Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota Presents
“Rejoicing in Ravel”
Baritone John Brancy
February 19 Faith Lutheran Church
This critically acclaimed baritone, who performs with leading opera companies around the world, teams up Peter Dugan on piano, Betsy Hudson Traba on flute, and Christopher Schnell on cello for a celebration of French arias, chansons and more.
“John Brancy is a vibrant, resonant presence—dashing and strong-voiced”
The New York Times
(Sarasota, Florida) Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota presents “Rejoicing in Ravel,” featuring rising vocal star John Brancy, baritone, with Peter Dugan, pianist, and flutist Betsy Hudson Traba and cellist Christopher Schnell. The program features works by Debussy, Schumann and Ravel, including Ravel’s “Chansons madécasses” (Madagascan Songs) cycle—three poems set to music for voice, flute, cello and piano. The concert is February 19, 3:00 p.m., at Faith Lutheran Church, 7750 Beneva Road, Sarasota. Tickets are $30 (general seating), and are available at www.artistseriesconcerts.org or by calling 941-306-1202. Student tickets, for $10, are available at the door. The recital is part of the French Festival of Music, a community-wide tribute to the music, composers and culture of France, February 12 through March 24. For a complete schedule of festival events visit www.artistseriesconcerts.org.
Joseph Holt, director of artistic programs for Artist Series Concerts, recalls John Brancy’s breakthrough performance last season as a featured artist of SILL’s Music Mondays. “This versatile baritone brought the crowd to its feet, and charmed the audience with his engaging personality, and his latest CD recording, ‘A Silent Night: A WWI Centenary Tribute in Song,’ with pianist Peter Dugan. This concert features selections by Maurice Ravel as part of the French Festival of Music, as well as Schumann’s incredibly expressive song cycle, “Poet’s Love” (Dichterliebe). Joining John and Peter are two of Sarasota’s finest musicians for a performance of ‘Chansons madécasses,’ a rarely heard chamber music treat of exotic color and emotional exuberance.”
Hailed as “a vibrant, resonant presence, dashing and strong-voiced” by The New York Times, John Brancy is an operatic baritone who performs with leading opera companies around the world. His 2016/17 season includes the title role in Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” with the Florida Grand Opera, a Russian debut as Albert in a concert version of Massenet’s “Werther in Moscow,” and an Opera National de Lorraine debut. Brancy is considered to be one of his generation’s leading interpreters of song, “a young artist who’s got his teeth in it, and who loves the challenge of art song.” (Opera News)
Brancy and pianist Peter Dugan have been friends and collaborative musical partners since they met as students at the Juilliard School in 2007. The duo’s recent Kennedy center debut was a critical success with Dugan being hailed “a formidable soloist” by the Washington Post. Prizing versatility as the key to the future of classical music, Dugan is equally at home in classical, jazz, and pop idioms. This season, Dugan debuts as a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony and recently performed duos with violinists Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell.
Since 1995, Christopher Schnell has been assistant principal cello of the Sarasota Orchestra and cellist with the orchestra’s Sarasota Piano Quartet. He rounds out his busy schedule with additional performances with the Sarasota Ballet, Sarasota Opera, Key Chorale, Gloria Musicae and with summer stints as a cellist with the Santa Fe Opera. Schnell has also been a member of the Florida Philharmonic and the Milwaukee Symphony, and has been a frequent substitute in the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Betsy Hudson Traba has served as principal flutist of the Sarasota Orchestra and Sarasota Wind Quintet since 1993. She is the former principal flutist of the Hofer Symphoniker in Hof, Germany, where she performed as a featured soloist on nine concerts during a two-year period. Hudson Traba is heard frequently as a soloist throughout Florida, including guest artist performances with the La Musica International Chamber Music Festival, Artist’s Series Concerts of Sarasota, Charlotte Symphony and in multiple performances with the Sarasota Orchestra. During the summer, she performs at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, under the direction of Marin Alsop.
Brancy and Dugan will also participate in SILL’s “Musical Conversations” with June LeBell, Monday, February 20, 10:30 a.m., at Church of the Palms, 3224 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota; and with Joseph Holt, the same day, 3 p.m., at Venice Presbyterian Church, 825 The Rialto, in Venice. A special $8 discount for Artist Series Concert ticket holders will be offered at the door with an ASC ticket stub. For details about the SILL events, visit www.sillsarasota.org.
