Joining us in our 12th season!
Violinist Yumi Hwang-Williams
Yumi Hwang-Williams made her debut at the age of fitfeen as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, six years after emigrating from South Korea. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, she is known today both for her stylish performances of the classics and her commitment to the works of present-day composers. STRINGS magazine calls her "a modern Prometheus’ who has ‘emerged as a fiery champion of contemporary classical music." Her interpretations of concertos by Tomas Adès, Aaron Jay Kernis, Michael Daugherty, and Christopher Rouse have earned critical acclaim as well as enthusiastic approval from the composers.
Yumi is a frequent soloist with the Colorado Symphony and has soloed with other major orchestras both in the U.S. and abroad, including the Cincinnati Symphony , the Indianapolis Symphony, Sinfonieorchester Basel (Switzerland), and the Bruckner Orchester Linz (Austria), in collaboration with conductors Marin Alsop, Dennis Russell Davies, Hans Graf, Paavo Järvi, and Peter Oundjian. An avid chamber musician, she has performed with Gary Graffman, Ida Kavafan, Jeffrey Kahane, Christopher O’Riley, Jon Kimura Parker, and Andrew Litton.
Since 2000 Yumi has been Concertmaster of the Colorado Symphony. She was Concertmaster of the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra for twelve years and Guest Concertmaster for the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Ottawa, at the invitation of Music Director Pinchas Zukerman. She’s a frequent guest first violinist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and a faculty member at Denver University’s Lamont School of Music.
"She went beyond merely virtuosic playing to offer something more profound …" - Denver Post
Soprano Amanda Balestrieri
Born in Harrogate, England, Amanda has an illustrious performance background in London, Europe and the United States, where her singing has been described in the press as “unusually versatile,” “gorgeous,” and “absolutely divine” (Washington Post, Times Union Saratoga NY, Washington Review). She began her music studies at the age of four, and enjoyed early success as a pianist, violinist, and soprano soloist. Balestrieri received her B.A./M.A. in Modern Languages from Oxford University and studied voice in London and Milan. She sang with the Academy Chorus of St. Martin in the Fields under Sir Neville Marriner and was a regular soloist in contemporary music with James Wood’s New London Chamber Choir. After moving to the U.S., Balestrieri appeared with the National Symphony under Leonard Slatkin and Sir Christopher Hogwood in the Kennedy Center. Her skills in baroque performance practice led to a busy national solo career with the leading early music orchestras and chamber ensembles, including the American Bach Soloists, the Smithsonian Chamber Players, the Washington Bach Consort, Opera Lafayette, Concert Royal, and the New York Collegium. Since moving to Denver, Balestrieri has appeared with many of the area symphony orchestras, including the Colorado Symphony, with the Colorado Ballet, and with most of the early music organizations. She was recently appointed Artistic Director of the Seicento Baroque Ensemble."
Boulder Chamber Chorale
The Boulder Chamber Chorale is a select small ensemble comprised of the some of the finest singers from within the Boulder Chorale. The group performs on Boulder Chorale concerts as well as in outreach performances such as this season’s free library concert and Brewery Tour.
Dr. Vicki Burrichter, Artistic Director of the Boulder Chamber Chorale
Dr. Burrichter’s passion is choirs and choral singers. She brings to all of her choirs an expectation of excellence, a sense of humor, an understanding of diverse genres and cultures, and a theatrical sensibility that makes her choirs exciting and moving to experience.
Highlights of her work include directing Voices of Light, an oratorio set to the 1927 Carl Dryer film, The Passion of Joan of Arc; a tour with students to Cuba to perform with the National Choir of Cuba; conducting the Colorado Symphony and 200 singers in the secular oratorio Sing for the Cure; twice collaborating with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble to perform jazz legend Mary Lou Williams’ Mary Lou’s Mass at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts; founding the SOAR! Youth and Adult Choir, which mentors foster/adopted children in choral music and life skills; winning a Gold Medal at the New York Choral Festival with her chamber choir of ten years, Canto Spiritus; and recording with that ensemble the CD Brazil! The Choral Music of Marcos Leite. Dr. Burrichter became the Artistic Director of the Colorado Masterworks Chorus in the fall of 2016. She teaches voice and performance privately, and was described by teacher and author David Craig (On Performing; On Singing Onstage) as: “One of the most brilliant performers I have ever taught.”
Guest soloists for Handel's Messiah
Jennifer Bird, soprano
American soprano Jennifer Bird enjoys a busy and varied singing career in the U.S. and Europe, having built a reputation as a charismatic, intelligent and versatile performer of more than 50 roles in opera, operetta and musical theater, as well as much of the standard oratorio and concert literature.
As the recipient of a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship, Bird studied in Germany in the Opernklasse of the Hamburg Musikhochschule, where she joined the vocal studio of renowned soprano Judith Beckmann. Soon thereafter, she began singing at the Landestheater Coburg and then at the Bremer Theater, where she became a pillar of the soloist ensemble, singing major roles in the lyric and lyric-coloratura soprano repertory and, in Coburg, twice earning the Audience Favorite Prize. Engagements followed at the Vienna Volksoper, Nationaltheater Mannheim, Theater Bonn, Theater Chemnitz, Theater Lübeck, Theater Würzburg and Theater Hagen, among others. Highlights have included the title roles in "Lulu" and "Lucia di Lammermoor," Ann Trulove in "The Rake’s Progress," Pamina in "Die Zauberflöte," Sophie in "Der Rosenkavalier," Marguerite in "Faust," Blanche in "A Streetcar Named Desire," Nedda in "I Pagliacci," Gilda in "Rigoletto, Violetta in "La traviata," Euridice in "Orphée aux Enfers" and Konstanze in "Die Entführung aus dem Serail," among many others.
