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The Danish String Quartet

The playing was so direct, confident and engrossing I almost forgot to notice that technical matters, like intonation, blending and balance, were impeccable.”
Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

Embodying the quintessential elements of a chamber music ensemble, the Danish String Quartet has established a reputation for its integrated sound, flawless intonation, and judicious balance. With its technical and interpretive talents, matched by an infectious joy for music-making, the quartet is in demand worldwide by concert and festival presenters.

Frederik Øland, violin
Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen, violin
Asbjørn Nørgaard, viola
Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin, cello


Program

“The Art of Fugue”

MENDELSSOHN: Capriccio and Fugue, Op. 81, Nos. 3 & 4

SHOSTAKOVICH: Quartet No.9 in E flat major, Op. 117

BEETHOVEN: String Quartet in C sharp minor, Op. 131

 

Series sponsor: The Late Edwina & Paul Heller

Supported by:

RBC&CityVan small

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luca Pisaroni

“Bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni is quite a phenomenon.” The Telegraph

Italian bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni is one of today’s most captivating and versatile singers. Since his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival at the age of 26, he has performed at many of the world’s leading opera houses and concert halls. The VRS is delighted to present Luca Pisaroni after pursuing him for the past four seasons.

Program

MOZART, BEETHOVEN, MENDELSSOHN & SCHUBERT

Read the program notes for this performance

 

Series sponsor: The Late Edwina & Paul Heller

Concert sponsor: Lynn Kagan

Supported by:

RBC&CityVan small

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pavel Kolesnikov

“His playing has brilliance, but also a caressing, almost sly intimacy.”  The Telegraph

The 23 year-old Prize Laureate of the 2012 Honens International Piano Competition is enjoying a burgeoning career. His upcoming and recent engagements include debuts at Berlin’s Konzerthaus, London’s Wigmore Hall, and New York’s Zankel Hall. He studies at the Moscow State Conservatory, at London’s Royal College of Music, and in Belgium with pianist Maria João Pires.

Program

MOZART: Fantasy in C minor K. 475

SCHUMANN: Fantasy in C major Op. 17; Nachtstücke Op. 23

SCRIABIN: Vers la flamme Op. 72;  Sonata No. 4 in F sharp major Op. 30

 

Series sponsor: The Late Edwina & Paul Heller

Concert sponsor: John C. Kerr Family Foundation

Supported by:

RBC&CityVan small

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Doric String Quartet

“From the technical standpoint the players are superb, but, beyond that, they blend together as though of one mind – the touchstone of any such group.”
— classicalsource.com

Described by Gramophone Magazine as “one of the finest young string quartets,” the Doric String Quartet has emerged as the leading British string quartet amongst the new generation, receiving enthusiastic praise from audiences and critics across the globe. The Quartet returns to the VRS after a highly successful debut on our series in 2013.

Alex Redington, violin
Jonathan Stone, violin
Hélène Clément, viola
John Myerscough, cello


Program

HAYDN: String Quartet Op. 76 No. 2

ADÉS: The Four Quarters

BEETHOVEN: String Quartet in B flat major, Op. 130 (with Grosse Fugue)

 

Series sponsor: The Late Edwina & Paul Heller

Concert sponsor: Eileen Mate

Supported by:

RBC&CityVan small

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Grosvenor

Benjamin Grosvenor’s exhilarating displays of technical prowess, overlaid with a formidable depth of intelligence and humour, have not only captured international attention, but also an exclusive recording contract with Decca… all by the age of 18! As described by the press, he is “one in a million – several million”, and “a keyboard visionary who knows no bounds”.

