In addition to being a vibrant community of faith, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, located in the heart of the Museum District, is one of Houston’s most beautiful and treasured concert venues. Anchored by the St. Paul’s Choir, which has earned national acclaim in the Anglican choral tradition, the church regularly presents recitals and concerts of solo instrumental and vocal, chamber, choral and orchestral repertoire.
The annual Lenten Recital Series is presented by the St. Paul’s Chamber Music Society, whose generous donors have supported music at St. Paul’s for over 30 years. We remain profoundly grateful to so many, including those outside the Houston area and around the country, who stay close to St. Paul’s with their support from afar. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation or if you would like to receive notices about upcoming performances, please contact Dawn Uebelhart (email@example.com) or Paul Gainey (firstname.lastname@example.org).
2018 LENTEN RECITAL SERIES
Sponsored by the St. Paul’s Chamber Music Society | Free admission | Sanctuary
SCHEDULED ARTISTS WITH COMPLETE BIOGRAPHIES
February 15 at 12:15pm - Houston Grand Opera Studio Artists
Yongzhao Yu, Tenor, has performed Flavio in Norma with the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, Naulz in Visitors on the Icy Mountain with the Shanghai Grand Theater, and Alfredo in La traviata in the concert hall of the Shanghai Oriental Art Center. He has performed in concert in the Grand Theatre of the Suzhou Culture and Arts Center and in an Eternal Verdi concert in Shanghai in honor of the bicentenary of Verdi’s birth. His awards include first prize in Opera Concorso. During the summer of 2016, he performed Rodolfo in La bohème with Wolf Trap Opera. In summer 2017, he sings Alfredo in La traviata with Aspen Opera Center.
Zoie Reams, Mezzo Soprano, won first place in the Emerging Artist category of the 2015 Classical Singer competition and second place in the Gulf Coast Region in the 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Past roles include Béatrice in Béatrice et Bénédict, Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, and Katisha in The Mikado. Last summer, she performed Tituba in The Crucible with Glimmerglass Festival Opera, and in summer 2017 she will sing Clarice in Rossini’s La pietra del paragone with Wolf Trap Opera.
Blair Salter, a collaborative pianist and music director, has worked with opera companies and young artist programs throughout the United States and Canada. She has participated in San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program as an apprentice coach and the Glimmerglass Festival as a 2015 Young Artist. She recently served as a guest coach for Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit. Recent operatic engagements include serving as vocal coach for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, L’heure espagnole, and Gianni Schicchi with University of Michigan Opera. She was previously a fellow at the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar and a vocal coach with the CoOPERAtive Program. She completed her doctorate at the University of Michigan, where she studies with Martin Katz. During the upcoming season at HGO, she will coach selected operas and perform with other HGO Studio artists in recitals and various performances.
Incoming HGO Studio artist Jonathan Gmeinder was most recently a piano fellow for the Vocal Arts Department at the Juilliard School and a coach at the Manhattan School of Music (MSM). He graduated with a master of music degree in vocal accompanying under the tutelage of Warren Jones at MSM. Recent work in opera includes Haydn’s La fedeltà premiata and Handel’s Agrippina at the Juilliard School, and La bohème with Aspen Opera Center. At MSM he was involved in the preparation of the American Musical Theater Ensemble’s productions of A Little Night Music and Defying Gravity: a Steven Schwarz Musical Review. As an undergraduate at Lawrence University, he was assistant conductor for many operas, including Albert Herring, The Fairy-Queen, and The Old Maid and the Thief. Besides his 2017–18 coaching assignments at HGO, he will perform in HGO Studio recitals and other events.
February 22 at 12:15pm - Elissa Edwards, soprano
Elissa Edwards, award–winning soprano, specializes in music primarily of the 17th and 18th centuries, and her dramatic performances bring to light underperformed yet stunning works from these periods. Ms. Edwards is known for performing themed concert–lectures in historic locations which bring the audience into the spirit of the musical and social world of past eras through programs that form a harmonious whole. Her use of facsimile editions, studies of historic singing treatises, ornamentation practices and use of baroque gesture allow her to channel the spirit of singers from past eras, enlivening the music.
She began her training at Houston Grand Opera and obtained her performance degrees from University of York, England (MA) and Boston University (BA), where she studied under Martin Pearlman of Boston Baroque and Peter Seymour of Yorkshire Baroque Soloists. She is a recipient of the 2017 Maryland State Individual Artist’s Award for her outstanding musical and creative contribution. Ms. Edwards is also the Artistic Director of the Élan Ensemble - Historic Music Annapolis, in collaboration with Dr. Anastasia Pike, harp. The Élan ladies were recently featured at the American Harp Society Summer Institute. Most recently, she established the Élan Concert & Lecture Series and look forward to a year of concerts in–residence at the Hammond–Harwood House Museum. Ms. Edwards is also a member Anglica Antiqua, a New York City group that specializes in performing British music from the 17th century through sung recitation of poetry.
