Echoes of Old England
Saturday, February 3, 2018 • 7:30 p.m.
First Free Methodist Church (3200 3rd Ave W)
advance tickets: or 1-800-838-3006
Seattle Chamber Singers
Michael Wheatley, conductor
Kate Tombaugh, mezzo-soprano
Barry Johnson, baritone
Edward Elgar (1857 –1934)
Sospiri, Op. 70
Arnold Bax (1883 –1953)
OSSCS Concerto Competition winner
— intermission —
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 –1958)
Five Tudor Portraits
About the Concert
Edward Elgar’s touching miniature Sospiri (“Sighs,” for strings, harp and organ) is sure to warm you up from the cold, after which Arnold Bax will color your imagination with his evocative tone poem November Woods (secretly inspired by an illicit love affair). A performance by the winner of our annual concerto competition will close the first half of the program. Ralph Vaughan Williams’ rarely heard choral tour de force Five Tudor Portraits, setting verses by English poet John Skelton, will bring the evening to a grand close.
Please join us prior to the concert at 6:30 p.m. for a free “Behind the Music” discussion!
About the Conductor
Active as a conductor, violinist and classical-music educator, Michael Wheatley is the assistant conductor of the Eastman Philharmonia Orchestra at the Eastman School of Music. He previously served as the associate conductor of the American Youth Philharmonic (Washington, D.C.), associate conductor of the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra (Carbondale, Illinois) and music director of the Seven Hills Sinfonietta (Cincinnati, Ohio).
As the sixth music director of the Seven Hills Sinfonietta, Mr. Wheatley established a reputation as a builder of orchestras and audiences. Under his leadership, the orchestra nearly doubled in size, relocated to an expansive new concert venue, formed significant new relationships with grant-giving organizations, greatly expanded its orchestral library, and was featured in a film for the Sundance Channel. For six unprecedented seasons he led the orchestra to perform ever more substantial and challenging works of the orchestral repertoire.
Mr. Wheatley has led professional orchestras on three continents, most recently in Poland, Russia and Ukraine, and in the United States with the Rochester Philharmonic, the Fargo-Moorhead
Symphony, the Southern Illinois Music Festival and the Cincinnati Chamber Opera. Equally dedicated to guiding young orchestral players, he has led the student orchestras of Southern Illinois University, the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, Southeast Missouri State University, Northern Kentucky University, the Pierre Monteux School Festival Orchestra, the St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony (St. Petersburg, Russia), the Eastman School of Music and the American
Mr. Wheatley’s conducting teachers have included Christopher Zimmerman, Neil Varon, Vassily Sinaisky, Gustav Meier, Edward Benyas and David Zinman. In 2007 he was the only American conductor to be invited by Maestro Sinaisky as part of a program to study Russian performance practice with the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, focusing on the symphonies of Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky. Mr. Wheatley subsequently assisted Maestro Sinaisky in his guest performances with the BBC Philharmonic. In 2010, he became associate conductor of the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra, and in 2013 he was featured in an exhibition of up-and-coming professional conductors at the Eastman School of Music, which led to a guest-conducting engagement with the Rochester Philharmonic. He has collaborated with scores of professional artists, including soprano Renee Fleming, violinist David Kim, cellist William Grubb, clarinetist Eric Mandat, and Pulitzer-winning composers John Adams, Ned Rorem, Kevin Puts, Christopher Rouse and Jennifer Higdon.
An alumnus of the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors (Hancock, Maine), Peter the Great Music Academy (St. Petersburg, Russia) and the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, he is currently pursuing doctoral work in orchestral conducting at the Eastman School of Music. Prior to his conducting career, Mr. Wheatley performed extensively as a violinist. He has appeared with the symphonies of Cincinnati and Dayton in Ohio, Paducah in Kentucky, and as a member of the award-winning Ensemble for 18th Century Music under the direction of the acclaimed harpsichordist and scholar Eiji Hashimoto. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with members of the Grammy-winning LaSalle and Tokyo String Quartets. He has recorded, as violinist, on the Centaur and Claremont record labels.
About the Soloists
Mezzo-soprano Kate Tombaugh has been praised as “utterly convincing dramatically, and musically superlative” (Seen and Heard International, 2015). Her 2017–2018 season includes debuts with Stockton Opera as Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, as well as with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony, Northwestern Indiana Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic and New Philharmonic. Recent engagements include Angelina in La Cenerentola with Winter Opera St. Louis, Bach’s Mass in B Minor with the Apollo Chorus, and Fanny Price in the American premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park with Indianapolis Opera. Ms. Tombaugh made her Carnegie Hall debut upon winning the Barry Alexander International Vocal Competition. Other portrayals include title roles in Handel’s Ariodante and Massenet’s Cinderella, Annie Oakley in Annie, Get your Gun, and Mad Margaret in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore. She has soloed with the Utah Symphony, Jackson Symphony, Paducah Symphony and Lexington Philharmonic, As a young artist, Ms. Tombaugh trained in the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Artist program, as a Gerdine artist with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and as a resident artist with Utah Opera. Learn more: katetombaugh.com and pocoapoco.org
Baritone Barry Johnson has sung more than 20 roles with Seattle Opera and Tacoma Opera, in addition to performances with Vashon Opera, Opera Colorado, Anchorage Opera, Portland Opera, Central City Opera, Las Vegas Opera and the Wildwood Festival in Little Rock, Arkansas. On the concert stage, he has been a soloist with orchestras across the Northwest, including the Seattle Symphony, Symphony Tacoma, American Sinfonietta, Yakima Symphony and Northwest Sinfonietta. Concert engagements have included Beethoven&squo;s Ninth, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, Rachmaninov’s The Bells, Bach’s Magnificat, Mozart’s Requiem and Fauré’s Requiem. His professional stage-directing credits (with Tacoma Opera, Pacific Northwest Opera, and Bellevue City Opera Ballet) include La Bohéme, Tosca, Così fan tutte, Hansel and Gretel, The Pirates of Penzance, Rossini’s Le comte Ory, Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, Bizet’s La Tragedie de Carmen and Dr. Miracle, Menotti’s The Telephone, , and Pasatieri’s La Divina. Mr. Johnson is on the voice faculty at Pacific Lutheran University, where he teaches private voice and directs operas.