CHICAGO (July 23, 2015) — The 81st annual Grant Park Music Festival continues into August with guest conductor Christoph König making his Festival debut, leading Bruckner‘s noble and dignified Symphony No. 6 on July 31 and August 1 indoors at the Harris Theater. Grammy®-winning jazz vocalist Kurt Elling sings love songs from around the world al fresco in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on August 12. And internationally renowned soprano Erin Wall joins the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus with returning soloists Jill Grove, Garrett Sorenson and Alfred Walker for Elgar’s epic oratorio The Kingdom, to close the season on August 21 and 22.
Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar has led the Grammy®-nominated Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus Director Christopher Bell has directed the award-winning Grant Park Chorus throughout its ten-week season at the Festival’s home in Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Festival concerts continue Wednesdays and Fridays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. The August program schedule is below. A complete Grant Park Music Festival schedule is accessible at www.gpmf.org.
Additional August highlights of the nation’s only free, summer-long outdoor classical music series of its kind include “poet of the keyboard” Inon Barnatan making his Festival debut playing one of Mozart’s most popular piano concertos (Aug. 5), and the Grant Park Chorus joining renowned soloists and the Grant Park Orchestra for Haydn’s Harmony Mass (Aug. 7-8). Pianist Natasha Paremski returns to the Festival to play Schoenfield’s show-stopping Four Parables (Aug. 14-15).
Kurt Elling’s August 12 performance, conducted by Festival Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar, comprises selections from his new album Passion World (June 9, Concord Records). Commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center, this cosmopolitan project features ballads from across the globe – from Brazil to Ireland, Germany to France, Scotland to Cuba to Iceland. Diverse songs include the standard: “La Vie en Rose”; “Where Love Is,” a James Joyce poem set to music by Irish composer Brian Byrne; and “Where the Streets Have No Name,” U2’s ode to lives lost in war and politics. In concert, Elling tells rich stories about the history and context of each of these songs to sweep audiences away on a grand tour of exotic places, cultures and times. Elling is joined on stage by his band, Gary Versace (piano), Clark Sommers (bass), John Mclean (guitar) and Kendrick Scott (drums) with special guests John Wojciehowski (tenor saxophone) and Orbert Davis (trumpet).
Week 10 of the 2015 Grant Park Music Festival – the final week – comprises two very special performances. First, virtuoso violinist James Ehnes – a decorated Member of the Order of Canada – joins the Grant Park Orchestra to perform Beethoven’s only violin concerto on Wednesday, August 19. He plays the priceless antique Marsick Stradivarius violin of 1715, but Ehnes is an otherwise unassuming performer whom conductor Carlos Kalmar describes as “an impeccable musician making music at the highest level.”
For the Festival’s final weekend, the complete Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus pull out all the stops for The Kingdom, an evening-length oratorio rarely performed in the U.S. The Kingdom is an epic, five-part sacred oratorio about the events following Christ’s crucifixion. Soloist Erin Wall, singing the soprano role of the Virgin Mary, performed this part last year at BBC Proms. “The Kingdom has Grant Park written all over it—romantic language, passionate, moving, emotionally powerful,” says Kalmar. “It is ideal for our Festival; it is a piece not everyone plays, the romantic, soft music sounds great outdoors, and it grabs you whether you are religious or not.”
WFMT’s Relevant Tones host Seth Boustead, Rivet Radio’s Dialogue host Ron Litke, composer and music editor Keith Murphy and former WFMT Program Director Dennis Moore take turns hosting free Club 615 pre-concert lectures every Wednesday and Friday at 5:30pm and Saturdays at 6:15 p.m. in Millennium Park’s Family Fun Tent located just west of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. On Friday, July 31 and August 1, Litke hosts special guest conductor Christoph König of Solistes Européens Luxembourg discussing Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6 indoors at the Harris Theater.
Open lunchtime rehearsals of the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus continue through August 21 and typically take place Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Audiences are welcome to sit in the Pavilion Seating Bowl during rehearsals, and Festival docents will be on site to talk about the week’s concerts during rehearsal breaks. Special guest, concertmaster Jeremy Black, answers questions during a special Brown Bag Lunch Series on Wednesday, August 5 at noon. (*There are no open rehearsals on July 30 and 31).
