The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Performs Handel’s Messiah with Concert Artists of Baltimore, December 2-3

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Ed Polochick conducts the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Concert Artists of Baltimore in a Holiday Classic

Ed Polochick

Every year we find new insights, and tweak a few of our old ideas…. It would be almost impossible to recreate this Messiah anywhere else.

The BSO continues its tradition of ushering in the Christmas season with Handel’s glorious oratorio Messiah on Friday, December 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and on Saturday, December 3 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. Conductor Edward Polochick, who has directed Messiah with the BSO since 1982, will lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale in another uplifting performance of the “Hallelujah Chorus” this 2011 holiday season. Soloists include the return of soprano Karen Clift and bass Stephen Powell, as well as the BSO debuts of mezzo‐soprano Kristina Szabó and tenor Nicholas Phan. See below for complete concert details.

Following the tradition of Handel, Polochick conducts the entire work from the harpsichord, requiring unfaltering concentration from Polochick and his fellow musicians. Maestro Polochick asserts that he enjoys each successive performance even more than the last. “Every year we find new insights, and tweak a few of our old ideas…. It would be almost impossible to recreate this Messiah anywhere else.”

Edward Polochick, conductor and harpsichord
Edward Polochick is the Artistic Director of Concert Artists of Baltimore, now in its 25th season. This year marks his thirteenth season as Music Director of Lincoln's Symphony Orchestra in Nebraska. From 1979-1999 he was director of the Baltimore Symphony Chorus and since 1979 he has been at the Peabody Conservatory as an associate conductor of the Orchestra, director of Choral Ensembles and Opera conductor. He has appeared as piano soloist with The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Since winning the Leopold Stokowski Conducting Award he has attracted attention as an orchestral, operatic and choral conductor. His appearances have included the Houston Symphony, Chautaugua Symphony, the Opera Company of Philladelphia, the Aalborg Symphony of Denmark, Omaha Symphony, Modesto, C.A. Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Daejeon Philharmonic (Korea), St. Petersburg Symphony (Russia) and the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra in Toluca, Mexico.

Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale
Now in its 25th season, Concert Artists of Baltimore (CAB) consists of a professional chamber orchestra and chamber chorus. The full ensembles perform at the Gordon Center and the Lyric, and there is a chamber music series at The Engineers Club in Baltimore. CAB is frequently hired by other organizations such as The Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, Temple Oheb Shalom, St. Louis Church, The Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, The Visionary Arts Museum, Elizabethtown College, Catholic Charities and the Baltimore Symphony.

Karen Clift, soprano
American soprano Karen Clift is recognized for the beauty and clarity of her tone, and the intimacy and power of her musical expression. She has sung in diverse venues from Carnegie Hall to winery caves in Napa Valley, from the stages of many of this country’s major symphony orchestras to the wide open setting of the Canyon Ranch in Wyoming.

Since beginning her career in 1990, Karen has performed as soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Boston Baroque, Minnesota Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Detroit Symphony, The Atlanta Symphony and Robert Shaw Chorale, Vancouver Symphony, the US Naval Academy and many other American symphonies and choral arts societies. She has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and the Baltimore Symphony at the Kennedy Center.

A devoted recitalist and chamber musician, Karen has performed American song, beloved lieder and song from many countries and eras. She has toured the Midwest and West performing countless recitals over the past two decades with her friend and collaborator John Churchwell, who is currently on staff at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera and Music Academy of the West. She has been a featured chamber soloist at Music in the Vineyards, Music in the Parks, The Grand Teton Music Festival, and Festival of the Lakes and with Minnesota’s Blue Baroque Band. She performed in recital at New York City’s Ethical Cultural Society with cellist Andre Emelianoff; premiering a work written for her and cello quartet, Villa Lobos, and French and Russian song. She has premiered and frequently programs the work of American composer David Evan Thomas, and her performance of his piece “Come to the Waters” was an MPR spotlight performance in February 2010. She was a featured recitalist in The Saint Paul Summer Song Festival in 2008, which concluded the Schubert Club’s 125th Anniversary Season. The recital was broadcast by MPR. Her recordings, both nominated for Grammy Awards, are Handel’s Messiah and Monteverdi’s Vespers, 1610 with Boston Baroque on the Telarc Label.

Krisztina Szabó, mezzo-soprano
Canadian mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó has become highly sought in both North America and Europe as an artist of supreme musicianship and stagecraft. Following recent performances of Ottavia in L'incoronazione di Poppea the Chicago Tribune exclaimed "Krisztina Szabó stole every scene with her powerful, mahogany voice and deeply poignant immersion in the empress' plight." The New York Times praised her Lincoln Center debut as Dorabella in Così fan tutte as "clear, strong, stately and an endearingly vulnerable Dorabella."

