these performances range from $25 to $65. Tickets are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.
EVENT DETAILS: Too Hot to Handel: The Gospel Messiah
Thursday, December 10, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.—The Music Center at Strathmore
Friday, December 11, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.—The Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Saturday, December 12, 2009 at 11 a.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall*
* Please note that Saturday’s performance is part of the Casual Concert Series and will feature highlights in an hour-long program with no intermission.
Marin Alsop, conductor
Baltimore City College High School Choir
Linda Hall, director
Clifford Carter, piano
Bob Christianson, Hammond B-3 Organ
Mike Pope, bass
Clint de Ganon, drum set
Too Hot to Handel is co-arranged and orchestrated by Bob Christianson & Gary Anderson; concept by Marin Alsop.
Tickets for these performances range from $25 to $80. Tickets are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.