Waukesha Choral Union All-Beethoven Concert
April 21, 2011
-- Waukesha, Wis. – The Waukesha Choral Union will present the All-Beethoven concert on Saturday, April 30, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. in Shattuck Auditorium on the Carroll University campus. Artistic director Ernest “Ernie” Brusubardis, III, will conduct this performance of four pieces by Ludwig van Beethoven which includes Mass in C major, Op. 86, and “Choral Fantasy.” Christopher Ruck will serve as accompanist. Soloists are Steven Ayers, Piano; Ami Bouterse, Soprano; Jillian Bruss, Mezzo-soprano;
Alexander Gmeinder, Tenor; and James Barany, Bass.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors/students, $5 children under 12. Tickets are available from all Waukesha Choral Union members, at any Waukesha State Bank location, online at http://www.ChoralUnion.org, or by phone at 414-297-9310.
The All-Beethoven concert begins with a choral arrangement of “Die Himmel rühmen,” Op. 48, #4, followed by “Hallelujah”
from “Christus am Ölberge” (“Christ on the Mount of Olives”,) Op. 85. This oratorio portrays the emotional turmoil of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane prior to his crucifixion. It was begun in the fall of 1802, after Beethoven’s completion of the “Heiligenstadt Testament,” but was only published in 1811. After a failed suicide attempt, Beethoven wrote this famous testament to his brothers declaring that he would live to complete his artistic destiny regardless of his physical ailments, chief among them, his struggle with deafness. He kept this document in secret with his papers where it was discovered only after his death in 1827. Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy” and “Mass in C” are also on the program, and are among the first fruits of his new resolve after writing the testament. He wrote his “Mass in C major,” Op. 86, to a commission from Prince Nikolaus Esterházy, II, in 1807, following in the footsteps of Haydn who had written a mass every year to honor the Prince’s wife. The “Choral Fantasy” was written as a finale to a concert where the same mass as well as his 5th and 6th symphonies were performed. Beethoven was known for his piano improvisation skills, so it made sense to have a finale that would use all of the forces from the concert with the composer himself at the piano. Brusubardis commented, “Beethoven’
s example of resolve and commitment should inspire us all to overcome whatever ails us, however great or small.”
The final concert of the Waukesha Choral Union season will be a collaborative presentation, “Give Us Peace,” on Saturday, May 21, 2011, 7:30 p.m. at the Oconomowoc Arts Center. This performance includes Kirke Mechem’s “Songs of the Slave” and Ralph Vaughan Williams’s “Dona nobis pacem.” Also participating are the Bel Canto Chorus, the Baptist College of Ministry Concert Chorale, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, (Edo DeWaart music director,) under the direction of Richard Hynson.
As the premiere vocal group in the area, the Waukesha Choral Union has been musically active in the community for over 50 years. Originally a combination of the Carroll College student chorus and community singers known as the Waukesha Choral Society in 1949, the group became the Town and Gown in 1961 and the Waukesha Choral Union in 1974, taking its present form as an auditioned choir in 1978. For more information, visit http://www.ChoralUnion.org
Steven Ayers, Piano, received his training from Indiana University, where he received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees, as well as a Performer’s Certificate. He attended the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and began work on his doctoral degree at UW-Madison. He has been on the faculty of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music since 2005. Ayers serves at the pianist for the Milwaukee Ballet and accompanist for the String Academy of Wisconsin.
Ami Bouterse, Soprano, has performed in opera and musical theater such as “Die Zauberflute,”
“Le nozze di Figaro,” “Gianni Schicchi,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Mikado,” “Phantom of the Opera,” and “Into the Woods.” Venues include Skylight Opera Theatre, Ash Lawn Opera Festival, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, New York Japan Society, Operafestival di Roma, Dorian Opera Theater, and Milwaukee Opera Theater. Recent concert performances include Haydn’s “Lord Nelson Mass,” Verdi’s “Requiem,”
Mozart’s “Requiem” and “Litany for the Altar of the Blessed Sacrament.” The Atlantic Center for the Arts featured Bouterse at its New Arts Song Festival in Florence, Italy. Other recital venues include the Sopelana (Spain) Music Festival, Lake Geneva Chapter of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Milwaukee Civic Music Association. Bouterse is an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin- Parkside where she teaches private voice and other related courses, including directing the Opera Workshop. She received voice and opera theater performance degrees respectively from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and Carnegie Mellon University.
Jillian Bruss, Mezzo-soprano, has performed both here and abroad in opera, oratorio, and recitals. She has performed with the Florentine Opera in both main stage and outreach programs, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Dallas Opera, Milwaukee Choral Artists, Milwaukee Youth Symphony, Waukesha Choral Society, Master Singers, Bel Canto Chorus, Milwaukee Choristers, and Lutheran Acapella Choir. In 2006, Jillian took a recital of American composed and arranged songs to the countries of her grandfathers, Denmark and Norway. She is the General Manager of the Milwaukee Opera Theatre and conductor of the Women of Note ensemble. She also teaches private voice in her home studio in Elm Grove, at Pius XI high school, andat UW Parkside. Bruss holds a Master’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Illinois – Champaign Urbana, and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from UW-Stevens Point.
Alexander Gmeinder, Tenor, is currently a fifth-year senior at Lawrence University, where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance. At Lawrence he has played the drunken neighbor in “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” King Ouf in “L’Etoile,”
the title role in “Candide,”
and Vašek in “The Bartered Bride.” In December, Alex performed the role of Eisenstein in “Die Fledermaus” with Candid Concert Opera in Madison. Recent concert works include Handel’s “Messiah,”
Haydn’s “Lord Nelson Mass” and “Mass in Time of War,” Bach’s “Magnificat,”
and Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy in C major.” He also recently performed Beethoven’s Mass in C at Lawrence University. This past summer Alex studied at The Chautauqua Institute in Chautauqua, NY where he performed the title role in Carissimi’s “Jephte.”
James Barany, Bass, has performed comprimario and supporting roles with the Florentine Opera, including the Herald in “Rigoletto,”
Yakuside in “Madama Butterfly” and Man #1 in “Elmer Gantry.” James has also performed with the Florentine Opera Chorus since 2005 as a Bass-Baritone in the productions of “Aida,” “Il Barbiere di Siviglia,” “Macbeth,”
“I Capuleti e i Montecchi,” “The Magic Flute,” “Semele,” “Tosca,” “Rigoletto,”
“Rio De Sangre,” and “L' italiana in Algeri.” Barany has also performed the role of Sancho in “The Man from LaMancha” at Waukesha Civic Theatre.
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The Waukesha Choral Union, an auditioned community choir, continues a long tradition of collaborating with other musicians and groups, putting together pieces of the very colorful and diverse arts community in which we live for over 50 years.