Ten of this summer’s concerts – including August 5, 14, 19 and 21 – will be broadcast live on 98.7WFMT, Chicago’s classical and fine arts radio station, and also online at wfmt.com/streaming.
For more information about the Grant Park Music Festival including membership, one-night passes and group seating, visit gpmf.org or call 312-742-7647. For additional information, visit the Grant Park Music Festival Facebook page or follow the Festival on Twitter @gpmf.
Grant Park Music Festival
Acclaimed by critics and beloved by audiences, the Grant Park Music Festival is the nation’s only free, summer-long outdoor classical music series of its kind. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, located between Michigan and Columbus Avenues at Washington Street, is the official home of the Grant Park Music Festival.
The Grant Park Music Festival is led by Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar, along with Grant Park Chorus Director Christopher Bell, Grant Park Orchestral Association President and CEO Paul Winberg, and Board Chair Chuck Kierscht.
The Grant Park Music Festival gratefully acknowledges the generous support from its 2015 sponsors: BMO Harris Bank, Season Sponsor; Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park, Official Hotel; Macy’s, Official Picnic Sponsor; and ComEd, Concert Sponsor. The Grant Park Music Festival is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.
The Grant Park Music Festival participates in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Night Out in the Parks series. Night Out in the Parks is an initiative featuring more than 1,000 cultural activities in Chicago Park District locations citywide, in support of the City of Chicago’s Cultural Plan.
Carlos Kalmar has been Principal Conductor of the Grant Park Music Festival since 2000, and in 2011 was named Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. Under Kalmar’s leadership, the Festival has become one of the world’s preeminent classical music festivals, and he has played a central role in shaping its artistic vision.
In addition to his role at the Grant Park Music Festival, Carlos Kalmar is the Music Director of the Oregon Symphony, a position he has held since 2003 and Principal Conductor of the Orquestra Sinfónica de Radio Televisión Española in Madrid. He has served in artistic leadership roles for the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra, the Opera House and Philharmonic Orchestra in Dessau, Germany and the Tonkünstler Orchestra in Vienna, while also traveling the world as a guest conductor appearing with some of the world’s most important orchestras. Kalmar has made six recordings with the Grant Park Orchestra.
Christopher Bell has served as Chorus Director of the Grant Park Chorus since 2001, and led the Chorus through its 50th anniversary in 2012 with a series of special events, including the release of its first ever a cappella recording entitled Songs of Smaller Creatures and other American Choral Works, available on Cedille Records. He works extensively with the Grant Park Apprentice Chorale, comprising students from the Roosevelt University Chicago College of Performing Arts and DePaul University School of Music who have been hand-picked by Bell, and he conducts the Festival’s annual Independence Day Salute.
In addition to working with the Grant Park Music Festival, Bell is the Chorus Master of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus, and the Belfast Philharmonic Choir. Largely responsible for the formation of the National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCoS) in 1996, he has been its Artistic Director ever since. In 2012, Bell was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow for his contributions to music in Scotland. He is the recipient of the 2013 Michael Korn Founders Award given by Chorus America, established in 1978 to honor an individual with a lifetime of significant contributions to the professional choral art.
GRANT PARK MUSIC FESTIVAL
BRUCKNER SYMPHONY NO. 6
Friday, July 31, 6:30 PM in Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph Street
Saturday, Aug. 1, 7:30 PM in Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph Street
Performers: Grant Park Orchestra; Christoph König, guest conductor
Guest conductor Christoph König makes his Festival debut, leading the Grant Park Orchestra in Bruckner’s noble and dignified Symphony No. 6, indoors at the Harris Theater.
