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American Boychoir joining Crane students, staff for War Requiem

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POTSDAM - SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music will mark the centennial of the composer Benjamin Britten’s birth with a performance of his monumental War Requiem on May 4.

As part of the second annual Lougheed Festival of the Arts, Crane will host the American Boychoir, as well as Maestro Christof Perick, the 2013 Dorothy Albrecht Gregory Visiting Conductor, for campus residencies next week.

In addition, visiting soprano Christine Goerke will lead a masterclass and Britten scholar Dr. Vicki Stroeher of Marshall University will present lectures during the festival.

“The Britten War Requiem performance, in Benjamin Britten’s centennial year, recalls the Crane performance of this work in 1966 under Robert Shaw, just four years after its world première,” Crane School of Music Dean Dr. Michael Sitton said. “Bringing together our distinguished visiting conductor, the wonderful American Boychoir, a celebrated guest soloist, distinguished faculty soloists, and, of course, Crane’s outstanding faculty and students, will provide the audience a privileged encounter with this important, deeply moving and rarely-heard work.

The second annual Lougheed Festival of the Arts will include public masterclasses, rehearsals, presentations and recitals from Monday to May 4 at The Crane School of Music. The American Boychoir will present a special concert from 1 to 2 p.m. May 3 in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater.

All events are free, and the public is invited to attend. For a full schedule of events, visit www.potsdam.edu/artsfestival.

The festival will culminate with the War Requiem performance at 7:30 p.m. May 4 in the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. The concert soloists include soprano Christine Goerke, tenor Donald George and baritone David Pittman-Jennings.

The concert is free, but due to limited seating, tickets are required. To reserve a ticket for the concert, contact the Community Performance Series Box Office at (315) 267-2277 or visit the office, located in the lobby of the Sara M. Snell Music Theater.

The week’s highlights include:

■ Monday: The Crane Chorus will have a public rehearsal from 7 to 10 p.m. in Hosmer Hall.

■ Tuesday: Perick will lead a conducting masterclass with four Crane undergraduates, who will conduct excerpts of the War Requiem with Nancy Hull ‘84, piano, from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. in Snell Theater. The Crane Symphony Orchestra will rehearse with Perick from 2 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 8 p.m., both in Hosmer Hall. The Crane Chorus will have an open rehearsal from 8 to 10 p.m. in Hosmer Hall.

■ May 1: The chamber orchestra will rehearse from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Hosmer Hall. Maestro Perick will participate in a student question and answer session from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Ralph Wakefield Recital Hall. The Crane Chorus and Crane Symphony Orchestra will rehearse from 7 to 10 p.m. in Hosmer Hall.

■ May 2: Visiting soprano Goerke will lead a vocal masterclass from 10 a.m. to noon in Wakefield. The chamber orchestra will rehearse from 2 to 4 p.m. in Hosmer, followed by a presentation led by Audio Engineer Emeritus Gary Galo on “Crane Chorus in the 20th Century,” from 4 to 5:15 p.m. in Wakefield Hall. From 7 to 10 p.m., there will be an open rehearsal with the chorus and orchestra in Hosmer.

■ May 3: The American Boychoir will present a concert from 1 to 2 p.m. in Hosmer Hall. Dr. Stroeher will offer a keynote lecture, entitled “Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem as Parable Art,” from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Wakefield Hall. The full dress rehearsal with the students, boychoir and soloists will be held from 7:30 to 10 p.m. in Hosmer Hall.

■ May 4: Dr. Stroeher will offer a pre-concert lecture in Wakefield Hall from 6:30 to 7 p.m., followed by the War Requiem concert from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in Hosmer Hall.

For those who cannot attend in person, audio from the concert will be broadcast live online, at www.potsdam.edu/academics/crane/streaming.

Since 2005, Maestro Christof Perick has been the general music director and chief conductor at the Bayerische Staatstheater Nürnberg and the Nürnberger Philharmoniker. Last season, Perick conducted the Nürnberg philharmonic concerts and the premieres of “Entführung aus dem Serail” and “Aïda.”

Furthermore, he conducted performance series of “Lohengrin” and “Der Fliegende Holländer” at the Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden and concert series with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, where he has been chief conductor since 2000. Perick has worked with such top orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, the Houston Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony, the Toronto Symphony and L’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. His engagements have included the Mostly Mozart Festival at New York’s Lincoln Center and the Grant Park Music Festival of Chicago.

He conducted the first ever U.S. tour of the Bundesjungendorchester, Germany’s leading national Youth Orchestra. Perick is a frequent guest conductor at the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the San Francisco Opera.

Celebrating the rich 75-year history as America’s premier concert boys’ choir, the American Boychoir has long been recognized as one of the finest musical ensembles in the country. Capitalizing on its trademark blend of musical sophistication, spirited presentation, and ensemble virtuosity, the Boychoir performs regularly with world-class ensembles, including the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Boston Symphony, and is often featured with such illustrious conductors as James Levine, Charles Dutoit and Alan Gilbert. The American Boychoir is frequently invited to join internationally-renowned artists on stage, and the list of collaborators reflects the extraordinary range of the ensemble: from great classical artists such as Jessye Norman and Frederica von Stade to jazz legend Wynton Marsalis and pop icons Beyoncé and Sir Paul McCartney. Boys in fourth through eighth grades come from across the country and around the world to pursue a rigorous musical and academic curriculum at The American Boychoir School in Princeton, N.J.

Soprano Christine Goerke was the recipient of the prestigious Richard Tucker Award in 2001, and has established an outstanding reputation with many of the world’s leading opera houses and orchestras. She has sung much of the great soprano repertoire, beginning with the Mozart and Handel heroines and now moving into dramatic Strauss and Wagner roles. Goerke’s recording of Vaughan Williams’ “A Sea Symphony” with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra won the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Classical Recording and Best Choral Performance. Her close association with Robert Shaw yielded several recordings, including the Grammy-nominated recording of Dvorak’s “Stabat Mater.” Other recordings include the title role in “Iphigenie en Tauride” for Telarc and Britten’s War Requiem, which won the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance.

Tenor Donald George and baritone David Pittman-Jennings are both associate professors of voice at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.

The partnership of the Dorothy Albrecht Gregory Visiting Conductor Fund, established by Dorothy Albrecht Gregory ‘61, and the Adeline Maltzan Crane Chorus Performance Tour Fund, brings distinguished conductors to The Crane School of Music for festival performances by the Crane Chorus and Crane Symphony Orchestra, and funds travel for major performances to venues outside of Potsdam.

To find out more about the tradition of innovation at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, visit www.potsdam.edu/crane.

For more information about the Lougheed Festival of the Arts, which encompasses all forms of artistic expression, visit www.potsdam.edu/artsfestival.

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