Twenty-one Local Music Organizations Receive Funding From Philadelphia Music Project in 2007

Contact: Cindy Jobbins, 215-575-4812, Matthew Levy, 267-350-4960; mlevy@pcah.us


Philadelphia, PA - 05/15/2007 - Music lovers in and around Philadelphia can look forward to a season of adventurous, inspired programming as the Philadelphia Music Project announces its 2007 grantees. The awards to 21 local music organizations will result in 115 concerts and residency programs, encompassing traditional and contemporary forms of classical, jazz, and world/folk music. The Philadelphia Music Project—one of seven artistic initiatives of the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by The University of the Arts—has underwritten 241 projects with support exceeding $9.9 million since its inception in 1989. “The astounding variety of projects funded this year testify to Philadelphia’s rich musical life,” noted Philadelphia Music Project Director Matthew Levy. “With this new round of grants, PMP will support Philadelphia debuts of ensembles championing a wide range of musical traditions, including So Percussion, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, and the Min Xio-Fen Trio. Philadelphians will also have the opportunity to experience first-hand many of the world’s great string quartets, as the Brentano, Emerson, Johannes, Miro, Mendelssohn, and Tokyo Quartets will be performing regional premieres of works by Elliott Carter, John Zorn, Joan Tower, Essa-Peka Salonen, Kaija Saariaho, and others in the coming season.”

This year’s operatic offerings will take audiences off the beaten path as the Curtis Opera Theatre mounts the Philadelphia premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s ‘Ainadamar’ and Opera North produces works by prominent African American composers William Grant Still, H. Leslie Adams, and a world premiere by Leslie Savoy Burrs. Fans of the Baroque will experience traditional work in a new light when Tempesta di Mare partners with the Mock Turtle Marionette Theater to create an original puppet staging of vocal music by Monteverdi and Handel.

PMP grants will be used to commission some of the world’s most distinguished composers, including George Crumb, Terry Riley, Paul Schoenfield, Sir John Tavener, and Christian Wolff. Programs will also feature premieres of works by talented emerging composers Richard Belcastro, Mike Holober, Stratis Minikakas, and Yevgeniy Sharlat. In all, 21 new works will be offered first to Philadelphia audiences.

“The 2007 PMP awards support projects of extraordinary diversity and ensure that Philadelphia audiences will continue to experience innovative works of art,” said Marian Godfrey, managing director of Culture and Civic Initiatives at The Pew Charitable Trusts. “The Philadelphia Music Project is an enormous asset to Philadelphia, providing the region with a variety of high-quality music programs and strengthening the capacity of area musicians.”

Grant recipients are:

  • Annenberg Center: $80,000          
  • Ars Nova Workshop: $13,000          
  • Astral Artistic Services: $30,000           
  • Chamber Music Now: $10,000          
  • Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia: $120,000          
  • Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia: $30,000          
  • Curtis Institute of Music: $60,000          
  • International House Philadelphia: $30,000          
  • Kimmel Center: $60,000          
  • Mann Center for the Performing Arts: $80,000          
  • Mendelssohn Club: $30,000          
  • Opera North: $30,000          
  • Orchestra 2001: $30,000          
  • Philadelphia Chamber Music Society: $60,000          
  • Philadelphia Folklore Project: $30,000          
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art: $30,000          
  • Piffaro, The Renaissance Band: $30,000          
  • Relâche: $30,000          
  • Slought Foundation: $10,000          
  • SRUTI, The India Music and Dance Society: $15,000          
  • Tempesta di Mare: $30,000
Ars Nova Workshop and the Slought Foundation are first-time recipients of Philadelphia Music Project grants. Project summaries for each grant are attached and are also available at www.philadelphiamusicproject.com.