Recent season highlights included performances of new roles: Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos with Stadttheater Klagenfurt, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni in her fourth production with Chicago Opera Theater. She appeared with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra as soloist in Mozart's Mass in C Minor, L'Orchestre Symphonique de Québec in Bach's Mass in B Minor, the San Antonio Symphony in Messiah, and the Talisker Players in Toronto for an evening of chamber music. Other recent credits include re-engagements with the Canadian Opera Company as Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Wellgunde in Das Rheingold, and Siegrune in Die Walküre; and a return to Chicago Opera Theater as Judith in Bluebeard's Castle.

Nicholas Phan, tenor
American tenor Nicholas Phan recently made his debut at the BBC Proms, and this season returned to the San Francisco Symphony for both Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Carmina Burana, to Carnegie Hall for Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Oratorio Society of New York, and to the Music of Baroque for performances of selections by Purcell. In the fall of 2010, he embarked on a U.S. recital tour that culminated in his recital debut at Carnegie Hall in its Great Singers III: Evenings of Song series in Weill Recital Hall.

Mr. Phan has appeared with many of the leading orchestras in the United States, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (in Chicago and New York), Pittsburgh Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Music Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Music of the Baroque, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. He has also appeared at the Edinburgh, Ravinia, Rheingau, Bard and Marlboro music festivals. Also considered one of the rising young stars of the opera world, Mr. Phan made his debut this season with the Seattle Opera as Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia and debuts at the Festival del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in July in performances of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea. Recent opera performances have included his debuts at the Glyndebourne Opera and the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, as well as appearances with the New York City Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Atlanta Opera, Portland Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Arizona Opera, Opéra de Lille, and Frankfurt Opera. Mr. Phan’s Grammy-nominated recording of Stravinksy’s Pulcinella with Pierre Boulez and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was recently released on the CSO Resound label. His world premiere recording of Evan Chambers’ orchestral song cycle, The Old Burying Ground, was released in July 2010.

Stephen Powell, baritone
The dynamic American baritone Stephen Powell brings his "rich, lyric baritone, commanding presence, and thoughtful musicianship" (Wall Street Journal) to a wide range of music, from Monteverdi and Handel through Verdi and Puccini to Sondheim and John Adams. Opera magazine has hailed him, writing "the big news was Stephen Powell's gorgeously-sung Onegin: rock solid, with creamy legato from top to bottom and dynamics smoothly tapered but never exaggerated."

Recent highlights include his appearance as Ford in Falstaff with Pittsburgh Opera; as Uncle John in The Grapes of Wrath with Collegiate Chorale, under Ted Sperling; soloist in Szymanowski's Stabat Mater with Rome's Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Christoph Eschenbach conducting; in Messiah with Huddersfield Choral Society in England; in Brahms' Requiem with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop conducting; and in Carmina Burana with Cincinnati Symphony, Paavo Jarvi conducting. He also sang the role of Scarpia in Tosca with Minnesota Orchestra; appeared in recital with his wife, soprano Barbara Shirvis, through Highland Park United Methodist Church; sang as soloist in an opera gala concert with North Carolina Symphony Orchestra; in selections from Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn with Aspen Music Festival; and in performance with Madison Opera in "Opera in the Park."In addition he has sung as Germont in La traviata and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, both with Los Angeles Opera, also as Germont with San Francisco Opera and New Orleans Opera; and as Miller in Luisa Miller at the Cincinnati May Festival, James Conlon conducting.

On concert stages he has sung as soloist in Carmina Burana with both the Phoenix Symphony and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra; Messiah with Baltimore Symphony; in Brahms' Requiem and Dvorák's Te Deum, both with Cathedral Choral Society; Mahler's Symphony No. 8 with Tonhalle-Orchestre Zurich (recorded for the Sony/BMG label); Mahler's Das klagende Lied with the Philadelphia Orchestra; Brahms' Requiem with San Diego Symphony; Haydn's The Creation with the Rochester Philharmonic; Verdi's Requiem with the Mendelssohn Club at Verizon Hall in Philadelphia; and as soloist in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in a return to Baltimore Symphony. He also performed in recital with his wife in a program entitled "American Celebration."

BSO Holiday Concert: Handel’s Messiah
Friday, December 2, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. – Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Saturday, December 3, 2011 at 8 p.m. – Music Center at Strathmore

Edward Polochick, conductor and harpsichord
Karen Clift, soprano
Krisztina Szabó, mezzo-soprano
Nicholas Phan, tenor
Stephen Powell, baritone
Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale

Handel: Messiah

Tickets range from $25 to $88 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or


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