Showing posts with label The Arts at Trinity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Arts at Trinity. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Serafin Ensemble Opens Trinity's Concert Season, Welcomes New Member

The Arts at Trinity proudly welcomes Serafin Ensemble to open its 10th Anniversary Season. Fresh from their season opening performances in October, the Serafins are honored to launch Trinity Episcopal Church’s performance season with a concert on Sunday, November 14, at 4:00pm. The performance is free of charge and open to the community. Donations are welcome.

Serafin Ensemble member, violist Amadi Azikiwe. Photo by Andre Lamar.
Featured in this concert are returning Serafin favorites: violinists Hal Grossman (in town from Oregon) and Kate Ransom; South African cellist (now residing in Baltimore) Jacques-Pierre Malan; and Wilmington’s own countertenor, Augustine Mercante. Also performing will be the newest Serafin roster artist, violist Amadi Azikiwe (in from New York City); and, new to Wilmington, harpsichordist Gabriel Benton who will join the Serafins for selections from the Baroque era by Georg Frideric Handel.
 
The other repertoire includes Little Suite for Autumn for Violin and Viola by Peter Schickele; Beethoven’s String Quartet in Eb Major, Op. 74 (Harp); and Terzetto for Two Violins and Viola in C Major, Op. 74 by Dvorak.
 
“We are thrilled to welcome Amadi Azikiwe to the Serafin roster this fall,” says artistic director, Kate Ransom. “He is a remarkable artist and an experienced chamber musician. His perspectives and approach to interpretation and collaboration have been inspiring for us to incorporate.”
 
Violist, Amadi Azikiwe has performed as a guest with the ensemble in past seasons and is participating in Serafin performances this fall throughout Delaware. He will also join Serafin Summer Music in June 2022. Azikiwe is a busy collaborative artist, in high demand for performances. He is a violist, violinist, and conductor who has performed throughout the United States, Israel, Canada, South and Central America, Switzerland, India, Japan, Nigeria, Hong Kong, and the Caribbean.
 
“We are also delighted that Gabriel Benton joins us for this performance,” Ransom added. “The harpsichord is essential to do justice to the works of Handel, and his expert playing in this collaboration with strings in supporting the gorgeous countertenor artistry of Augustine Mercante is exceedingly wonderful!”
 
“At Trinity, we can’t imagine a better way to open our 10th anniversary season than with the Serafins,” said Trinity’s rector, Patricia Downing. “They helped us launch the first season and have been a mainstay and audience-pleaser since the beginning. We welcome the community to The Arts at Trinity this fall.”
 
About Serafin Ensemble
Serafin Ensemble, “The Serafins,” is a group of internationally acclaimed performing artists (string, wind, piano and vocalists) devoted to collaborative chamber music performances of repertoire for up to eight players. The ensemble evolved from the former Serafin String Quartet and continues the nearly two-decade-long Serafin legacy of passionate commitment to presenting exceptional performances of small ensemble repertoire. 

Serafin Ensemble roster artists are devoted to collaborative chamber music performance as an important aspect of their professional lives. They are bound together by mutual respect and camaraderie, and a shared passion for small ensemble repertoire and the collaborative process. The goal of the ensemble is to prepare and share with audiences, performances of great masterworks and lesser-known works for an unconducted ensemble of two to eight players. Occasionally, larger works or solo works are also included in the programming. 

Serafin Ensemble takes its name from master violin maker, Sanctus Serafin, who in 1728 crafted the violin currently played by Serafin founder and Artistic Director, Kate Ransom. Learn more at www.serafinensemble.org

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Remembering Victims of Gun Violence Through Moving Spirituals Performance

By Christine Facciolo

Countertenor Augstine (Gus) Mercante offered some perspectives on his long — and sometimes complicated — relationship with the African American spiritual in the program notes of his March 31 concert, There's a Man Going 'Round: Remembering Victims of Gun Violence, as part of The Arts at Trinity series at Trinity Episcopal Church in Wilmington.