By the Numbers

This year’s grants will result in: 

  • 115 events, including the world premiere performances of 21 new works, 16 of which will be commissioned with support from PMP, U.S. premieres of 9 works, and regional premieres of 52 works;   
  • 76 public concerts encompassing 31 chamber music, 15 orchestral music, 3 choral music, 59 new music, 7 world/folk music, 11 jazz, 4 early music, 8 opera, 5 electronic/electro-acoustic, and 3 multi-media performances;   
  • 39 residency and educational activities;   
  • 429 local artists and 468 guest artists supported, including 29 guest ensembles;   
  • 29,323 live audience members in the five-county region;   
  • 60,000 television audience members through broadcasts on WHYY-TV12;   
  • 12,000 radio audience members through broadcasts on Philadelphia’s WRTI-FM and WHYY-FM.
Panelists

Philadelphia Music Project grants are awarded on a competitive basis and are selected by a panel of internationally recognized artists, scholars, and administrators with a broad knowledge of the field. A distinguished eight-member panel reviewed this year’s applications (additional biographical information is available at www.philadelphiamusicproject.org): 

  • Martin Bresnick, Professor of Composition, Yale University      
  • Charles Calmer, Artistic Administrator, Oregon Symphony     
  • Kip Lornell, Professor of Music and Ethnomusicology, George Washington University     
  • Robert Porco, Director of Choruses, The Cleveland Orchestra      
  • Janet See, Baroque flautist, Philharmonia Baroque, EMI recording artist      
  • George Shirley, Professor of Voice; Director of Vocal Arts Division, University of Michigan      
  • Limor Tomer, Adjunct Curator of Performing Arts, Whitney Museum; Executive Producer, Music Department, WNYC Public Radio     
  • Steve Wilson, Saxophonist/composer, Manhattan School of Music, Columbia University
Project Summaries, 2007 Grantees

The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts received $80,000 to engage the American Composers Orchestra (ACO) in a residency that will bring ACO’s acclaimed “Orchestra Underground” programs to the Annenberg Center for a series of three new music concerts and accompanying educational and outreach activities. The concerts will feature compositions by Susie Ibarra, Terry Riley, Michael Tenzer, Ken Thomson, Uri Caine, Fred Ho, Steve Coleman, and Scott Johnson. Guest artists include Makoto Fujimura (visual artist), and Gutbucket (Ken Thomson’s punk-jazz-rock ensemble).

Ars Nova Workshop (ANW) was awarded $13,000 to present “Le poeme de la femme,” a five-program concert series intended to explore issues of gender, ethnicity, history, contemporary politics, and experimental musical practices. “Le poeme de la femme” will showcase divergent musical traditions and provide independent female voices with a forum for cultural discourse. The series will feature the Susie Ibarra Ensemble, the Marilyn Crispell Trio, Jenny Scheinman's Ensemble, the Min Xio-Fen Trio, and the Zeena Parkins Trio performing improvised as well as composed works.

Astral Artistic Services received $30,000 to commission and present “Future Directions: New Music for Emerging Artists” featuring world premiere performances of new chamber works by composers Paul Schoenfield and Yevgeniy Sharlat. The programs will celebrate Astral’s 15th anniversary, and will feature resident Astral artists Jose Franch-Ballester (clarinet), Andrius Zlabys (piano), and guest artists Pavel Ilyashov (violin), Anton Jivaev (viola), and Wendy Warner (cello).

Chamber Music Now was awarded $10,000 to present “To Turn a Phrase,” pairing four Philadelphia authors and composers to create new works for chamber ensemble, electronics, video projection, and narrator. The collaborating pairs are: Paul Epstein (composer) and Tony Olsen (author); Richard Belcastro (composer) and Carla Spataro (author); Stratis Minikakas (composer) and Sandy Crimmins (author); and Gene Coleman (composer) and Tom Teti (author). The resulting works will be premiered by Josh Kovach (clarinet), Hanna Khoury (violin), Miguel Rojas (cello), and Tom Teti (actor).