…a formidable technician and a thoughtful, coolly assured interpreter” New York Times

…a skill and talent not heard since Kissin’s teenage Russian debut” Gramophone Magazine

Program

Bach-Kempff
Siciliano in G minor from Flute Sonata No. 2 in E-flat major BWV 1031

Bach-Rummel
Ertödt’ uns durch dein’ Güte (Movement 5 of ‘Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe’, BWV 22) 

Bach-Siloti
Prelude in E Minor BWV 555

Bach-Saint-Saens
Largo from the Sonata No. 3 in C Major for solo violin BWV 1005
Sinfonia from Cantata ‘Wir Danken Dir, Gott, Wir Danken Dir’, BWV 29

Beethoven
Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 7

Scriabin
Mazurkas Op. 3 (selections)

Scriabin
Valse, Op. 38

Chopin
Polonaise in F-sharp minor, Op. 44

Strauss/Schulz-Evler
Blue Danube

Links

Watch Benjamin Grosvenor on the Vancouver Recital Society YouTube Channel.
Visit Benjamin Grosvenor’s website.
Listen to Benjamin Growvenor’s New York recital debut, recorded by WQXR.

Biography

British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor is internationally recognized for his electrifying performances and penetrating interpretations. An exquisite technique and ingenious flair for tonal colour are the hallmarks which make Benjamin Grosvenor one of the most sought-after young pianists in the world. His virtuosic command over the most strenuous technical complexities never compromises the formidable depth and intelligence of his interpretations. Described by some as a ‘Golden Age’ pianist (American Record Guide) and one ‘almost from another age’ (The Times), Benjamin is renowned for his distinctive sound, described as ‘poetic and gently ironic, brilliant yet clear-minded, intelligent but not without humour, all translated through a beautifully clear and singing touch’ (The Independent).

Benjamin first came to prominence as the outstanding winner of the Keyboard Final of the 2004 BBC Young Musician Competition at the age of eleven. Since then, he has become an internationally regarded pianist performing with orchestras including the London Philharmonic, RAI Torino, New York Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Tokyo Symphony, and in venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, Barbican Centre, Singapore’s Victoria Hall, The Frick Collection and Carnegie Hall (at the age of thirteen). In 2011, having just turned nineteen, Benjamin performed with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on the First Night of the BBC Proms to a sold-out Royal Albert Hall. His performance of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 dazzled critics, with The Times commenting on ‘the clarity and poetry of his panache, the airy grace of his arpeggios, the lack of flash buckles and bows’. Benjamin has worked with numerous esteemed conductors including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jiří Bělohlávek, Semyon Bychkov and Vladimir Jurowski.

Recent and future highlights include a BBC Prom with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Charles Dutoit, engagements with the New York Philharmonic and Andrey Boreyko, the Minnesota Orchestra and Andrew Litton, and recital debuts at the Sydney Opera House, Concertgebouw, Festival de La Roque d’Anthéron, Salle Gaveau, Piano aux Jacobins, National Concert Hall Dublin and the South Bank Centre, London. Benjamin recently gave a highly successful North American tour, including appearances in Vancouver, Washington and New York, where he was labelled a ‘formidable technician and a thoughtful, coolly assured interpreter’ by the New York Times. Benjamin continues to incorporate chamber music collaborations into his schedule, including performances with the Elias String Quartet, Escher String Quartet and Endellion String Quartet. Benjamin has enjoyed working with other members of the BBC New Generation Artists scheme, of which he was a member during 2010-2012.

In 2011 Benjamin signed to Decca Classics, and in doing so has become the youngest British musician ever to sign to the label, and the first British pianist to sign to the label in almost 60 years. His first recording for Decca includes Chopin’s Four Scherzi and Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit. Critics have marvelled at Benjamin’s musical character as displayed in this recording; ‘Grosvenor, you can tell, is a Romantic pianist, almost from another age. He doesn’t deconstruct, or stand at a distance. He jumps inside the music’s soul’ (The Times) and ‘Grosvenor’s balance of oratory and ornament, gesture and poetry – evident, too, in Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit – are moving as well as impressive’ (The Observer). Benjamin’s previous recordings include Chopin rarities for the 200th anniversary edition of Chopin’s complete works (EMI, 2010) in which he was lauded for his ‘sensitivity of touch, general musicality and affection for the music’ (BBC Music Magazine) and a debut solo recording ‘This and That’ (Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound/EMI, 2008), in response to which Bryce Morrison remarked that ‘even the most outlandish difficulties are tossed aside not just as child’s play but with a seemingly endless poetic finesse and resource’ (Gramophone).  During his brief but sensational career to date, Benjamin has been featured in two BBC television documentaries, The Andrew Marr Show and his performances have been broadcast widely across the world.

