Monday, April 23rd, 2018

Graduate Concert at USM

Posted on March 07, 2016 in Arts & Culture
By USM Free Press

By Jimmy Dority

Ellen Chickering, Associate Professor of Voice at USM, anticipates that this Friday’s Graduate Showcase Concert will “be on the highest level of performing. These students are all tops in their field and have made great accomplishments in their years here… As an educator it is a wonderful feeling to see [my] and others’ students performing at such a high level, knowing how much hard work and practice went into that performance.” While performances by USM School of Music students are always held to a high standard, this semester’s Graduate Showcase Concert will present the budding expertise of some of the school’s most gifted and ambitious artists. The concert’s impressive lineup will include students pursuing Master’s degrees as well as alumni of the School of Music; all of the performances will be marked by the sharpened focus that characterizes graduate studies at the USM School of Music.

Boasting a variety of musical styles, the program will feature works by Debussy, Ravel, Mozart, and other favorites, as well as two original works by pianist and alum Derek Herzer. Those fortunate enough to have seen Tina Davis perform Ravel’s Miroirs, at her Senior Recital will have another opportunity to experience her dazzling execution of the third movement, Une barque sur l’océan (A boat on the water). The sweeping lyricism of the French Impressionists will also be heard in Debussy’s relentlessly fervorous L’isle joyeuse (The joyful island) as performed by Angela Olszta, an accomplished soloist and accompanist for the USM Youth Ensemble choral groups. Marian Hotopp will be taking on Eugene Bozza’s En Foret, among the more difficult and thoroughly exciting pieces in the Horn repertoire. A performance of Britten’s hauntingly beautiful Abraham and Isaac from graduate student George Eisenhauer and USM alum Jazmin DeRice is sure to leave the audience spellbound.

Of her work with the vocalists on the program, Ms. Chickering adds that “we work a great deal on refining their technique so that they feel comfortable singing the pieces they really want to sing.” Nora Cronin, a graduate student who studies with Ms. Chickering, will be performing Mozart’s Vorrei, spiegarvi, O Dio. Cronin recently performed the virtuosic “Queen of the Night” aria at OTTO East End’s “Opera at OTTO” series with an exacting precision and power that brought the Magic Flute’s dark queen to life. In anticipation of her first performance of Mozart’s more melancholic concert aria on Friday, Cronin celebrated her progress as a soprano working with Ellen Chickering and Richard Conrad over the years. In the course of her scrupulous work on the more subtle details of the soprano voice, she observed that “my voice has grown incredibly… it’s become more smooth and filled out.” Cronin expressed her excitement for this coming Summer when she will be attending the International Opera Academy in Schwerte, Germany.

The concert’s pianists, Herzer, Olszta, and Davis, have all studied under USM’s internationally praised concert pianist Laura Kargul, whose playing has been praised by The Hague’s Haagsche Courant as “almost feverishly inspired, so controlled and so thrilling.” The technical prowess and profound sensitivity of Dr. Kargul’s style is impressed upon and cultivated by the progress of every one of her students. Friday’s concert will be a testament to the legacy carried on by these and other bright performers who have been guided through rigorous study by some of Maine’s foremost musical educators and performers. The concert will be presented in Corthell Hall on the Gorham Campus at 8pm. Admission is free.

 

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