Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Menotti's "Amahl and the Night Visitors" at DSE Holiday Family Concert

Concert report by Mimi Stillman

This past Sunday, December 4, Dolce Suono Ensemble gave an exciting concert featuring Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, which was the centerpiece of our first Holiday Family Concert. We co-presented Menotti's Christmas opera with Choral Arts Philadelphia, conducted by Matthew Glandorf, and First Baptist Church, with music director and organist Alan Morrison. The program also included Vaughan Williams's Fantasia on Christmas Carols, in which DSE accompanied the chorus, and music from the Jewish tradition: two trio sonatas by the Judeo-Baroque composer Salamone Rossi and a set of Traditional Jewish Songs.

We were pleased to do the Philadelphia revival of Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, a work with strong historic ties to Philadelphia, during the composer's centennial year and the 60th anniversary of the opera. First Baptist Church was the first venue where the work was performed live after the live television broadcasts, which premiered in 1951. It was also personally thrilling to be reunited with my friends and fellow Curtis alumni Alan Morrison and Matthew Glandorf, who presented the most recent Philadelphia performances in the 1990s, in which I performed as flutist.

We were delighted by the enthusiastic response from the packed house. After the concert, it was touching to hear so many people talk about their memories of seeing Amahl broadcast on TV while they were growing up, and what a profound love they have for this opera. They expressed their wish that Amahl become an annual tradition!
A hearty congratulations to the wonderful cast of Amahl:

Troy Larsen.................Amahl
Rebecca Carr..............The Mother
Siddhartha Misra.........Kaspar
Brian Ming Chu...........Melchior
Reginald Pindell...........Balthasar
Chris Hodges..............Page

Dancers: Lisa Lovelace and Gretchen Studlien-Webb
Choreographers: Lisa Lovelace and Melinda Tatum Kaiser

Choral Arts Philadelphia sounded fantastic as the Shepherds and in the Vaughan Williams, and Matthew Glandorf did a tremendous job as conductor and choral director.

Bernard Kunkel was Choral Arts Philadelphia Accompanist and Off Stage Choral Conductor. Terrific costumer Val Starr outfitted the cast.
Dolce Suono Ensemble artists in this concert:
Mimi Stillman, flute
Geoffrey Deemer and Samuel Nemec, oboes
Doris Hall-Gulati, clarinet
Michelle Rosen, bassoon
Shelley Showers, horn
Marc Rovetti and William Polk, violins
Che-Hung Chen, viola
Yumi Kendall, cello
Rob Kesselman, bass
Alan Morrison, piano (and lighting)
Gabriel Globus-Hoenich, percussion

Here are photos from the show.

Rebecca Carr as The Mother sings duet with Troy Larsen as Amahl

The Three Kings arrive bearing gifts

Left to right: Reginald Pindell as Balthasar, Brian Ming Chu as Melchior, Siddhartha Misra as Kaspar

The ensemble

He walks!

Amahl and his Mother embrace before he leaves with the Three Kings
to present his crutch as a gift to the child

Curtain call

Photo credit: Ralph Rosen

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fantastic Season Opener - "A Place and a Name: Remembering the Holocaust"

We are delighted to share with you that our season opening concert "A Place and a Name: Remembering the Holocaust" was an intensely moving and memorable event. Working with fantastic guest artists Shulamit Ran, composer, and Lucy Shelton, soprano, was musically thrilling.

We are honored that Daniel Kutner, Consul-General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States, attended and gave a welcome.
The outpouring of audience comments has been very gratifying.

Here are some quotes from concertgoers:
"I was totally “blown away” by the meaning and magnitude of “A Place and a Name: Remembering the Holocaust.” The texts and music as expressed in masterful performances by Lucy Shelton and the Dolce Suono Ensemble brought the depth and horror of that time to life. No one in that audience could ever forget that memorable concert experience and the tragedy for which it stood." - N. H.

"What a wonderful and very special concert that was today. Very meaningful and emotional. The finale, Shulamit Ran's O the Chimneys was dramatic, powerful and chilling." - W. L.
"The concert was a monument. Lucy Shelton, like Dolce Suono Ensemble, makes the audience understand the music and the ideas. Dolce Suono Ensemble's varied program of Holocaust compositions blended their brand of interpretation and artistry into a meaningful and personal experience." - M. L.
"Honestly, we we overwhelmed by the emotion and passion displayed by the artists. Each artist perfectly supported the other in a most professional manner. We can not imagine a more perfect performance. Thank you for the opportunity to experience this." - H. B.

"We want to thank you very much for the wonderful performance you presented yesterday. We were thrilled with the pieces, especially the last piece that brought us right into the death camps. Shulamit Ran is a marvelous composer." - M. B.

