SF SYMPHONY CHORUS – In Concert at Davies Hall, 5/22

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

On Sunday, May 22nd at 4:00 pm, Chorus Director Ragnar Bohlin leads the San Francisco Symphony Chorus in this season’s only all-choral concert, featuring the Duruflé Requiem and Bohlin’s choral arrangements of art songs by Schubert and Schumann. The program also includes choral arrangements of songs from Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder and Des Knaben Wunderhorn, and works by Bach and Barber.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: SF Symphony Chorus

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RAGNAR BOHLIN

Composed in 1947, the Duruflé Requiem was written in memory of the composer’s father.  Duruflé arranged three versions of the work; the Chorus last performed the full orchestra version with the San Francisco Symphony in 1988. This performance is their first of the version for chorus, mezzo-soprano, and organ, and they are joined by mezzo-soprano Leah Wool and organist Robert Huw Morgan. Also on the program are Bohlin’s choral arrangements of Schubert’s An Silvia and Schumann’s Widmung, plus Gottwald’s arrangements of two songs by Gustav Mahler. The Symphony and Chorus’ recordings of Mahler’s works have been honored with several Grammy awards, including Best Choral Performance for Symphony No. 8.

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MEET THE ARTISTS

RAGNAR BOHLIN began his tenure as Chorus Director of the San Francisco Symphony in March 2007. In 2010 the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus garnered three Grammy Awards for their recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, including for Best Choral Performance under Bohlin’s direction. Born in 1965, he served as choirmaster of Stockholm’s Maria Magdalena Church and holds a master’s degree in organ and conducting and a postgraduate degree in conducting from the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm. Bohlin studied with the renowned choir director Eric Ericson and studied piano with Peter Feuchtwanger in London on a British Council scholarship. Through a Sweden-America Foundation scholarship he visited choruses throughout the United States. He studied singing with the great Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda and has also appeared as an oratory tenor. In June 2010 Mr. Bohlin made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, and in summer of 2011 will appear as guest conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

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LEAH WOOL

LEAH WOOL, Mezzo-Soprano is rapidly garnering critical acclaim for her performances across the country. She is the recipient of a 2008 Sullivan Foundation Award. Her 2011 season includes a return to Gotham Chamber Opera as the title role in Montsalvatge’s El gato con botas, as well as a return to Utah Opera as Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel; the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors with the Little Orchestra Society at Avery Fisher Hall, and Rosina in The Barber of Seville at Opéra Louisiane. On the concert stage, she returns to Avery Fisher Hall for Copland’s In the Beginning and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the National Chorale, and marks her debut with the San Francisco Symphony in the Duruflé Requiem. Ms. Wool has been a Young Artist at Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Utah Symphony & Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera North, and the Caramoor Festival. She holds an Artist Diploma and Master of Music from Yale University and received her Bachelor of Music magna cum laude from Westminster Choir College.

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Robert Huw Morgan

ROBERT HUW MORGAN is the University Organist at Stanford University.  A native of Wales, he received his BA and MA from the University of Cambridge, where he was an organ scholar at St. John’s College.  In this role he assisted the celebrated choral conductor George Guest directing the famous chapel choir. In 1999, he was awarded two doctorates in music from the University of Washington. He is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. Dr. Morgan has performed in Europe, Australia, the United States and Canada. His performances have been featured on the BBC radio and television, as well as stations in other countries. His repertoire includes works from the earliest sources of keyboard music to contemporary works (including the west coast premiere of Hyperion by Jean Guillou), along with such Romantic masterpieces as Liszt’s Fantasia and Fugue on “Ad nos” and Reger’s Variations and Fugue on an Original Theme.  In 2004, he performed the complete organ works of Dieterich Buxtehude, as a celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the celebrated Fisk organ in Stanford Memorial Church.  He has also performed the complete organ works of Couperin and de Grigny. As a conductor, he has led performances of several operas (Falstaff, Hansel & Gretel and Die Fledermaus, among others), as well as such choral masterpieces as Bach’s St. John Passion, Mozart’s Requiem and Mass in C minor, and the Vespers of both Rachmaninoff and Monteverdi.

The San Francisco Symphony Chorus was established in 1972 at the request of then Music Director Seiji Ozawa. The 142-member Chorus has sung under many of the world’s major conductors, including SFS Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas, SFS Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt, Kurt Masur, Neville Marriner, Roger Norrington, Yuri Temirkanov, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Robert Shaw. Most recently, the Chorus performed acclaimed interpretations of Feldman’s Rothko Chapel, Mozart’s Requiem, and Bach’s B Minor Mass with the San Francisco Symphony.

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Ragnar Bohlin and the SF Symphony Chorus

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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