January 28 – Four Hands • Four Voices

Concert Co-sponsored by Jeffrey N. Mehler, CFP® LLC and Essex Meadows

This concert took place on January 28, 2024.

Where and When:

VALLEY REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL
256 Kelsey Hill Road, Deep River, CT
Click here to view in Google maps.

Concert begins at 3:00 pm; outer doors open at 2:00 pm; auditorium doors open at 2:30 pm.
Accessible parking, entry and seating are available.

 

Concert Program:

Piano Duo: Four-Hands with pianists Mihae Lee and Randall Hodgkinson

Mozart Sonata in D Maior. K. 381
Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue
Brahms Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op. 52
(with Special guests: soprano Amanda Forsythe, mezzo-soprano Krista River, tenor Charles Blandy and baritone David Kravitz)
Brahms Hungarian Waltzes, No. 1, 6, 4 and 5

 

Artist Biographies:

Mihae Lee, pianist

Praised by The Boston Globe as “simply dazzling,” Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee has been captivating audiences throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia in solo recitals and chamber music concerts with her poetic lyricism and scintillating virtuosity. She has performed in such venues as Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Jordan Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, Academia Nationale de Santa Cecilia in Rome, Warsaw National Philharmonic Hall, and Taipei National Hall. An active chamber musician, Ms. Lee is a founding member of the Triton Horn Trio with violinist Ani Kavafian and French hornist William Purvis and was an artist member of the Boston Chamber Music Society for three decades. Her recordings of Brahms, Shostakovich, Bartok, and Stravinsky with the members of BCMS were critically acclaimed by High FidelityCD Review, and Fanfare magazines, the reviews calling her sound “as warm as Rubinstein, yet virile as Toscanini.” Ms. Lee has appeared frequently at numerous international chamber music festivals including Dubrovnik, Amsterdam, Groningen, Festicamara (Colombia), Great Woods, Seattle, OK Mozart, Mainly Mozart, Music from Angel Fire, Chamber Music Northwest, Rockport, Sebago-Long Lake, Bard, Norfolk, Mostly Music, Music Mountain, Monadnock, and Chestnut Hill Concerts. In addition to many years of performing regularly at Bargemusic in New York, she has been a guest artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Speculum Musicae; has collaborated with the Tokyo, Muir, Cassatt, and Manhattan string quartets; and has premiered and recorded works by such composers as Gunther Schuller, Ned Rorem, Paul Lansky, Henri Lazarof, Michael Daugherty, and Ezra Laderman. In addition to her concert career, Ms. Lee maintains her commitment to give back to her community and help many worthy charities. At the invitation of the Prime Minister and the First Lady of Jamaica, for many years she has organized and performed in concerts in Kingston and Montego Bay to benefit the Jamaica Early Childhood Development Foundation. She also brought world-class musicians, both classical and jazz, to perform in fund-raising concerts for the Hastings Education Foundation in Westchester County, and launched an annual Gala Concert for the Community Health Clinic of Butler County, a free health clinic outside of Pittsburgh. Born in Seoul, Korea, Ms. Lee made her professional debut at the age of fourteen with the Korean National Orchestra after becoming the youngest grand prizewinner at the prestigious National Competition held by the President of Korea. In the same year, she came to the United States on a scholarship from The Juilliard School Pre-College, and subsequently won many further awards including First Prize at the Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition, the Juilliard Concerto Competition, and the New England Conservatory Concerto Competition. Ms. Lee received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School and her artist diploma from the New England Conservatory, studying with Martin Canin and Russell Sherman. She has released compact discs on the Bridge, Etcetera, EDI, Northeastern, and BCMS labels, and is currently Music Director of the Sebago-Long Lake Music Festival in Maine.

 

Randall Hodgkinson, pianist

Randall Hodgkinson achieved recognition as a winner of the International American Music Competition for pianists sponsored by Carnegie Hall and the Rockefeller Foundation. He has appeared frequently as soloist and chamber music artist in festivals throughout the United States, and as a featured soloist with major orchestras including those of Philadelphia, Atlanta, Buffalo, the American Symphony, the Orchestra of Illinois and abroad in Italy, Japan and Iceland. His solo debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra was presented in Boston, Philadelphia and in New York at Carnegie Hall.

Mr. Hodgkinson studied at The Curtis Institute and the New England Conservatory. While a member of Boston Musica Viva, he performed throughout the U.S. and Europe, and his recordings on several labels have brought notable acclaim. His solo CD “Petrouschka and Other Prophesies” received a double five-star rating from the BBC magazine. Other recordings include a live performance of the world premiere of the Gardner Read Piano Concerto with the Eastman Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Morton Gould Concerto with the Albany Symphony. His CD of solo piano music on the Ongaku label has received critical praise. Mr. Hodgkinson also performs the Piano concerto of Bernard Hoffer in a recently released CD with the National Orchestra of Ireland.