The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia was awarded $120,000 over two years to commission and premiere new works by Terry Riley and Sir John Tavener in partnership with San Francisco’s New Century Chamber Orchestra. Riley’s new work, part of his “Abbeyozzud” project (a series of 26 pieces for guitar), will feature the composer on piano, guitarists David Tanenbaum and Gyan Riley, and violinist Krista Bennion Feeney. Tavener’s new work, inspired by the poetry of Jean Biès, will be scored for voice, timpani, and string orchestra, and feature mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly. Philadelphia performances will take place at the Perelman Theater in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

The Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia received $30,000 to produce a concert titled “A Baroque Festival of Lights.” The program will feature the music of Salamone Rossi, the first Jewish composer to write polyphonic settings of the Sacred Service, and a newly commissioned Cantata for Hanukkah by Philadelphia composer David Ludwig. The Choral Arts Society will be led by conductor Matthew Glandorf and accompanied by an ensemble of period instruments. 

The Curtis Institute of Music was awarded $60,000 in support of the Curtis Opera Theatre’s Philadelphia premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s debut opera “Ainadamar,” which is based on the life of Margarita Xirgu, the Catalan actress who collaborated frequently with Spanish poet and dramatist Federico García Lorca. The production will feature Curtis Institute students Layla Claire (soprano), Katherine Lerner (mezzo-soprano), Amanda Majeski (soprano), Brian Porter (tenor), and Evan Hughes (bass-baritone). Guest artists will include Chas Rader-Shieber (director), Corrado Rovaris (conductor), Mark Barton (lighting designer), and David Zinn (set and costume designer). Five performances will be presented at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

International House Philadelphia received $30,000 to produce “Out There,” a new five-concert series showcasing radical and exploratory music from around the world. Presented in collaboration with Ars Nova Workshop, each program will offer a representative look into the progressive musical legacy of a specific ethnicity or country, encouraging dialogue about culture and representation in American society. The series will feature John Zorn's Electric Masada, the Otomo Yoshihide Ensemble, Huntsville with Ivar Grydeland, Tonny Kluften, Ingar Zach, the Misha Mengelberg/Han Bennink Quartet, and the Tony Oxley Ensemble.

Kimmel Center Presents received $60,000 in support of its “Fresh Ink” series, designed to spotlight the work of artists and composers in the avant-garde of contemporary classical music. The series will feature the Philadelphia debut of So Percussion, a program by Ethel (string quartet), and an evening of music by Phil Kline including the Philadelphia premieres of two songs cycles, “Zippo Songs” and “Fear and Loathing,” with guest artists Todd Reynolds (violin), Dave Cossin (percussion), Theo Bleckman (vocals), and Wilbur Pauley (vocals).

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts was awarded $80,000 to present “Congo Square,” a cross-cultural musical collaboration between Wynton Marsalis and the Ghanaian drum master Yacub Addy. “Congo Square” will honor and explore the memory of the public square in New Orleans where, from the mid-1700’s to the late 1800’s, slaves gathered on Sunday afternoons to perform African songs and dances, heralding the birth of American jazz at the turn of the century. “Congo Square” will feature Wynton Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and Yacub Addy with his ensemble Odadaa!

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia received $30,000 to present a concert featuring the Philadelphia premieres of John Adams’ “On the Transmigration of Souls” and Karol Szymanowski’s “Stabat Mater,” as well as a performance of James Primosch’s “Fire-Memory/River-Memory.” Conducted by Artistic Director Alan Harler and accompanied by the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Mendelssohn Club will be joined by guest artists Bel Canto Children’s Chorus, Karen Slack (soprano), Meredith Arwady (contralto), and Jonathan Beyer (baritone).

Opera North was awarded $30,000 to present “An African American Triptych,” featuring concert productions of three operas by African American composers: “A Bayou Legend” by William Grant Still, “Blake” by H. Leslie Adams, and the world premiere of “Egypt’s Nights” by Leslie Savoy Burrs and librettist Barbara Chase-Ribaud. “An African American Triptych” will feature soloists Carmen Balthrop (soprano), Issachah Savage (tenor), Takesha Meshe Kizart (soprano), N. Cameron Chandler (bass/baritone), Lisa Edwards-Burrs (soprano), and guest artists Diane Monroe (violin), Gerald Veasley (bass), Mogauwane Mahoele (percussion), George Burton (piano), and the Voices of Gwynedd under the baton of Dr. Kay George Roberts. 

