Mid-Shore AGO to Sponsor Festival with Mid-Shore Musicians

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On Sunday, May 6 at 4 pm, the Mid-Shore Maryland Chapter of the American Guild of Organists will present a Festival of Hymns for Brass, Organ, Timpani, Handbells, and a choir of around sixty voices.  The event will take place at Christ Church in Easton located at 111 S. Harrison Street.

This year’s festival is the third such event hosted by the nearly four-year old chapter.  Each year, the event draws both musicians and attendees from throughout the Delmarva region, and this year’s festival will feature the largest combination of musicians to date.  The choir will be comprised of singers from as far away as Odessa , Delaware, and will include many from Talbot County.  A professional brass quintet and timpanist will also add festival flare to this popular annual event, along with the region’s premier community handbell ensemble, Bells of the Bay.  Featured music will include hymns favorite and new using various combinations of the gathered musical forces as well as a solo organ piece presented on one of shore’s largest instruments.

The Mid-Shore Maryland AGO sponsors a full lineup of events throughout the year to promote both Organ and Sacred Music.  Each year, the guild sponsors clinicians and musicians at both the national and local level  who  lead in workshops and various programs designed to assist and enhance music in churches throughout the area.  For the second year, the Mid-Shore AGO has also underwritten Pipedreams, a nationally syndicated program of organ music which can be heard on WSCL 89.5 FM radio each Sunday evening.

This Sunday’s hymn festival is free and open to the public.  Doors will open at 3:30 pm, and a freewill offering will be received to support this and other events sponsored by the Mid-Shore MD AGO.

U. S. Naval Academy Organist to Perform at Christ Church Easton

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This Sunday, January 21, at 4 pm Monte Maxwell, principal organist for the United States Naval Academy, will present a concert on the four-manual console of Christ Church in Easton. Mr. Maxwell holds degrees from Texas Christian University, the Curtis Institute of Music, and the Juilliard School of Music where he studied with John Weaver. While at Curtis, Mr. Maxwell was an Associate Organist at the John Wanamaker Store playing the famed six-manual organ, the largest playing organ in the world. Later, he received an Artist Diploma, Curtis’ highest degree. At the Naval Academy, Mr. Maxwell commands the five-manual, 268-rank organ in the main chapel, which has recently undergone substantial enhancement under his direction and design. His annual All Saints’ Day Organ Concert has become a staple of the Naval Academy and greater Annapolis cultural community. The standing-room-only event drew some 3,000 people into the Naval Academy Chapel in 1998, breaking all records in attendance for any event throughout the Chapel’s history.

Sunday’s concert will be comprised of a host of works composed by Richard Wagner, J. S. Bach, Charles-Marie Widor, John Phillip Sousa, Anton Dvôrak and others.  Also known for his improvisational prowess, Maxwell will conclude the performance with an improvisation on submitted themes.  The concert is part of the Christ Church Concert Series and is underwritten in part by the Talbot County and Maryland State Arts Councils.  Doors open at 3:30 pm, and the public is invited.  A freewill offering will be received.  Christ Church is located at 111 S. Harrison Street in Easton.  For more information, call 410-822-2677 or visit www.christchurcheaston.org.

Christ Church to Host Annapolis Chamber Ensemble and Two World-Class Pianists

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The Christ Church Concert Series in Easton continues its 2017-18 season this Sunday afternoon at 4 pm featuring the Annapolis Chamber Players.  The ensemble whose members have been collaborating for more than fifteen years is composed of some of the finest musicians in the Baltimore-Washington DC area.  Known for their eclectic programs with repertoire ranging from the eighteenth through the twenty-first centuries, the ensemble specializes in mixed chamber music for winds, strings, and piano. Unlike homogeneous chamber groups, such as a string quartet or woodwind quintet, the Annapolis Chamber Players’ diverse instrumental colors and flexible instrumentation offers a variety of musical colors and styles.

