New Philharmonic the professional orchestra in residence at the McAninch Arts Center, continues its 40th Anniversary Season with “An Evening of Gershwin” at the MAC Saturday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 23 at 3 p.m.; free pre-concert MAC Chats will precede each concert beginning at 6:30 and 2 p.m.respectively.
“Though he only lived to age 38, George Gershwin‘s compositions earned him a place as one of the best known, best loved American composers of classical and pop and movie score music in the 20th Century. We’ve never made him the centerpiece of a concert before so now, as our 40th Anniversary Season seemed to be a good time to do so,” says New Philharmonic music director and conductor Kirk Muspratt.
The concert will open with New Philharmonic, under the baton of Muspratt, performing “An American in Paris.” Then guest pianist Marta Aznavoorian joins New Philharmonic onstage for “Rhapsody in Blue.” Following intermission, guest soprano Kimberly E. Jones, guest baritone Bill McMurray and the Northwest Indiana Symphony Chorus join New Philharmonic to perform 14 selections from “Porgy and Bess” including “Summertime,” commonly recognized as one of the most covered songs in the history of recorded music, “I Got Plenty O’Nuttin’,” “Bess, You Is My Woman Now,” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So.”
Marta Aznavoorian (pianist), seen most recently by New Philharmonic fans in its April 2016 “Dueling Pianos” concert, has performed in Chicago’s most prestigious venues and concerts throughout the U.S. and abroad. She has soloed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, Miami’s New World Symphony, the Aspen Concert Orchestra, San Angelo Symphony and San Diego Symphony and has worked with renowned conductors including Sir Georg Solti, Lukas Foss, and Michael Tilson Thomas. Her solo recitals have included performances at the Kennedy Center, the Sydney Opera House, New York’s Steinway Hall, among others. Honors include first prize in numerous national and local competitions, including the Seventeen/General Motors National Competition, Aspen Music Festival Competition, and by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, which made her a Presidential Scholar. This current Glencoe resident is a founding member of the Grammy-nominated Lincoln Trio hailed by Fanfare Magazine has labeled as “one of the hottest young trios in the business.”
Kimberly E. Jones (soprano) is an alumna of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center. Her performances with Lyric include Margru in the world premiere of Anthony Davis‘s “Amistad,” Olga in “Fedora,” Princess Xenia in “Boris Godunov,” Pedro in “Don Quichotte” and Despina in student matinee performances of “Cosi Fan Tutte.” This winter she was showcased in Lyric Opera’s “Meet the Artist.” Locally, Jones has also appeared at Grant Park as Zerlina (“Don Giovanni”) and Adele (“Die Fledermaus”) and on WFMT’s Live from Studio One. Appearances outside of Chicago include Clara in Houston Grand Opera‘s international production of “Porgy and Bess” for which she was nominated for a NAACP Awards for Best Supporting Actress and she was one of four Ryan Opera Center artists showcased in a series of concerts at the Chatelet in Paris, France and appeared with Leon Williams at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center for an evening of “Porgy and Bess” solos and duets. Awards and honors include a George London grant, two Sullivan grants, three grants from the MacAllister Awards Competition, the Richard Gold Career grant from Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Licia Albanese Encouragement Award and winner of the Union League Competition.
Bill McMurray (baritone) has more than 30 operatic roles to his credit including Figaro in “Il baribiere di Sivigila,” Count Almaviva in “Le nozze di Figaro,” Marcello in “La Boheme,” Escamillo in “Carme,” Prospero”in Lee Hoiby‘s “The Tempest” with North Carolina’s Longleaf Opera. He has sung with noted companies including Florida Grand Opera, Opera North, Knoxville Opera, The Opera Company of N.C., Mobile Opera, Opera Carolina, Central City Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera on the James and Elgin Opera. McMurray performed several times with the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s “Opera in the Neighborhoods,” and, in 2013 he sang the lead role in the Chicago premiere of “Der Kaisser von Atlantis” at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion with the New Millennium Orchestra. Awards and honors include a first place in the National Association Teachers of Singing competition, an Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan National Council Auditions and, in 2008, he was one of eight singers selected to the Winners Circle of The Classical Music Vocal Competition held in Chicago. McMurray sings regularly with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus where has been a featured soloist.
Established in 1987, the Northwest Indiana Symphony Chorus, composed of more than 100 singers drawn from throughout Northwest Indiana and South Chicago area, has performed with the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra in everything from requiems to reggae. The group is the choral component of the Symphony Society, providing added texture and versatility to the Symphony’s performance repertoire. The Chorus performs regularly for the Halloween and Holiday Pops Concerts, and joins the Orchestra for major works on the Maestro Series. Recent repertoire includes Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony,” Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms,” “Requiems by Fauré,”Duruflé and Verdi,” Holst’s “The Planets,” Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” Strauss'” Die Fledermaus” and Bizet’s “Carmen” with the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists. Currently under the direction of Dr. Nancy Menk, the chorus also occasionally presents its concerts of choral masterworks.
New Philharmonic, the professional orchestra in residence of the MAC, and the only professional orchestra based in DuPage County, Ill., has inspired classical music enthusiasts in Chicago and the suburbs for 40 years. It continues to thrive with the goal to give innovative treatment to both classic compositions and modern works while striving to make the music accessible to new audiences and youth through a variety of educational efforts.
New Philharmonic’s first concert took place in November 1977 under the baton of Harold Bauer when an orchestra of 24 carefully auditioned musicians performed for a capacity audience of 330 in the Building M “open space” on west campus. Maestro Kirk Muspratt took over the artistic reins when Bauer retired in 2004. Today, under Muspratt’s direction New Philharmonic consists of more than 60 professional musicians and performs more than a dozen concerts a year, reaching more than 7,500 from the greater Chicago area annually. In addition, for each the past three years, WFMT has broadcast one of New Philharmonic New Year’s Eve performances, allowing listeners around the world to have the opportunity to enjoy New Philharmonics music.
New Philharmonic, under the direction of Maestro Kirk Muspratt, presents “An Evening of Gershwin” at the McAninch Arts Center, located on the campus of College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, Saturday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 23 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $49 adult; $47 senior/youth. A limited number of $10 student tickets will also be available, with valid student ID. Free MAC Chats will take one hour place prior to each performance. To order concert tickets or more information, call 630.942.4000, or visit AtTheMAC.org.
McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at College of DuPage is located 25 miles west of Chicago near I-88 and I-355, and houses three performance spaces (the 780-seat proscenium Belushi Performance Hall; the 236-seat soft-thrust Playhouse Theatre; and the versatile black box Studio Theatre), plus the Cleve Carney Art Gallery, classrooms for the college’s academic programming and the Lakeside Pavilion. The MAC, now celebrating its 30th Anniversary, has presented theater, music, dance and visual art to more than 1.5 million people since its opening in 1986 and typically welcomes more than 75,000 patrons from the greater Chicago area to more than 230 performances each season.
The mission of the MAC is to foster enlightened educational and performance opportunities, which encourage artistic expression, establish a lasting relationship between people and art, and enrich the cultural vitality of the community. For more information about the MAC, visitAtTheMAC.org, facebook.com/AtTheMAC or twitter.com/AtTheMAC.