He first fell in love with the repertoire when at age 16 he auditioned for All-State Chorus. Burleigh’s Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child was the audition piece. Years later, he submitted the work to fill the English Art Song requirement for a voice competition and was shocked when one of the judges told him that white singers shouldn’t sing spirituals in a concert setting.

Countertenor Gus Mercante accompanied by pianist
Hiroko Yamazaki. Photo courtesy of Gus Mercante.
Fast forward to the summer of 2006. Mercante was studying at the Mozarteum when he got an invitation from internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Grace Bumbry to sing for her in her apartment. After they sang for each other, he asked her if she though white people should be sing spirituals. She looked right at him and said: “Anyone with a soul can sing a spiritual.”

Mercante certainly has soul, plus a robust high male voice of unique strength and deliberate, rhapsodic lyricism and expression. Mercante does not just sing a song, he brings it to life. (Note: If you haven’t seen him perform a comic English opera with Brandywine Baroque, definitely put it on your to-do list.)

The program, dedicated to the victims of gun violence, opened on an appropriately somber and sorrowful note with two selections from Bach Cantatas: Wir mussen durch viel Trubsal and Kreuz und Krone sind verbunden.

Mercante raised the specter of death with a dynamic rendering of the Schubert Lied Der Tod und das Madchen, with dramatic vocal characterizations of Death and the Maiden.

Less dramatic, but equally powerful, were Faure’s setting of the Verlaine poem "Clair de lune,” Nocturne Op. 43, No. 2 — kudos to Mercante for including this much-neglected song — and Schubert’s Im Abendrot, all of which juxtaposed the melancholy of the characters with the beauty and grandeur of the moon and the sunset.

The first half of the concert wrapped up with two contemporary selections: the resigned simplicity of William Bolcom’s Waitin’ (from Cabaret Songs) and H. Leslie Adams’ Prayer (from Nightsongs) which Mercante delivered with maximum emotional impact through dynamic contrast and textual clarity.

The second half of the program, which was devoted to spirituals, opened with Mercante processing into the sanctuary singing the traditional Guide My Feet. The set included Burleigh’s Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, which sparked Mercante’s interest in the Negro spiritual. This set contained some very moving performances, notably a powerful rendering of the apocryphal There’s a Man Going ‘Round and Crucifixion, which nearly brought some audience members — including this one — to tears.

And if you closed your eyes, you might have sworn it was the late Marian Anderson singing Burleigh’s My Lord, What a Morning.

The concert concluded on a triumphant note with the glorious Ride On, King Jesus.

Mercante was ably supported by Hiroko Yamazaki at the piano, while Sherry Goodill and Marion Yager Hamermesh of the Hanover Dance Collective brought visual interest and kinetic energy to select songs.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Serafin Quartet 'Reunites' Two Celebrated Composers

By Christine Facciolo

Born one year and 300 miles apart, Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann met for the first time in Leipzig on August 31, 1835. The Serafin String Quartet reunited them at Wilmington’s Trinity Episcopal Church with a program of two of their most Beethoven-inspired works: the A minor quartet, Op. 13 (Mendelssohn) and the A major quartet, Op. 41, No. 3 (Schumann). The date was also — coincidentally — the 210th anniversary of Mendelssohn’s birth.  

Mendelssohn, often referred to as the “classical romantic,” was a most celebrated composer during his lifetime. His stature slipped somewhat during the 20th Century, but this most underrated of the Romantics is enjoying a resurgence in popularity as many top-flight recordings and performances of his works indicate.

The Serafin Quartet. Photo courtesy of the artists.
Mendelssohn was just 18 years old when he wrote his A minor String Quartet in 1827, which was also the year Beethoven died. The Beethovian influence is evident, as are influences from Mozart and Haydn. The quartet also displays the young composer’s facility with the cyclical technique and exhibits a degree of passion and drama not characteristic of Mendelssohn.

Kate Ransom’s first violin was reliably lyrical and dramatic in the highly expressive opening movement, while the ensemble played as if it were one. The musicians lovingly conveyed the aching sorry of the second movement, a complex and dramatic affair marked adagio non lento (“slow not slow”). Beautifully judged phrasing and dynamics characterized the fiendishly difficult third movement with its contrasting moods.