Woobin Park and Stefan Petrov

While all six of the ensemble’s members unite to amass a most impressive cache of honors and distinctions, its two pianists, each a world-class talent, will perform on Sunday’s concert. Dr. Woobin Park made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2010 to critical acclaim. The New York Concert Review raved“…Park gave a brilliant performance, handling the virtuosity with beautiful sense of style…” She has appeared throughout the United States and South Korea in solo and chamber recitals as well as solo performances with orchestra. Park has performed in distinguished concert venues including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall in New York, Strathmore Hall in Washington D.C., Elizabeth Horowitz Performing Arts Center in Maryland, Tedmann Concert Hall in Minneapolis, Auer Concert Hall in Bloomington, Indiana and Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center. Her live performances have been nationally broadcast on WFMT in Chicago and KSJN in Minneapolis. Woobin has earned prizes in several competitions including the Los Angeles Liszt International Piano Competition, where she was also awarded “Best Performance of the Required Work,” San Nicola di Bari International Piano Competition in Italy, University of Minnesota Concerto Competition, and American Protege International Competition of Romantic Music. On Sunday, Dr. Park will perform Carl Frühling’s Trio for Clarinet, Violoncello and Piano, Op. 40 with clarinetist and ensemble director, Phyllis Richardson and cellist Dorotea Racz.  In addition to her performing career and masterclasses throughout the country, Dr. Park serves on the piano faculty at Washington College.

American-Bulgarian pianist Stefan Petrov, whose arresting interpretations and broad musical versatility has captivated classical music audiences as a soloist and a chamber musician in venues across Europe, North America and the Caribbean, will perform Johannes Brahms’ Trio in E-flat Major for Piano, Violin and French, Op. 40 along with violinist Kristen Bakkegard and hornist, Heidi Brown. Mr. Petrov’s performances have been broadcast on CBC (Canada), WDAV(NC), WFMT (Chicago), WMRA(VA) and Bulgarian National TVand Radio. He has appeared in Steinway Hall (New York, NY), Steinway Series at the Smithsonian Museum (Washington D.C.), the Bulgarian National Palace of Culture, Teatro Nacional (Dominican Republic), Chicago Cultural Institute and others. Equally at home as a collaborative pianist, Stefan partners frequently with Israeli-American cellist Amit Peled in recitals across the U.S., while also serving as head of the collaborative piano department at the prestigious Heifetz International Music

Sunday’s concert is partially funded by a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council and the Maryland State Arts Council.  Doors open at 3:30 pm, and the public is invited.  A freewill offering will be received to support this and upcoming concerts.  Christ Church is located at 111 S. Harrison Street in downtown Easton. For information call 410-822-2677 or visit www.christchurcheaston.org.

Grammy-Nominated Organist to Perform at Christ Church Easton

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The Christ Church Concert Series of Christ Church Easton continues this Sunday, March 19 at 4:00 p.m. with GRAMMY-nominated, international concert organist, recording artist, choral conductor and lecturer, Gail Archer.  Doors open at 3:30 p.m., and the public is invited.  The program will feature music composed by women composers including Joan Tower, Mary Howe, Johanna Senfter, Libby Larson, Nadia Boulanger, and Jeanne Demessieux.

gail archerFounder of Musforum, a professional network for women organists which celebrates and promotes their accomplishments, Ms. Archer’s advocacy for women organists and composers inspired her most recent CD, The Muse’s Voice on Meyer Media. She promoted this disc in Europe during the summer, 2014, at La Verna Music Festival, Florence, Italy, Bayerischer Orgelsommer, Fussen, Germany, Cathedral of Zakopane, Poland, Parish Church of Nowy Targ, Poland, Parish Church of Nowy Sacz, Poland, Parish Church of Lubaczow, Poland, Parish Church of Krasnobrod, Poland, Vespri d’Organo, Pesaro, Italy, Gorlitzer Orgeltage, Gorlitz, Germany, Kirke Kontoret, Lillehammer, Norway, Corsanico Musica, Corsanico, Italy, Gavinana Music Festival, Pistoia, Italy. During the 2012-2013 season, Ms. Archer promoted her recording, Franz Liszt, A Hungarian Rhapsody; highlights include recitals at The Cathedral of All Saints, Milwaukee, WI, Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman, La Crosse, WI, Gethsemani Abbey, Trappist, KY, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, Community of Christ Temple, Independence, MO. In summer, 2013, she was featured by the philharmonic societies in Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Tomsk and Perm, Russia, and played in festivals in Alessandria, Grondona and Scopello, Italy, Tubingen and Hamburg, Germany, and Copenhagen, Denmark. Her 2011 series in New York City included three concerts dedicated entirely to the organ works of Liszt. In spring 2010, she celebrated the 325th anniversary of the birth of Johann Sebastian Bach with six concerts around New York City, concluding with the Art of Fugue at Central Synagogue. Lucid Culture proclaimed, “Like the composers she chooses, Archer’s playing spans the range of human emotions—with Bach, there’s always plenty to communicate, but this time out it was mostly an irresistibly celebratory vibe.” In 2009, her spring series, Mendelssohn in the Romantic Century was inspired by Mendelssohn’s extraordinary versatility as composer, conductor, performer and scholar and included the organ music of his sister, Fanny Mendelssohn as well as music by Clara Schumann. The series was recorded live and is available on-line at Meyer-Media. Ms. Archer was the first American woman to play the complete works of Olivier Messiaen for the centennial of the composer’s birth in 2008. The New York Times declared, “Ms. Archer’s well-paced interpretation had a compelling authority. She played with a bracing physicality in the work’s more driven passages and endowed humbler ruminations with a sense of vulnerability and awe.” Time-Out New York recognized the Messiaen cycle as “Best of 2008” in Classical music and opera.

