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SPRING STRINGS

190427 OVS Concert April 27, 2019
at 7:30 p.m.

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To cap off the season Peter Stafford Wilson will conduct the rousing April 27th Spring Strings concert. Soloist Tim Berens encouraged his friend, Grammy nominated American composer Frank Proto, to premiere his newly written double bass concerto in the acoustically superb Ariel Opera House. Frank was in agreement and decided to include Tim on guitar – giving you twice the pleasure at this April 27th concert! The first half of the concert will feature Frank’s music and the second half will feature Tim’s arrangements.

Conductor Peter Stafford Wilson

Now in his seventeenth season as Music Director of Ohio’s Springfield Symphony Orchestra, PETER STAFFORD WILSON is one of the most exciting and talked about conductors of his generation. Concurrently, he holds the post of Music Director of the Westerville Symphony. He also fulfills his seventh season as Principal Conductor of Tulsa Ballet, leading three productions, including the annual holiday performances of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, with choreography by Artistic Director Marcello Angelini.

Peter Stafford Wilson’s leadership of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra continues to elicit praise from the public, musicians and press. Its 2005 Agriculture and the Arts Growing Together brought international attention to the organization, as did the sequel, American Made: Celebrating Our Manufacturing Heritage, which premiered in November 2007. The orchestra’s innovative series, “Night Lights,” has enjoyed steadily increasing sales and attendance. The recent endowment of the Music Director chair with gifts totaling one million dollars is further testimony to the community’s expanding support. Mr. Wilson and the SSO are the recipients of a 2009-2010 ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming.

From 1990 to 2008, Peter Stafford Wilson held the posts of Assistant and Associate Conductor of The Columbus Symphony Orchestra. In Columbus, his duties included the leadership of the orchestra’s nationally recognized educational projects, which have been featured at national conferences of the American Symphony Orchestra League and Music Educators National Conference. He led programs on all of the orchestra’s classical and Pops subscription series, and played a major role in its 1997 Viva Vienna Festival. Subsequently, he was named Artistic Director of the orchestra’s Festival Weeks @ The Southern, for which his innovative programming was consistently praised. He is the recipient of a 2010 Columbus Symphony Orchestra Music Education Award, given in recognition of his 20 years of dedication to the orchestra’s educational programming, as well as a 2017 Columbus City Schools’ Outstanding Leadership Award and a Greater Columbus Arts Council Community Arts Partnership Educator Award. Mr. Wilson also served as Music Director of the Columbus

Symphony Youth Orchestra, which he regularly led in local and regional concerts. The CSYO has performed at the national conferences of the ASOL and MENC and at the 1998 International Youth Orchestra Festival in Banff, Alberta. In the summer of 1999, he and the CSYO toured Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany. During the summer of 2005, Mr. Wilson led the CSYO on a highly acclaimed tour of The People’s Republic of China, playing to capacity audiences in Beijing, Hefei, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as in an historic performance atop the Great Wall of China. He also conducted the CSYO in two programs at New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall, most recently in 2018.

A native of North Carolina, Peter Stafford Wilson studied at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where his primary mentor was the late Thomas Schippers. During his years at CCM, he became a leading exponent of contemporary music, often collaborating with faculty and student composers, including the Conservatory’s Visiting Professor of Composition, Lukas Foss. Mr. Wilson also studied at the Aspen Music School, where he studied with Dennis Russell Davies, Eastern Music Festival (on whose faculty he subsequently served), Pierre Monteux School, Boris Goldovsky Summer Opera Institute and Rome’s Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, where he was associated with Franco Ferrara. After his advanced studies, he was appointed Assistant, and later Associate, Conductor of the Canton Symphony Orchestra. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra appointed him Regional Pops Conductor for the 1995 summer season, during which he led the orchestra in a series of widely acclaimed performances in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Mr. Wilson also enjoyed a multi-year artistic relationship with The Cleveland Orchestra, often serving as cover conductor for Severance Hall and Blossom Music Center events. In 1996, the American Symphony Orchestra League featured him in its Conductor Preview event, a program that encourages emerging conducting talents in the United States.

