WILLIAM SHARP, baritone
KRISTINA BACHRACH, soprano
Debra Lew Harder, piano
Wan-Chi Su, piano
Evan Ocheret, oboe
World Premiere Recordings
"[Illuminations] offers an intense listening experience... If a listener is willing to take time out to appreciate these compositions, that person will be rewarded substantially by the thought-provoking poetics."
Joel C. Thompson, Cherry Grove Music Review [February 2021]
"The disc as a whole shows Cacioppo’s versatility as a composer plus his skill as an interpreter of his own piano music."
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [March 2021]
"[Cacioppo's] compositions have been influenced by a broad variety of sources including the medieval poetry of Dante, aspects of Native American culture, and the music he grew up with. His style is a mixture of discordant and tonal elements and improvisatory jazz... The performances are gripping and compelling. Kristina Bachrach uses a variety of vocal techniques and hits stratospheric heights thrillingly. William Sharp serves as both narrator and singer for the Whitman piece. His warm and vibrant voice brings out the grandeur of the text. All three pianists and oboist are first rate."
Moore, American Record Guide [March/April 2021]
PROGRAM NOTES“[the music of Curt Cacioppo] addresses and solves issues that have challenged composers for the last fifty years – how to acknowledge the past, put to artistic use those techniques we acquired in the experimental era, and write in a personal, expressive manner that looks forward. The contrapuntal writing is individual yet eclectic – chant easily transforms into jazz-influenced harmonies, lyric writing takes on cinematic layering. Yet, this eclecticism is Curt’s own – it has the confidence of versatile giants like Bernstein and the originality and rhythmic flexibility of Adams. In dissolving boundaries of style and musical era, the work seems to embody themes of transition and evolution, wisdom and growth.” [Donald Nally | Director, The Crossing]
Inspired by sources as diverse as the medieval poetry of Dante, aspects of Native American culture or the vernacular music he grew up with, CURT CACIOPPO’s distinctive artistic voice attracted national attention in a 1997 Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an honor in the past conferred upon such recipients as Leonard Bernstein, William Schuman and Gian Carlo Menotti. With commissions both domestic and international, he has written for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra and Carmel Bach Festival Orchestra; the Emerson, American, Moscow and Borromeo string quartets and Quartetto di Venezia; the New York Chamber Brass; and many other ensembles and soloists worldwide. A formidable pianist himself, Cacioppo has concertized with the Quartetto di Venezia and with members of the Guarneri, Borromeo and American string quartets; the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Philadelphia Orchestra; the Pacific, National and Boston symphonies; and the Minnesota, Metropolitan Opera and Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestras. Of particular meaning was his “Beethoven for Bosnia” benefit concert series in which he and violinist Geoffrey Michaels performed the complete Beethoven sonatas for piano and violin, raising funds to aid Bosnian student refugees of the war in the 1990s. Cacioppo’s music is well-represented on 20 compact discs, more than half of which are devoted exclusively to his work. His Ritornello with the Quartetto di Venezia (Navona) earned a Grammy® Award nomination and inclusion on the Fanfare’s year-end “must have” list. His pianism is represented on numerous discs, including Millennium Crossings featuring music by Joseph Hudson (Capstone), The Realm of Possibility in works by Mark Hagerty (Meyermedia) and Waldmusik by Christopher Shultis (forthcoming on Neuma Records). Cacioppo’s principal mentors were Leon Kirchner and George Rochberg. Ivan Tcherepnin was an important influence, along with jazz artists Bill Dobbins, Chuck Israels and Pat Pace. Gustave Reese guided his musicology thesis, and his interests in Native American music were encouraged by David McAllester. Cacioppo earned degrees from Harvard University (PhD, AM), New York University (AM) and Kent State University (B.Mus.). He taught for 41 years in the professoriate, first at Harvard, where he also served as Director of Undergraduate Studies in Music, and then at Haverford College, where he occupied the Ruth Marshall Magill endowed chair in music until his retirement from academia in mid-2020.
[ www.curtcacioppo.com ]
Gentle scion of proud Venetian lineage, Luigi Cerantola comes from the land of Giorgione and the Camenae. He is a poet and prose writer, librettist and dramaturge, photographer and calligrapher, and art historian and collector. For 10 years, he was Professor of Italian Language and Literature at the Imperial University of Tokyo. An avid collaborator with artists outside the literary sphere, Cerantola has worked with painter Alessio Mancino, photographers Renato D’Agostin and Valeria Gaia and numerous composers, including Marino Baratello, Filippo Perocco and Curt Cacioppo. Claudio Ambrosini, composer and director of Venice’s Ex Novo ensemble, holds Cerantola to be the greatest living Italian poet. Also an author of several treatises, Cerantola’s most recent is the instructional volume Recitar Cantando, dedicated to Italian diction for singers, and available in Italian, English and Japanese. Widely published, his texts are heard in numerous vocal recordings – several on the RAI Trade (Roma) label – and in performance venues such as the renowned Teatro La Fenice in Venice. Earlier Cerantola-Cacioppo collaborations in the choral genre are Vespero Vermiglio (“Cantata of the Angels”) and Women of Ancient Greek Myth.