Orchestra 2001 received $30,000 to produce “Radical Exoticism,” a series featuring six 20th- and 21st-century musical works that explore modernist musical exoticism across several cultures. The project features a world premiere of George Crumb’s “American Songbook V;” the area premiere of Valerie Coleman’s “Afro-Cuban Concerto” featuring the Imani Winds; a French set comprising area premieres of works by Pierre Boulez, Olivier Messiaen, and Henri Dutilleux; and a 1920s concert-jazz classic by Darius Milhaud. Artistic Director James Freeman will conduct Orchestra 2001 with guest artists Gilbert Kalish (piano), Freda Herseth (mezzo-soprano), Jamie Van Eyck (mezzo-soprano), and Patrick Mason (baritone). 

The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society received $60,000 to produce “Voices of Our Time,” a special series of concerts featuring Philadelphia premieres of recent works by Lera Auerbach, George Benjamin, Elliott Carter, Gabriela Frank, Kevin Puts, Kaija Saariaha, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Joan Tower, Erkki-Sven Tüür, and John Zorn. Performing artists include the Brentano, Emerson, Johannes, Miro, Mendelssohn, and Tokyo Quartets; pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Jonathan Biss; and violinists Timothy Fain and Leila Josefowicz.

The Philadelphia Folklore Project received $30,000 in support of its Musicians-in-Residence program, which will explore the distinctive Ukrainian-Jewish klezmer repertoire of the Hoffman Watts family, music popularized in Philadelphia from the 1920s through the 1950s. The project will culminate in a concert featuring Elaine and her trumpeter daughter Susan Hoffman Watts, Andy Statman, Hankus Netsky, Henry Sapoznik, Rachel Lemisch, Jim Guttmann, and Josh Dolgin; among them, descendants of three of the most prominent Philadelphia klezmer families. The ensemble will perform arrangements from the “Dead Sea Scrolls” of klezmer: hand-written folios of music scored by Joseph Hoffman (c.1910) and newly arranged by Susan Watts. A documentary of the project will be broadcast on WHYY-TV12.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art received $30,000 to present the Philadelphia debuts of the Gotham Jazz Orchestra and the Maria Schneider Orchestra as part of the Museum’s “Art After 5” series. The Museum will commission and present the world premiere of a new work by Gotham Artistic Director Mike Holober and present regional premieres of recent works by Grammy Award-winning composer Maria Schneider.

Piffaro, The Renaissance Band received $30,000 to present a Vespers program for Epiphany that combines 16th-century hymns, chants, and chorale settings by Johann Walther, Michael Praetorius, and Jacob Regnart with newly commissioned psalm settings, a Magnificat, and instrumental motets by Philadelphia composer Kile Smith, bringing the Renaissance tradition of wind playing in liturgical settings into the 21st-century. The Crossing, a 20-voice ensemble directed by Donald Nally, will join Piffaro’s eight wind players. 

Relâche received $30,000 in support of its “Future Sounds” series to commission and premiere new works by composers Christian Wolff, Galen Brown, and Randall Woolf. The pieces will explore a range of musical aesthetics, including aleatory, minimalism, alternative pop/electronica, and avant-bop.

Slought Foundation was awarded $10,000 to present “Soundfield@Sloughtâ?? in collaboration with Soundfield, NFP. A four-part concert and educational series exploring international experimental music, “Soundfield@Sloughtâ?? will feature French violist Vincent Royer and Philadelphia’s Ensemble Noamnesia performing music by Luc Ferrari; Rome’s Ossatura with Ensemble Noamnesia realizing graphic scores by Anthony Braxton; Europe’s Polwechsel performing electro-acoustic compositions; and Ensemble N_JP with American and Japanese musicians playing music and video compositions by Gene Coleman. 

SRUTI, The India Music and Dance Society received $15,000 to present “Mosaic of South Indian Classical Music,’ a series of concerts representing the tapestry of various forms, schools, and styles of vocal and instrumental music found in southern India. The artists featured include Veenai Jayanthi Kumaresh, a veena player, and Nithyasree Mahadevan and the Malladi Brothers, who are Carnatic music vocalists.