Weber Overture to Der Freischütz
Bruckner Symphony No. 6
Christoph König is Principal Conductor and Music Director of the Solistes Européens Luxembourg, after having served as Principal Conductor of the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música. He is also in demand as a guest conductor, appearing with the Staatskapelle Dresden, Orchestre de Paris, Danish National Symphony, Netherlands Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, Stuttgart Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic, Barcelona Symphony, Tampere Philharmonic, Radio Orchestra of Madrid, Orquesta de Euskadi, New Zealand Symphony, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Since his debut in the United States in 2010 he has conducted the orchestras of Pittsburgh, Toronto, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Houston, Cincinnati, Calgary, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Vancouver, Oregon, Milwaukee and Colorado. Christoph König’s reputation as an opera conductor rose swiftly after stepping in at short notice to direct Zurich Opera’s 2003 production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail. He has also led Zurich Opera productions of Il Turco in Italia with Cecilia Bartoli and Ruggero Raimondi and Die Zauberflöte. His other operatic credits include Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Teatro Real in Madrid, Don Giovanni at the Staatsoper in Stuttgart and Die Zauberflöte and Rigoletto at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Among his recordings are music of Schoenberg, Prokofiev, Saariaho and Sibelius with the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música (on the Ao Vivo label), Melcer-Szczawinski with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Hyperion), Beethoven symphonies with the Malmö Symphony (DB Productions) and Prokofiev and Mozart with the Solistes Européens, Luxembourg (SEL Classics). Christoph König was born in Dresden, where he sang in the celebrated Dresdner Kreuzchor. He studied conducting, piano and singing at the Dresdner Musikhochschule and began his professional career at the Bonn Opera.
MOZART PIANO CONCERTO
Wednesday, August 5, 6:30pm in Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Performers: Grant Park Orchestra, Carlos Kalmar, conductor; Inon Barnatan, piano
A true poet of the keyboard, Inon Barnatan presents his insightful interpretation of the shining star of Mozart’s piano repertory. The evening also includes works by George Antheil and Randall Thompson.
Thompson Symphony No. 2
Mozart Piano Concerto No. 17
Antheil A Jazz Symphony
Pianist Inon Barnatan is the New York Philharmonic’s first Artist in Association, a major three-season appointment highlighted by multiple concerto and chamber collaborations with the orchestra. The Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient has performed recitals at Carnegie Hall, Washington’s Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall and the Concertgebouw, among others. He is a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and frequently performs as a recital partner of cellist Alisa Weilerstein. Mr. Barnatan has appeared with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including those of Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, Cleveland, Philadelphia and San Francisco, Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, National Arts Centre Orchestra and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. His solo album Darknesse Visible was designated one of the “Best of 2012” by The New York Times. In addition to his partnership with the New York Philharmonic, Mr. Barnatan’s other 2014-2015 season highlights include performances with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Milwaukee Symphony and Atlanta Symphony. In recital, he performs at London’s Wigmore Hall, Chicago’s Harris Theater, Celebrity Series of Boston, and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Jerusalem Quartet and Howland Chamber Music Circle. Born in Tel Aviv in 1979, Inon Barnatan started piano at the age of three and made his orchestral debut at 11. His studies connect him to some of the last century’s most distinguished pianists and teachers: he studied with Victor Derevianko, himself a pupil of Russian master Heinrich Neuhaus, before studying with Maria Curcio — a student of the legendary Artur Schnabel — and Christopher Elton at London’s Royal Academy of Music; he has since been taught and mentored by Leon Fleisher.
HAYDN HARMONY MASS
Friday, August 7, 6:30pm in Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Saturday, August 8, 7:30pm in Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Performers: Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus, Carlos Kalmar, conductor; Layla Claire, soprano; Julie Boulianne, mezzo-soprano; John Tessier, tenor; Daniel Okulitch, bass-baritone
Haydn’s rarely performed Harmoniemesse, his last major work, showcases the esteemed Grant Park Chorus and four brilliant guest soloists. Carlos Kalmar pairs this ephemeral piece with John Adams’ score that praises and parodies lush Romantic harmony.
Haydn Mass in B-flat Major, Harmoniemesse
AN EVENING WITH KURT ELLING
Wednesday, August 12, 6:30pm in Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Performers: Grant Park Orchestra, Carlos Kalmar, conductor; Kurt Elling, vocalist; Gary Versace, piano; Clark Sommers, bass; John Mclean, guitar; Kendrick Scott, drums; John Wojciehowski, tenor saxophone; Orbert Davis, trumpet
Chicago legend and Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist Kurt Elling joins the Grant Park Orchestra in Passion World, a tour-de-force concert of internationally famous ballads of love and loss.
