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World Premiere from Caroline Shaw

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As Nicholas McGegan sets off on his final season as Music Director, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw returns with her most ambitious project yet for the Orchestra & Chorale—a cosmic reflection inspired by Carl Sagan’s Golden Record, and by humankind’s fascination with recording ourselves for posterity. The otherworldly voices of contralto Avery Amereau and bass-baritone Dashon Burton, interwoven with curated selections played on record player, all contribute to this monumental work featuring the profound words of Walt Whitman and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Paired with Handel’s expansive Eternal Source of Light Divine featuring countertenor Reginald Mobley, this performance will leave you contemplating what it means to create music, and who will listen tomorrow.

HANDEL Eternal Source of Light Divine
HANDEL Suite from Terpsichore
SHAW The Listeners*

* – World Premiere

Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Arwen Myers, soprano
Avery Amereau, contralto
Reginald Mobley, countertenor
Dashon Burton, bass-baritone

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale
Bruce Lamott,
chorale director

Avery Amereau’s appearance is made possible with generous support from Christina & Kenneth Hecht; October 17 sponsored by Anne & Jeffrey Katz; October 20 sponsored by Elizabeth Anderson Mayer in memory of Henry Mayer

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Thursday, October 17 @ 8 pm | Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
Friday, October 18 @ 7:30 pm | First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto
Saturday, October 19 @ 8 pm | First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Sunday, October 20 @ 4 pm | First Congregational Church, Berkeley

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Join us for the Pre- Concert Talk forty-five minutes prior to the concert start time.

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CAROLINE SHAW – composer

Caroline Shaw is a New York-based musician—vocalist, violinist, composer, and producer—who performs in solo and collaborative projects. She was the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013 for Partita for 8 Voices, written for the Grammy-winning Roomful of Teeth, of which she is a member. Recent commissions include new works for Renée Fleming with Inon Barnatan, Dawn Upshaw with Sō Percussion and Gil Kalish, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s with John Lithgow, the Dover Quartet, TENET, The Crossing, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, the Calidore Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, the Baltimore Symphony, and Roomful of Teeth with A Far Cry. The 2018-19 season will see premieres by pianist Jonathan Biss with the Seattle Symphony, Anne Sofie von Otter with Philharmonia Baroque, the LA Philharmonic, and Juilliard 415. Caroline’s film scores include Erica Fae’s To Keep the Light and Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline as well as the upcoming short 8th Year of the Emergencyby Maureen Towey. She has produced for Kanye West (The Life of Pablo; Ye) and Nas (NASIR), and has contributed to records by The National, and by Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry. Once she got to sing in three part harmony with Sara Bareilles and Ben Folds at the Kennedy Center, and that was pretty much the bees’ knees and elbows. Caroline has studied at Rice, Yale, and Princeton, currently teaches at NYU, and is a Creative Associate at the Juilliard School. She has held residencies at Dumbarton Oaks, the Banff Centre, Music on Main, and the Vail Dance Festival. Caroline loves the color yellow, otters, Beethoven opus 74, Mozart opera, Kinhaven, the smell of rosemary, and the sound of a janky mandolin.


AVERY AMEREAU – contralto

“A rarity in music” and “an extraordinary American alto on the rise.” NY Times

A native of Jupiter, Florida, Avery Amereau received her Bachelor of Music degree at Mannes College, and went on to study at The Juilliard School, where she was the proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship and the Shoshana Foundation 2017 Richard F Gold Career Grant. She has studied with Edith Wiens and Dan Marek.

She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2016 as the Madrigal Singer in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. The New York Times praised her performance as “captivating… [Amereau] stood out for the unusually rich, saturated auburn timbre of her voice.”

She has sung at the Glyndebourne Festival (Dryad/Ariadne), Seattle Opera (Ursula/Beatrice et Benedict), Opera Columbus (Carmen), Grand Théâtre de Genève (Cherubino/Nozze di Figaro), and the Salzburg Festival (Page/Salome). Last season she made her house and role debut as Eduige/Rodelinda at Opera de Lille, reprising the role for Opera de Lyon.

This season Avery will sing Aclina/Bradamante, at Glyndebourne and in her house and role debut for the Hannover Staatsoper, as well as Irene/Bajazet for Portland Opera. On the concert platform Avery will perform Messiah with Bernard Labadie and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, perform Mahler 2 at Salisbury Cathedral and undertake a US concert tour with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. Also with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Avery will record her debut solo album.

Exceptional in baroque repertoire, whilst at Julliard she performed with the school’s historical performance department under such conductors as William Christie and Maasaki Suzuki, and sang at the Bachfest Leipzig and the Boston Early Music Festival.

Recent concerts include her debut with the Early Opera Company in Dido and Aeneas at the Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Vivaldi arias with the Orchestra of St Luke’s in New York, Mozart’s Requiem with the Rhode Island Philharmonic and Bramwell Tovey, and Bach’s St John Passion and Duruflé’s Requiem with the Voices of Ascension, New York. Among her many Messiah performances are the Phoenix Symphony, Nashville Symphony, University Musical Society of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Saint Thomas Church Choir. Elsewhere, she has sung Berlioz Les Nuits D’été and Brahms Alto Rhapsody with the American Classical Orchestra under Thomas Crawford, and concerts of Handel and Vivaldi the Santa Fe Pro Musica, and with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Nicholas McGegan.

Image credit: Matilde Fassï


DASHON BURTON – bass-baritone

Bass-baritone Dashon Burton has established a vibrant career in opera, recital, and with orchestra. In key elements of his repertoire — Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passions and the B minor Mass, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Beethoven 9, the Brahms Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s Requiem – Dashon is a frequent guest with the major orchestras of the United States.