Philadelphia Baroque orchestra Tempesta di Mare received $30,000 to perform “No Strings Attached: Love and Death with Music and Puppets,” an evening of narrative works for vocalists and chamber ensemble with original puppet staging by Mock Turtle Marionette Theater. Monteverdi’s ”Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda” and Handel’s “Tra le fiamme” are two of the works that will be performed with guests Marguerite Krull (soprano), Aaron Sheehan (tenor), and David Newman (baritone). The concert will be broadcast on WHYY-91FM.

Panelist Biographies, 2007 Grant Panel

Martin Bresnick, Professor of Composition, Yale University

The music of Martin Bresnick has been performed in festivals and concerts throughout the world. His compositions, written in virtually every medium from chamber and symphonic music to film and computer music, are sharply focused, expressive, and structurally intriguing. His orchestral music has been performed by the National Symphony, Chicago Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Münster Philharmonic, Kiel Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Radio Televisione Italiana, Orchestra New England, City of London Chamber Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Oregon Symphony Orchestra, Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonika, and Izumi Sinfonietta Osaka. His chamber music has been performed in concert by The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; Sonor; Da Capo Chamber Players; Speculum Musicae; Bang on A Can All Stars; Nash Ensemble; MusicWorks!; Zeitgeist; Left Coast Ensemble; Musical Elements. He has won numerous prizes including the Rome Prize, the Stoeger Prize for Chamber Music from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the first Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Aaron Copland Award for teaching from ASCAP, a Berlin Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Berlin and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has been commissioned by the Koussevitzky and Fromm foundations, Chamber Music America, Meet-the-Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts as well as individual ensembles and performers, including the Lincoln Center Chamber Players. His music has been heard at numerous festivals: Sonic Boom, Bang on a Can, Adelaide, Israel, Prague Spring, South Bank's Meltdown, Almeida, Turin, Tanglewood, Banff, Norfolk, ISCM, New Music America, New Horizons. His work is represented by Carl Fischer Music Publishers, and is recorded by CRI, New World, Centaur, Artifact Music, and Albany Records. In 2006, Mr. Bresnick was elected to membership of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Charles Calmer, Artistic Administrator, Oregon Symphony 

Charles Calmer is an orchestral administrator with over 19 years of experience. Currently he is Artistic Administrator for the Oregon Symphony, based in Portland, Oregon. Past positions include Artistic Administrator for the Detroit Symphony, Orchestra Manager and Artistic Administrator for the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and Director of Educational Activities for The Cleveland Orchestra. He has served repeatedly as a panelist for the Arts Councils of Iowa, Ohio, and Oregon. In 2000 he served on the Pew Charitable Trust’s Philadelphia Music Project regrant panel. He has spoken and led workshops at the national meetings of the American Symphony Orchestra League. He holds an M.F.A. in Arts Management and a Ph.D. from The University of Iowa.

Kip Lornell, Professor of Music, George Washington University 

Dr. Kip Lornell teaches courses in American music and ethnomusicology at George Washington University. In addition to teaching music courses, Dr. Lornell also serves on the Africana Studies Program Committee. Prior to joining GWU in 1991, Prof. Lornell taught at the University of Virginia and the College of William & Mary, and in 1995-96 he was a visiting professor at The Johns Hopkins University (Peabody Conservatory). His research in American vernacular music has resulted in the publication of over one hundred articles and record notes, nearly thirty record projects, several documentary films, and ten books – most recently Shreveport Sounds: Ark-La-Tex Music in Black & White (University Press of Mississippi, 2007). This research has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropology, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. From 1988-90 he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution, working with Tony Seeger at Smithsonian/Folkways. Prof. Lornell was recognized as the “Outstanding Young Alumni” in 1989 by the University of Memphis.  Other awards include the 1993 ASCAP-Deems Taylor award for The Life and Legend of Leadbelly (co-authored with Charles Wolfe) and a 1997 Grammy for co-authoring the notes that accompanied the Anthology of American Folk Music (Smithsonian/Folkways). An avid volleyball player (and college official) and long-time collector of 78 rpm records, Lornell lives in Silver Spring, Maryland,  with his wife, Kim Gandy, and their two children, Elizabeth Cady Lornell and Katherine Eleanor Gandy. Dr. Lornell holds a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology (Regional American Music) from the University of Memphis and a Master of Arts in Folklore from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Robert Porco, Director of Choruses, The Cleveland Orchestra

