Bios (2000/02/27)

THE JUDITH CLURMAN CHORALE is a symphonic chorus comprised of volunteer singers from New York and New Jersey who have dedicated themselves to achieving the highest level of choral performance. Many of the singers have previously performed with Judith Clurman in various choral projects in New York, including the New York Chamber Symphony, the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Juilliard Evening Division Chorale, and Lincoln Center Salutes the New York Philharmonic.

In the 1999-2000 season, the Chorale performs at St. Peter’s Church in Manhattan, in a program of music by Bach, Handel, and others. In the spring, the chorus will join the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in a performance of Kurt Weill’s The Lindbergh Flight, and select members of the Chorale will perform with students from the Juilliard School in their presentation of Weill’s Der Kuhhandel. The Judith Clurman Chorale will finish the season with a performance on the 92nd Street Y’s “Music of the Jewish Spirit” series, where they will join the New York Concert Singers and St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble in music by Philip Lasser and Louis Lewandowski.

Judith Clurman is the founder and music director of the Judith Clurman Chorale, a volunteer symphonic chorus performing with orchestra in New York City, and of the acclaimed professional ensemble, the New York Concert Singers. This season Ms. Clurman prepares choruses for the New York Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Ms. Clurman is artistic director of “Music of the Jewish Spirit” at the 92nd Street Y, and serves on the faculty of the Juilliard School.

American baritone LEON WILLIAMS is earning a fine reputation on several continents for his warm, handsome voice and uncommonly charismatic personality. A former Boys Choir of Harlem member, he was won top prizes in the Naumburg, Joy-in-Singing, Lola Wilson Hayes, and Leontyne Price Vocal Arts Competitions. Mr. Williams holds a Master’s Degree from the Juilliard School and Bachelor’s Degree from the Westminster Choir College of Rider University. His engagements include principal roles in Carmen, Les malheurs d’Orpheé, and Christopher Columbus at Aspen Opera Theater and Mahler’s Rückertlieder at Japan’s Sapporo Festival. Mr. Williams has performed as soloist in Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Mass in C, and Vaughan-Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols. Of particular distinction was an acclaimed performance of Tobit in the New York premiere of Haydn’s Il Ritorno di Tobia. Passionately devoted to the art of the song, Mr. Williams’ recital invitations include Hartford, Princeton, Pittsburgh, and throughout his native New York City. Recently he enjoyed great success with an all-American recital at Japan’s Tochigi Music Festival, and made his Bard Festival debut this past summer performing Mahler’sLieder eines fahrenden Gesellen and Schönberg’s Gurrelieder.

Born in Waco, Texas, ROBERT WILSON was educated at the University of Texas and Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute. He studied painting with George McNeil in Paris and later worked with the architect Paolo Solari in Arizona. Mr. Wilson moved to New York City in the mid-1960s, and joined with composer Philip Glass in writing the 1976 landmark workEinstein on the Beach, which was presented at the Festival d’Avignon and at New York’s Metropolitan opera House, and has since been revived in two world tours.

While known for creating highly acclaimed theatrical pieces, Wilson’s work is firmly rooted in the fine arts. His drawings, paintings and sculptures have been presented around the world in hundreds of solo and group showings. A recipient of two Rockefeller and two Guggenheim fellowships, Mr. Wilson has been honored with numerous awards for excellence, including the Premio Abbiati from the Italian Music Critics Association, two Italian Premio Ubu awards, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for lifetime achievement, the Harvard Excellence in Design Awards, and a Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

STEPHEN MORSCHECK, bass, has appeared recently with such organizations as the Bonn Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Glimmerglass Opera, and New York City Opera. Mr. Morscheck has performed roles including Britten’s Nick Shadow in The Rakes Progress, Wagner’s The Night Watchman in Die Meistersinger, Donizetti’s Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Puccini’s Colline in La Boheme.

Mr. Morscheck has also been active in recitals and oratorios. Among Mr. Morscheck’s frequent appearances with orchestra have been Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and in Philip Glass’ The Civil Wars. Mr. Morscheck graduated from Wheaton College and received advanced degrees from the University of Michigan.

Soprano SUZAN HANSON imbues her characters with a wealth of dramatic and musical gifts that enable her to sing everything from the most classic operatic repertoire to the works of Philip Glass and standard musical theatre. In the upcoming season she will debut at San Diego Light Opera as Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow, at Connecticut Opera in the title role in Floyd’s Susannah, at Arizona Opera as Tatiana in Eugene Onegin, and at Opera Hamilton. Following her recent success as Laurie in Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land at Virginia Opera, she joined 3rd Angle New Music Ensemble to record the role for CD release by Koch International. A favorite of Philip Glass, Ms. Hanson created the role of Raven 1 for the Lisbon World Expo ’98 world premiere of The White Raven. In addition, Ms. Hanson has created the roles of Madeline in Fall of the House of Usher and Soprano 1 in Hydrogen Jukebox. Ms. Hanson toured extensively in the National Company of Terence McNally’s Tony award winning Master Class.

Tenor JOHN DUYKERS made his professional operatic debut with Seattle Opera in 1966. Since then he has appeared with leading opera companies of the world, including The Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco opera, Houston Grand Opera, Netherlands Opera, the Grand Theatre of Geneva, Frankfurt Opera, Opera de Marseille, Canadian Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

Mr. Duykers has sung in 56 contemporary operas, including 31 world premieres. Among these, he created the role of Mao Tse Tung in John Adams’ Nixon in China. Mr. Duykers performs frequently in recital and with symphony orchestras. In addition to the National Symphony, he has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Kansas City Symphony, Sacramento Symphony, and the San Jose Symphony. A noted interpreter of contemporary music, Mr. Duykers, has received critical acclaim in numerous productions of George Coates Performance Works, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, and the A.Ga.Pe Performance Group which have been seen on many of the world’s most important contemporary music and theater stages.

MARIA JONAS, mezzo-soprano began her musical career as an oboe student at the Musikhochschule Köln. After an extended stay in Venezuela she studied with Montserrat Figueras in Barcelona and Rene Jacobs at the Schola Cantorum in Basle and with Jessica Cashin London.

Ms. Jonas is a highly sought after concert-soloist, having made European tours with the Europe Baroque Orchestra under Roy Goodman, the Hilliard Ensemble and the English Baroque Soloists under John Eliot Gardner. Known in Germany for her solo recitals as well as for performances with her groups Monteverdi Ensemble Köln, Diphona and LaRisa, Ms. Jonas has also worked and recorded with Jordi Savall, Sequentia, Alte Musik Dresden, La Sfera Armiosa. In recent years Ms. Jonas has spent an increasing amount of time in opera and contemporary music. In 1998 she was invited to the International Festival of Contemporary Music in Cuba and to Lisbon and Madrid, where she performed the title role inThe White Raven, the latest opera by Philip Glass, directed by Robert Wilson. This season Ms. Jonas performs with Condanza and Sequentia, and premieres a new dance-music-theatre piece Barbaro/o, about the Venetian composer Barbara Strozzi, at the Adelaide Festival in Australia, and later performs this piece throughout Europe.