UMaineSPA to present ‘Mostly Maine Composers’ Concert on Sept. 23, 2016

Grammy-nominated and internationally recognized mezzo-soprano D’Anna Fortunato will celebrate Maine composers in a Sept. 23 concert at the University of Maine School of Performing Arts.

Taking the Minsky Recital Hall stage with Fortunato for the 7:30 p.m., “Mostly Maine Composers” concert will be Peter H. Bloom, multiple flutes; Thomas Hill, clarinet; and Mary Jane Rupert, piano and harp.

Tickets are $9, or free with a valid student MaineCard, and available online. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.581.4703.

The program will be a tribute to composer and Bowdoin College professor emeritus Elliott Schwartz in his 80th year, and will honor other Maine composers: Beth Wiemann, Richard Nelson, Elizabeth Vercoe and Michael Viens. The Maine composers will be on hand to introduce their pieces and discuss the music in an informal post-concert Q&A.

The unique program will feature the premiere of “Dividend” (2016, for voice, flute, clarinet and piano), written for the occasion by Wiemann, chair of the Music Department at UMaine School of Performing Arts. Also being performed: “Souvenir for Clarinet and Piano” (1990) and “Soliloquy III for Solo Flute” (2015, written for Peter H. Bloom) by Schwartz; “Play of Light” (2010, for Bloom and Rupert: flute, piccolo, bass flute, and harp) by Richard Nelson, professor of music at the University of Maine at Augusta; “Ah, Winged Muse” and other songs by Michael Viens; “As It Fell Upon a Day” for (voice, flute, and clarinet) by Aaron Copland; “Kleemation” (2003, flute and piano) by Elizabeth Vercoe and “Four Fragments from the Canterbury Tales” (voice, flute, clarinet, and piano) by Lester Trimble.

About the Musicians

D’Anna Fortunato, a Grammy-nominated mezzo-soprano, was called “affecting, superb” by The New York Times and has performed with pre-eminent American symphonies (Philadelphia, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco, Houston, Cleveland, Boston, Dallas, and others); has performed leading roles with New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera San Jose and other companies; and has appeared in festivals including Berlin’s Spectrum Concerts, the Rome Bach Festival, Marlboro, Casals, Tanglewood, Blossom, and Newport. In 2006, she was a Grammy nominee in three categories including best classical vocal recording. She has recorded 40 CDs on labels such as Harmonia Mundi, London/Decca, Sony Classical, Nonesuch, Koch International, Naxos, and Albany. A regional Met Winner, she also received the Naumburg Prize and the Jacopo Peri Award. She serves on the faculty of the New England Conservatory. The Village Voice called her a “mezzo-soprano of profound musicality and technical aplomb,” while New York Magazine praised “her lustrous mezzo-soprano, her warmly communicative musical personality…an irresistible combination.”

Flutist Peter H. Bloom performs in the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Far East; is featured on 40 recordings (Sony Classical, Dorian, Leo Records, other labels); and is a winner of the American Musicological Society’s Noah Greenberg Award. The Boston Globe called his playing “a revelation for unforced sweetness and strength,” while Jazz Improv praised his “exquisite melody.” He has given lectures and master classes across the globe on such wide-ranging topics as historical performance, new music, musical improvisation, jazz standards, exploratory jazz, and masterworks of the literature. He serves on the faculty of the Snow Pond Composers Workshop, is contributing editor for Noteworthy Sheet Music, and is historical performance consultant to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Pianist/harpist Mary Jane Rupert, acclaimed by The New York Times as exhibiting “indeed, real sensitivity,” has given solo recitals from Carnegie Hall to Beijing Concert Hall and has appeared as pianist and harpist with symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout the United States. She serves on the music faculties of Tufts University and Boston College and taught previously at Western Michigan, Missouri Western, MIT and Wellesley College. Dr. Rupert holds a BM in Piano from Oberlin College, and an MM in Piano, MM in Harp and DM in Piano Performance and Music Literature from Indiana University. Bloom and Rupert (piano) tour the globe as the Duo “2” (“the very best players playing at the height of their powers” – University of Canberra, Australia).

Thomas Hill, clarinet, praised as “among the best clarinetists anywhere” (The Boston Musical Intelligencer) is widely engaged as soloist and ensemble performer. He has performed, toured, recorded and broadcast throughout the Americas and in Asia as a member of the Aeolian Chamber Players (New York City) and the Boston Chamber Music Society. Mr. Hill was principal clarinetist of the Boston Philharmonic for 22 years, and has served as principal clarinetist of the New Haven Symphony, The Long Beach Symphony, the Handel and Haydn Society, the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony and the Cascade Festival Orchestra in Oregon. He has performed with both the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops. Mr. Hill holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree with Honors from the New England Conservatory. He also attended the Cleveland Institute of Music where he was a member of the class of Robert Marcellus. His teaching credentials have included artist-professor affiliations with the New England Conservatory, the Boston Conservatory, the Longy School of Music, the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts and the university systems of New York, California, Massachusetts and Missouri.

The performance also will be held at 3 p.m., Sept. 24 at the University of Maine at Augusta.