Mr. Hodgkinson also performs four-hand and two-piano literature in duo recitals with his wife, Leslie Amper, and is a member of the Gramercy trio and the Worcester Chamber Music Society. Recent performances with the Gramercy trio have featured premiers of trios by Gunther Schuller trio and Matthew Aucoin. He is a member of the piano faculty of the New England Conservatory and Wellesley College. Mr. Hodgkinson is currently studying to become a certified Feldenkrais® practitioner.

 

Amanda Forsythe, soprano

Amanda Forsythe is recognized internationally as a leading interpreter of baroque and classical repertoire. She sang Eurydice on the 2015 GRAMMY-winning recording of Charpentier’s La descente d’Orphée aux enfers. Alongside her other many recordings for Boston Early Music Festival and Boston Baroque, her début solo album of Handel arias “The Power of Love” with Apollo’s Fire on the Avie label earned widespread critical acclaim.

She performed and recorded Cabri and Carmi La betulia liberata with Les Talens Lyriques at the Salzburg Mozartwoche and toured Europe and the USA with the French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky performing works based on the Orfeo myth and recording the role of Euridice with him in the 1774 version of Gluck’s Orfeo for ERATO.

Amanda Forsythe’s collaborations with leading baroque ensembles have included performances with the Philharmonia Baroque at Tanglewood, Tafelmusik, Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Boston Early Music Festival, Vancouver Early Music, Apollo’s Fire and Pacific Musicworks.

On the opera stage she has sung Semele (Philadelphia), Pamina Die Zauberflöte (Rome, Seattle and Die Komische Oper, Berlin), Iris Semele (Seattle), Marzelline Fidelio, Nannetta Falstaff, Amour Orphée, Manto in Steffani’s Niobe (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden), Jemmy Guillaume Tell, Corinna Il viaggio a Reims and Rosalia L’equivoco stravagante (Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro), and Dalinda Ariodante (Geneva and Munich).

Amanda Forsythe is a regular soloist with Chicago Symphony Orchestra and recently made her débuts with New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra and Lucerne Symphony Orchestra.  She has also performed with Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestra La Verdi of Milan and Kymi Sinfonietta.

Conductors she has worked with include Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Nicholas Kraemer, Nicholas McGegan, Andris Nelsons and Sir Antonio Pappano.

Her recent engagements include Cleopatra Giulio Cesare in Moscow, Messiah with Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and Les Talens Lyriques, Melissa Amadigi (staged) and Bach Mass in B minor with Boston Baroque, Handel Sileti venti with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, arias by Handel, Purcell and Haydn with Music of the Baroque, her début with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and performances and recordings with Apollo’s Fire, Boston Early Music Festival and the Handel and Haydn Society.

Amanda Forsythe engagements in the 2022/23 season include her débuts with the Academy of Ancient Music (Messiah), St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (Messiah) and with Hong Kong Philharmonic (St Matthew Passion). She returns to New York Philharmonic for performances of St. Matthew Passion, and to Chicago Symphony to sing Vivaldi Magnificat and Gloria. Other engagements include arias by Mozart and Beethoven with Victoria Symphony, a recording of Telemann’s Ino Cantata and staged performances of Desmarets’ Circé with Boston Early Music Festival, and concerts with Apollo’s Fire.

 

Krista River, mezzo-soprano

Hailed by Opera News for her “lovely clarity and golden color,” mezzo-soprano Krista River is at home in repertoire ranging from the Baroque period to the 21st century. In January of 2020 Ms. River won a Grammy award for her role as Mrs. Fox in Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s recording of Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. She has also been a winner of the Concert Artists Guild International Competition and a grant recipient from the Sullivan Foundation. Recent notable performances include the International Water and Life Festival in Qinghai, China, Messiah at Carnegie Hall with the Masterworks Chorale (NJ), and recitals at Jordan Hall in Boston and the Asociación Nacional de Conciertos in Panama City, Panama. The New York Times praised her recital at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, lauding “her shimmering voice … with the virtuosity of a violinist and the expressivity of an actress.”

Some highlights of her opera appearances include Sesto in La clemenza di Tito with Emmanuel Music, Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Mercury Baroque (Houston), Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with the North Carolina Symphony, Annio in La clemenza di Tito with Opera Boston, Narcissus in Boston Baroque’s Agrippina, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Crested Butte Music Festival, and the title role in Handel’s Xerxes with Arcadia Players. Ms. River made her Tanglewood debut in the role of Jordan Baker in John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby.

Ms. River’s orchestral engagements have included appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Handel & Haydn Society, Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, Harrisburg Symphony, York Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Florida Orchestra, Pittsburgh Bach and Baroque Ensemble, the Cape Cod Symphony, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. She has performed as a guest artist at music festivals including John Harbison’s Token Creek Chamber Music Festival, Monadnock Music, Music from Salem, Saco River Festival, Meeting House Music Festival on Cape Cod, and the Portland Chamber Music Festival in Maine.

