[ Concerts ]

“Vocal Britain” features music of Britten and Walton

November 11, 2011

Dec. 1 preview in New Haven; Dec. 4 in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall

The Yale School of Music presents Vocal Britain, a program of music by Benjamin Britten and William Walton, on December 1 in New Haven and December 4 in New York City. Presented by the Yale in New York series, under the artistic direction of David Shifrin, Vocal Britain will feature faculty horn soloist William Purvis, tenor Dann Coakwell ’11AD, guest conductor William Boughton, and members of the Yale Philharmonia and Yale Opera.

Benjamin Britten’s Serenade for tenor, horn, and strings will open the concert. Tenor Dann Coakwell ’11MM and faculty horn soloist William Purvis will be joined by the Linden String Quartet (the graduate quartet-in-residence at the Yale School of Music) and double bassist Gregory Robbins ’12MM.

Guest conductor William Boughton will lead a concert performance of William Walton’s one-act The Bear, featuring singers of Yale Opera and members of the Yale Philharmonia. Mezzo-soprano Annie Rosen ’08BA, ’12MM plays the role of the widow Yelina; baritone David Pershall ’10MM, ’11AD plays her late husband’s creditor Grigory; and bass-baritone Andrew Craig Brown ’11MM, ’12AD completes the trio as the household’s servant Luka. Boughton, an expert in the music of William Walton, is well-known to local audiences as the music director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.

The Thursday preview performance takes place in Morse Recital Hall (located in Sprague Hall at 470 College Street) and begins at 8 pm. Admission is free. On Sunday, December 4, the performance will begin at 7:30 pm in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall (57th Street and 7th Ave). Tickets are available through the Carnegie Hall box office or CarnegieCharge: 212 247-7800.

For more information, call the Yale School of Music concert office at 203 432-4158 or visit music.yale.edu.

About the Performers

William Purvis pursues a multifaceted career in the U.S. and abroad as horn soloist, chamber musician, conductor, and educator. A passionate advocate of new music, Mr. Purvis has participated in numerous premieres as hornist and conductor, including horn concerti by Peter Lieberson, Bayan Northcott, and Krzysztof Penderecki. Mr. Purvis is a member of the New York Woodwind Quintet, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Yale Brass Trio, and Triton Horn Trio, and is an emeritus member of Orpheus. Recent recordings include the Horn Concerto of Peter Lieberson on Bridge (Grammy and WQXR Gramophone Awards); Richard Wernick’s Quintet for Horn and Strings with the Juilliard Quartet; and Elliott Carter’s Retracing II. Mr. Purvis is a faculty member at the Yale School of Music, where he is also the coordinator of winds and brass and the director of the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments.

Tenor Dann Coakwell made his solo debut at Carnegie Hall in 2010 as the lead role of Andrey in the world premiere of Prokofiev’s newly discovered and reconstructed opera act, Dalyekie Morya (Distant Seas), and he is a featured soloist on the 2009 Grammy Award-nominated album Conspirare: A Company of Voices (Harmonia Mundi). Internationally, Dann has performed the role of Evangelist in J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion on tour in Italy under Masaaki Suzuki, and he served as soloist under Helmuth Rilling in Germany in a number of J.S. Bach’s cantatas. Dann has appeared multiple times at the Oregon Bach Festival under both Rilling and Matthew Halls. With five-time Grammy-nominated Conspirare, Dann has performed solo tenor in Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Mass in B Minor, and Evangelist in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. Recent notable performances include aria soloist in the Christmas Oratorio with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, aria soloist in Bach’s St. John Passion under Gabriel Crouch, and again with Seraphic Fire in Miami. In upcoming seasons, Dann will perform as Evangelist in J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion at Boston University’s Marsh Chapel in March 2012, and as tenor soloist in Masaaki Suzuki’s December 2012 production of Handel’s Messiah and J.S. Bach’s Magnificat (BWV 243a) and Christen, ätzet diesen Tag, (BWV 63), with the Philharmonia Baroque in San Francisco. Dann holds an Artist Diploma in Vocal Performance from the Yale School of Music, an MM from Texas Tech University, and a BM from the University of Texas at Austin.

The Linden String Quartet, currently the graduate quartet-in-residence at the Yale School of Music, has been praised for its “remarkable depth of technique and brilliantly nuanced, sumptuous tonality…delivered with a palpable, infectious joy” (MusicWeb International). The Quartet is the gold medalist and grand prize-winner of the 2009 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition as well as winner of the 2010 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition. Other awards include first prize at the Sixth Hugo Kauder International Competition and the Coleman-Barstow Prize at the 2009 Coleman National Chamber Ensemble Competition. The ensemble previously served both as apprentice to the Cavani String Quartet at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) and as quartet-in-residence of the Canton Symphony Orchestra. The Quartet has collaborated with guitarist Jason Vieaux, mezzo-soprano Janna Baty, violinist Geoff Nuttall, and pianist Peter Frankl, and has spent summers in residence at the Norfolk and Emilia-Romagna Music Festivals, the Banff Centre, and the Music at Port Milford Chamber Music Festival.

Bassist and conductor Gregory Robbins enjoys a diverse career as a performer and classical music entrepreneur. His 2010–11 season included a fellowship at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival as well as performances with members of the Tokyo String Quartet, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and New York Philharmonic. Robbins was selected by Michael Tilson Thomas from an international pool of online auditions to join the 2011 YouTube Symphony Orchestra for a concert at the Sydney Opera House. The concert was live-streamed to over 33 million people, making it the most viewed concert in history. This synergy of classical music and technology was the inspiration for the Delphi Chamber Orchestra, of which Robbins is the founder and music director. Over the last year, he has worked with such soloists as Ani Kavafian, Ettore Causa, and Stefan Jackiw. Robbins is currently pursuing a master’s degree in double bass performance at the Yale School of Music, where he studies with Donald Palma. He is a recipient of the George Wellington Miles full scholarship. He earned his Bachelor of Music at Manhattan School of Music, studying with David Grossman, Orin O’Brien, and Linda McKnight.

The Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale is one of America’s foremost music school ensembles. The largest performing group at the Yale School of Music, the Philharmonia offers superb training in orchestral playing and repertoire. Performances include an annual series of concerts in Woolsey Hall, as well as Yale Opera productions in the Schubert Performing Arts Center. In addition to its season of six Woolsey Hall concerts, the Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale has performed on numerous occasions in Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York City and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In 2008 the Philharmonia undertook its first tour of Asia, with acclaimed performances in the Seoul Arts Center, the Forbidden City Concert Hall and National Center for the Performing Arts (Beijing), and the Shanghai Grand Theatre.

William Boughton began pursuing a career in conducting following cello studies at the New England Conservatory, Guildhall School of Music, and Prague Academy, and a performing career with the Royal Philharmonic, BBS, and London Sinfonietta. In 1980, he formed the English Symphony Orchestra (ESO), with whom he commissioned more than 20 works from such composers as Peter Sculthorpe and John Joubert and built a significant discography. In 2007, he became the tenth music director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, with whom he has instituted a Composer-in-Residence program and undertaken a major recording project of the works of William Walton. The first recording was selected as a Critic’s Choice for 2010 by Gramophone Magazine. Under Mr. Boughton’s leadership, the NHSO was awarded an ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming in 2010. He currently hosts a monthly program on WMNR and is in demand as a guest speaker and conductor at orchestras around the world.

The Yale Opera program at the Yale School of Music, led by artistic director Doris Yarick Cross, has been extraordinarily successful in preparing singers for active professional careers. Graduates of the program appear on the rosters of all of the world’s major opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, English National Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, and the Vienna Staatsoper, among many others. This success is a result of the extraordinary depth and breadth of the Yale Opera program. Yale Opera not only features a fine studio voice faculty, but provides expert instruction in diction, languages, style, acting, and body movement. All students have the opportunity to perform major roles in productions ranging from opera excerpts with piano to full productions of major works in New Haven’s historic Shubert Theater. Yale Opera singers have worked with such distinguished artists as stage directors Colin Graham, Marc Verzatt, Francesca Zambello, Christopher Alden, Sam Helfrich, Thor Steingraber, and Vera Calabria; and conductors Giuseppe Grazioli, Federico Cortese, Dominique Trottein, and Jeremy Silver. Guest master class clinicians have included Alan Held, Ann Murray, Renata Scotto, Elly Ameling, Regine Crespin, Sherrill Milnes, and Marilyn Horne.

Andrew Brown, bass-baritone, is currently enrolled in the Yale Opera program at the Yale School of Music. His professional credits include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and Handel’s Messiah, Solomon, and Alexander’s Feast with the Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbana. He has sung lead and supporting roles in Le RossignolLe Dialogues des Carmelites, Die Zauberflöte, Le Nozze di Figaro, and HMS Pinafore. Andrew has participated in master classes with Alan Held and JR Fralick. Mr. Brown has worked with such conductors as Chester Alwes, Michael Luxner, Bradley Holmes, Daniel Carberg, and Jason Garrett. As a winner of a concerto competition, he presented a progression of bel canto arias with the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra. Andrew Brown was a first place winner at the Central Region NATS Competition in 2007.

Baritone David Pershall has won first prize in the Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition, Connecticut Opera Guild Competition, and Hugo Kauder Competition for Voice, as well as the Presser Music Foundation Award, the Thomas Stewart Award for Vocal Excellence, and an Artist Grant Award from the National Bel Canto Vocal Competition. He has performed and recorded Don Pedro in Donizetti’s Maria Padilla with the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Beethoven Easter Festival in Warsaw, and has sung Robert Baker in Bernstein’s Wonderful Town with the Giuseppe Verdi Orchestra di Milano. Performances in 2011–12 include Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Theater of Connecticut, a return to the Beethoven Easter Festival to record and perform Manfredo in L’amore dei tre re, and the baritone soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony (Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra) and Carmina Burana (Hartford Symphony Orchestra). David is a graduate of the Yale School of Music, where he performed numerous leading roles. He has appeared in two Swiss TV broadcast concerts with tenor Francisco Araiza and has participated in San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program and Virginia Opera’s Spectrum Resident Artist Program.

Mezzo-soprano Annie Rosen has been called an “excellent vocal soloist” by the New York Times and praised by OperaNews for her “dulcet, sweetly phrased” singing. This season she appears with Yale Opera as Dorabella in Così fan tutte and with the Yale Baroque Opera Project as Penelope in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria. Recent roles include La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi and La Marchande in Les mamelles de Tirésias with Central City Opera; Dido in Dido and Aeneas with Yale Opera; Hansel in Hansel and Gretel with Opera Theater of Connecticut; and Alessandro (cover) in Tolomeo with Glimmerglass Opera. This summer she will join the Apprentice Artist program of Santa Fe Opera. Recent concert appearances include Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the New Haven Symphony, Britten’s Phaedra with the Yale Recital Orchestra, and Bach’s Mass in B minor with Cappella Cantorum of Connecticut. She earned her B.A. with distinction in music from Yale College and her M.M. in vocal performance from the Mannes College of Music, where she was awarded the Shoshana Foundation’s Richard F. Gold Career Grant in 2010. She studies with Doris Cross at the Yale School of Music.


I am totally looking forward to this! Looks so exciting, can’t wait till December 1. It is surely going to be an epic moment….!

November 12th, 2011 | pianoman