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Moravian Celebrates 10 years of the Great Artist Series with Brownlee concert and master class
Bethlehem, Pa., January 26, 2007—The Moravian College Music Institute’s Great Artist Series will present a concert featuring the remarkable tenor Lawrence Brownlee on Wednesday, February 21, at 7:30 p.m. in Foy Concert Hall. The next day, Brownlee will conduct a master class at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, February 22, in Foy Concert Hall.
Brownlee has proven himself to be one of the most prominent bel canto tenors both nationally and internationally. He is the winner of both the 2006 Richard Tucker Award and the 2006 Marian Anderson Award, a feat never achieved before by any artist in the same year. His schedule is comprised of commitments for debuts and return engagements at major music centers and the world’s prestigious opera companies, orchestras, and presenting organizations.
Brownlee will debut at the Metropolitan Opera in April 2007 as Il Conte Almaviva in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and will be heard in eight European cities (Rome, Rotterdam, Valladolid, Barcelona, Valencia, Paris, Cologne and Brussels) in Tancredi on tour with the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées. His operatic repertoire includes roles by Bellini, Britten, Donizetti, Handel, Mozart, and Verdi, and many scores by Rossini. His store of orchestral pieces adds works by Bach, Beethoven, Dvorak, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Orff, and Schubert. His schedule for 2006-2007 includes performances in the United States, Tokyo, Rome, Rotterdam, Valladolid, Barcelona, Valencia, Paris, Cologne, Brussels, Dresden, and London.
Brownlee was the tenor soloist for a 2005 release of Orff’s Carmina Burana, which featured Sally Matthews, Christian Gerhaher, the Berliner Philharmoniker, and Rundfunkchor Berlin. His most recent release is a solo effort, Italian Songs, with pianist Martin Katz. The album highlights pieces by Schubert, Verdi, Donizetti, Bellini, and Rossini. Other accolades include the 2003 ARIA Award, a 2003 Career Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, and winning the 2001 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Brownlee earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Anderson University and a Master of Music degree from Indiana University. He was born in Youngstown, Ohio.
Over the past decade, Moravian College students have been receiving guidance from distinguished, big-name performers like Ruth Ann Swenson, Samuel Ramey, Marilyn Horne, Angela Brown, Frederica von Stade, and Wynton Marsalis, thanks to the College’s Great Artist Series. “The goal was to bring great artists to the campus to teach a master class and perform a recital,” says Nancy Clark, assistant dean of music. “We wanted to give students contact with top-level performing artists.” The recitals and the ticketed private receptions that follow also generate funding for the John H. Reimers Music Scholarship Fund.
Over the years the visiting performers have provided some memorable moments, like the time mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves brought her dog to the master class. “The dog made himself comfortable under the piano,” Clark recalls, “and at one point decided to join in by howling.” In previous series, some of the artists’ well-intentioned critiques were a bit harsher than they needed to be. “We had some of the students in tears, which made me feel really bad,” Clark says. She remembers one student who was left shaking after a session with the first artist in the series, Marilyn Horne. “I said to her, part of why she spent so much time with you was because she really heard something in you and wanted to bring it out.” These days Clark makes sure the performers’ expectations of the students are in synch with the students’ musical backgrounds.
A yowling dog, a strict instructor, or the fact that the class is open to anyone who wants to come and watch, might be off-putting to some students, says Clark. But she believes such challenges add to the value of the experience. “If you’re a performer, you have to develop the courage to get in front of people and perform,” she says. Lisa Toth, a current vocal student who's also sung for soprano Angela Brown, will be attending her third master class this semester. She agrees that the tough moments are worth it. “They’re opera singers and they’re famous, and you want to be the best you can be,” she says. “I’m always excited to sing for them.”
Reserved seating for the concert is $50.00. Admission to the Master Class is $10.00 (free for students with I.D.). For additional ticket information please visit the Lehigh Valley Arts Council website at www.LVArtsBoxOffice.org. Foy Concert Hall is located on the Hurd Campus in Historic downtown Bethlehem. Immediately following the recital, there will be a private reception with Mr. Brownlee and invited guests. Tickets for the CELEBRATION are $125 each (includes reserved concert seat, reception, and charitable contribution. Charitable contributions generated by the CELEBRATION go directly to the John H. Reimers Music Scholarship Fund for a deserving music student each year. For information and to receive an invitation, call Rose Panik, Music Department, 610 861-1650 or email email@example.com.
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America’s sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.