Sunday, July 14, 2013

UR Modlin Center 2013-14

Pianists Emanuel Ax and Peter Serkin, the Takács String Quartet, The King’s Singers and the Venice Baroque Orchestra will return to the University of Richmond in the 2013-14 season of UR’s Modlin Arts Center.

Ax will present a program centered on Brahms, while Serkin will join the Shanghai Quartet in Dvořák’s Piano Quintet in A major. The Takács will play a program of Beethoven, Webern and Smetana, and The King’s Singers will present their “Great American Songbook” program of popular and theatrical tunes.

The program for the Venice Baroque Orchestra, performing at UR with cellist Mario Brunello, has not been announced.

The Modlin Center’s lineup of classical attractions in the coming season also includes “Songs for Soprano,” with soprano Susanna Phillips accompanied by violist Paul Neubauer and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, and two programs by eighth blackbird, the new-music sextet in residence at UR.

The eighth blackbird presentations will be “Colombine’s Paradise Theatre,” a theatrical work composed by Amy Beth Kirsten and directed and choreographed by Mark DeChiazza; and “Still in Motion,” a program of socially topical pieces composed since 2010 by Steve Mackey, Brett Dean, Bryce Dessner, David Little and Richard Reed Parry.

Free concerts staged by the UR Music Department next season will include performances by faculty musicians, student ensembles and several guest artists, including the Garth Newel Piano Quartet on March 24, the duo of mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano and pianist Christopher Cano on April 14 and Anthony Seeger in “Is Music Prophetic or Reflexive? Music, Activism and Social Change,” the university’s Neumann Lecture on Music, on Feb. 3.

The Modlin Center also will present a variety of popular, folk and jazz musicians, including Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn on Sept. 25 at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, the Taj Mahal Trio on Nov. 13 at the Carpenter Theatre of Richmond CenterStage, and the Fred Hersch Trio on Feb. 12, Leo Kottke and Loudon Wainwright III on April 5 and the Branford Marsalis Quartet on April 11, all in Camp Concert Hall.

The center’s 2013-14 dance attractions include the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company on Jan. 23-24, the Moscow Festival Ballet in “Cinderella” on March 13-14, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo on April 26-27, all in the Jepson Theatre.

Theatrical attractions include the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble on Oct. 18, the Salzburg Marionette Theatre in “Hänsel and Gretel” and Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” on Dec. 6, storytreller Mike Daisey on Jan. 31 and comedian Kathleen Madigan on Feb. 8.

For subscription information, call the Modlin Center box office at (804) 289-8980 or visit the center's website,

The Modlin Center’s 2013-14 ticketed classical events, with program information and ticket prices (all concerts at 7:30 p.m. in Camp Concert Hall, unless listed otherwise):

Oct. 6 – Susanna Phillips, soprano; Anne-Marie McDermott, piano, and Paul Neubauer, viola. “Songs for Soprano,” works by Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Gounod, others. ($34)

Oct. 25 (Jepson Theatre) – eighth blackbird. “Colombine’s Paradise Theatre,” composed by Amy Beth Kirsten, directed and choreographed by Mark DeChiazza. With Agua Dulce Dance Theatre, directed by Alicia Diaz and Matthew Thorton, in “Passing Through.” ($20)

Nov. 15 – Shanghai Quartet with Peter Serkin, piano. Dvořák: Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81; Verdi: String Quartet in E minor; other works TBA. ($36)

Feb. 7 – The King’s Singers. “The Great American Songbook,” works by Gershwin, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, others. ($36)

Feb. 19 – Venice Baroque Orchestra with Mario Brunello, cello. Program TBA ($38)

March 5 – Emanuel Ax, piano. Brahms: “Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel,” Op. 24; Missy Mazzoli: new work TBA for solo piano; Brahms: Sonata No. 2 in F sharp minor, Op. 2; Brahms: “Klavierstücke,” Op. 118; Brahms: Variations from Sextet in B flat major, Op. 18. ($36)

March 19 – eighth blackbird. “Still in Motion.” Brett Dean: Sextet (“Old Kings in Exile”) (2010); Bruce Dessner: “Murder Ballades” (2013); David Little: “and the sky was still there” (2010); Steve Mackey: “Suite: Slide” (2012); Richard Reed Parry: “Duet for Heart and Breath” (2012). ($20)

April 7 – Takács Quartet. Beethoven: Quartet in E flat major, Op. 127; Webern: “Six Bagatelles;” Smetana: Quartet No. 1 (“From My Life”). ($36)

Buffalo taps Freeman

Erin R. Freeman, associate conductor of the Richmond Symphony and director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus, will leave the orchestra at the end of the 2013-14 season to become music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus in New York, Bill Lohmann reports in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

The 40-year-old conductor, a native of Atlanta, came to Richmond in 2004 to conduct the Richmond Philharmonic. She was hired by the symphony two years later, and shortly thereafter succeeded James Erb, founder of the Symphony Chorus, as its director.

Freeman was one of the youngest protégés of the great American chorusmaster Robert Shaw. She sang under Shaw's direction in the Atlanta Symphony Chorus, and later in the Robert Shaw Singers, a chamber choral ensemble.

Freeman worked last season on a collaboration between the Richmond Symphony and Virginia Symphony choruses in Mahler's Eighth Symphony. The conductor was JoAnn Falletta, who is music director both the Virginia Symphony and Buffalo Philharmonic.

Freeman subsequently visited Buffalo to work with the chorus and orchestra.