Robert Porco is one of America’s pre-eminent conductors of orchestral works requiring large choral ensembles. He has guest conducted the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the San Antonio Symphony and other orchestras in the United States and Europe. In 1998, Mr. Porco was appointed Director of Choruses for the Cleveland Orchestra, and has prepared the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus for performances with the Orchestra at the London Proms, the Lucerne Festival, the Edinburgh Festival and in Carnegie Hall. In addition, Mr. Porco leads the Orchestra and Chorus in their annual Christmas concerts and in frequent performances of Messiah. In 1989, Mr. Porco became Director of Choruses for the Cincinnati May Festival, and has prepared the May Festival Chorus for performances in Carnegie Hall and with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and for the annual May Festival. Mr. Porco has done chorus preparation for such prominent conductors as Pierre Boulez, James Conlon, Christoph von Dohnányi, Paavo Järvi, Raymond Leppard, James Levine, Jahja Ling, Jesús López-Cobos, Zubin Mehta, John Nelson, André Previn, Kurt Sanderling, Leonard Slatkin, Robert Shaw, Franz Welser-Möst and John Williams. From 1980 to 1998, Mr. Porco served as Professor of Music and chairman of the choral department at the Indiana University School of Music, and continues to teach conducting students in classroom settings and privately. From 1988 to 1998, Mr. Porco was Artistic Director and Conductor of the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir.

Janet See, Flautist

Janet See is one of today’s leading performers on baroque and classical flute. For over 25 years she has performed as a soloist, in chamber music and in orchestras throughout North America and Europe. In London, where she lived for 12 years, she played principal flute for Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s two orchestras and with those groups recorded the complete Mozart Operas and Beethoven Symphonies as well as numerous other discs. In North America she plays principal flute with Philharmonia Baroque under Nicholas McGegan and has recorded Vivaldi and Mozart Concertos with that orchestra. She has recorded on the Archive, EMI, Erato, Hyperion, and Harmonia Mundi labels. She is an active and enthusiastic teacher of early flutes and also of interpreting the nuance and language of the baroque and classical on modern flute.

George Shirley, Professor of Voice; Director of Vocal Arts Division, University of Michigan 

Professor Shirley (tenor) is in demand nationally and internationally as a performer, teacher and lecturer. He has won international acclaim for his performances in the world's great opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera (New York), Royal Opera (Covent Garden, London), Deutsche Oper (Berlin), Téatro Colón (Buenos Aires), Netherlands Opera (Amsterdam), L'Opéra de Monte Carlo, New York City Opera, Scottish Opera (Glasgow), Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, Washington Opera (Kennedy Center), Michigan Opera Theater, Glyndebourne Festival, and Santa Fe Opera. In 1999 he performed the role of Eumete in Monteverdi's Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria with the Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, N.Y., as well as narrations for Charles Ives' Three Places in New England with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has recorded for RCA, Columbia, Decca, Angel, Vanguard, CRI, and Philips and received a Grammy Award in 1968 for his role (Ferrando) in the RCA recording of Mozart's Così fan tutte. In addition to oratorio and concert literature, Mr. Shirley has, in a career that spans 48 years, performed more than 80 operatic roles with many of the world's most renowned conductors (Solti, Klemperer, Stravinsky, Ormandy, von Karajan, Colin Davis, Böhm, Ozawa, Haitink, Boult, Leinsdorf, Boulez, DePriest, Krips, Cleva, Dorati, Pritchard, Bernstein, Maazel and others). Professor Shirley was the first African-American to be appointed to a high school teaching post in music in Detroit, the first African-American member of the United States Army Chorus in Washington, D.C., and the first African-American tenor and second African-American male to sing leading roles with the Metropolitan Opera, where he remained for 12 years. Mr. Shirley has served as a master teacher in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Intern Program for Young NATS Teachers, and was a member of the artists' faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School for 10 years. 