The youngest of five brothers, Benjamin Grosvenor began playing the piano aged 6. He recently graduated from the Royal Academy of Music, where he was awarded the ‘The Queen’s commendation for excellence’. Benjamin continues to study with Christopher Elton and has also had lessons with Leif Ove Andsnes, Stephen Hough, and Arnaldo Cohen amongst others.

 

 

Ning Feng

Ning Feng has what it takes to stand out among the myriad of young violinists appearing on the world’s stages. From immaculate intonation and precise phrasing, to a luxuriously rich sound and impeccable musicianship, Ning Feng offers enthralling performances that are absolutely captivating.

“A terrific performance… The fascinating effect he created was not just brilliant technical execution; what stood out was the tonal beauty Ning Feng retained, even in the boisterous fireworks runs, the double stops, and the frequent extreme high register playing.” Nordsee-Zeitung

Program

Beethoven
Violin sonata No.1 in D major, Op.12, no.1

Elgar
Violin sonata in E minor, Op. 82

de Falla
Suite Populaire Espagnole

Stravinsky
Duo Concertant for violin and piano

Waxman
Carmen Fantasy

Links

Watch Ning Feng on the Vanocuver Recital Society YouTube Channel.
Learn more about Ning Feng.

Biography

Born in Chengdu, China, Ning Feng studied at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music and the Royal Academy of Music, London. In 2006 Ning Feng won first prize in the International Paganini Competition, following in the footsteps of violinists such as Kavakos, Kremer and Accardo. He was First Prize winner of the 2005 Michael Hill International Violin Competition, New Zealand, and has won prizes at the Hanover International, Queen Elisabeth and Yehudi Menuhin International violin competitions.

Having performed regularly in China at the highest level, Ning Feng is now developing a reputation internationally as an artist of great lyricism and emotional transparency, displaying tremendous bravura and awe-inspiring technical accomplishment. Highlights of Ning Feng’s 2011/12 season include concerts with the Hong Kong Philharmonic/Delfs, Galicia Symphony/Harth-Bedoya, Calgary Philharmonic/Minczuk and Orchestre National de Lyon/Foster. He made a last-minute and highly-acclaimed contribution to the Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival in January 2012; later this year he returns to the Kissinger Sommer festival, Bad Kissingen, for chamber concerts and makes his debut at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in two recitals.

Looking ahead to future seasons, Ning Feng is welcomed back by the Hong Kong Philharmonic and Auckland Philharmonia orchestras, makes his debut with orchestras in Bilbao, Strasbourg, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Ljubljana and Moscow, at the Prague Spring and Tivoli festivals, and returns to Colmar and Gstaad festivals. Regarded increasingly as an artist of exceptional quality, he is being paired with conductors of great esteem such as Vladimir Jurowski, Jaap van Zweden, Sir Mark Elder and, most notably, toured China in 2010 with the Budapest Festival Orchestra under the baton of Iván Fischer.

Ning Feng records for Channel Classics in the Netherlands. His most recent recording, Solo, featuring works by Paganini, Kreisler, Berio, Schnittke and others, received a first-class review by Audiophile Audition: “You will be blown away by the artistry of this album, and blown away in great sound to boot. This is a stunning recording of solo violin works by a variety of composers […] and there are really few violinists who are able to pull it off. Ning Feng is one of those who can, not only for his sterling playing but also because of the rabid intelligence behind the selection of pieces here. None of these works is anything less than enthralling, and a few approach the incandescent. Milstein’s arrangement of the Paganiniana has never been bettered […] this is an unqualified recommendation of a wonderful album that demonstrates the highest artistic and programming skills possible.”

