A 19th century German Songbook
for Voices and Piano Four-hands
Saturday April 14, 4PM
Van Buren Hall,
6 Chatham Street, Kinderhook, NY 12106
Accessible by lift to second floor
Celebrating the talents of four singers from the Bard Graduate Vocal Arts Program and two Bard Collaborative Piano Fellows.
Vocal: Duets and quartets of Schubert, Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn, and Brahms, (including the Liebeslieder op. 52)
Piano: Four-hand pieces by Clara Schumann and Schubert
- Paulina Swierczek,soprano
- Chloë Schaaf, mezzo-soprano
- Eric Carey, tenor
- Luke MacMillan, bass
- Florence Mak, piano
- Bethany Pietroniro, piano
With this concert CITV celebrates and supports the impressive talents of four singers from the Bard Graduate Vocal Arts Program and two Bard Collaborative Piano Fellows. Featured will be duets and quartets by Johannes Brahms, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Robert Schumann, Clara Schumann, and Franz Schubert. Included will be Brahms’ beloved Liebeslieder, op. 52 (1868) and his Three Quartets, op. 31 (1859-63), as well as Schubert’s Four polonaises, D. 599 (1818) for piano four-hands.
Says David Smith, Artistic Director of Concerts in the Village, “For the past five years our audiences have enjoyed the outstanding contributions of graduate students from the Bard Vocal Arts Program, which is directed by the distinguished American soprano Dawn Upshaw. It has seemed to me a perfect relationship: one that meets CITV’s essential need for top-drawer solo singing while at the same time providing promising musicians substantial “real life” performing experience. That experience includes useful opportunities to perform with a professional orchestra and fine choral ensemble, that is the Broad Street Orchestra and the Broad Street Chorale.”
“Inviting a quartet of Bard singers – and importantly their collaborative piano colleagues – to create and execute a program all their own seemed to me long overdue. The availability of the acoustically excellent Van Buren Hall is fortuitous. I hope this concert will provide CITV with yet another fine programming model, possibly even becoming an annual event. In addition a number of Bard singers have been offered substantial CITV opportunities in the post-Bard early years of their careers, among them Kameryn Lueng and Caroline Dunigan. What a thrill it has been to participate in their development!”
One of the singers who will be performing on April 14th, mezzo-soprano Chloë Schaaf, has been particularly involved in making this special concert possible. Ms. Schaaf has this to say: “It is deeply gratifying to work with other singers in a small ensemble. As classical singers, we focus much of our energy on solo repertoire and rarely have the opportunity to work together in this way. The duets and quartets we will be performing in this concert allow for a type of detail-oriented ensemble work that is incredibly fulfilling. And all the more so, since we have the luxury of performing with close friends!”
Come and be entranced by these exceptional young artists!
Eric Finbarr Carey, tenor
“Tenor Eric Finbarr Carey [As Candide] was resonant, mellifluous, and deft with dramatic nuance.”(Millbrook Independent)
New York native, Eric Carey, was the winner of the 2017 Bard Conservatory Concerto Competition and will perform Britten’s Les Illuminations de Rimbaud with The Orchestra Now (TŌN) in 2019; Will appear on three concerts with the Grammy Nominated Albany Symphony, singing excerpts of Tamino, Die Zauberflöte, Monsieur Vogelsang, Der Schauspieldirektor, and Mylio Le Roi D’Ys; Messiah with Classics on Hudson; Bach B Minor Mass, Bach in Baltimore; Tenor Soloist in Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, Queen’s Attendant in John Harbison’s Full Moon In March, and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass all with the Bard Conservatory Orchestra in the Richard B. Fisher Center, led by Maestro James Bagwell.
He spent the summer in Suzhou, China, singing the role of Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi and Traditional Chinese Opera and Song with the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra, this past Spring in the title role of Bernstein’s Candide with The Orchestra Now, Lukas in Haydn’s Die Jahreszeiten with Bard Conservatory Orchestra, Handel’s Messiah, with Classics on Hudson. Carey sang the premiere of John Luther Adam’s Little Cosmic Dust Poem at the Morgan Library in April, in the same month he took first prize in the Sparks and Wiry Cries Song Slam Competition, hosted by Tom Cipullo performing In New York by Whitney E. George, which was written for him.