Peter Stafford Wilson has guest conducted the orchestras of Bozeman, Charlotte, Chautauqua, Dallas, Detroit, Erie, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Louisville, North Carolina, Phoenix, Roanoke, Seattle, Syracuse, Tucson, Tulsa, West Virginia, Wheeling and Youngstown. He also led the Independence Day Concert with Peter Nero’s Philly Pops Orchestra and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic’s highly popular “Awesome Classics” series, as well as programs with Orquesta Filarmónica de Montevideo and Hong Kong Sinfonietta. No stranger to the lyric theater, Mr. Wilson has held the positions of Principal Conductor of South Carolina’s Opera Charleston and Music Director of the Ohio Light Opera and conducted performances at Spoleto Festival USA, Young Artists Opera Theater, College Light Opera, Canton Lyric Opera and Otterbein College Opera Theatre. He also enjoys an on-going association with BalletMet in Columbus.

Peter Stafford Wilson and his wife, Barbara Karam Wilson, reside in Westerville, Ohio. When not conducting, he enjoys traveling, golf and reading. He is also a wine enthusiast and an avid gourmet cook. www.peterstaffordwilson.com

Tim Berens, guitar

Tim Berens’ multi-faceted career gives testament to his lifelong quest to learn, perform and write music. So far, his venture has led him through the worlds of classical guitar, jazz guitar, orchestral guitar, arranging, orchestration, composition, and conducting.

During his years as the guitarist for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Tim played guitar, banjo, mandolin and bouzouki on concerts, recordings, television programs, and tours. Beginning in the late 1990’s, Tim began arranging for the CPO, eventually becoming the orchestra’s principal arranger.

His arrangements are regularly performed in venues from Carnegie Hall to the Kennedy Center to the Hollywood Bowl.

Tim’s arrangements caught the ears of others and he began receiving commissions from many leading conductors and major orchestras. His arrangements are performed hundreds of times per year by orchestras throughout the United States and abroad, in venues from Carnegie Hall to the Kennedy Center to the Hollywood Bowl. Tim’s arrangements receive praise from conductors, musicians, librarians, management, and listeners.

Conducting the music of master composers enriched his skills as an orchestrator.

In 2010, the desire to continue learning led Tim to return to school to study conducting. Two intensive years later, he earned a Masters Degree in Orchestral Conducting. As he conducted the music of great composers like Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Shostakovich, his studies of their scores enriched his skills as an orchestrator.

As a young student studying classical guitar at CCM, Tim took every opportunity to play jazz and other styles. This work prepared him well for the audition for the Cincinnati Pops. Over the following years, other orchestras began hiring Tim, and he performed with more than 20 orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. He played thousands of services for conductor Erich Kunzel.

Rhapsody in Blue is a guitar concerto?

Tim was featured as a soloist on many of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra’s concerts, recordings and television broadcasts, most notably when he transcribed the piano part from “Rhapsody in Blue” for guitar.

Throughout his professional career Tim has performed regularly at jazz clubs, releasing 4 jazz recordings on the Red Mark label under his own name along the way, and he has continued working as a classical guitarist, performing Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” to great acclaim.

Tim’s most nerve wracking performance took place in 1975. Not even the duet he performed with Kristin Chenoweth at Carnegie Hall induced more gut-wrenching performance anxiety than his band’s performance of Smoke on the Water in the Van Buren Junior High School Talent Show. TimBerens.com

Frank Proto, double base

Frank Proto was born in Brooklyn, New York. He began piano studies at the age of 7 and the double bass at the age of 16 while a student at the High School of Performing Arts in New York City. After graduating he attended the Manhattan School of Music where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. As a student of David Walter Frank performed the first solo double bass recital in the history of the school. As a composer he his self-taught. For his graduation recital in 1963, Proto confronted the typical bass player’s problem – there was very little literature for the instrument. He programmed a baroque work, a romantic piece, and an avant-garde composition using electronic tape, but he wanted a contemporary composition in a more American style. Unable to find one he liked, he decided to write his own. The resulting piece Sonata 1963 for Double Bass and Piano — was his first composition. It has subsequently been performed hundreds of times, worldwide by scores of bassists, and has entered the standard double bass repertoire.