In addition to chamber music performances, she is a sacred music specialist and has been the featured soloist in many oratorio and cantata performances in the U.S. and U.K. She appears on several sacred choral recordings with Yorkshire Baroque Soloists and the St. Thomas University Singers in Houston. Jane Austen’s Songbook is her debut solo album for commercial release this year, followed by Songs & Cantatas from Barbara Stozzi’s Opus. 8 with Richard Kolb, lute & theorbo and An English Christmas for harp & voice.
Ms. Edwards was born in Houston, TX and now resides in Annapolis, MD and she currently studies with Dr. Julianne Baird, soprano. In addition to her active performance career, she has a passion for mentoring singers and has taught voice lessons, voice classes and masterclasses for over a decade in churches, schools and festivals. She holds a private voice studio at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, where she is the director of the Church Circle Choristers. She is also active on the planning committee for the Sacred Music Festival at the National Cathedral.
March 1 at 12:15pm - Mercury performs "Die Sieben Letzten Worte" by Haydn
March 8 at 12:15pm - Bryan Anderson, organ
Bryan Anderson is an organist native to Georgia. Currently working toward a master's degree at Rice University under Ken Cowan, Bryan's undergraduate work was at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he earned degrees in organ (studying with Alan Morrison) and harpsichord (with Leon Schelhase). Recently named one of The Diapason's "20 under 30" Class of 2017, Bryan has performed at venues including the Kennedy Center, Verizon Hall in Philadelphia, Woolsey Hall at Yale, Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, Spivey Hall near Atlanta, Princeton University Chapel, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. He has been featured in performance at conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society, and broadcast on American Public Media's "Pipedreams" radio program. Recent positions have been as organ scholar at Wells Cathedral in Somerset, England, organist at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, and at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. Bryan also served as an assistant organist of the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ in Macy's department store in Philadelphia for several years. In addition to work at the organ, Bryan has enjoyed extensive collaboration as a chamber musician, performing many times as a continuo artist and ensemble pianist.
March 15 at 7pm - KINETIC String Ensemble
Formed in 2015, KINETIC is quickly making strides in their American home base of Houston, Texas, attracting new audiences to the highest caliber of live music making through their collaborative approach. A new conductorless string ensemble, KINETIC aspires to enrich the musical vibrancy of Houston’s cultural landscape by providing live performances, distinct programming, and interactive learning experiences. With a strong emphasis on chamber music-making, KINETIC’s unique flexibility to size down to various smaller formations, as well as fill out to as many as sixteen players, allows them to explore the unique sound worlds of strings: from the intimacy of the quartet to the full force of an orchestra.
Having recently completed its inaugural concert season, KINETIC already boasts an impressive and versatile repertoire, including chamber and larger orchestra works by Benjamin Britten, Igor Stravinsky, Ernest Bloch, Grażyna Bacewicz, Leoš Janáček and Eugène Ysaÿe, as well as world premieres by rising American composers Daniel Knaggs and Thomas Dougherty. The ensemble’s thoughtfully curated programs give platform to under-represented works in the classical repertoire, and through commissions, they expand the breadth of the string ensemble genre for the benefit of our and future generations.
Equally at home on the concert stage and in less traditional performance spaces, KINETIC's eagerness to bring classical music to a wide array of communities has led to a partnership with Houston Methodist Hospital’s Center for Performing Arts Medicine (CPAM) as well as with local public schools in presenting musical outreach events. KINETIC is the recipient of the Sviatoslav Richter Fund for Music Outreach, awarded by Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. The ensemble has been featured on Houston Public Media’s KUHF and Classical 91.7, Houston Chronicle and Arts & Culture Texas Magazine.
March 15 at 7pm - Winners of the Marilyn Horne Song Competition
Soprano Hannah Rose Kidwell, 21, born in Montebello, California is a third year bachelor’s student at Chapman University. In Chapman’s opera program, Ms. Kidwell has performed in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, Kurt Weill’s After Dark, and portrayed the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica. Ms. Kidwell most recently made her debut with The Pacific Symphony as the Witch in Hansel and Gretel. Ms. Kidwell was a semi-finalist and scholarship winner at the national Classical Singer Competition, the winner of the New Century Singer’s Competition, and the most recent winner of the Vocal and Concerto Competition at Chapman University.
Pianist Christina Giuca, 29, born in Chicago, Illinois, holds degrees from the Shepherd School of Music and Oberlin Conservatory. Ms. Giuca was a répétiteur for Opera in the Heights in Houston. Ms. Giuca was awarded a Collaborative Piano Fellowship at Bard College and has served on music staff for the Houston Ballet, Eastern Music Festival, and SongFest. Ms. Giuca was recently a guest artist at the Oregon Bach Festival Composers’ Symposium. 2017 marked her second summer at the Music Academy of the West, having previously attended in 2013.
About the Marilyn Horne Song Competition
The Music Academy of the West proudly hosts the nation’s premiere annual competition for song recitals, the Marilyn Horne Song Competition. The Horne Competition, which uniquely awards equal prizes to pianists and singers, is presented in memory of longtime Music Academy faculty artist Gwendolyn Koldofsky, one of the great teachers of collaborative piano of the 20th century.