Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra concert

Published: May. 18, 2023 at 11:33 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra presents the final concert of the season, “American Dreams”, on May 21 at 2:00 p.m. at Pablo Center at the Confluence.

News Release:

Music will include Samuel Barber’s Knoxville 1915 with Soprano Diana Cataldi, Julia Perry’s Short Piece for Orchestra, William Grant Still’s “Mother and Child”, George Walker’s “Lyric” and the Florence Price piano concerto with pianist Nicholas Phillips. Tickets are $36.50 which includes fees and taxes and must be purchased at www.Pablocenter.org.

Samuel Barber – Knoxville: Summer of 1915 – Diana Cataldi, soprano

Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 is a 16-minute dramatic song for orchestra and soprano. James Agee wrote the original poem in 1935. Barber dedicated this work in memory of his father.

Diana Cataldi Bio

Diana Cataldi, full lyric soprano, received her degrees in voice from CCM and The Ohio State University. Diana has performed oratorio with regional orchestras in Ohio and thoroughly enjoys chamber work collaborations with colleagues past and present. Operatically, she has performed the roles of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Amina in La Sonnambula, Contessa and Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, Mercedes in Carmen, Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Elisabetta in Maria Stuarda. Diana started a passionate career teaching applied voice in 2005 at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. In 2013, she relocated to Wisconsin to teach voice, Music Appreciation and Global Music at Viterbo University. In 2016, Diana found her home joining the faculty of UW-Eau Claire teaching voice and vocal pedagogy while she returns to school to study Communication Sciences and Disorders. In 2018, she became a founding member and secretary of the Western Wisconsin Chapter of The Voice Foundation.

Florence Price – Concerto in One Movement – Nicholas Phillips, piano

Florence Price was one of the first female African American composers to earn national reputation and have her works performed by major orchestras. Concerto in One Movement premiered in Chicago in 1934 where Price performed as the piano soloist. After its premiere, there are no records of it being performed. Composer Trevor Weston was then commissioned to illustrate the orchestration to revive the piece.

Nicholas Phillips Bio

Described by the New York Times as a “talented and entrepreneurial pianist” and an “able and persuasive advocate” of new music, Nicholas Phillips’ playing has been praised for its “bejeweled accuracy” (Fanfare) and as “razor-sharp yet wonderfully spirited” (American Record Guide). He is active as a soloist and collaborative artist, having performed all across the United States, as well as Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa.

Phillips is an active recording artist and champion of living composers. In 2011, he released two CDs on Albany Records: Portals and Passages (TROY 1246), which features the works for solo piano by American composer Ethan Wickman, and Boris Papandopulo: Piano Music (TROY 1274), which features music by the famous Croatian composer. Recent releases include American Vernacular: New Music for Solo Piano (New Focus Recordings, 2014), which features commissioned works written for him on that theme by ten American composers, and Impressions (Blue Griffin Records, 2016), a collection of 21st-century character pieces by living American composers. Shift (Panoramic Recordings) releases in March, 2019, and features world premiere recordings of works by eight living women composers.

A native of Indiana, Phillips began formal piano lessons at Indiana University at the age of ten. He holds degrees in piano performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music (Doctor of Musical Arts), Indiana University (Master of Music), and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Bachelor of Music, summa cum laude). His teachers include internationally-renowned pianists and pedagogues Karen Taylor, Paul Barnes, Karen Shaw, and Robert Weirich.

Phillips is currently Professor of Piano at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He is a Yamaha Artist.

William Grant Still – Mother and Child

William Grant Still was the first African American composer to have a symphony performed by a professional orchestra in the United States. After losing his father at a young age, his eventual stepfather helped nurture a love for music. Still learned how to play many instruments like the violin, clarinet, saxophone, oboe, bass, cello, and viola. Mother and Child was written in 1943 after Still turned down a commission for a very lucrative film as he believed it depicted Black people negatively.

Julia Perry – A Short Piece for Orchestra

Julia Perry was an integral composer with lots of success in Europe and the U.S. throughout the 1950s and 60s. A few of her honors include two Guggenheim fellowships, the Boulanger Grand Prize, and a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award. After originally writing A Short Piece for Orchestra in 1952, she had it revised twice before ending up with a final version. The piece is divided into multiple parts that each contrast with one another.