Hildegard Then and Now on Nov. 9

Date(s) - Monday, November 09, 2015
7:30 pm

Holy Family Chapel, Nazareth Center

An artist's depiction of Hildegard von Bingen

An artist’s depiction of Hildegard von Bingen

Hear Hildegard von Bingen’s influence through the ages, as her music, as she would have heard it, is presented by Diane Penning and Barbara Witham McCargar of the Hildegard Singers (replacing the originally scheduled Linn Maxwell Keller’s “Hildegard and the Living Light”), followed by modern works inspired by Hildegard’s music. Selections from the program of new music, originally presented on May 16, 2015 in collaboration with the 50th Medieval Congress and International Society of Hildegard von Bingen Studies, are repeated with Diane Penning and Barbara Witham McCargar singing the chants on which the new works were based.

Equally at home in classical repertoire and pops, Diane Penning has performed with orchestras around the country, including the Adrian, Arkansas, Battle Creek, Bijou and Colorado Springs Symphonies; the Dayton Philharmonic; Grand Rapids and Grant Park Music Festival Symphonies; the Interlochen Arts Academy; the Kalamazoo and South West Michigan Symphonies, the Traverse Symphony and the West Michigan Symphony.
Her musical theater credits include Cunegonde in Candide, Marian in The Music Man, Amalia in She Loves Me, and Maria in the concert version of West Side Story as well as “the grouch” in Robert Kapilow’s Green Eggs & Ham. Diane holds degrees in music and voice from the University of Michigan (BM) and Western Michigan University (MM in voice performance.) Diane’s professional recordings include Phantom Phantasy with the Grand Rapids Symphony; Christmas Festival with the Czek National Orchestra; Everything Under the Sun with pianist Rich Ridenour, Simply Gershwin with pianist Paul Bisaccia, and Sacred Space with composer/performer Nicholas Palmer. www.dianepenning.com

Barbara Witham McCargar has performed with the Grand Rapids Symphony Pops, Kalamazoo and Calvin College Oratorio Societies, Lansing Lyric Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, GR Choir of Men and Boys, St. Cecilia Music Society, Ann Arbor Cantata Singers, Chamber Choir of GR, the College Music Society and the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. Chair of the Aquinas College Music Department where she has given many recitals that have featured works by women composers, she has been featured on several recordings, as well as toured in Spain and Portugal with the medieval chant trio, Vox Angelica. In the midwest and beyond, Barbara is a sought after cantor, performer, clinician and presenter on vocal technique and a trainee withAndover Educators — What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body.

Lawrence Axelrod is a composer, pianist and conductor, whose musical activities have taken him around the United States and Europe. As a composer,  Mr. Axelrod has had works done by The Chicago Composers Orchestra, Palomar, Ensemble Dal Niente,  Pinotage, The Lincoln Trio, The Duo Ahlert/Schwab, the Ensemble JungeMusik Berlin and The Verdi String Quartet in recent seasons. Most recently, two of his Brandenburg Fantasias were premiered by the Chicago Composers Orchestra in November 2014. His music was also included in the Sound of Silent Film project on Gaudi, presented by Access Contemporary Music. Pos Metaphonos, a concerto for Bass Clarinet and orchestra was premiered by the Chicago Composers Orchestra with Lawrie Bloom of the Chicago Symphony as soloist in January of 2013. His solo piano work Common Threads was included in AIDS Quilt Songbook @20 concert in December of 2012 in the Great Hall at Cooper Union in New York City.  In the dual capacities of pianist and composer, he performed all-Mazurka programs for several seasons combining classic and newly-composed compositions in this form.  He was invited to perform a piano recital as part of the Eighth International Festival of Electroacoustic Music held in Havana, Cuba in March 2000, and returned there in March 2004 to give a second recital.   A new CD featuring Mr. Axelrod’s Six Brandenburg Fantasias, compositions using the instrumentation from Bach’s famous works, was released in October 2013 on the Innova label, garnering significant attention, and was considered for Grammy nomination. A new recording, featuring works for soloists and chamber orchestra, is due out in Spring 2016. Mr. Axelrod has received grants from the Illinois Arts Council, Chorus America, Meet the Composer and Arts International for the performances of his works.

Mr. Axelrod is a founder and is current president of the Chicago Composers’ Consortium. and was a member of CUBE Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. He has attended numerous composition residencies around the United States and in Europe. He has taught a highly successful opera appreciation class in Santa Fe each summer for fifteen years, which has become a springboard for leading cultural travel trips. His teaching experience also includes Music Theory at Columbia College (Chicago, IL), and classes for young people.  Lawrence Axelrod received his undergraduate degree from Amherst College and a Master of Music Degree in orchestral conducting from Northwestern University.

Composer/oboist Patricia Morehead has created a body of work of exceptional richness and breadth. Spanning the repertory from solo works to works for orchestra and opera, her music employs a palette of sounds and structures that entice the ear and seduce the mind. She is the founder of CUBE Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, has a PhD in Composition from the University of Chicago and is an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Center. Her music is recorded on Navona, Parma Label and is published by Jeanné.


Elizabeth (Betsy) Start has degrees in mathematics and cello performance from Oberlin College and Conservatory, master’s degrees in cello and theory/composition from Northern Illinois University, and a PhD in composition from the University of Chicago. Following the completion of her doctorate, she spent 10 years free-lancing as a cellist, viola da gambist, composer and teacher in the Chicago area, playing with organizations including the Elgin, Lake Forest, Park Ridge, and Northwest Indiana Symphonies, Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Basically Bach, CUBE, and the Contemporary Chamber Players; teaching at institutions including DePaul University, McHenry County College and Columbia College; and involved as a composer with the Chicago Composers’ Consortium, New Music Chicago, CUBE, and American Women Composers Midwest (now part of the International Alliance of Women in Music). She returned to her hometown of Kalamazoo (MI) in 2001, and plays in the Kalamazoo Symphony, while continuing her activities in Illinois with the Elgin Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic (formerly Symphony II), Chicago Composers’ Consortium, and Access Contemporary Music. In June, 2004, she was named the Executive Director of the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music.

As a performer, she has premiered over 100 works.  As a composer, she has had numerous commissions and grants, and over 200 performances of over 80 works in the U.S. and abroad.  Start has received numerous commissions, including one to create a fanfare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Junior Boys Tennis Championships.  Her many grants have come from sources including the Gilmore Emerging Artist, ArtServe Michigan, Arts Outreach and three Kalamazoo Artist Development Initiative awards from the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo. She has produced 4 CDs, the most recent including fused glass art works paired with each composition, and fused glass pins included with each CD.    www.elizabethstart.com


Tickets for this concert are available HERE beginning Aug 17Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door.

If you plan to attend more than one MFSM 2015 event, please consider a Festival Pass for $120. This pass provides admission to Tapestry (Nov. 6), Trio Speranza (Nov. 7), Tisra with Rohan Krishnamurthy (Nov. 8), Anzaldua (Nov. 8), Hildegard (Nov. 9), Shaheen (Nov. 12), Rachel Barton Pine (Nov. 13) and Hot Pstromi (Nov. 14). Festival pass does NOT include admission to Kalamazoo Junior Symphony with Rachel Barton Pine (Nov. 15). A Festival Pass can be purchased HERE.




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