A contemporary music advocate, Ms. River has premiered works by numerous composers including Tom Cipullo, Howard Frazin, and Herschel Garfein. She created the role of Genevieve in Brian Hulse’s chamber opera The Game at the Kennedy Center, as part of its Millennium Stage series. She sang the world premiere of Scott Wheeler’s Turning Back at her 2008 solo recital at Weill Recital Hall, and is featured on two of Wheeler’s CDs  — The Construction of Boston, recorded live with Boston Cecilia, and Wasting the Night: Songs — both released on Naxos Records.

Ms. River began her musical career as a cellist, earning her music degree at St. Olaf College. She resides in Boston and is a regular soloist with Emmanuel Music’s renowned Bach Cantata Series.

 

Charles Blandy, tenor

Charles Blandy has been praised as “unfailingly, tirelessly lyrical” (Boston Globe); “fearless” (New York Times); “a versatile tenor with agility, endless breath, and vigorous high notes” (Goldberg Early Music Magazine); and for his “clear, focused, gorgeous tenor voice” (Worcester Telegram and Gazette).

Past performances include Bach’s B minor mass with Orchestra Iowa and the Apollo Chorus of Chicago; Mozart’s C minor Mass with Music of the Baroque (Chicago); Handel’s Messiah with Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; the role of Belmonte in Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio with Emmanuel Music; Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse, Vespers of 1610, L’Orfeo, and assorted madrigals with Boston Early Music Festival; Bach’s B minor Mass with the American Classical Orchestra (NYC) at Lincoln Center; and St. Matthew Passion with the American Bach Soloists (SF, CA). He has appeared with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, and Charlotte Symphony. He makes his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut in 2024.

He is a core member of Emmanuel Music, and regularly appears in their ongoing Bach Cantata series. With Emmanuel he has sung the Evangelist in Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passions; and the roles of  Tom Rakewell in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, Tamino in Mozart’s Magic Flute, and Lurcanio in Handel’s Ariodante, and in John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby.

He appeared in the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music in the U.S. premiere of Gerald Barry’s “Canada.” With Boston Modern Orchestra Project he has appeared in Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories; and in Virgil Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts (the latter now a commercial recording). He gave the U.S. premieres Rodney Lister’s chamber song cycle Friendly Fire with Collage New Music, and Rautavaara’s song cycle Die Liebenden.

A recitalist of wide repertoire, he has performed Schubert’s Schwanengesang at the Token Creek Festival (WI); Winterreise at Tufts University; Auf dem Strom and Brahms songs with Boston Chamber Music Society; and Janacek’s Diary of One Who Disappeared at Monadnock Music (NH). He gave recitals of contemporary American music in New York, Boston, London and Manchester UK, with Rodney Lister at the piano.

Charles Blandy is a member of Beyond Artists, a coalition that supports good causes through their work. He studied at Oberlin College, Indiana University, and Tanglewood Music Center. He is the product of a strong public school arts program in Troy NY.

 

David Kravitz, baritone

Hailed as “a charismatic baritone” by the New York Times, “magnificently stentorian and resonant” by Opera News, and “a first-rate actor” by Opera (UK), David Kravitz’s opera roles include Captain Balstrode in Peter Grimes (Chautauqua Opera), The Forester in The Cunning Little Vixen (Opera Santa Barbara), Scarpia in Tosca (Skylight Music Theatre), Leporello in Don Giovanni (Jacksonville Symphony), Don Pizarro in Fidelio (Grand Harmonie), Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola (Opera Saratoga), Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress (Emmanuel Music), Duke Bluebeard in Bluebeard’s Castle (MIT Symphony Orchestra), Wozzeck in Wozzeck (New England Philharmonic), and Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof (Charlottesville Opera). He created the lead role of Davis Miller in Approaching Ali with Washington National Opera; other contemporary opera roles include Abraham in Clemency with Boston Lyric Opera and Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby with Emmanuel Music.

He appears regularly as a guest soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, most recently for Wozzeck under Andris Nelsons; other concert appearances include the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, the Virginia Symphony, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Emmanuel Music, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and Boston Baroque. This season he joins the Arpeggione Ensemble for Schoenberg’s arrangement of Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen.

An exceptionally versatile artist, Mr. Kravitz’s repertoire ranges from Bach to Verdi to Sondheim to cutting-edge contemporary composers such as Matthew Aucoin, Mohammed Fairouz, Paul Moravec, and Elena Ruehr. Mr. Kravitz has recorded for the Naxos, BIS, Sono Luminus, Koch International Classics, BMOP/sound, Albany Records, and New World labels. His distinguished legal career has included clerkships with the Hon. Sandra Day O’Connor and the Hon. Stephen Breyer.

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Essex, CT 06426

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Valley Regional High School
256 Kelsey Hill Road
Deep River, CT 06417

Click here to view in Google maps.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek
55 E Kings Highway
Chester, CT 06412
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