Elling Passion World
Grammy Award winner Kurt Elling is among the world’s foremost jazz vocalists. He has won every DownBeat Critics Poll for the last 14 years and has been named “Male Singer of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association eight times in that same span. Every one of Mr. Elling’s ten albums has been nominated for a Grammy. His voice spans four octaves and features both technical mastery and emotional depth. His repertoire includes original compositions and modern interpretations of standards, all of which are springboards for inspired improvisation, scatting, spoken word and poetry. Kurt Elling was the Artist-in-Residence for the Singapore and Monterey Jazz Festivals. He has also written multi-disciplinary works for Steppenwolf Theatre and the City of Chicago. The Obama Administration’s first state dinner featured Mr. Elling in a command performance. Kurt Elling is a renowned artist of vocalese — the writing and performing of words over recorded improvised jazz solos. The natural heir to jazz pioneers Eddie Jefferson, King Pleasure and Jon Hendricks, he has set his own lyrics to the improvised solos of Wayne Shorter, Keith Jarrett and Pat Metheny. He often incorporates images and references from writers such as Rilke, Rumi, Neruda and Proust into his work. Kurt Elling has toured vigorously around the world throughout his career, leading his own ensemble and collaborating with many of the world’s finest orchestras. Passion World, Kurt Elling’s newest recording, culminates nearly five years of collecting and honing songs – and in some cases writing new lyrics – that express love, romance and heartbreak around the world. Throughout his travels, Elling has observed how deeply felt passions are shaped in countless ways by each unique culture. Those insights have guided the creation of Passion World, a tour-de-force project that is vibrant with diversity, celebrating what makes us all human. In concert Elling tells rich stories about the history and context of each of these songs to sweep you away on a grand tour of exotic places, cultures and times. Passion World is a musical magic carpet taking you on a fascinating journey through the realms of romance in a concert not to be missed.
STRAUSS EIN HELDENLEBEN
Friday, August 14, 6:30pm in Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Saturday, August 15, 7:30pm in Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Performers: Grant Park Orchestra, Carlos Kalmar, conductor; Natasha Paremski, piano
After an impressive Festival debut in 2014, the award-winning pianist Natasha Paremski returns to perform the ferociously technical Four Parables. Strauss’ monumental tone poem completes the program.
Wolf-Ferrari Overture to The Secret of Suzanne
Schoenfield Four Parables
Strauss Ein Heldenleben
Natasha Paremski won the Gilmore Young Artists Prize in 2006 at the age of 18 and Prix Montblanc the following year, and by 2012 she had been named the Classical Recording Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year, released her first recital album (which debuted at No. 9 on the Billboard Traditional Classical chart) and recorded Tchaikovsky’s Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninoff’s Paganini Rhapsody with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Fabien Gabel for Naxos. Ms. Paremski performs regularly with major orchestras across North America and Europe, tours extensively internationally and appears in recital in the world’s great concert halls. In addition to encompassing standard masterworks, her repertory includes a strong focus on new music. On her 2010-2011 tours she played the world premiere of a sonata written for her by Gabriel Kahane, which was also included in her solo album. She has also performed John Corigliano’s Piano Concerto and played several pieces by noted composer and pianist Fred Hersch in recital. Ms. Paremski was featured in a two-part film for BBC Television on the life and work of Tchaikovsky, shot on location in St. Petersburg. In 2007, she participated with Simon Keenlyside and Maxim Vengerov in the filming of Twin Spirits, a project starring Sting and Trudie Styler that explores the music and writing of Robert and Clara Schumann. Natasha Paremski was born in Moscow, began her piano studies at age four, and moved to the United States four years later; she became a U.S. citizen shortly thereafter. She studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music before moving to New York to study with Pavlina Dokovska at the Mannes College of Music, from which she graduated in 2007. She made her professional debut at nine with the El Camino Youth Symphony in California.