Limor Tomer, Adjunct Curator of Performing Arts, Whitney Museum; Executive Producer, Music Department, WNYC Public Radio

Limor Tomer was trained as a classical pianist, and holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in piano from The Juilliard School. For ten years she toured and performed nationally and internationally. She transitioned away from performing and pursued doctoral studies in philosophy at NYU, while teaching at NYU and The Juilliard School. As soon as she felt the atrophy of Academe setting in, she went to work at BAM where she launched the BAM Rose Cinemas as well as BAMcafé Live, which she has directed until this fall. As an independent performance curator Limor produced and presented series and events at Lincoln Center, Neue Galerie, JVC Jazz Festival, Joe’s Pub, Exit Art and New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas, and served as Music Curator at Symphony Space from 2002 to 2006. Highlights from her Symphony Space tenure include Wall to Wall Joni Mitchell, the Leoniade, a 3-day celebration of Leon Fleisher, including a 13-hour, 16 pianist Beethoven Sonata marathon, Blue Note Live, a series of intimate evenings of music and conversation with Bruce Lundvall, the label’s leader and his artists, and the acclaimed Thalia Music series on Friday nights, which featured a wide range of artists and ensembles. In 2005 Limor was named Adjunct Curator of Performing Arts at the Whitney Museum, where she launched Whitney Live, a series of music, theater, dance and intermedia performances in the Whitney’s Breuer Building and at the Whitney’s Altria branch. Tomer recently served as Project Consultant to the New York State Music Fund and has served on various panels, roundtables and convenings at the Mellon Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, NYSCA, Meet the Composer, and the American Music Center. In 2006, Limor was hired as Executive Producer in the Music Department at WNYC Public Radio.

Steve Wilson, Saxophonist

Steve Wilson has been documented on over 100 recordings with the likes of Chick Corea, George Duke, Michael Brecker Dave Holland, Dianne Reeves, Gerald Wilson, Joe Henderson, Charlie Bryd, Billy Childs, Don Byron, Bill Stewart, James Williams, Mulgrew Miller and many others. Wilson has six recordings under his own name. His recording sidemen include: Lewis Nash, Cyrus Chestnut, Kevin Hays, Steve Nelson, Gregory Hutchinson, Dennis Irwin, James Genus, Larry Grenedier, Ray Drummond, Ben Riley, Mulgrew Miller, and Nicholas Payton. While studying music at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, he performed and/or studied with Jimmy and Percy Heath, Jon Hendricks, Jaki Byard, Frank Foster and Ellis Marsalis. In 1986, Wilson landed a chair with O.T.B (Out of the Blue), a sextet of promising young players recording on Blue Note Records. In the summer of 1987 he moved to New York and the following year joined Lionel Hampton, touring the US and Europe. His career developed further while working with the American Jazz Orchestra, The Mingus Big Band, The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, Leon Parker, and Buster Williams’ Quintet “Something More”. In 1996 he joined the acclaimed Dave Holland Quintet, and from 1998-2001 he was a member of the Grammy winning Chick Corea and Origin. Wilson's recorded four CDs (New York Summit, Step Lively, Blues for Marcus and Four For Time) on the Criss Cross label. He then debuted on Stretch Records with Generations, his multi-generational quartet with Mulgrew Miller, Ray Drummond and Ben Riley. His second Stretch release Passages features Bruce Barth, Ed Howard and Adam Cruz, his working quartet, and special guest Nicholas Payton. Wilson was a featured guest with Dr. Billy Taylor’s Jazz at the Kennedy Center, which is broadcast on NPR. Wilson has been regularly cited in the Downbeat Magazine Critics and Readers Polls in the soprano and alto saxophone categories since 1997. Wilson continues to tour with the Steve Wilson Quartet and Generation and is also a touring member of the Grammy winning Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra, The Buster Williams Quartet, and is on the faculty at The Manhattan School of Music, SUNY Purchase, and Columbia University.

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