Soprano Kristina Bachrach has distinguished herself as a dynamic artist, capable of tackling a vast array of repertoire. In addition to a successful debut at Carnegie Hall, she recently made her Off-Broadway debut, co-starring in a 39-show run of Because I Could Not Stop: An Encounter with Emily Dickinson with the Ensemble for the Romantic Century. On the operatic stage, Bachrach’s roles include Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Musetta in La bohème, La Princesse in L’enfant et les sortilèges and Clorinda in La cenerentola, with performances with Opera Philadelphia, Nashville Opera, Opera Naples in Florida and Gotham Chamber Opera, among others. She also appeared in the New York premiere of Pascal Dusapin’s To Be Sung with the Center of Contemporary Opera and created the role of Lucinda in the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters. Also active in the concert setting, Bachrach has been featured in more than 50 recitals across the United States. Her training includes residencies with the Marlboro Music Festival, Tanglewood, Yellow Barn and the Banff Centre. She is a Grand Prize winner of the Artist Presentation Society of St. Louis Competition, Ziering Conlon International Art Song Competition and American Prize in Vocal Performance.
Born in Vermont of Korean parents, pianist Debra Lew Harder started playing the piano by ear at age three. She began formal lessons at six and made her orchestral debut at twelve. At 16, she performed and recorded Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major with the World Youth Symphony, and the same year received a scholarship to study at the Peabody Conservatory. Harder has performed with orchestras and in solo recitals throughout the United States, including the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago, Xavier University Piano Series in Cincinnati, American University in Washington, D.C., the Colorado Music Fest, The Curtis Institute and Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. She has appeared at Wigmore Hall in London, the historic Barocksaal in Rostock, Germany, and other venues abroad. As a collaborative pianist, she performs with many artists of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and regularly with her piano trio, Trio MiReSol. Harder was recently named Classical Mid-Day Host at WRTI-FM in Philadelphia. She hosts the popular show “Saturday Morning Classical Coffeehouse,” conducts Philadelphia Orchestra broadcast interviews, hosts live-to-broadcast performances, and produces arts news features. A devoted music educator, Debra has taught at The Ohio State University and taught for many years at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges in Pennsylvania. Her doctorate in music was earned at the Ohio State University, where she studied with and served as teaching assistant to Earl Wild.
Oboist Evan Ocheret currently performs up and down the East Coast of the United States with notable ensembles, including Opera Philadelphia, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet, Knights Chamber Orchestra, Ellipses Ensemble, Richmond Symphony and South Florida Symphony Orchestra. Ocheret, on the faculty of Music Academy International, attended Carnegie Mellon University, Temple University and the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with the principal oboist of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Cynthia DeAlmeida, and principal and second oboists of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Richard Woodhams and Jonathan Blumenfeld.
Baritone William Sharp is a singer of great versatility, consistently receiving great critical acclaim for his work in concerts, recitals, operas and recordings. Recent successes include performances of Copland’s Old American Songs with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop; creating the role of Cosimo in the world premiere of John Musto’s The Inspector with Wolf Trap Opera; solo performances in the world premiere of David Froom’s Amichai Songs for the River Concert Series in Maryland; and singing works by J.S. Bach, Leonard Bernstein, Benjamin Britten and Stephen Paulus with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem in Pennsylvania. An active recording artist, Sharp was nominated for a Grammy® Award for Best Classical Vocal Performance for his recording of works by American composers, including Virgil Thomson and Lee Hoiby (New World Records). He can be also heard in the world premiere recording of Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles, which won a Grammy® Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition in 1990 (Koch International). He is further represented in recordings on the Koch, Vox-Turnabout, Newport Classics, Columbia Records, Nonesuch and CRI labels. Sharp, who made his Carnegie Hall recital debut in 1989, is a member of the PostClassical Ensemble, in residence at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D. C., and has taught at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore since 2002. His students perform throughout the world in concert and operatic settings.
Pianist Wan-Chi Su has performed in the United States, Europe and Asia at major venues, including Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, Salle Cortot in Paris and Taiwan National Concert Hall. She has extensively toured the eastern United States, and collaborated with the PostClassical Ensemble and Piatigorsky Foundation, and with Herbert Greenberg, Joe Burgstaller, Michael Kannen and others. Su won first prize in the Taiwan Cultural Cup Invitational Piano Competition, and the Taiwan National Student Music Competition in Piano. She has been invited to numerous music festivals, including the Taos School of Music, Beethoven Institute, Icicle Creek Piano Festival and Chamber Music Festival, National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra International Piano Program and École Normale de Musique de Paris, directed by J.Y. Song, piano faculty member of Mannes School of Music. As a dedicated educator, Su currently serves on the piano faculty of the Park School of Baltimore, and maintains a small private studio. She also teaches for the Ohr Chadash Academy, and as guest instructor for various programs. Born in Taiwan, Su began piano lessons at age four. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in piano at the National Kaohsiung Normal University there, and subsequently a Master of Music and Graduate Performance Diploma at the Peabody Institute, studying with Seth Knopp. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Peabody, under the tutelage of Benjamin Pasternack.
Orenda Press [BMI], 70 Winslow Drive, Orleans, MA 02653
PROGRAMCURT CACIOPPO (b.1951)
La promessa di Beatrice (2019) | Text: Luigi Cerantola
Né più la luce (2013) | Text: Luigi Cerantola
Gloria (2019 version) | Text: Luigi Cerantola
Luce è Donna (2008) | Text: Luigi Cerantola
Parodia alla Sestina: “Operistica”
KRISTINA BACHRACH soprano
CURT CACIOPPO piano
Evan Ocheret oboe
CURT CACIOPPO piano
Notturno elidiano (1998)
DEBRA LEW HARDER piano
(I, madly struggling, cry) (2018) | Text: Walt Whitman
WILLIAM SHARP baritone
WAN-CHI SU piano