During the early 1960s Frank earned his living as a free-lance bassist in New York City, performing with such organizations as the Symphony of the Air, American Symphony, the Robert Shaw Chorale, and — as one of the original members — the Princeton Chamber Orchestra. He also played with various Broadway and Off-Broadway show bands and in many of the jazz clubs that were a mainstay of New York nightlife at the time.

In 1966 he joined the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra where, with the help and encouragement of CSO Music Directors Max Rudolf and Thomas Schippers, he began to bloom as a composer. The early opportunities given him by the CSO to compose and arrange for the orchestra resulted in a 30 year stay in which the orchestra premiered over 20 large works and countless smaller pieces and arrangements composed for Young People’s concerts, Pop’s concerts, tours and special occasions.

Frank was appointed Composer-in-Residence by Thomas Schippers in 1972 and during his tenure with the orchestra every music director commissioned him to compose works to feature various principal players, visiting guest soloists or the orchestra itself on its subscription concerts, including Max Rudolf Concerto No. 1 for Double Bass and Orchestra; Thomas Schippers Concerto in One Movement for Violin, Double Bass and Orchestra and Concerto for Cello and Orchestra; Michael Gielen Dialogue for Synclavier and Orchestra; Jesus Lopes-Cobos The New Seasons for Tuba, Percussion and Orchestra, Hamabe No Arashi and the Music Drama Ghost In Machine.

Writing for the Pops, his Casey at the Bat has been performed over 500 times and has been recorded twice, while his Carmen Fantasy for Trumpet and Orchestra — commissioned and recorded by Doc Severinsen — recently received its 400th performance. His Fantasy on the Saints, An American Overture and Variations on Dixie have become standards in the Orchestral Pops repertoire.

Working in such an all-encompassing musical atmosphere, both as a player and a composer, has resulted in Proto being able to become as comfortable with the large orchestra as he is with a jazz rhythm section. The result is as exhilarating as it is natural.

He has written music for such artists as Dave Brubeck, Eddie Daniels, Duke Ellington, Cleo Laine, Benjamin Luxon, Sherill Milnes, Gerry Mulligan, Roberta Peters, François Rabbath, Ruggerio Ricci, Doc Severinsen, Richard Stoltzman and Lucero Tena.

Since leaving the Cincinnati Symphony in 1997 Proto has continued to work in a wide variety of styles and sizes including the Violin Concerto Can This Be Man? – a Music Drama for Violin and Orchestra for Alexander Kerr, Concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, 3 Divertimenti for Solo Violin for the young virtuoso Eric Bates, Yesterday’s News – a Satire for Jazz Band and Actors for the Jazz Band at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, The Creatures in Room 642 for the Dayton Symphony Orchestra’s Young People’s programs, Four Scenes after Picasso – Concerto No. 3 for Double Bass and Orchestra for François Rabbath and Paganini in Metropolis for Clarinet and Wind Symphony and/or Clarinet and Orchestra for Eddie Daniels.

Proto and Daniels also collaborated on a year-long DVD project: Bridges – Eddie Daniels plays the music of Frank Proto, which features the world premiere performances and recordings of Sketches of Gershwin and Sextet for Clarinet and Strings. The Red Mark DVD/CD was rewarded with a 2008 Grammy Nomination.

In 1977 he began a collaboration with the Syrian-French double bass virtuoso François Rabbath. He has written Rabbath four major compositions — with a fifth in the works — with orchestra that span a musical landscape from the most contemporary and serious – Four Scenes after Picasso – to the most unusual Carmen Fantasy that anyone is likely to encounter. Rabbath, whose musical appetite is as wide-ranging as Proto’s has recorded all of the pieces and continues to perform them worldwide.

