2015–16 Artist Series
Friday, October 2, 2015 • 8 p.m.
Grammy®-winning Eighth Blackbird promises—and delivers—provocative and mind-changing performances to its burgeoning audiences. The group combines the finesse of a string quartet, the energy of a rock band and the audacity of a storefront theater company. The Chicago-based sextet is both strikingly virtuosic and disarmingly irreverent, as they devote themselves to inspiring and performing today’s master classical composers and debunking the myth that contemporary music is only for a cerebral few. The ensemble holds residence positions at the Curtis Institute of Music, University of Richmond and University of Chicago. A decade-long relationship with Chicago’s Cedille Records has produced six acclaimed recordings. The ensemble has won three Grammy® Awards, for the recordings strange imaginary animals, Lonely Motel: Music from Slide and Meanwhile.
This event is also part of the 2015–16 New Music at Lawrence series.
“The blackbirds are examples of a new breed of super-musicians.”
—Los Angeles Times
Rachel Barton Pine, violinist with Matthew Hagle, piano
Saturday, February 6, 2016 • 8 p.m.
Celebrated as a leading interpreter of great classical works, Rachel Barton Pine’s performances combine her gift for emotional communication and her scholarly fascination with historical research. Audiences are thrilled by her dazzling technique, lustrous tone and infectious joy in music-making. Pine has appeared as soloist with many of the world’s most prestigious ensembles, including the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic and the Netherlands Radio Kamer Filharmonie. She has worked with such renowned conductors as Charles Dutoit, Zubin Mehta, Erich Leinsdorf, Neeme Järvi and Marin Alsop.
She has recorded 25 albums, and her most recent CD, Violin Lullabies, recorded with pianist Matthew Hagle, debuted at number one on the Billboard classical chart. While she regularly plays baroque, renaissance and medieval music, Rachel Barton Pine also performs rock and heavy metal music with her band, Earthen Grave. She has jammed with the likes of Slash, of Guns N’ Roses, and other rock and metal stars.
“An exciting, boundary-defying performer—Pine displays a power and confidence that puts her in the top echelon.”
—The Washington Post
Jeremy Denk, pianist
Friday, April 8, 2016 • 8 p.m.
American pianist Jeremy Denk has steadily built a reputation as an unusual and compelling artist, with a broad and thought-provoking repertoire. He has appeared as soloist with many major orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and London. He regularly gives recitals in New York, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia, and around the United States. He was the winner of the 2013 MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the 2014 Avery Fisher Prize and Musical America’s 2014 Instrumentalist of the Year award.
“Mr. Denk, clearly, is a pianist you want to hear no matter what he performs, in whatever combination—both for his penetrating intellectual engagement with the music and for the generosity of his playing.“
—The New York Times
Lawrence Brownlee, tenor
Saturday, April 16, 2016 • 8 p.m.
The most in-demand American tenor in the world in the bel canto repertoire, Lawrence Brownlee continues to stupefy audiences with the power and agility of his instrument. From firmly American roots, Brownlee has become a star on the international scene, performing opposite the leading ladies of contemporary opera, and has been lauded continually for the seemingly effortless beauty of his voice. Mr. Brownlee has been featured in nearly every major theater in the world and enjoys a relationship with many prominent conductors and symphony orchestras. Operatic highlights of Mr. Brownlee’s career include: La Cenerentola in Milan, Houston, Philadelphia and the Metropolitan Opera; L’italiana in Algeri in Milan, Dresden, Boston, Houston and Seattle; Tonio in Daughter of the Regiment with Pittsburgh Opera; and the title role in the world premiere of Daniel Schnyder’s Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, a work written specifically for him.
“He sang with agility, elegance and Rossinian style, tossing off high notes and roulades … this was a winning performance for an increasingly important artist.”
—The New York Times
This performance is part of the Ben Holt Memorial Concert Series.
The Ben Holt Memorial Concert Series was established in 1992 by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma, professor emeritus of music at the Lawrence Conservatory. Metropolitan Opera baritone Ben Holt died at the age of 34 from cancer. By the time of his death, he had accumulated numerous accolades as a performer of extraordinary artistry, further distinguished by his intense social concerns. The concert series established in his name provides performance opportunities on invitation to outstanding young professional minority artists who have promise of international careers.