Ms. Archer’s recordings span the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries, a festive discography that highlights her musical mastery on grand Romantic instruments as well as Baroque tracker organs. Her most recent CD, The Muse’s Voice (MM14027) features music by women composers, Jennifer Higdon, Judith Bingham, Nadia Boulanger and Jeanne Demessieux. During the 2012-2013 season, Ms. Archer released her recording of masterworks and transcriptions by the great Romantic keyboard artist and composer, Franz Liszt, Franz Liszt, A Hungarian Rhapsody. Bach, the Transcendent Genius, celebrates the brilliant improvisations on Lutheran hymn tunes of the “Great 18” chorale preludes (MM1013). The release on Meyer-Media, is the first recording on the Paul Fritts tracker organ at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York. An American Idyll, released by Meyer Media in August, 2008 (MM08011), and recorded on the E. M. Skinner/Randall Dyer organ at Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, features American organ music from 1900 to the present, including music by Joan Tower and a work commissioned by Ms. Archer, Praeludium super Pange Lingua by David Noon. Her centennial concerts in honor of Olivier Messiaen also produced A Mystic In the Making (MM07007), recorded on the Aeolian-Skinner organ at Columbia University, which includes two complete cycles, L’Ascension, and Les Corps Glorieux. Her solo debut CD The Orpheus of Amsterdam: Sweelinck and his Pupils (CACD 88043), recorded on the Fisk organ at Wellesley College, was released in 2006 by London’s CALA Records.

The Christ Church Concert Series is supported in part by the Talbot County Arts Council and the Maryland State Arts Council.  For more information about the concert, call 410-822-2677.  A freewill offering will be received to offset costs associated with the concert.  Christ Church is located at 111 S. Harrison Street in downtown Easton.

Christ Church Ensemble to be joined by Oboist Heidi Schultz

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59270_heidiOn Sunday, February 26, the Christ Church String Quartet of Christ Church Easton will be presenting music by J. S. Bach, Edvard Grieg and Tomasa Albinoni at the 11:00 service.  Pre-service music will begin at 10:50 a.m., and the public is invited.

First in Sunday’s repertoire, the resident quartet will be joined by oboist Heidi Schultz to form an oboe quintet.  Schultz who is currently on the music faculty at Washington College is a graduate of the University of Kansas, Northwestern University in Chicago, and the Peabody Conservatory.  She was for eight years a member of the United States Naval Academy Band, and was also a member of the Chicago Symphony and the American Wind Symphony.  Together, Schultz and the four other very gifted musicians will present  the Sinfonia, a ten minute movement from Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata,  Gott soll allein mein herze haben,  BWV 169.  As was common during the period, the material found in the Sinfonia is known to have appeared elsewhere in the composer’s work.  In this case, the work presented relies on portions of a lost concerto thought to have been written between 1717 and 1723 while Bach was in Köthen.  That same concerto was probably also the inspiration for two additional concertos, a harpsichord concerto, BWV 1053 and an organ concerto used in an organ dedication in 1725.

During the communion, the Christ Church String Quartet will present the hauntingly beautiful Adagio in G minor attributed to the 18th century Venetian composer, Tomaso Albinoni.  Much debate surrounds this neo-baroque gem raising question as to whether Albinoni actually had anything to do with the piece at all.  The controversy stems from 20th-century musicologist and Albinoni biographer Remo Giazotto who claimed to have based the piece on a fragment from an original manuscript by Albinoni.  Whether the piece was real is questionable, but it has come to be accepted that the finished work is that of Giazotto.  Following the Adagio, the quartet will present a setting of Edvard Grieg’s Morning Mood commonly known as incidental music to the play Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen.  While the piece was written to depict scenes in a Moroccan desert, most listeners find it more reflective of Grieg’s Scandinavian origins.

