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Chamber Music VI

Barbara Harbach

James Richards, conductor

Stella Markou, soprano
Jennifer Mazzoni, flute
Jane Price, violin
Julia Sakharova, violin
Alla Voskoboynikova, piano

World Premiere Recordings



"[Barbara Harbach] has 'an appreciation of beauty and elegance that most modern composers don’t' (M/J 2011)... There is much to admire in her lyricism. She knows how to write a strong, satisfying melodic line that feels idiomatic to its instrument... all is deeply felt and expressed, which is what will make me listen to this again. In all, a pleasing and substantial diversion."
Faro, American Record Guide [January/February 2022]
"[ * * * * * ] Five Stars / Grab this one off the online shelf!] The sound is pristine on this disc and soloists sound the way they would if the listener were sitting in an intimate hall dedicated to chamber music. This CD is not to be missed with its pieces on civil rights, women’s rights, and Native American History."
Maria Nockin, Fanfare [November/December 2021]
"It is welcome to encounter new music that is tonal, melodic, emotionally communicative, and yet still sounds fresh. Such is the case with Barbara Harbach’s output. The first word that comes to mind as one listens is “beautiful.” This is music for any listener who enjoys, for instance, Vaughan Williams’ warmth and rich melodic style... All of the performances are committed and well executed. The recorded sound is warm and well balanced. It is fortunate that MSR provides texts, as the words are not always easily comprehensible from just listening. In the 1950s and 1960s it would have been difficult for a composer like Harbach to find performances, because of the rigidity of the musical establishment’s resistance to tonal and melodic music. Fortunately, we are beyond that now, and this gifted composer’s work is performed and recorded with some frequency."
Henry Fogel, Fanfare [November/December 2021]
"[ * * * * Four Stars] The music of Barbara Harbach always seems to be a joy to review. The sense of open-air freshness to her music is irresistible, and it always seems to be so carefully constricted. Not a note wasted; Harbach knows what she wants to say and exactly how to say it... I have yet to be disappointed by anything Harbach has written. This disc acts as yet another affirmation of Harbach’s stature in American music today."
Colin Clarke, Fanfare [November/December 2021]
"[ * * * * Four Stars / Accomplished and moving chamber works by American composer Barbara Harbach] A new CD from MSR Classics is Volume VI in a survey of the Chamber Music of the American composer, keyboard artist, and educator, Barbara Harbach. I always welcome the opportunity to hear and review Harbach’s music. Her compositions are notable for their melodic inspiration, lovely and transparent scoring, and keen sense of involvement with her subject matter. I also admire the optimistic, life-affirming atmosphere that pervades her work. This is not to say that Harbach’s music is unremittingly cheerful, even in moments that call for a darker mode of expression. But like Aaron Copland, whose spirit, I think may be found to some degree in her music, Harbach maintains faith in the human experience, and the possibility of hope... The booklet includes extensive and informative program notes, sung texts and artist bios. A release of considerable merit, and highly recommended."
Ken Meltzer, Fanfare [November/December 2021]
"Harbach works in a tonal medium, with instrumental highlights that are effective... This is, in essence, “cause” music, skillfully created to make points... Listeners already familiar with Harbach’s work will enjoy having this disc."
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [September 2021]
Barbara Harbach has a large catalog of works, including symphonies, operas, works for string and chamber ensemble, choral anthems, ballet, musicals and film scores. She has also composed music for organ, harpsichord and piano and has arranged numerous Baroque works for brass and organ. A gifted performer as well, Harbach has toured extensively as both an organist and harpsichordist throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. Her lively performances and recordings have captured the imagination of many American composers; the body of work written for and dedicated to her is substantial. Harbach is also heavily involved in the research, editing, publication and recording of manuscripts of 18th century keyboard composers, as well as historical and contemporary women composers. Also a prolific recording artist, Harbach can be heard on more than a dozen albums on MSR Classics, Naxos Records, Gasparo Records, Kingdom Records, Albany Records, Northeastern Records and Hester Park. Harbach, who serves as editor of the WomenArts Quarterly Journal, initiated Women in the Arts−St. Louis, a celebration of the achievements of women creators. More than 800 events by cultural organizations in the St. Louis region have provided audiences with new and historical examples of the work of women writers, composers and artists. In recognition of this, she received the Arts Education Award from the Missouri Arts Council, the Missouri Citizen for the Arts Award, the Yellow Rose Award from the Zonta International Club of St. Louis and the Faculty Excellence Award from the College of Fine Arts and Communication at the University of Missouri St. Louis. The winner of numerous awards and honors, Harbach received the Hellenic Spirit Foundation Award, Grand Center Visionary Award for “Successful Working Artist,” Argus Foundation Award and YWCA Leader of Distinction Award in the Arts. She was recently named National Arts Associate Distinguished Member of the Buffalo Chapter of SAI, and one of the “30 Most Innovative Women Professors Alive Today”. Harbach is also the recipient of an honorary doctorate in music, Honoris Causa, from Wilmington College in Ohio for her achievements as a composer, performer, editor and publisher. Currently a Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emerita of Music at the University of Missouri−St. Louis, Harbach holds a Bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University, a Master’s degree from Yale University, a Konzertdiplom from the Musikhochschule of Frankfurt, Germany, and a Doctorate from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. [ ]

A native of Arizona, soprano Stella Markou is well-versed in solo repertoire, opera and oratorio. She has been a featured guest artist with the Edinburgh Contemporary Musical Ensemble, Union Avenue Opera, Masterworks Chorale, Dance New Amsterdam Company, University of Nevada Las Vegas Concert Series, Ambassadors of Harmony, Arianna String Quartet and Nashville Ballet. Her stage performances include numerous roles in opera and off-Broadway productions. Notable performances include concerts at the Mythodia Conservatory in Paros and a guest appearance at the opening of the International Maria Callas exhibit on behalf of the Hellenic Parliament Foundation and Consulate General of Greece. A passionate advocate of contemporary music, her festival work includes the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Heidelberg New Music Festival, International Computer Music Conference, Electronic Music Midwest and SEAMUS. Her recordings can be heard on the MSR Classics and SEAMUS labels. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, a Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from The University of Arizona. She is an Associate Professor of Music, and since 2007 has been serving as the Director of Vocal Studies and Opera Theatre at the University of Missouri in St. Louis.

