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The Richmond Symphony and Richmond Symphony Chorus Perform Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms

M E D I A  A D V I S O R Y

The Richmond Symphony and Richmond Symphony Chorus Perform
Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms as the 2014-15 Altria Masterworks Series Finale
Richmond CenterStage’s Carpenter Theatre
Saturday, May 9 – 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 10 – 3:00 p.m.

April 28, 2015 – Richmond, Virginia The Richmond Symphony invites you to experience Bernstein: Chichester Psalms on Saturday, May 9 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 10 at 3:00 p.m. at Richmond CenterStage’s Carpenter Theatre. The performance features boy soprano Jack Rigdon and the 150 member Richmond Symphony Chorus with Director Erin R. Freeman. This is the final Altria Masterworks Concert of the 2014-15 Season and will
be led by Music Director, Steven Smith.

The concert begins with Borodin’s popular “Polovtsian Dances” from the opera Prince Igor. Following the Borodin is Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, a powerful combination of Christian choral traditions and Jewish liturgical text featuring the Richmond Symphony Chorus and boy soprano, Jack Rigdon. The concert will conclude with Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, a piece that the composer conceived of as “glorifying the grandeur of the human spirit.”

In selecting the guest soloist for Chichester Psalms, Dr. Erin Freeman, James Erb Director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus says:

“Jack Rigdon and his under study Kieran Larkin were chosen after a weeklong audition process involving three of Richmond’s finest children’s choirs. We are so fortunate to have so many organizations that encourage young singers to fulfill their potential through the art of singing. Ensembles such as Greater Richmond Children’s Choir, The Virginia Choristers, and City Singers help make Richmond a wonderful place to live, and they produce musicians of great caliber and promise. Jack and Kieran both have excellent training through these choruses and through the work of their school teachers and private music lessons. For this performance, they have attended vocal coachings with me, sung in two rehearsals with the entire Richmond Symphony Chorus, and they are gearing up for next week’s rehearsals and performances with the orchestra and Maestro Steven Smith. They are so prepared for all of these activities! It has been a pleasure working with both of them.”

Tickets start at only $10 online at richmondsymphony.com or 1.800.514 ETIX.

Altria Masterworks are free for children 18 and under with a paid adult (tickets required).

College student single tickets just $7. Soundwave college student subscriptions are $25.

The Masterworks Series is sponsored by Altria. The guest artist sponsor is The Pemberton.

About Steven Smith

Steven Smith is currently celebrating his fifth season as Music Director of the Richmond Symphony and his third season in the Lewis T. Booker Music Director Chair. He continues as Music Director of the Grammy Award-winning Cleveland Chamber Symphony and in 2013 completed a 14 year tenure as Music Director of the Santa Fe Symphony & Chorus.

From 1997 to 2003, Steven Smith served as the Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra where he appeared on the subscription series at Severance Hall and Blossom Music Center. With a strong commitment to arts education, he assisted in the planning and conducting of the Cleveland Orchestra’s educational and family concerts and hosted the orchestra’s annual broadcast videoconference which won an Emmy Award in 2001. For five seasons, he also served as Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra which performed by invitation at Carnegie Hall in 2001. From 2002-05, he was associate professor at Oberlin Conservatory, where he led both orchestral and opera performances.

In April 2013, Steven Smith made his debut with the Virginia Opera conducting their performances of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.” Steven Smith has appeared as guest conductor with orchestras such as San Francisco, Milwaukee, Houston, Detroit, Puerto Rico Symphony and the Aspen Music Festival. Abroad, he has performed with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, New Zealand’s Auckland Philharmonia, Taiwan’s National Symphony Orchestra and Mexico’s Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa. In addition, he has conducted numerous opera and orchestral performances at Indiana University and Brevard Music Center.

Steven Smith is an ASCAP award-winning composer, with commissions from the Cleveland Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, Eugene Youth Symphony and solo artists. He was named Ohio Composer of the Year for 2008.

A native of Toledo, Ohio, Steven Smith earned Master’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music. He is the recipient of the CIM Alumni Association 1999 Alumni Achievement Award and the Geraldine C. and Emory M. Ford Foundation’s Conductor Career Development Grant.

About Jack Rigdon

Jack Elliot Rigdon is 10 years old. Jack comes from a musical family, and he began studying piano when he was five years old. Last summer, Jack attended the Greater Richmond Children’s Choir summer camp. He and his sisters enjoyed the camp experience so much that they joined GRCC’s Concert Choir for the 2014–15 season. GRCC Artistic Director, Hope Armstrong Erb, provided Jack with encouragement and private coaching to prepare him for his audition for the solo in Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. Jack is in the sixth grade, and has been homeschooled since preschool. He loves reading, computer coding, and exploring the woods near his house with his dog and his pocket knife.