Also during the service, the Christ Church Choir will present Allen Pote’s setting of the 121st Psalm, I Lift Up Mine Eyes to the Hills.  A well known setting in choral music, the piece will also feature the oboe and Easton flautist, Gerri McGuire.

Christ Church is located at 111 S. Harrison Street in Easton.  For information regarding this or other musical events, call 410-822-2677.

Christ Church Concert Series Presents the Maryland State Boychoir

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The Maryland State Boychoir, under the direction of Stephen A. Holmes and Joseph G. Shortall, will present a concert this Sunday, November 22, at 4:00 p.m. While Christ Church is set to open within a couple of weeks following an extensive renovation, St. Mark’s United Methodist located at 100 Peach Blossom Lane has graciously agreed to allow the performance to take place in its sanctuary. This performance will showcase the Tour Choir in a performance of choral works, sacred and secular, spirituals, hymns, gospel, and popular music.

NScreen Shot 2015-11-16 at 1.11.07 PMow in its 28th concert season, The Maryland State Boychoir serves the state of Maryland as “Official Goodwill Ambassadors.” The Boychoir performs over eighty times each year throughout Maryland and surrounding states, and on national and international tours that have taken them to thirty different states in the U. S., Ireland, Wales, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Bermuda, and Canada. The choristers have sung at many distinguished venues, including The White House, the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York City, and the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore. The choir participated, via video feed, in the Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem, with Presidents Shimon Peres and George W. Bush in attendance.

Recent Boychoir musical programs have included a performance (invitational) at the American Choral Directors’ Association’s Eastern Division Conference, Puccini’s Tosca at the Modell Lyric Opera House, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Bach Concert Series, Leonard Bernstein’s Kaddish at both the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Strathmore Center for the Performing Arts with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; Mahler’s Third Symphony with the National Orchestral Institute at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in College Park, Maryland; performances of Howard Shore’s Fellowship of the Rings Symphony with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Earle Simpson’s A Crown of Stars with the Cantate Chamber Singers. Its annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols has sold out three performances for the past twenty years. Other memorable performances include a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King with the Washington Choral Arts Society at the Kennedy Center, the Fourteenth Annual Baltimore Boychoir Festival directed by Craig Denison, and singing for the Opening Ceremony at the PGA Presidents Cup with Presidents George H. W. Bush and William Clinton in attendance.The Boychoir has also collaborated with renowned international ensembles, including Bonifantes from the Czech Republic and the Drakensberg Boy’s Choir of South Africa.

The Maryland State Boychoir is dedicated to providing talented boys, regardless of race, religion, or socio-economic background, with a holistic and diverse musical education in the tradition of the great European choir schools. Boys in the choir are given opportunities to perform professionally, and a chance to grow socially.

This concert is sponsored in part by the Talbot County Arts and Maryland State Arts Councils. A freewill offering will be received. For more information, contact Christ Church Easton at 410-822-2677.

Easton: Christ Church Concert Series Presents Kobayashi-Gray Duo Sunday

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This Sunday, April 19, the award-winning Kobayashi-Gray Duo will perform as part of Christ Church Easton’s 2014-15 Concert Series. Beginning at 4:00 p.m. at the Academy Art Museum on the corner of South and Harrison Streets, this program all music lovers will surely want to hear. While the program opens with Beethoven’s Sonata in E-flat Major, Opus 12, number 3, it will feature the work of numerous composers, many of whom are American. The rather popular Graceful Ghost Rag by William Bolcom written in 1979 as well as Three American Pieces by Lukas Foss are among them.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 2.40.18 PMThe Kobayashi-Gray Violin and Piano Duo made its international concert debut as winner of the prestigious United States Information Agency Artistic Ambassador auditions, touring South America and the West Indies. “The Duo’s skill, energy, and love for the music were all evident in this performance which brought the audience to its feet demanding an encore.” Succeeding tours included the 2002 International Workshops in Stavanger, Norway, the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces of South Africa (2003) and the country of Thailand (2012). The Duo is in demand throughout the world for its skillful presentations of the standard repertoire as well as its specialty of the works of more than twenty-five 19th through 21st century women composers, eight of which are featured in world premiere recordings produced by Kobayashi-Gray Duo.