Ning Feng is based in Berlin and plays a Stefan-Peter Greiner violin (Bonn 2007).

 

Miloš Karadaglić

Miloš Karadaglić, already hailed by fans and critics for his brilliant technique and transcendent musicality, is well on his way to joining the ranks of Segovia, Bream and John Williams. As the “new hero of classical guitar” (npr Music), 28-year-old Karadaglić is already in great demand across Europe and the USA. At his Carnegie Hall debut (in October, 2011) he performed to a sold out Weill Recital Hall.

“Listening to the debut album by guitarist Miloš Karadaglić, you find yourself wondering where on earth the classical guitar has been lately…it’s as if Karadaglić is shining a brilliant light on the entire heritage of his instrument.” The Telegraph

Program

J.S. Bach

Suite in C minor, BWV 997, for lute

Preludio

Fuga

Sarabande

Gigue

Double

Heitor Villa Lobos

Prelude 1

Étude 11

Valsa Choro

Étude 12

Jorge Morel

Danza Brasilera

Jorge Cardoso

Milonga

Isasis Savio

Batucada

Agustín Pío Barrios (also known as Agustín Barrios Mangoré)

Un Sueno en la floresta

Carlo Domeniconi 

Koyunbaba, Op. 19

Moderato

Mosso

Cantabile

Presto

Links

Watch Miloš Karadaglić on VRS’s YouTube Channel.
Visit Miloš Karadaglić’s website
.

Find Miloš Karadaglić on the Deutsche Grammophon website.

Biography

One of the biggest-selling classical discs of 2011, Miloš’s debut album for Deutsche Grammophon topped the classical charts around the world and sold over 100,000 copies in less than six months.  At the 2011 Gramophone Awards ceremony he won both the Young Artist of the Year and Specialist Classical Chart awards.  His much-anticipated second album will be released in June 2012.

Miloš’s appearances in 2012 include recitals at London’s Wigmore Hall, the Théatre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, performances in Washington, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Istanbul, and major tours of Australia and the UK.  2011 saw his Carnegie Hall debut and a tour of Germany including recitals in Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Stuttgart.

Other previous engagements have included his debut at the Lucerne Festival, concerto performances with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and English Chamber Orchestra, and appearances at the Cheltenham Festival and the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad.

Miloš has also enjoyed great success outside of the traditional concert hall with performances at the Camden Roundhouse for the iTunes Festival, Limelight at the 100 Club, and Deutsche Grammophon’s Yellow Lounge club nights in Berlin, Amsterdam and London.

Born in Montenegro in 1983, Miloš Karadaglić grew up against the background of the Balkan civil war.  He began learning the guitar at the age of 8 and quickly rose to national prominence before winning a scholarship to London’s Royal Academy of Music aged 16.  He has been the recipient of many prizes, including the Julian Bream Prize, the Prince’s Prize, and the Ivor Mariants Guitar Award.  He is a Patron of the Mayor of London’s Fund for Young Musicians and the charity Awards for Young Musicians.

Miloš uses D’Addario J 46 strings and a 2007 guitar by Greg Smallman, kindly lent to him by Paul and Jenny Gillham.

Narek Hakhnazaryan

Powerful playing and poetic performances catapulted Armenian cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan to win the First Prize and Gold Medal at the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition. Already hailed as a “seasoned phenom” by The Washington Post, Hakhnazaryan’s intense creativity has assured his place among the world’s most sought-after young musicians.

“Mr Hakhnazaryan projected intensity from the moment he took the stage. To the very end, his intense focus and expressive artistry never flagged.” New York Times

Program

Franck
Sonata in A major

Chopin
Introduction and Polonaise brillante in C major, Op. 3

Ligeti
Sonata for solo cello

Bronner
The Jew: Life and Death

Tchaikovsky
Nocturne
Pezzo Capriccioso


Links

Watch Narek Hakhnazaryan on the VRS YouTube Channel.
Learn more about Narek Hakhnazaryan.