The Remaining 2017 21st Anniversary Season at a Glance
Pops and Special Performances
(Check individual listings for dates, times and venue.)
- Violette and La Vie en Rose Band: La Vie En Rose is a tasteful marriage of French chanson and Golden Age swing. With her luxurious, silky smooth voice and repertoire of timeless American standards and French jazz songs, singer Violette and her ensemble of international musicians create a captivating alliance of old world and new, of French charm, American glam and soulful pop. Raised in Ars-en-Re, a small village on an island off the coast of France, pianist, singer and composer Violette founded the band while living in Boston in 2009. Since then, the band has won several awards and currently performs over 150 shows a year including, in 2016, performances at the Blue Note Jazz Festival and at the renowned Sunset/Sunside Jazz Club in Paris, France. March 19, 3:00 p.m., at Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Ave., Venice.
- Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway in “Sibling Revelry:” Jazz headliner Ann Hampton Callaway and Broadway star Liz Callaway reprise their critically acclaimed show “Sibling Revelry” with pianist Alex Rybeck. The Tony-nominated sisters have enjoyed stellar individual careers, but when their “equally splendid voices harmonize, ‘Sibling Revelry’ becomes a thrilling display of vocal prowess.” (Stephen Holden; The New York Times) March 26, 3:00 p.m., at Church of the Palms, 3224 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota.
- “Hot ‘n’ Cole: A Cole Porter Celebration!” with Maria Wirries: Wirries joins forces with five more singers and two pianists in this bubbly, two-act tribute to the classic, melodic, witty, sexy and sophisticated songs of Cole Porter. May 14, 3:00 p.m., at Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota.
Lunch, Look and Listen
One-hour concerts at 11 a.m. followed by lunch at 12:15 p.m. At Michael’s On East Ballroom, 1212 East Avenue South, Sarasota.
- “La Flûte Enchantée” Sarasota Orchestra principal flutist Betsy Traba with Jenny Kim-Godfrey, soprano, and Joseph Holt, piano. February 16.
- Belle Canto: Sarasota’s premier women’s choral ensemble showcases the unique beauty and quality of sound that comes from the blending of women’s voices in an all-French program. March 16.
Sunday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. and Monday evenings at 7:30 p.m. At the Weisenborne/Fischer residence. Call for more information and address.
- “Tenor on the Road:” Lyric tenor Blake Friedman and Joseph Holt, piano. Blake Friedman presents a program devoted to travel, not only geographically, but spiritually as well. April 16 & 17.
Other special events
- Artist Series Concerts Friends presents its annual fundraiser in support of Artist Series Concerts’ competitions, as well as educational/community outreach programs. The event nets more than $50,000 annually. The 2017 ASC Friends’ gala, “Carnival of Venice,” is March 8 at Michael’s On East.
- Artist Series Concerts National Competition will feature young pianists, ages 18-25, and takes place on April 29. The competition rotates each year between singers, pianists, and string instrument players. From its inception in 2007 through 2015, Artist Series Concerts’ statewide young musician’s competition came to be one of the most prestigious competitions in Florida, awarding over $230,000 to 66 talented young musicians. Past winners have gone on to study at leading music conservatories and pursued successful music careers. In 2016, the competition was opened to young singers nationwide and awarded $26,000 to seven winners.
- The Suncoast Music Scholarships, a new annual collaborative competition conducted and funded by Artist Series Concerts and the Sarasota Music Club, awards another $20,000 to young musicians from high schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The SMS auditions are scheduled for April 22.
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota was formed in 1996 as Artist Series of Sarasota. The non-profit organization presents world-class musical experiences in a diverse range of genres, including classical, cabaret, pop, Broadway, orchestral and opera. A central focus of Artist Series Concerts’ mission is to spark a lifelong love of the musical arts by exposing young people to interactive music experiences. It accomplishes this through its performance-based outreach programs in area schools, creating unique learning opportunities for thousands of students and educators every year. In addition, Artist Series Concerts’ preeminent Sarasota National Music Scholarship Awards grants more than $20,000 annually to gifted, young musicians from around the country. Past winners have gone on to study at leading music conservatories and pursued successful music careers. For more information, visit www.artistseriesconcerts.org.