The Christ Church Concert Series gratefully acknowledges the Talbot County and Maryland State Arts Councils for their ongoing support of this and other musical presentations. While the concert is free to the public, a freewill offering will be received to support the series. For questions call 410-822-2677.

Christ Church Series Presents The District Eight Choral Emsemble in Easton

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On Sunday, March 15 at 4:00 p.m., the Christ Church Concert Series will present one of the finest choral ensembles from the nation’s capital, The District Eight.

Acclaimed by The Washington Post for its “fine singers who blend and balance” and its “consistently beautiful performances,” The District Eight brings a lucid and colorful sound to a wide and fascinating repertoire, ranging from renaissance polyphony and English church anthems to modern American compositions and contemporary spirituals.Their sensitive and evocative interpretations of choral music have captivated audiences since 2010, “because of their exotic inscrutability…”

The District Eight has appeared at the Washington Early Music Festival, with the Norfolk Chamber Consort, The College of William and Mary, and the University of Tampa; as well as at St. James Methodist Church, Greenville, NC, St. John’s Cathedral in Jacksonville, Christ Church in Bradenton, Sarasota, FL, and St. Mary Mother of God in Washington, DC. In 2010 the ensemble joined forces with The Orchestra of the Seventeenth Century to present the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610.

Sunday’s concert will be held at the Academy Art Museum due to ongoing renovations to Christ Church. The museum is located at 106 South Street in Easton. A freewill offering will be received. The Christ Church Concert Series is supported in part by the Talbot County Arts Council and the Maryland State Arts Councils.

For more information, call 410-822-2677.

Acclaimed Serafin Quartet at Christ Church Sunday

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On Sunday, February 22, the Christ Church Concert Series presents the Serafin Quartet at 4:00 p.m. The concert will take place at the Academy Art Museum located at the corner of Harrison and South Streets in Easton.

Serafin String Quartet debuted at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 2004 and has consistently received superlatives in the press and ovations in the concert hall. Their recent recordings on Naxos (2013) and Centaur (2010) have received overwhelming critical acclaim including in Fanfare, The Strad, American Record Guide and Gramophone. The Quartet’s Naxos world premiere recording featuring works by Jennifer Higdon was listed among the “Top Ten 2013 Recordings” in Philadelphia’s City Paper.

New York Concert Review has lauded the Quartet’s live performances for “ensemble and intonation …above reproach,” and described their Debussy as “a shapely, finely conceived account” and their Haydn as having “rhythmic vitality and taut ensemble…”

The Quartet performs frequently around the United States and internationally. Recently, they have performed at a Philadelphia’s Annenberg Center for the Arts, Chamber Music Now (PA), Classicopia (VT), Fanfare (LA), Delaware Chamber Music Festival, and St. John’s Smith Square (United Kingdom), and have been re-engaged for performances at the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival (NC) in June 2015. SSQ has been featured on WHYY-TV, and as repeat guests of Jill Pasternak on WRTI radio’s Crossover.

Serafin String Quartet probes and performs the entire range of repertoire for string quartet, from Haydn to Higdon. They collaborate frequently with internationally acclaimed music performing artists, and with actors, dancers, poets, and experts in other fields. The individual members of the quartet have been heralded around the globe for concerts and recordings, acclaimed in the press, and received international prizes and awards.

As Quartet in Residence for the University of Delaware, and in visiting residencies at colleges, universities and high schools around the nation, the Serafins work with young musicians in a variety of settings including coaching, master classes, workshops, and “informances.” They have developed a unique series of “collage concerts,” and present innovative programs often, including at World Cafe Live (Philadelphia and Wilmington, DE) and at Kennett Flash (PA). The Quartet has been selected to perform a special presentation in Salt Lake City at the American String Teachers Association national conference in March 2015.

Reflecting the Quartet’s egalitarian viewpoint, Serafin violinists share equally the responsibility for playing the first and second violin parts. Serafin String Quartet takes its name from master violin maker, Sanctus Serafin, who in 1728 crafted the violin currently played by Kate Ransom. The other members play Testore instruments from the same era, thanks to generous support from Dr. William Stegeman.

There is no charge for Sunday’s concert, but a freewill offering will be received. The Christ Church concert series is supported in part by the Talbot County Arts Council and the Maryland State Arts Council. For more information, call 410-822-2677 or visit www.ChristChurchEaston.org.