Flutist Jennifer Mazzoni is an active soloist and chamber musician. A passionate performer who enjoys sharing new music with her audiences, she has appeared across the country bringing programs of widely varied repertoire, from the earliest works for flute through the very latest music from today’s top composers. A native of St. Louis, she studied with Jan Gippo and Mark Sparks of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and pursued her graduate degree with Thomas Robertello at Indiana University. With a special affinity for the orchestra, Mazzoni has appeared as a concerto soloist playing works by Nielson, Rouse, J.S. Bach and others with numerous orchestras, including the St. Louis Symphony. She and her husband Matthew Mazzoni perform actively as the Mazzoni Duo, and together they were recent prizewinners of the Artist Presentation Society.

A native of West Lafayette, Indiana, Jane Price is active as a soloist, and as a chamber and orchestral musician. She has been an extra member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with which she has been touring internationally since 1994, and has performed with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and St. Louis Opera Theater as well. As a chamber musician, Price has collaborated with members of the Cleveland Quartet, New York Woodwind Quintet and Mark Morris Dance Company. She was a fellow at the Tanglewood Institute, Norfolk Festival, Spoleto Festival in both the United States and Italy, and spent a year as a member of the New World Symphony in Florida. Price holds a Bachelor's degree in Music from Indiana University and a Master's degree in Music from the New England Conservatory. She is currently a faculty member in the Department of Music at Washington University in St. Louis.

Violinist Julia Sakharova is an internationally established concert artist, known for her performances as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player. A current member of the Arianna String Quartet, she has been praised for her sensitivity, technical prowess and strong musical personality. Prior to joining the Arianna Quartet, she served as Assistant Concert-master with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, was a member of the Albany Symphony in New York and served on the string faculty at the Newark School of Arts in New Jersey. In 1999, after graduating from Moscow’s prestigious Central Special Music School of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Sakharova moved to the United States, where she continued studies at Oberlin College, The Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music. She won first prize at the International Competition for the Music of Eastern & Central Europe, first prize at the Olga Koussevitzky Competition for Strings, a top prize at the Jeunesses Musicales Montreal International Competition, and the first prize of the 2001 Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition. Sakharova is currently on the string faculty at the University of Missouri in St. Louis.

Alla Voskoboynikova performs extensively as a soloist and a collaborator, regularly accompanying members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and coaching for the Union Avenue Opera Company and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Her collaborations have included concerts with St. Louis Symphony Orchestra instrumentalists and St. Louis Chamber Music Society, where she performs regularly as a soloist and collaborator. Before moving to the United States in 1996, she performed numerous solo recitals along with chamber music concerts throughout Europe, and also served as a pianist and vocal coach at the Kiev Opera and Ballet Theater in Ukraine. Voskoboynikova received a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance from the Music College in Voronezh, Russia, and a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from the Gnessins Academy of Music in Moscow. Since 2004, she has been the Director of Keyboard Studies at the University of Missouri in St. Louis.

James Richards is the Founding Director for the School of Fine and Performing Arts at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. In addition to conducting the University Orchestra, Richards is also Conductor and Music Director of the Gateway Festival Orchestra of St. Louis. Prior to these appointments, he served as Conductor of the Kirkwood Symphony Orchestra for 19 seasons and as Associate Conductor of the Kammergild Chamber Orchestra. Richards has appeared frequently as a guest conductor and clinician for band and orchestra festivals throughout the United States, including numerous guest appearances with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s “Discovery” series. In 2009, Richards conducted the New York premiere of Barbara Harbach’s music theater work, Booth! at New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Richards holds a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music and degrees in orchestral conducting and music theory, as well as a Performer’s Certificate in Violin from the University of Texas at Austin.
CIVIL CIVILITY for chamber orchestra with soprano, flute, violin and piano
I. Sentiments | Elizabeth Cady Stanton
II. Gift of Mystery | Eleanor Roosevelt
III. Memories of Our Lives | Rosa Parks
IV. Committed | Margaret Mead
V. Light of Truth | Ida Wells-Barnett
VI. Ain’t I a Woman | Sojourner Truth

VISIONS OF HILDEGARD for violin and piano
I. O vis eternitatis (O Power Within Eternity)
II. O nobilissima viriditas (O Noblest Green Viridity)
III. O Ignee Spiritus (O Fiery Spirit)

CUATRO DANZAS for flute and piano
I. Danza Flamenco
II. La Mente (Only in the Mind)
III. Andante para vihuelo de penole
IV. Danza Delirio

I. And Musing Awhile
II. Ojibwe Prayer
III. The Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky
IV. Trail of Tears

Recorded 4-6 October 2017 (1-6), 23-25 June 2018 (10-13) and 12-13 June 2019 (7-9,14-17) at Anheuser-Busch Theater, Touhill Performing Arts Center, University of Missouri at St. Louis. A Candlewood Digital high resolution Natural Presence™ recording: Produced, engineered, edited and mastered by Richard Price.

MSR Classics
Soprano, Violin, Piano & Chamber Orchestra BARBARA HARBACH