Biography

Narek Hakhnazaryan was awarded the Gold Medal at the 2011 XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition, as well as the Prize for the Best Performance of the Chamber Concerto, and the audience prize.   Already hailed a “seasoned phenom” by the Washington Post following his Kennedy Center debut, Narek’s 2011-2012 season includes his debut with the Chicago Symphony, concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra and Mariinsky Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev, as his New York concerto debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall as part of the Young Concert Artists gala with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. His upcoming festival appearances include the Beethoven Festival in Warsaw and the Piatigorsky Festival in LA, as well as concerts at the Graffeneg, Tivoli, and Verbier.

Mentored by the late Mstislav Rostropovich, Narek was the only cellist invited to travel on behalf of Mstislav Rostropovich Foundation, leading him to performances in Russia, Germany, Austria, France, Great Britain, Greece, Turkey, and Canada. Emerging as one of the most significant young cellists on the word stage, Narek’s upcoming recitals include appearances throughout the US, Europe, and Asia, including concerts at Paris’s Salle Pleyel, Berlin’s Konzerthaus, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. Future highlights also include appearances with the Dallas Symphony and Kansas City Symphony, and a tour of Asia, as well as recitals in Iowa, Kansas, Boston, Vancouver, New Canaan, North Bethesda, and San Diego.

As First Prize winner in the 2008 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Narek debuted in the Young Concert Artists Series in New York at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He has subsequently performed at the Young Concert Artists Festival in Tokyo and toured extensively in the United States, including an appearance as soloist in Boston’s Symphony Hall with the Boston Pops. He has also performed at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, the Buffalo Chamber Music Society, and both the Caramoor Rising Stars series and Ravinia Festival Rising Stars Series.

Narek was born in 1988 in Yerevan, Armenia, into a family of musicians: his father is a violinist and his mother is a pianist. His early studies were at the Sayat-Nova School of Music in Yerevan with Zareh Sarkisyan. At the age of 12, Narek began studies at the Moscow Conservatory with Alexey Seleznyov. Working with Lawrence Lesser, he received an Artist Diploma from the New England Conservatory of Music in 2011. Narek plays a 1698 David Tecchler cello, on loan from Valentine Saarmaa, granddaughter of the renowned luthier Jacques Francais.

 

Behzod Abduraimov

Perhaps The Telegraph said it best: “For all the drama, aural spectacle and electricity in his playing, it’s substantial, disciplined, and accurate. He doesn’t splash, he doesn’t fake. It’s real.” Despite flattering comparisons to Horowitz and Cortot, this young Uzbek pianist holds his own, shining with incredible energy and making big impressions with audiences.

“Abduraimov is a young master, that is clear… [the disc features] some of the most limpid piano playing these ears have recently heard…The cavernous roar from Abduraimov’s Steinway beggars belief at some points…[he delivers] Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No 1 in another tumultuous performance. For someone still so young, Abduraimov commands both registers with awesome ease. There’s a big natural talent at work here.” The Times

Program

Schubert: Sonata in A major, D.664
Beethoven:
Sonata no.23 op.57 “Appasionata”
Liszt:
Scherzo and March
Liszt:
Benediction
Liszt:
Mephisto waltz no.1

 Links

Visit Abduraimov’s website.
Hear Abduraimov on VRS’s YouTube Channel.

Biography

An exclusive Decca artist, Behzod Abduraimov’s debut recital CD will be released later this season. Still only 21, debuts in 2011/12 include dates with the Tokyo Symphony (Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1), Atlanta Symphony (Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No.1) and NAC Ottawa orchestras (Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3) as well as the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo (Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2) and the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra at Zurich’s Tonhalle (Mozart’s Piano Concerto K466). He will also embark on a major recital and concerto tour of Australia including performances with the Sydney Symphony. Further ahead he will give recitals at London’s International Piano Series, Milan’s La Societa dei Concerti and at the Gilmore Rising Star and Vancouver Recital series.