Carey is a graduate of The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, with a degree in Vocal Performance and Music Business minor. He currently studies with Lorraine Nubar, and is a member of Bard’s Vocal Arts Program (‘18). This Summer, Carey will be a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center where he will sing in a new adaption of Leonard Bernstein’s The Quiet Place and will sing in a concert of Bach Canatas with Conductor/Composer John Harbison.
Luke MacMillan, baritone
Luke MacMillan, baritone, recently performed as the Swineherd in John Harbison’s Full Moon In March at Bard College. This summer he will sing as Dandini in La Cenerentola, cover Maximilian in Candide, and work with maestro Keith Lockhart in Bernstein’s Mass with the Janiec Opera Company at Brevard.
Last summer he performed with Opera Saratoga in their productions of Verdi’s Falstaff and Marc Blitzstein’s The Cradle Will Rock. Previously at Bard he sang as Maximilian in Candide with The Orchestra Now and in concert with the Bard College Baroque Ensemble. Before completing his masters, MacMillan spent two years away from academia to continue his vocal studies privately. In that time he performed with the Madison Bach Musicians and collaborated with various new opera and theater companies, taking on the roles of Guglielmo in Così fan tutte and Umberto in and English adaptation of Pergolesi’s La serva padrona. His work as Umberto garnered him a regional nomination for Best Actor In A Musical by Broadway World. He was also a second place finalist in Angela Meade’s Northwest Young Voices competition.
“I’ve been in love with Brahms’ repertoire for quite a while and try and include him as often as possible on my recitals. You can imagine how overjoyed I was when given the opportunity to sing a concert centered around his music!” -Luke
Florence Mak, piano
From Canada to Spain to the United States, Canadian pianist Florence Mak has established herself as a multi-faceted musician. She has appeared onstage as a soloist, collaborator, hamber and orchestral musician. She made her orchestral debut as the featured soloist with the New Westminster Symphony at the age of ten.
In her continued pursuit for artistic excellence, Florence performed in renowned workshops and masterclasses at programs such as Songfest, Burgos International Music Festival, and the Banff Centre. In addition to collaborating with instrumentalists and vocalists, she enjoys working alongside composers including Pulitzer Prize winner John Luther Adams, Christos Hatzis, Jake Heggie, and Libby Larsen.
Equally passionate about music education, Florence believes that children of all ages should have access and exposure to Classical music, regardless of their background. She is dedicated to presenting outreach concerts throughout North America in hospitals, hospices, and schools. An advocate for art songs, she is a founding member of Lynx Project, whose mission is to expand the boundaries of the traditional recital form and increase appreciation for music and poetry. Recently, Lynx Project launched their Autism Advocacy Campaign, where they are commissioning five composers to set music to the text of four individuals who are primarily non-verbal and are autistic (www.lynxproject.org).
Florence holds a doctorate in Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music from the Eastman School of Music and received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Piano Performance at the University of Toronto. She currently is on staff at the Bard College Conservatory of Music as a Collaborative Piano Fellow.
Bethany Pietroniro, pianist
Bethany Pietroniro is a pianist with an eclectic repertoire of vocal and instrumental chamber music. She has performed throughout the United States at venues including the Morgan Library in New York City, Alice Tully Hall, the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Zipper Hall in Los Angeles, and the Baltimore War Memorial.
Bethany was a Collaborative Piano Fellow at the Bard College Conservatory of Music from 2015 to 2017, and has twice been the recipient of a Marc and Eva Stern Fellowship to SongFest at Colburn. She has also participated in the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Garth Newel Chamber Music Fellowship Program, and the New Music on the Point Festival.
