This weekend, the Eastman School of Music will celebrate the beauty of the human voice with three back-to-back events that will feature a number of vocal performances. The event will bring together “vocal stars of today and tomorrow.”
Kicking off the weekend will be a concert from the Eastman Chorale. The weekend continues on Saturday with the Friends of Eastman Opera Sixth Annual Voice Competition and concludes on Sunday with a recital by the distinguished RIAS (Radio In the American Sector) Kammerchor Berlin.
Director William Weinert will lead the Eastman Chorale on Friday night as they present their program, “Music of Mystery and Romance.” The performance will include choral songs of both Brahms and Debussy. Jacob Avshalomov, a distinguished American composer and Eastman school alumnus will be presenting for the premiere of his “Arcana.” It is expected to be the highlight of the show and is based on four tarot cards. The tarot cards, which will be found in the program, correspond with poems that will be sung by the Chorale. The poems, written by Avshalomov’s wife Doris, make for both interesting as well as intriguing music.
“We are very excited to be doing the premiere of Avshalomov’s piece,” Eastman Chorale Director William Weinert said. “When you premiere a piece, you assume it’s a masterpiece. What is even more thrilling is that he is here for the premiere.”
The Eastman Chorale is a selection of Eastman’s finest vocalists, performing a variety of the finest choral repertoire from Renaissance masterpieces to 21st century compositions.
Friends of Eastman Opera will present their annual competition on Saturday that will feature voice and opera students from Eastman vying for awards and honors. Eight pre-screened vocal finalists will prepare three arias in two languages for the final round of the competition. Each performer will choose an aria to sing and will then sing another chosen by the adjudicator. This year’s adjudicator is Eve Queler, the music director of the Opera Orchestra of New York. The first prize at Saturday’s competition will be $1,000.
“This competition enhances the students’ ability to be viewed as professionals by professionals,” Friends of Eastman Opera Chair Rose-Marie Klipstein said in a recent press release. “And the fact that the Rochester community gets a sneak peek at some of the stars of tomorrow makes it a great event for everyone!”
To conclude the weekend, Eastman will host the internationally acclaimed RIAS Kammerchor Berlin as they make their North American tour debut. Director James Wood’s 35-voice chorus is one of the most acclaimed choral ensembles in all of Europe. They are dedicated to performing challenging repertoires, ranging from Gregorian chant to contemporary music. This weekend, their repertoire is primarily music from the German Romantic period, which includes the choral works of Brahms and Mahler, among others.
“This is one of the very best chamber choirs in the world,” Weinert said. “They have countless recordings and we are truly eager for their performance here at Eastman.”
Friday’s performance is at 8 p.m. and Saturday’s performance is at 3 p.m. Both will take place in Kilbourn Hall and are free to the public. Sunday’s performance will take place in Kilbourn, as well, at 3 p.m., with tickets ranging from $8-$18.