And some photos
Soprano Lucy Shelton and Dolce Suono Ensemble at the sound check for Shulamit Ran's O the Chimneysin Field Concert Hall, Curtis Institute of Music (November 13, 2011)

Shulamit Ran, Lucy Shelton, and Mimi Stillman after the concert

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Rehearsals for "A Place and a Name: Remembering the Holocaust" - November 13

Here's a peek at Dolce Suono Ensemble's rehearsal today with fabulous guest artist soprano Lucy Shelton for our concert "A Place and a Name: Remembering the Holocaust," on Sunday, November 13 at 3:00pm at Field Concert Hall, Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia. Lucy sounds amazing and brings utter enthusiasm to everything she touches - we are thrilled to be working with her. There was a lot of energy in the room today!

Our friend Shulamit Ran, who serves as DSE's Composer-in-Residence and Artistic Co-Curator during the 2011-2012 season, will be flying in from Rome for rehearsals and the concert. This fall, she is Fromm Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. We're honored she'll be with us for three different projects during the season, including the premiere of her commissioned work in February in Philadelphia and New York.

Our program includes music by composers who were murdered by the Nazis - Gideon Klein, Viktor Ullmann, and Ilse Weber (who were imprisoned at the Terezin concentration camp) and the Dutch composer Leo Smit; AndrĂ© Previn and Tzvi Avni, who were refugees from the Nazis as children; and Shulamit Ran's O the Chimneys, her settings of poetry by Nelly Sachs for voice and ensemble.
For tickets, visit http://www.dolcesuono.com/

Here we are after rehearsing Shulamit's piece.

Left to right: Paul Demers, Yumi Kendall, Mimi Stillman, Gabriel Globus-Hoenich,
and Lucy Shelton. Pianist Charles Abramovic took this picture.

Lucy and Yumi share a funny moment during rehearsal of Viktor Ullmann's Herbst Lied for voice, violin, viola, and cello.

Left to right: Noah Geller, Burchard Tang, Yumi, Lucy

Some of the percussion parts in Ran's O the Chimneys are extremely loud, especially in a small room. DSE takes cover while Gabe strikes the chimes and Yumi practices the part where the cellist is instructed to play the vibraphone.

Left to right: Paul, Charlie, Yumi, Gabe, Lucy

Friday, September 23, 2011

New CD! "Odyssey: 11 American Premieres for Flute and Piano" - Mimi Stillman and Charles Abramovic

We are pleased to announce the release of Odyssey: 11 American Premieres for Flute and Piano, flutist Mimi Stillman and pianist Charles Abramovic's 2-CD set on Innova Recordings.

The composers are Mason Bates, Benjamin C.S. Boyle, Richard Danielpour, Michael Djupstrom, Katherine Hoover, Daniel Kellogg, Gerald Levinson, David Ludwig, Andrew Rudin, David Bennett Thomas, and Zhou Tian.

Visit the Artist Page at Innova for more information and to purchase:


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Recording session photos

Hi All:
Here are some photos from our recording sessions for "Odyssey: 11 American Premieres for Flute and Piano," which Innova records is releasing in mid-September. Pianist Charlie Abramovic and I recorded 2 CDs of music in 4 days of sessions, so it was a very taxing marathon-like experience. I love it when performances and recordings are athletically challenging! We had several of the composers assist at the recording of their pieces. Here's a photo of composer David Ludwig, Charlie, engineer George Blood, and me after we recorded David's Sonata for Flute and Piano.

And another photo of David and me, having traded hat and jacket (recording makes us punchy):

We've been joking around since we were students together at Curtis...some things never change!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Odyssey CD Preview of Boyle's Sonata-Cantilena

Hello All,

As the mid-September release date approaches for our 2 CD set, "Odyssey: 11 American Premieres for Flute and Piano" on Innova records, check out a live performance of one of the works. This is the second movement of Benjamin C.S. Boyle's Sonata-Cantilena for Flute and Piano, from the premiere performance during Dolce Suono Ensemble's Samuel Barber centennial celebrations in 2010.
Mimi Stilman, flute & Charles Abramovic, piano

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New Review - Dolce Suono Trio at Laurel Hill Mansion

Dolce Suono Trio performed an all-Baroque concert at Laurel Hill Mansion in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. It was tremendously received by the capacity audience. Check out this splendid review by Tom Purdom in Broad Street Review:


Mimi Stillman, flute, Priscilla Lee, cello, and Charles Abramovic, harpsichord performed sonatas by J.S. Bach, C.P.E. Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi along with additional movements by Bach in this program entitled "Baroque Banquet."