Ein deutsches Requiem
BAINBRIDGE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Music Director & Conductor Mario Alejandro Torres
Artistic Director Michael Austin Miller
JOHANNES BRAHMS: Ein deutsches Requiem Op. 45
SOLOISTS: JANEANNE HOUSTON, SOPRANO & CHARLES ROBERT STEPHENS, BARITONE
Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra and Bainbridge Chorale join forces to perform one of Brahms’ most intensely spiritual works, A German Requiem. Its humanistic vision distinguishes this unique work from other more typical settings of the Requiem. Instead of following the standard liturgical meditations on death, Brahms included biblical text of his own choosing to comfort the living.
Mario Alejandro Torres
Mario Alejandro Torres is a conductor, teacher, and performer native to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Currently based in Seattle, Washington, Mr. Torres made his Benaroya Hall conducting debut in collaboration with Maestros Ludovic Morlot and David Alexander Rahbee in an exciting concert with the University of Washington Symphony Orchestra. For the past two years, he has served in a conducting fellowship with the Seattle Symphony, assisting Maestro Morlot in collaboration with artists such as Hilary Hahn and John Luther Adams. As the Music Director of Poulsbo Community Orchestra, he has brought a new and exciting sound to the ensemble. Outside of the United States, he has conducted performances with the Eddy Snijders Orchestra in Paramaribo, Suriname, and in his hometown with the professional Chamber Orchestra of San Pedro Sula, and Victoriano Lopez School of Music Choir.
As an advocate for Education, Mr. Torres serves as Assistant Conductor of the University of Washington Symphony Orchestra, where he is a candidate for the doctoral degree in orchestral conducting under the mentorship of David Alexander Rahbee and Seattle Symphony Music Director Ludovic Morlot. His energy and passion to work with young musicians have brought the UW Campus Philharmonia Orchestras to a higher level of artistic performance. He has also held teaching positions at the Victoriano Lopez School of Music in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and Louisiana Academy of Music in Natchitoches, Louisiana. In his work for social inclusion, Mr. Torres has appeared internationally as a guest conductor and clinician for programs such as The National Music School of Suriname in South America and the Académie Musicale Occide Jeanty in Croix des Bouquets, Haiti.
As a violist, he has performed as a soloist with the Chamber Orchestra of San Pedro Sula, NSULA Symphony and Chamber orchestras, Rapides Symphony Orchestra, and the Monteux School and Music Festival. He has been co-principal violist for Texarkana Symphony Orchestra, South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, and Shreveport Summer Music Festival. He has also played with Symphoria, Shreveport, Longview, Rapides, Marshall, and Costa Rica Symphony orchestras. Mr. Torres performed with the Youth Orchestra of the Americas in Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, and England.
Mr. Torres holds a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from Ithaca College under the mentorship of Jeffery Meyer, and a Bachelor and a Master of Music in Viola Performance from Northwestern State University of Louisiana (NSULA). Mr. Torres completed a professional program with the Youth Orchestra of the Americas’ Global Leaders Program, focusing in community leadership, teaching artistry, and social entrepreneurship. Mr. Torres also holds degrees in Computer Information Systems and Business Administration.
His wife Jenny is an active member of the community, supporting and engaging in activities with the Seattle Music Partners Program, and the Special Events department of the Seattle Symphony
Michael Austin Miller
The 2019-2020 season marks the tenth year of Michael Austin Miller's tenure as Artistic Director of the Bainbridge Chorale.
Under his direction, the Chorale continues to attract new singers and audience members while experiencing growth in vocal skills and exploring both contemporary and classic choral repertoire. As evidence of its increasing stature in the choral community, the Chorale has been privileged to perform at Seattle’s St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral on three occasions and has had opportunities to perform at Benaroya Hall as well. Videos of their performance at St. Mark’s can be found on YouTube.
In addition to being the Director of Music Ministries at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Snohomish, Miller is an award-winning music educator and a composer and arranger. Much of his music is self-published, though several pieces have been published by Oxford University Press and MorningStar Music Publishers. A number of his works have been premiered by the Chorale. His compositions include “Let Us All Make Music,” commissioned jointly by the Olympic Girls’ Choir and the Bainbridge Youth Symphony, and premiered by them in May 2018. He serves as Composer in Residence for reSound: a Northwest Chamber Ensemble. He has guest-conducted that ensemble as well as a number of other choirs, including Orchestra Seattle’s Chamber Singers.
Miller has served on the board of the Greater Seattle Choral Consortium and the Kaleidoscope Academy and is a member of several professional organizations including the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Phi Mu Alpha (a professional music fraternity), and the music honor society Pi Kappa Lambda.