As a result of his sensational win at the London International Piano Competition he has performed with London Philharmonic Orchestra and was immediately re-invited following his debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He has the major support of Vladimir Ashkenazy; other conductor collaborations include Charles Dutoit, Pinchas Zuckerman, Michael Christie, Krzysztof Urbański, Michael Stern and Alexander Lazarev.

 

Eric Owens

Last season, opera fans everywhere were abuzz over Eric Owens’ “show-stealing turn” in Wagner’s Das Rheingold, broadcast live from the Met. Now, in the intimacy of the Playhouse, hear this glorious bass-baritone in a program designed to highlight his artistic refinement and disarming emotional candour.

Owens “speaks to you even in his silences…. and shakes you when he sings.” Chicago Sun Times

“In the German songs, Mr. Owens’s voice had a fierce, gravelly quality; for the French ones, he shifted gears entirely, caressing the vowels with a rounded, mellow tone and employing an entirely different set of vocal colors.” The Wall Street Journal

Program

Hugo Wolf
Drei Lieder nach Gedichten von Michelangelo

Robert Schumann
Mein Herz ist schwer (Aus den hebräischen Gesängen)
Muttertraum
Der Schatzgräber
Melancholie

Franz Schubert
Prometheus
Fahrt zum Hades
Gruppe aus dem Tartarus

Claude Debussy
Beau soir
Fleur des Blés
Romance

Maurice Ravel
Don Quichotte à Dulcinée

Richard Wagner
Les deux Grenadiers

Links

Hear Eric Owens in his personal Listening Room of recorded favourites.
Visit Eric Owens’ website.
Program notes
Visit Warren Jones’ website.

Biography

Acclaimed for his commanding stage presence and inventive artistry, American bass-baritone Eric Owens has carved a unique place in the contemporary opera world as both an esteemed interpreter of classic works and a champion of new music. Equally at home in concert, recital and opera performances, Owens continues to bring his powerful poise, expansive voice and instinctive acting faculties to stages around the world.

Eric Owens opens the 2010-2011 season of the Metropolitan Opera as Alberich in Das Rheingold in a new production by Robert Lepage, conducted by James Levine. He essays the title role in Peter Sellars’s new production of Handel’s Hercules, conducted by Harry Bicket at Lyric Opera of Chicago; returns to San Francisco Opera as Ramfis in Aïda, conducted by Giuseppe Finzi; and joins Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony as Lodovico in concert performances of Verdi’s Otello both in Chicago and at Carnegie Hall. His concert calendar includes Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with Donald Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony; Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with Jaap van Zweden and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic; Mozart’s Requiem with the Handel & Haydn Society under Harry Christophers; Brahms’s Ein Deutshces Requiem at Carnegie Hall with James Bagwell and the Collegiate Chorale; and Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette with the Utah Symphony, conducted by Thierry Fischer.

During the 2009-10 season, Owens returned to Washington National Opera, as Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and as the determined protagonist Porgy in Francesca Zambello’s wildly successful production of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, a role he debuted to great critical acclaim at San Francisco Opera. Owens’s concert calendar included John Adams’s Walt Whitman-inspired The Wound Dresser, conducted by the composer, and holiday performances of Handel’s Messiah, both with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. Owens also joined Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic for concert performances of György Ligeti’s apocalyptic opera Le Grand Macabre, as well as Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. Additionally, Owens performed Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Bernard Haitink, as well as Mozart’s Requiem both with James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and with Hans Graf and the Detroit Symphony.