About Erin Freeman

Hailed by the press as engaging, elegant, and entertaining, Erin Freeman continues as the Director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus, and in the fall of 2014 joined the faculty of VCUMusic as Director of Choral Activities, a newly created joint position co-sponsored by the Richmond Symphony.  This appointment comes on the heels of a successful seven years as the Richmond Symphony’s Associate Conductor, and will include overseeing all of the choral ensembles at VCU as well as vocal chamber music, and preparing the 150-voice Richmond Symphony Chorus for all of its performances.

She is also the newly appointed Artistic Director of Wintergreen Performing Arts, where she will lead artistic endeavors of the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival and the associated Wintergreen Summer Music Academy.

As Associate Conductor and Chorus Director of the Richmond Symphony from 2007-2014, Freeman conducted subscription concerts, led the Pops and Lollipops Series, spearheaded the Symphony’s education initiatives, including its four youth orchestras, and directed the 150-voice symphony chorus. She collaborated with soloists such as Jamie Bernstein, Elena Uriosti, Arturo Sandoval, Marietta Simpson, Joseph Conyers, Patti Austin, and Maureen McGovern, and in 2012, Freeman prepared the Richmond Symphony Chorus for an historic performance and recording of Mahler Symphony No. 8 with the Virginia Symphony, under the direction of JoAnn Falletta.

A frequent guest conductor throughout the country, Freeman maintains an association with the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, for whom she has served as Music Director, and with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, where she has been a frequent guest conductor. This year, she will conduct the BPO and BPC in their popular Classical Christmas program. She has also been a Guest Conductor for the South Carolina Philharmonic, the Savannah Symphony, the Richmond Ballet, and other ensembles in Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Missouri, and Illinois. And, in summer 2015, she will conduct Dvorak’s Stabat Mater at the Berkshire Choral Festival.

Passionate about making classical music accessible to all, Freeman has led programs from the Richmond Symphony’s ground breaking Come and Play, resulting in a community orchestra of over 650, to Celebrity Maestro, for which she taught conducting lessons to such notables as Miss America Caressa Cameron and Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones. She has served as Director of Orchestras at Baltimore School for the Arts and American University, Conductor at Northwestern University’s National High School Music Institute, Lecturer for the National Philharmonic and Baltimore Symphony, Music Director of the Richmond Philharmonic, and Resident Conductor at Peabody Conservatory. She has instructed national seminars for the Conductor’s Guild, and serves on their board of directors as Vice President.

Winner of numerous awards, including the Women’s Philharmonic Conducting Scholarship, Freeman was selected by Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly as one of Virginia’s 50 most influential women. With degrees from Northwestern University, Boston University, and Peabody Conservatory, she has studied and performed in masterclasses with Gustav Meier, Victor Yampolsky, Markand Thakar, Helmuth Rilling, Murry Sidlin, and Robert Shaw.

About the Richmond Symphony Chorus

James Erb organized the all-volunteer Richmond Symphony Chorus in 1971 for a December performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, under guest conductor Robert Shaw. For 36 years, Erb continued to direct and build the Chorus to reflect the Symphony’s high standards. Erin Freeman assumed leadership of the Chorus at the start of its 2007–08 season. The repertoire for its selected volunteer membership has included most of the standard repertoire for chorus and orchestra: Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion and Mass in BMinor, Haydn’s Creation, Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 and Choral Fantasy, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Requiem settings by Mozart, Brahms, Verdi and Faure, Mahler’s Symphony No.2, Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony and all of Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe. Over the years they have also sung shorter choral-orchestral works by Handel, Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Bruckner, Delius, Debussy, Barber, Britten, Richard Strauss, Vaughan Williams, Stravinsky, Olivier Messiaen and Luigi Dallapiccola. Recent projects have included a performance and recording of Mahler Symphony No. 8 with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, under the direction of JoAnn Falletta, a performance with the Richmond Symphony in the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and a recreation of the Chorus’s inaugural performance of Missa Solemnis.

About the Richmond Symphony

Founded in 1957, the Richmond Symphony is the largest performing arts organization in Central Virginia. The organization includes an orchestra of more than 70 professional musicians, the 150-voice Richmond Symphony Chorus and more than 260 students in the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra programs. Each season, more than 200,000 members of the community enjoy concerts, radio broadcasts, and educational outreach programs. The Richmond Symphony is partially funded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.