with the Harvard University Choir
Maestro Edward Elwyn Jones
Amanda Forsythe, soprano
Julia Mintzer, mezzo-soprano
Stefan Reed, tenor
Sumner Thompson, bass
November 1, 2015, 4pm | Harvard Memorial Church
Grand Harmonie will present Mozart’s Requiem with the Harvard University Choir and four vocal soloists on November 1, 2015 at 4pm at The Memorial Church, 1 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA. Tickets are free and open to the public and may be reserved online at grandharmonie.org.
Praised by The Boston Globe as “tight and energetic,” period instrument ensemble Grand Harmonie will perform Mozart’s last unfinished masterpiece, the Requiem Mass in D minor, K. 626, in a powerhouse collaboration with the Harvard University Choir, conducted by Maestro Edward Elwyn Jones, and a quartet of vocal soloists, soprano Amanda Forsythe, mezzo-soprano Julia Mintzer, tenor Stefan Reed, and bass Sumner Thompson.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem, was anonymously commissioned by Count Franz Walsegg-Stuppach in 1791. He had intended to pass the Mass off as his own composition for his late wife, but Mozart passed away before the work was completed. Mozart’s wife, Constanze, requested that another composer finish the work in order to collect the money from the composition. In this performance, Grand Harmonie and the Harvard University Choir will present the 1991 completion by noted Harvard scholar and pianist Robert Levin.
“I am so excited for another collaboration between the Harvard University Choir and the wonderful musicians of Grand Harmonie,” said Maestro Jones. “Exploring the sonorities and colors of Mozart’s sublime music is always a thrill on period instruments, especially in Professor Robert Levin’s outstanding completion.”
Edward Elwyn Jones is the Gund University Organist and Choirmaster in the Memorial Church. A native of Wales, Mr. Jones studied music at Cambridge University, where he was Organ Scholar of Emmanuel College. He moved to the United States in 1998, serving firstly as Organ Scholar and then as Assistant Organist in The Memorial Church at Harvard. From 2000 to 2003 Mr. Jones was the Assistant Organist of Christ Church United Methodist on Park Avenue in New York City, while pursuing a master’s degree in orchestral conducting at The Mannes College of Music, where he was the recipient of the Felix Salzer Memorial Award. During his time in New York, he was the assistant conductor of the Bronx Symphony Orchestra, the Regina Opera, and the Mannes Opera; and the director of the Fiammetta Ensemble. Recent guest conducting appearances have included Emmanuel Music, the Longwood Symphony Orchestra, and Intermezzo Opera. In addition, Mr. Jones has commissioned works from several of America’s most prominent contemporary composers. From 2006-2011 he served as chorus master and assistant conductor of Opera Boston, where he worked on repertoire ranging from Mozart to Eötvös, including the world premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Madame White Snake by Zhou Long.
For over 180 years the Harvard University Choir has provided a unique opportunity for Harvard student singers to perform choral literature at the highest level, both in concert and during the services of the Memorial Church. Its program of daily choral services, broadcasts, tours, commissions, and recordings make it one of the premier college chapel ensembles in the United States.
Soprano Amanda Forsythe has been praised by Opera News for her “light and luster”, and “wonderful agility and silvery top notes”. She was a winner of the George London Foundation Award and made her European operatic début in the role of Corinna in Il viaggio a Reims at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro which led to an immediate invitation to make her début at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. She made débuts at the Bavarian State Opera, Munich, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and the Theatre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. She made her USA stage début with Boston Early Music Festival, and is a regular soloist with the highly acclaimed baroque ensembles Philharmonia Baroque, Apollo’s Fire, Boston Baroque and Pacific Musicworks. She recently made her début at Seattle Opera as Iris Semele which resulted in an immediate invitation to return to sing Pamina Die Zauberflöte in 2017. Her recordings include the 2015 Grammy-winning CD of Charpentier’s La déscente d’Orphée aux enfers. In Autumn 2015 her début solo recording of Handel arias with Apollo’s Fire will be released on the Avie label.
Julia Mintzer, mezzo-soprano, spent two seasons singing with Die Semperoper Dresden, and has performed at Washington National Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Wolf Trap Opera Company, Dayton Opera, and Boston Baroque. This season she will return to Washington National Opera as Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, to the Washington National Cathedral in Mozart’s Requiem, and will make her Florentine Opera debut as Suzuki. In 2012, she sang the title role in La Tragédie de Carmen and Stephano in Roméo et Juliette with Dayton Opera before joining the Apprentice Program at Santa Fe Opera. She recently appeared as Petra in A Little Night Music at The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice. Julia Mintzer graduated from The Juilliard School and the Boston University Opera Institute.