The previous season marked Owens’s Metropolitan Opera debut in John Adams’s Doctor Atomic, broadcast live in high definition on movie screens nationwide. Owens also made his Carnegie Hall solo recital debut at Weill Recital Hall, one of four Carnegie Hall engagements throughout the season. Owens sang the title role of Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and reprised his role as the Storyteller in John Adams and Peter Sellars’s A Flowering Tree with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Additionally, Owens returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Sarastro in The Magic Flute, and appeared opposite Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Owens’ career operatic highlights include his San Francisco Opera debut as Lodovico in Otello conducted by Runnicles; his Royal Opera, Covent Garden debut as Oroveso in Norma; Ramfis in Aida at Houston Grand Opera; Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Ferrando in Il Trovatore and Colline in La Bohème at Los Angeles Opera; the Speaker in Die Zauberflöte for his Paris Opera (Bastille) debut; Fiesco in Simon Boccanegra and Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte with the Washington Opera; Rodolfo in La Sonnambula at the Bordeaux Opera; the King of Scotland in Ariodante and Seneca in L’Incoronazione di Poppea at the English National Opera; Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor and Alidoro at Pittsburgh Opera; Leporello in Don Giovanni at Florida Grand Opera; Sparafucile in a new production at the Oper der Stadt Köln and at Minnesota Opera; Banquo with Opera Pacific and Sarastro and Banquo with the Opera Company of Philadelphia. He sang Collatinus in a highly acclaimed Christopher Alden production of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia at Glimmerglass Opera. A former member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Owens has sung Sarastro, Mephistopheles in Faust, Frère Laurent, Angelotti in Tosca, and Aristotle Onassis in the world premiere of Jackie O (available on the Argo label) with that company.

Owens is a regular guest of the major American and European orchestras. His appearances have included performances with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Seattle Symphony, National Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony and Detroit Symphony among others. He has worked with today’s leading conductors including Wolfgang Sawallisch, Lorin Maazel, Michael Tilson Thomas, Yuri Temirkanov, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Franz Welser-Möst, John Nelson and Robert Spano. Owens is featured on a Telarc recording of Mozart’s Requiem with Donald Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony.

Eric Owens has created an uncommon niche for himself in the ever-growing body of contemporary opera works through his determined tackling of new and challenging roles. He received great critical acclaim for portraying the title role in the world premiere of Elliot Goldenthal’s Grendel with the Los Angeles Opera and again at the Lincoln Center Festival, in a production directed and designed by Julie Taymor. Of Owens’ performance, The New Yorker’s Alex Ross raved, “His hefty, tonally focused, richly colored voice cut through the tumult of Goldenthal’s score, and his vital, naturalistic acting gave heart to a high-tech spectacle.” Eric Owens also enjoys a close association with John Adams, for whom he created the role of General Leslie Groves in the world premiere of Doctor Atomic at the San Francisco Opera, and of the Storyteller in the world premiere of A Flowering Tree at Peter Sellars’ New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna. Adams has also conducted the American bass-baritone in his setting of Whitman’s The Wound Dresser in a live broadcast with the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall, and with the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Owens made his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut under the baton of David Robertson in Adams’ Nativity oratorio El Niño.

In addition to great popular and critical acclaim, Eric Owens has been recognized with multiple awards, including the 2003 Marian Anderson Award, a 1999 ARIA award, and first prize in the Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition. Other awards include first prize in the MacAllister Awards Voice Competition, first prize in New York’s Opera Index Career Grant Auditions, first prize in the Palm Beach Opera National Voice Competition, and first prize in the Mario Lanza Voice Competition. Owens was also an ARTS Award recipient in The National Foundation for Advancement in Arts’ 1988 Arts Recognition and Talent Search.

A native of Philadelphia, Owens began his music training as a pianist at the age of six, followed by formal oboe study at age eleven under Lloyd Shorter of the Delaware Symphony and Louis Rosenblatt of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He later studied voice while an undergraduate at Temple University and then as a graduate student at the Curtis Institute of Music, and currently studies with Armen Boyajian. He serves on the Board of Trustees of both The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and Astral Artistic Services.

 

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