A native of Massachusetts, Bethany attended the Walnut Hill School for the Arts before continuing her education at Indiana University, where she earned bachelor’s degrees in piano performance and mathematics. She received master’s degrees in solo piano and vocal accompanying from Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
“This has been a lovely opportunity to explore works that are new to me by some of my favorite composers, and to indulge in the joys of vocal chamber music and piano duo — simultaneously!” -Bethany
Chloë Schaaf, Mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano Chloë Schaaf has been praised for her emotional subtlety and animated aplomb, in addition to her lyrical singing. Operatic roles include The Queen (Full Moon in March John Harbison), Demoiselle d’Honneur (l’Étoile Chabrier), Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro Mozart), Ruggiero (Alcina Handël), Don Ramiro (La Finta Gardiniera Mozart), Nerone (l’Incoronazione di Poppea Monteverdi), and The Tango Singer (The Great Gatsby Harbison).
An avid lover of chamber, contemporary, and song repertoire, Chloë has performed at venues including Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Harris Hall, and The New York Society for Ethical Culture. Chloë has been seen in recital at both the Oxford and Leeds Lieder Festivals. She recently debuted with the Albany Symphony and will be making her debut with the Orchestra of the League of Composers in May 2018, singing Book IV from John Harbison’s Mottetti di Montale.
As an oratorio soloist, Chloë has performed with the Helena Symphony, the Greenwich Choral Society, Concerts in the Village, and MusicaVivaNY. Summer seasons include the Aspen Music Festival, the Victoria Bach Festival, and the Professional Fellowship at Songfest in Los Angeles.
Chloë holds her BM from the Juilliard School and her MM from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, in London. She is currently a member of the Vocal Arts Program at Bard College Conservatory, under the mentorship of Dawn Upshaw, Sanford Sylvan, and Kayo Iwama.
“It is deeply gratifying to work with other singers in a small ensemble. As classical singers, we focus much of our energy into solo repertoire and rarely have the opportunity to work together in this way. The duets and quartets we will be performing on this concert allow for a type of detail-oriented ensemble work that is incredibly fulfilling. And all the more so, since we have the luxury of performing with close friends!” -Chloë
Paulina Swierczek, soprano
Praised by the Rochester City Newspaper for her “honeyed tone” and by the Boston Globe for “a rich voice that could go in a blink from speaking to soaring” – as well as her “killer side-eye” – soprano Paulina Swierczek is a vibrant story-teller, combining technical facility with a consuming passion for communication.
Recent concert highlights include Poulenc’s Gloria, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5 of Villa-Lobos, and Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire. Favorite roles include The New Prioress (Les dialogues des Carmelites), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), and the Countess Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro.) She made her international operatic debut in November 2016 at the Teatro Diana in Mexico premiering Don’t Blame Anyone by Carlos Sanchez-Guttierez and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon. A 2017 Fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center, she performed Berg’s Sieben Frühe Lieder with the TMC Orchestra, songs of Ella Fitzgerald alongside Dawn Upshaw and Stephanie Blythe, and works by J. S. Bach led by John Harbison. She also premiered Anthony Cheung’s All thorn, but cousin to your rose featuring the texts of Nabokov, Pushkin and Poe alongside curator and longtime ICE member Jacob Greenberg.
2017/18 season highlights include a concert of the music of David Del Tredici, to celebrate the composer’s 80th birthday, her debut with the Albany Symphony singing Madame Herz in Schauspieldirektor, and the Queen in John Harbison’s Full Moon in March at Bard College, directed by Alison Moritz and conducted by James Bagwell. She is honored to have been invited back to the Tanglewood Music Center for their 2018 season, and the Bernsteiin Centennial year.
Paulina attended the Eastman School of Music under the tutelage of Rita Shane, Dr. Constance Haas and Anthony Dean Griffey, and currently studies with Sanford Sylvan.
“It’s always a joy to work with colleagues of such high caliber, and even more so when those colleagues are your friends. It’s a privilege to be exploring this multifaceted repertory in a way that is so like that of the salon context in which many of these works were likely performed – with friends, with laughter, with love.” -Paulina
Review by a concert attendee:
This concert—even that word is too common and small for it—was one of the best performances I have experienced. The program is gorgeous and the artistry and skill filled this lovely and lively salon, and still sings in my heart. You would think they had been on the road with this for a month. I asked them if they had done it at least once: “Well, yes. We did it once for our friends.” Humility and genius can really live together in some people. I wish they had an album for sale.
-Ted Phelps, Valatie