In 1993 Proto began another collaboration — with poet, playwright and author John Chenault. To date they have written eight works together, the most notable being Ghost in Machine – an American Music Drama for Vocalist, Narrator and Orchestra. Commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony for the its 100th anniversary in 1995, the work brought Proto and Chenault together with the vocalist Cleo Laine and actor Paul Winfield for the first time. Ghost is a work that is not easily pigeon-holed. It is a large-scale orchestral work that uses elements from a wide spectrum of the musical landscape woven around an equally wide-ranging text that explores contemporary society’s problems with racism, religious intolerance and gender warfare.

The success of Ghost resulted in two new commissions for the pair. The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. commissioned a work for Cleo Laine to celebrate the new millennium. The result – The Fools of Time – is a jazz-based work and was premiered in February 2000. At the other end of the musical spectrum is My Name is Citizen Soldier, commissioned by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra to celebrate the orchestra’s 10th anniversary and the opening of the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans. The work, a tribute to the veterans of World War II, was premiered in September 2000 with actor Paul Winfield as the soloist.

Working with Chenault has brought an added dimension to Proto’s music — the visual. Their pieces bring a more all-encompassing, quasi theatrical experience to audiences. Together they have explored various ways to utilize the orchestra in ways beyond the traditional. Their techniques have enabled them to bond in new ways with audiences, resulting in spectacularly-successful performances. Their most recent collaboration, The Tuner, a Musical Prophecy in Seven Scenes for Vocalist, Actors and Musicians, is a musical what if centered around the events of the present time.

In 2009 the pair finished their largest project to date: Shadowboxer – an opera based on the life of Joe Louis. Commissioned by the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and the University of Maryland School of Music, the two-act, two and a half hour production was directed by Leon Major and was given it’s premiere production in April of 2010.

Proto believes strongly in maintaining the connection between composing and performing — a tradition that once was the norm but is now the exception outside of the jazz and pop fields. He does not hesitate to pick up his bass to play with a jazz or chamber music group or travel near or far to play a solo recital. “It helps a great deal to experience what a soloist feels when under the lights,” he says. Currently in a long-term project to record all of his chamber music for the Red Mark label — Eight CDs and Four DVDs have been released to date, with several more in various stages of production — he continues to maintain his double life as both a composer and performer.

In November 2006 Proto was awarded the Grand Prize in the First New Orleans International Composer Competition for his Fiesta Bayou and Kismet. The prize included a commission for a major orchestra work. The Dalì Gallery, a 6-movement, 30-minute orchestral suite based on the paintings of Salvadore Dalì was premiered by the Louisiana Philharmonic, conducted by Klauspeter Seibel on May 7, 2009.

Proto is also passionate in his belief that performing artists and composers should not hesitate to tackle the pressing issues that confront society today – the controversial social and political issues that most artists in this supposedly free society of ours are loathe to confront with their art. Examples of his work in this area include the chamber works; Afro-American Fragments (poetry by Langston Hughes), Mingus – Live in the Underworld (Text by John Chenault), Four Rogues – a Mystery for Double Bass and Piano and The Games of October for Oboe and Double Bass (after the Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas Supreme Court hearings). Orchestral works include; Can this be Man?, Ghost in Machine, My Name is Citizen Soldier, Four Scenes after Picasso, and The Profanation of Hubert J. Fort – an Allegory in Four Scenes for Voice, Clarinet (doubling) Tenor Saxophone and Double Bass. Proto composed both the Music and the text for the piece. liben.com

 

Repetoire

Sketches of Gershwin

Bass & Guitar Concerto

Also Funk Zarathustra

Pavanne con Salsa

Fernie’s Up

Gimme a Fifth O’ Funk (Ludwig funk Beethoven)

Proto

Proto

Strauss/Berens

Faure/Berens

Berens

Beethoven/Berens

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