Leah Creek Biesterfeld, alto
Described as “vibrant and full-voiced”The Denver Post and praised for her “tangy, nut-brown mezzo” Opera News, Leah Creek Biesterfeld appears frequently as a soloist along the Front Range with groups such as Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra, Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado, Colorado Bach Ensemble, Seicento Baroque Ensemble, and St. Martin’s Chamber Choir. Named a National Winner of the prestigious Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Ms. Creek Biesterfeld has accumulated numerous performance credits in opera, performing leading roles with New York City Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opera Colorado, Santa Fe Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Syracuse Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Utah Festival Opera. Ms Creek Biesterfeld earned a Master of Music in Voice from Indiana University and trained at some of the country’s leading Young Artist Programs, including Santa Fe Opera and Wolf Trap Opera. She and her husband co-direct Petite Musician, an early childhood music and movement program that offers Music Together classes in the greater Denver area. Additionally, they are the co-executive directors of the Colorado Suzuki Institute, re-opening in June 2019 in Copper Mountain, as well as it’s “sister” programs, the Colorado Vocal Institute and the Colorado Chamber Music Institute.
Steven Soph, tenor
Tenor Steven Soph makes debuts this season with New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Arkansas Symphony, Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, Bourbon Baroque, and Variant 6.
Soph has appeared with The Cleveland Orchestra in several programs ranging from Handel to Stravinsky. An active Bach interpreter, he has performed as the Evangelist in the St. Matthew Passion with Seraphic Fire, Chicago Chorale, and Bach Society of St. Louis, and as the Evangelist in the St. John Passion with Chicago Chorale, University of North Texas’ Collegium, and Boston University's Marsh Chapel. Soph appeared in Bach's B minor Mass with Symphony Orchestra Augusta and the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra.
Soph performs with top American vocal ensembles including Grammy Award-winning Conspirare and Roomful of Teeth, and Grammy-nominated Seraphic Fire and True Concord Voices and Orchestra.Soph holds degrees from the University of North Texas and Yale School of Music, where he studied with renowned tenor James Taylor. He was a 2014 Carmel Bach Festival Adams Fellow, and 2016 Oregon Bach Festival Young Artist.
Adam Ewing, baritone
Lyric baritone Adam Ewing is an Affiliate Professor of Voice at Regis University. He made his operatic debut as Major General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance with Loveland Opera, and his orchestral debut as the lead of the barbershop quartet in The Music Man with the Colorado Symphony.Ewing has appeared as Schaunard (La Boheme), the Celebrant (Bernstein’s Mass), Sondheim (Side by Side by Sondheim), John Brooke (Little Women), Gianni Schicchi, Man 2 (Songs for a New World), Miles Gloriosus (A Funny Thing…Forum), and Schroeder (You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown), among others. He is a Central City Opera Touring Artist and performs with Opera on Tap, Denver Early Music Consort, Denver Art Song Project, and others, as well as coaching and accompanying singers.
In addition to dramatic works, Ewing is an avid performer of art song. He was a national finalist and 6th place winner of the NATS Artist Awards in 2018. In summer 2013, he was one of six singers chosen for the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar where he studied with Stephanie Blythe and Alan Smith. He spent a month at the Vancouver International Song Institute, an intensive summer program for singers and pianists focusing on art song, particularly French repertoire and the songs of Schubert. Ewing enjoys singing contemporary American art song as well, working with both student composers and celebrated masters. He has sung in masterclasses and recitals for Roger Vignoles, William Bolcom, Lori Laitman, Jake Heggie, Libby Larsen, and Colorado composer Bob Spillman.
Harpsichordist Jory Vinikour
Jory Vinikour is recognized as one of the outstanding harpsichordists of his generation. Born in Chicago, he came to Paris on a Fulbright scholarship to study with Huguette Dreyfus and Kenneth Gilbert. First Prizes in the International Harpsichord Competitions of Warsaw (1993) and the Prague Spring Festival (1994) brought him to the public’s attention, and he has since appeared in festivals and concert series, and as soloist with major orchestras, throughout much of the world. He has appeared as conductor/harpsichordist with the Juilliard415 Baroque orchestra at Carnegie Hall, as well as with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Korea Chamber Orchestra, etc. He has collaborated with many of the most prominent singers of today, notably Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, Rolando Villazon. His solo recordings have been widely praised in the international press. His recording of the complete works of Jean-Philippe Rameau (Sono Luminus, 2012) was nominated for a Grammy in the field of Best Classical Solo Intrumental Recording.
"...one of the finest harpsichordists around today. A big musician and a mature artist." - - Indianapolis Star
Fiddler, composer, and storyteller Max Wolpert conjures up monsters and myth where the traditional, classical, and theatrical meet.
Drawing from tradition both musical and mythological, Max Wolpert makes music inspired by stories from around the world. Whether built upon the verve and bounce of an Irish jig, the endearing asymmetry of a Welsh pipe tune, or the drive of a Virginian breakdown, Max's pieces are crafted with taut detail and a flair for the dramatic honed over years as a pit musician, conductor, and orchestrator for theatrical productions.
Max's first viola concerto, Giants, wields the unsung hero of the orchestra to call up singing harps, dancing stormclouds, and a fiendishly ticking clock inexorably counting down to the end of the world.