Orchestra of the Southern FL’s French Connection

The location may be Elmira, but the accent definitely will be French—with some additional Mexican spice—at “The French Connection” concert with Music Director Toshiyuki Shimada and the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes on Sunday, March 6 at 4:00 pm at the Clemens Center. The audience also will be treated to a host of additional talented ensembles and guest artists including the Youth Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes performing side-by-side with its professional counterparts, flutist Victor Wang (the 2010 Doreen B. Hertzog Competition winner), soprano Mireille Asselin, Corning native and baritone Nathan Wilson, and the Chorus of the Southern Finger Lakes.After the Junior String Ensemble introduces the concert with the a movement of Haydn’s Symphony No. 82 “The Bear,” Maestro Shimada brings out the OSFL to appear “side-by-side” with its Youth Orchestra counterparts for Huapango by Mexican composer Pablo Garcia José Moncayo. This bright, rhythmic symphonic rhapsody reflects a joyous and lively musical style, traditionally combining violins, harps and guitars of different sizes. The work of Moncayo, who lived during the first half of the 20th century, came to symbolize the national hopes and contradictions of his native country.Soprano Mireille Asselin brings the French connection to the stage with Maurice Ravel’s 1903 Shéhérazade, a setting of three poems written by one of the young composer’s literary colleagues. The first, Asie (Asia), creates the imagery of the well-known Arabian nights, as the singer’s voice wanders through the visual exoticism of the fabled Orient. Romantic yearning is depicted in La Flute enchantée (The Magic Flute), as the voice is surrounded by the flute’s mesmerizing tune. And in L’Indifferent (the Indifferent One), the soft and muted orchestral colors portray unfulfilled longing. The prominence of the flute continues in the next work, Jacques Ibert’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, with Victor Wang, the 2010 Doreen B. Hertzog Competition Winner as the guest artist. Premiered in Paris in 1934, the work is acknowledged as one of the 20th century masterpieces for the flute, demanding virtuosic abilities from the soloist in range, articulation, fingering, and expression. Mr. Wang was afforded this opportunity as a result of winning the Doreen B. Hertzog Competition, generously sponsored by Chemung Canal Trust Company, and open to high school musicians. After intermission, the spotlight shines on Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem with the Chorus of the Southern Finger Lakes with baritone Nathan Wilson and Ms. Asselin returning to the stage. As was typical of his musical character, Fauré portrayed his Requiem as elegant, tranquil, and refined. The liturgical text selection omitted the overly dramatic images of the Last Judgment. The composer conceived of a more gentle, comforting score, likely inspired by the recent death of his parents.Prior to the concert, the middle school-age Junior String Ensemble will be performing two pieces in the hall’s upper lobby. Their onstage Haydn performance is a special opportunity provided to them by Maestro Shimada.Tickets to this concert are $35 (adults) and $5 (students with ID), both general admission seating, and can be purchased online at www.osfl.org; by phone at (607)734-8191 or 800-724-0159; or at the Clemens Center Box Office, 207 Clemens Center Parkway in Elmira. The final OSFL concert of the 2010-11 Season, This Great and Wonderful Land, will take place on Saturday, May 14 at the Corning Museum of Glass. A mini-concert precedes the season finale. For more information, visit www.osfl.org.ARTISTS BIOS:Mireille Asselin, sopranoDeemed “superb” (Los Angeles Times), and praised by Opera Canada for her “vivacious stage presence,” Mireille Asselin is a young artist at the onset of an exciting career. This season she makes her Carnegie Hall debut singing Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, performs the roles of Galatea (Acis and Galatea) and Servilia (La Clemenza di Tito) with Opera Atelier in Toronto, and makes her debut with the Boston Early Music Festival covering the title role in Steffani’s Niobe. She also will appear across North America and in England singing such works as Ravel’s Shéhérazade, Fauré’s Requiem, Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne, and both Handel’s Saul and Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno. In addition, Mireille is presenting several recitals and will be studying song repertoire with Marilyn Horne and Malcolm Martineau in masterclasses at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. Mireille received her master’s degree from Yale University’s prestigious Opera Program in 2010, and next year joins the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio.Victor Wang, fluteA freshman at Yale University, Victor Wang began playing the flute at the age of nine, studying with Sophia Gibbs Kim at the Eastman Community Music School. While a student at Webster Thomas High School, Victor participated in numerous competitions. He was the winner of the 2008 Rochester Flute Association’s high school performance competition, the 2009 Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra annual concerto competition, and the 2010 David Hochstein Recital Competition. Victor also received second prize in the 2009 NYS Music Teachers Empire Competition, and was runner-up in the instrumental category of the 2010 Rochester Philharmonic League Young Artist Auditions.Nathan Wilson, bass-baritoneA graduate of Corning-Painted Post West High School where he was known for his outstanding voice, Nathan recently has been heard as Figaro and Antonio (Le Nozze di Figaro) with the University of Louisville Opera Theatre, Colline (La Bohème) and Sam (Un Ballo in Maschera) with Amici Opera, the Customs Official (La Bohème )at Kentucky Opera, Olin Blitch in scenes from Susannah at Lexington Opera Society’s Summer Opera Workshop, The Poacher (Nyiramachabelli ) with Kentucky Opera and as The Mikado (The Mikado) with University of Louisville Opera Theatre. Recently, Nathan performed the role of Ahab in concert performance of composer Frank Richmond’s new musical Ahab’s Wife, based on the book of the same title by the former poet laureate of Kentucky. While a student at Ithaca College, Nathan performed the roles of Mr. Kofner (The Consul), Don Alfonso (Cosi fan tutte), The Officer (Dialogues of the Carmelites) and covered Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus. Nathan received his master’s degree from the University of Louisville, where he was a student of Donn Everette Graham. As a Festival Young Artist with the Utah Festival Opera Company, Nathan will sing Flora’s Servant and cover Marquis d’Obigny (La Traviata) and Don Basilio (Il Barbiere di Siviglia).

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