Dashon Burton’s 19/20 season began with returns to the Carmel Bach Festival and the Salzburg Festival. He sings the world premiere of Caroline Shaw’s The Listeners (a part written by Shaw specifically for Burton), first in a season-opening performance with the Philharmonia Baroque and Nicholas McGegan (frequent partners with Burton), and then with Grant Llewelyn and the North Carolina Symphony, where Burton also sings Beethoven Symphony No. 9. He sings Michael Tilson Thomas’s Rilke Songs with the Cleveland Orchestra (with whom he appears regularly), led by the composer. He reunites with MTT at the San Francisco Symphony in May 2020, and returns to the National Arts Centre Orchestra for Verdi’s Requiem. Other highlights include the Vaughan Williams Dona Nobis Pacem with Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra; Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, led by Masaaki Suzuki (a former teacher of Burton’s); Shostakovich Symphony No. 14 with A Far Cry; the Mozart Requiem with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; a European tour with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem (including an appearance at the 2020 Bachfest in Leipzig); and Handel’s Messiah for a debut with the New York Philharmonic. Dashon Burton is in the Bay Area throughout 19/20 for the second year of a multi-season stint as a San Francisco Performances Resident Artist.

Widely regarded for his fluency in new music, Burton has sung Michael Tippet’s A Child of our Time at Harvard, performances and the debut recording of Craig Hella Johnson’s Considering Matthew Shepard with Conspirare, Paul Moravec’s Sanctuary Road at Carnegie Hall, and David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Opera engagements include Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte in Dijon and Paris, and Jupiter in Rameau’s Castor and Pollux with Les Talens Lyriques. He sang Strauss’ Salome at the Salzburg Festival (led by Franz Welser-Möst in a production by Romeo Castellucci), and appeared at Paris’ Théatre de la Ville in Peter Sellars’ production of Claude Vivier’s Kopernikus, un ritual de mort.

Burton’s album, Songs of Struggle and Redemption: We Shall Overcome, was singled out by the New York Times as “profoundly moving…a beautiful and lovable disc.” He has performed a recital program based on the album at the Ravinia Festival, for San Francisco Performances, and this season in Louisville, and at St. Johns College. He is an original member of the groundbreaking vocal ensemble, Roomful of Teeth, with whom he tours internationally, and won a Grammy for their recording of Caroline Shaw’s Pulitzer-Prizewinning Partita for 8 Voices.

Image credit: Tatiana Burton


REGINALD MOBLEY – countertenor

Particularly noted for his “crystalline diction and pure, evenly produced tone” (Miami Herald), countertenor Reginald Mobley is highly sought after for baroque, classical and modern repertoire. Past performances of note include premiering a reconstruction of Bach’s Markus-Passion at the Oregon Bach Festival, constructed and led by Matthew Halls, as well as an extensive tour of sixteen concerts around Europe singing Bach’s Matthäus-Passion with the Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists led by Sir John Eliot Gardiner. He returned to work with the ensemble last season for a further European tour where international reviews commented on his “purity of timbre” and “homogeneity of tone.” Recent performances include concerts of Handel’s Messiah with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Purcell’s King Arthur with the Academy of Ancient Music in London and Mozart’s Requiem with Orkiestra Historyczna in Poland. Reginald also made his Paris recital debut at the Musée d’Orsay in May which was enthusiastically received, and will be touring Germany and Belgium in September with Balthasar-Neumann-Chor undEnsemble, performing Bach Cantatas and Handel’s Dixit Dominus. His profile worldwide continues to develop, with the 2019/20 season seeing him embark on a national tour with Freiburg Barockorchester, followed by a series of concerts in a return invitation with Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart. He will also appear in Australasia, making his debut in Hong Kong, with Handel’s Messiah, before embarking on an Australian tour to perform a selection of Bach Cantatas. Reginald commences an extensive tour of Australia from Easter 2020, travelling to several cities and prestigious venues, performing a vast array of repertoire including programmes of Bach Cantatas.


ARWEN MYERS – soprano

Praised for her “crystalline tone and delicate passagework” (San Francisco Chronicle), soprano Arwen Myers is known as a captivating & sensitive interpreter of repertoire spanning from early to new music. A versatile artist known for her flexibility and mastery of a wide range of vocal colors & styles, Ms. Myers has performed major works with Portland Baroque Orchestra, Early Music Vancouver, Pacific MusicWorks, and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, among many others, and has sung under such notable conductors as Nicholas McGegan, Monica Huggett, David Fallis, John Butt, David Hill, Scott Allen Jarrett & Matthew Dirst. Recent & upcoming highlights include Handel with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Oregon Bach Festival; Bach & Purcell with Portland Baroque Orchestra; Vivaldi, Monteverdi & Gabrieli with Early Music Vancouver; Fauré with Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; world premieres by Robert Kyr, Zachary Wadsworth, J.J. Wright & Michel Petrossian; and Handel Semele (title role) with American Bach Soloists Academy. An enthusiastic collaborator, she has been featured with some of the nation’s premiere chamber ensembles, including Seraphic Fire, Bach Akademie Charlotte, and Cappella Romana, among others, and she is a core member of Fear No Music – the only singer in the acclaimed Portland-based new music ensemble. A native of Augusta, GA, Arwen holds degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and she currently serves as Director of Communications & Marketing at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and Executive & co-Artistic Director of Northwest Art Song in Portland, OR. Arwen belongs to Beyond Artists, a coalition of artists that donates a percentage of their concert fee to organizations they care about, and is an individual member of 1% of the Planet. She is an active freelance artist across the United States & beyond.

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“…Here is a composer giving free rein to her instinctive sensibilities.”

— The New York Times

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2019-20 Season

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