BEETHOVEN VIOLIN CONCERTO
Wednesday, August 19, 6:30pm in Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Performers: Grant Park Orchestra, Carlos Kalmar, conductor; James Ehnes, violin
Grammy Award-winner and violinist extraordinaire James Ehnes returns for a fiery performance of Beethoven’s exquisite Violin Concerto in what promises to be a truly stunning evening.
Beethoven Violin Concerto
James Ehnes, known for his virtuosity and probing musicianship, has performed in more than 30 countries on five continents, appearing regularly in the world’s great concert halls and with many of the most celebrated orchestras and conductors. During the 2014-2015 season, Mr. Ehnes performs with the Royal Philharmonic, Danish National, Melbourne, Sydney, NHK, Vienna and Boston symphony orchestras, with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and gives recitals in Prague, London, Toronto, Fort Worth and Montreal. He also appears with the Ehnes Quartet across North America and leads the winter and summer festivals of the Seattle Chamber Music Society, where he is Artistic Director. James Ehnes has an extensive discography of more than 35 recordings featuring music ranging from J.S. Bach to John Adams. His recent projects include Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto paired with Shostakovich’s String Quartets Nos. 7 and 8, an American chamber music disc, and the final volume of his four-disc collection of the music of Béla Bartók. His recordings have been honored with many international awards and prizes, including a Grammy, a Gramophone and nine Juno Awards. James Ehnes was born in 1976 in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. He began violin studies at age four and at age nine became a protégé of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin. He studied with Sally Thomas at the Meadowmount School of Music and from 1993 to 1997 at the Juilliard School. He plays the “Marsick” Stradivarius of 1715. He currently lives in Bradenton, Florida with his wife and daughter. James Ehnes is a Member of the Order of Canada.
ELGAR THE KINGDOM
Friday, August 21, 6:30pm in Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Saturday, August 22, 7:30pm in Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Performers: Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus, Carlos Kalmar, conductor; Donald Nally, guest chorus director; Erin Wall, soprano; Jill Grove, mezzo-soprano; Garrett Sorenson, tenor; Alfred Walker, bass
The Festival’s 2015 season comes to a thrilling close with Elgar’s epic oratorio The Kingdom, featuring the Grant Park Chorus and an all-star lineup of vocalists.
Elgar The Kingdom
Donald Nally is conductor of The Crossing, director of choral organizations at Northwestern University, and chorus master of the Chicago Bach Project. He has held distinguished tenures as chorus master for Lyric Opera of Chicago, Welsh National Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Spoleto USA and Spoleto Festival in Italy. He has served as artistic director of the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati and Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, a recipient of the Margaret Hillis Award for Excellence in Choral Music. Among the many ensembles Mr. Nally has guest conducted are the Latvian State Choir in Riga, Grant Park Chorus, Philharmonic Chorus of London and Santa Fe Desert Chorale. His ensembles have sung with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Pennsylvania Ballet, Spoleto USA, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Cymru, RAI National Symphony Orchestra and International Contemporary Ensemble; his work is heard on numerous recordings on the Chandos, Navona and Innova labels. In 2012 Donald Nally received both the Alumni Merit Award from Westminster Choir College and Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal from Chorus America. His book, Conversations with Joseph Flummerfelt, was published in 2011.
Erin Wall began her professional career in 2001 as a member of the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and has since appeared with Lyric Opera as Marguerite in Faust, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Konstanze in Die Entführung auf dem Serail and Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann. In recent seasons, Ms. Wall has also been seen in leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Vienna Staatsoper, l’Opéra National de Paris, Bayerische Staatsoper, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera and Santa Fe Opera. She has appeared in concert with the City of Birmingham Symphony, Tokyo Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira in Rio de Janeiro, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, and Oregon Symphony. In her native Canada, she has sung with the major orchestras of Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. Her recordings include Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the Melbourne Symphony and Sir Andrew Davis and Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas on Deutsche Grammophon, which won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Classical Album. Erin Wall has received awards from the Richard Tucker Foundation, George London Foundation, Marilyn Horne Foundation, Florida Opera, Dallas Opera and Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She studied at Western Washington University, Rice University, Aspen Music Festival and Music Academy of the West.