In his spare time, Miller enjoys writing short stories and has published two books, Can I Tell You a Story, and Homespun Humor and Half-true Tales.
Janeanne Houston, Soprano
Soprano Janeanne Houston has been praised by the Seattle Times as a “radiant voiced and very communicative” singer, by Gramophone as “Unfailingly responsive and dedicated”, by Classical Voice of North Carolina as a “magnificent singer” with “a beautiful voice and stunning interpretive skills” and The Journal of Singing remarked “such praiseworthy singing” and “a flawless sense of style.”
A versatile singer, Ms. Houston has sung most of the major oratorios from Bach to Verdi, and many symphonic, contemporary works, and world premieres. She is also at home on the opera stage, and as a concert artist and recitalist has performed throughout the region and across the country. This past season she sang one of her favorites, Samuel Barber’s Knoxville:Summer of 1915, with Thalia Symphony.
Her recent opera roles have been Madame Lidoine in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Lia in Debussy’s L’Enfant Prodigue, Elisabetta in Don Carlo, Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Konstanze in Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio. Other recent performances include Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Oregon Symphony, multiple performances of Verdi’s Requiem in the region, including a performance at Benaroya Hall and one with Bainbridge Symphony and Chorale. That work is among her favorites. She sang Poulenc’s Gloria with UW’s legendary Rodney Eichenberger leading the forces in Benaroya Hall. A prolific concert artist, she has sung for the nearly century-old Messiah Festival of Music and Art in Kansas where she sang Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, recitals, and performances of Handel’s Messiah. As a regional artist, she has appeared in many performances of Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, Brahms’ A German Requiem, Mahler’s Symphony #4, Haydn’s Creation, and world premieres. She sang the Mater Gloriosa in the first Oregon performance of Mahler's Eighth Symphony with Eugene Symphony in 2002, conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya. Her career launched with notable performances at Seattle Symphony (Gerard Schwarz), Oregon Symphony (James DePreist), Northwest Chamber Orchestra (Sidney Harth), Northwest Sinfonietta, Spokane Symphony, Great Falls Symphony, Helena Symphony, and many others. Previous operatic roles have included Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Violetta in La Traviata, Blanche in Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Micaela in Carmen.
Her recordings are available on Naxos, Albany, and the Elmgrove labels. She was a finalist and a second-place winner in the Northwest Regional Metropolitan Opera auditions. Born in Kansas City, Ms. Houston spent her childhood in Myanmar, India, and the Philippine Islands. Blooming where she landed, she has been a member of the voice faculty at Pacific Lutheran University since 1989. Her students have excelled, and many are now singing professionally and teaching the next generation. She is the master class instructor for PLU’s Summer Opera Workshop, now celebrating its tenth year, and she loves working with young singers.
Charles Robert Stephens, baritone
Charles has enjoyed a career spanning a wide variety of roles and styles in opera and concert music. In his 20 years in New York City he sang leading roles with the New York City Opera and was hailed by the New York Times as a "baritone of smooth distinction." He also appeared frequently in Carnegie Hall with the Opera Orchestra of New York and was active in regional opera throughout the US. On the international stage, he sang opera roles in Montevideo Uruguay, Taiwan, Santo Domingo and Mexico City.
Now based in Seattle, Charles has sung with the Seattle Symphony on numerous occasions, Northwest Sinfonietta, Tacoma and Spokane Symphony, Spokane Opera, Portland Chamber Orchestra, Oregon Symphony and many other orchestras and opera companies in the Pacific Northwest. He joined the roster of the Seattle Opera in 2010 for the premiere of Amelia by Daron Hagan.
Among the many collaborations with early music expert Stephen Stubbs is the role of blind Tiresias in the Boston Early Music Festival's lavish production of Steffani's Niobe, Queen of Thebes. He premiered the role of Rudyard Kipling in John Muehleisen's world premiere cantata entitled But Who Shall Return to Us Our Children? A Kipling Passion, now available on CD. He can also be heard on the prize- winning CD, Heaven To Earth.
The 2018-19 season has included performances of Messiah, Haydn’s Creation, Beethoven’s Symphony # 9, Bach Christmas Oratorio, Scarpia in Tosca, Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors and the Father in Hansel and Gretel.
Upcoming performances include a world premier of Nuclear Dreams by Reginald Unterseher, Messiah, Mozart Requiem and Seattle Symphony’s Family Program
Besides being an active recital and concert singer, he is also a highly sought-after voice teacher. He is on the voice faculty at Pacific Lutheran University and serves as soloist at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Medina, WA.
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April 25 & 26, 2020