Tenor Stefan Reed received his Bachelor of Arts in music from George Mason University, and while there he was awarded the Best Overall Performer Award at the National Association of Teachers of Singing Regional Competition held in South Carolina. He completed his master’s degree in vocal performance at the New England Conservatory. Mr. Reed spent two summers as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Festival, where he had the opportunity to work closely with such scholars and artists as Stefan Asbury, Phyllis Curtin, Kayo Iwama, James Levine, William Sharp, Lucy Shelton, Bright Sheng, and Dawn Upshaw. Recent engagements include several performances with the Handel & Haydn Society, including the Evangelist in Part V of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and soloist for Bach’s Cantata 140 and Handel’s Israel in Egypt, as well as Purcell’s King Arthur with the Miami-based ensemble Seraphic Fire and the Firebird Chamber Orchestra. Other solo performances include Rachmaninov’s Vespers and Schumann’s Paradise and the Peri with the Back Bay Chorale and numerous performances with the the Mount Vernon Symphony, Marsh Chapel Choir and Collegium, the Tanglewood Chamber Music Ensemble, and both the Boston and Maryland Masterworks Chorales.
Sumner Thompson is one of today’s most sought-after young baritones. His appearances on the operatic stage include roles in productions from Boston to Copenhagen, including the Boston Early Music Festival’s productions of Conradi’s Ariadne and Lully’s Psyché, and several European tours with Contemporary Opera Denmark as Orfeo in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo. He has performed across North America as a soloist with Concerto Palatino, Tafelmusik, Apollo’s Fire, Les Boreades de Montréal, Les Voix Baroques, and many other ensembles and orchestras of both conventional and early music inclinations. Also a noted recitalist, Mr. Thompson has sung in Stuttgart, Amsterdam, and Regensburg, and at London’s Wigmore Hall.
About Robert Levin:
Pianist and Harvard scholar Robert Levin has been heard throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia, in recital, as soloist, and in chamber concerts. He is renowned for his restoration of the Classical period practice of improvised embellishments and cadenzas; his Mozart and Beethoven performances have been hailed for their active mastery of the Classical musical language. In August 1991 his completion of the Mozart Requiem was premièred by Helmuth Rilling at the European Music Festival in Stuttgart, Germany. His completion of the Mozart Mass in C minor, K. 427, commissioned by Carnegie Hall, was premiered by Rilling in New York in January 2005 and in Europe two months later. Both works have been performed worldwide and are published by Carus-Verlag. His reconstruction of Mozart’s Symphonie concertante in E-flat major for four winds and orchestra, K.297B, was premièred by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at the Mozartwoche in Salzburg, and has subsequently been performed worldwide. The first of the many recordings of the work, by Philips, won the 1985 Grand Prix International du Disque. After more than a quarter century as an artist faculty member at the Sarasota Music Festival he succeeded Paul Wolfe as Artistic Director in 2007. President of the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is Dwight P. Robinson, Jr. Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University.
About Grand Harmonie:
Grand Harmonie brings vibrant, historically-informed, period-instrument performances of Classical and Romantic music to audiences across the Northeast. Founded in 2012 by a group of wind players interested in exploring the repertoire of Harmonie bands of the 18th century, the scope of the ensemble includes Harmoniemusik, salon concerts, mixed chamber music, full symphony orchestra, and both concert and fully-staged opera.
A key player in the arts community, Grand Harmonie enjoys collaborations with numerous organizations and universities, and appears on multiple concert series in both Boston and New York. Recent collaborations include performances with Harvard University Choir, Boston Opera Collaborative, Lorelei Ensemble, Bach Vespers NYC, GEMS Midtown Concerts, Met Museum Gallery Concerts and more. The ensemble, a proven educational resource, has been invited to give performances and master classes in historical performance practice at Harvard University, The Longy School of Music of Bard College, NYU, the University of Washington, and Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Grand Harmonie is supported by a George Henschel Community Award grant from the Harvard Musical Association, Princeton Friends of Opera, Princeton Department of German, and the Lewis Center for the Arts.