American mezzo-soprano Jill Grove has appeared in leading roles with the Metropolitan Opera, New Orleans Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Munich Staatsoper, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Dallas Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Teatro Carlo Felice, Théâtre du Châtelet and Welsh National Opera. Ms. Grove’s highlights on the concert stage include performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, National Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Houston Symphony, Utah Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra and other leading orchestras. Among her recordings are Ulrica in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera (Chandos), Auntie in Peter Grimes (London Symphony Orchestra Live label under Sir Colin Davis as well as a new production by John Doyle at the Metropolitan Opera on EMI), Magdalene in a Metropolitan Opera production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg conducted by James Levine (Deutsche Grammophon) and the Omniscient Mussel in Strauss’ Die ägyptische Helena with the American Symphony Orchestra (Teldec). As a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, she sang Tisbe in La Cenerentola opposite Cecilia Bartoli, which was released by Decca/London. Jill Grove is a winner of the 2003 ARIA award, a 2001 Richard Tucker Foundation Career Grant, a 1999 George London Foundation Career Grant, a 1997 Sullivan Foundation Career Grant, the 1996 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a 1996 Richard Tucker Foundation Study Grant and a 1995 Richard F. Gold Career Grant. She was a member of the Merola Program at San Francisco Opera and Houston Grand Opera Studio, and attended the Music Academy of the West, New England Conservatory and Stephen F. Austin State University, from which she received a Distinguished Alumna Award in 2006.
American tenor Garrett Sorenson recently completed an extended run of Terrance McNally’s Master Class on Broadway opposite Tyne Daly, which successfully transferred to London’s West End. The production received a 2012 Tony nomination for “Best Revival of a Play.” Other highlights of Mr. Sorenson’s recent seasons include his return to West Australian Opera as Rodolfo in La Bohème, Cavaradossi in Tosca at Arizona Opera, and a new production of Bedřich Smetana’s The Kiss with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. He also returned to the Metropolitan Opera to cover roles in Rusalka, Eugene Onégin and Arabella. He has appeared in concert with the Cleveland Orchestra, Grant Park Orchestra, Tanglewood Festival, Verbier Festival (Switzerland), San Francisco Symphony, Boston Symphony, Houston Symphony and Baltimore Symphony. Mr. Sorenson participated in “The Song Continues” under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne Foundation, a week-long series of performances and master classes at Carnegie Hall; the George London Foundation hosted him in recital in New York City. A former member of the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program and a graduate of the Lindemann Young Artists Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera, Garrett Sorenson won the Opera Birmingham Young Singer Contest, Sorantin Young Artist Award, 2003 George London Foundation Competition and Sara Tucker Study Grant, and was a finalist in the Loren L. Zachary Society Contest for Young Opera Singers; in 2004, he was awarded a Richard Tucker Foundation Career Grant. Mr. Sorenson is a graduate of Texas Tech University.
Bass-baritone Alfred Walker returns to the Grant Park Music Festival for Elgar’s The Kingdom following Shostakovich’s The Execution of Stepan Razin last summer. Earlier this season, Alfred Walker sang Der fliegende Holländer (Théâtre de Caen, Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg) and the Four Villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann (Den Norske Opera), as well as Verdi’s Requiem (Louisiana Philharmonic). Recent operatic engagements include Der fliegende Holländer, Parsifal and Aida (Theater Basel); Satyagraha (Metropolitan Opera); Elektra (Teatro alla Scala, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Seattle Opera, San Sebastián Festival); Zaide (Festival d’Aix-en- Provence, Wiener Festwochen, Barbican Centre, Mostly Mozart Festival); Tristan und Isolde (Angers Nantes Opéra, Opéra de Dijon); Der fliegende Holländer (Wagner Geneva Festival, Boston Lyric Opera); Medea (Opéra national de Lorraine); Lohengrin (Oviedo); Les contes d’Hoffmann (Seattle Opera); Feuersnot (American Symphony Orchestra); Porgy and Bess (Los Angeles Opera, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic); and Giulio Cesare and La bohème (San Diego Opera). On the concert stage, he has joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Utah Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, among others.