The finale returned to the emotional world of the first movement. Beethoven’s influence again evident with its stormy recitative over tremolo accompaniment. The Serafin delivered a glowing and energetic performance of this most complex movement yet managed a conclusion that was gentle and calming.

Schumann’s A major quartet was again delivered with tonal precision and blend. In the first movement, the playing was flexible and fluid, capturing the halting nature of the music with its unsettling syncopations. The musicians delivered the fugato and tempo risoluto sections of the second movement with a muscular certainty, while the finale was exuberant and full of toe-tapping dance.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Arts in Media Clients Ready for a Busy Fall ArtSeason!

The following information comes from an Arts in Media press release announcing its clients' fall performance seasons. Check out the organizations' respective web and social media sites for complete details and ticketing information. 

The Arts at Trinity, a free series in the heart of Wilmington hosted by Trinity Episcopal Church, is now in its seventh season of "pop-up" events in literature, drama, poetry and visual arts. This year opens on Saturday, Oct. 7 with the Serafin String Quartet performing works by Haydn, Mendelssohn and American composer William Grant Still. On Sunday, Nov. 5, Trinity Church Choir and an orchestra conducted by Terrence Gaus-Wollen perform sacred music by Bach as part of Trinity’s regular Sunday service. On Saturday, Dec. 2, rising jazz pianist Gil Scott Chapman performs classical and jazz works and his own compositions. All performances are free to attend. For more details, visit facebook.com/TheArtsatTrinity.

Christina leads off its 71st year with its second annual Homecoming Block Party on Saturday, Sept. 30, from 1:00-6:00pm. The free, family-friendly event includes tours, children’s activities and closes with JAMMIN’ @ CHRISTINA, a musicians’ jam session. This fall, Christina unveils a new program called Literary Café, which welcomes New York Times best-selling author and Delaware native Jeff Hobbs on Friday, Oct. 20 and Saturday, Oct. 21. Hobbs will discuss his work, The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace. CCAC’s focus on intimate live performances returns on Saturday, Nov. 18 with a concert by gospel/soul/hip hop drummer George “Spanky” McCurdy. CCAC then embraces holiday majesty on Sunday, Dec. 10 with the stunning contemporary dance/music/narration production of “Carols in Color” performed by Eleone Dance Theatre. Christina wraps up 2017 with a Student Holiday Showcase on Saturday, Dec. 16.  Full details and tickets for events are available at ccacde.org.

Delaware’s Off-Broadway drops the axe on its 24th season with Lizzie, a blistering rock opera based on the 19th Century legend of notorious accused murderess Lizzie Borden, running Sept. 8-16 (Thursday, Sept. 7, 8:00pm preview and Sunday, Sept. 10, 2:00pm matinee). Four women front a six-piece rock band to tell a tale of murder and mayhem. Lizzie marks the CTC debut of Darby Elizabeth McLaughlin in the title role, alongside Jill Knapp of Hot Breakfast!, Kyleen Shaw and Grace Tarves. The band features Meghan Doyle, Joe Lopes, Dustin Samples, Noelle Picara, Sheila Hershey and Rich Degnars.  CTC‘s Fearless Improv continues Third Thursday shows at Chelsea Tavern through 2017 with performances on Sept. 21, Oct. 19, Nov. 16 and Dec 21. Shows are also held at Penn’s Place in Old New Castle on Sept. 9 and Nov. 11. Fearless Improv 101 and Improv 301 — 8-week public workshop series teaching basic scenework and advanced performance techniques —begin Saturday, Sept. 23 at the Delaware Historical Society.  In December, CTC returns to The Black Box to present a stripped-down version of the Sondheim classic, Sunday in the Park with George, running Dec. 1-16. They plan to collaborate with local visual artists to produce a “live” piece of art during each production — delivering a fresh, immersive multi-genre experience every night.  Tickets for all CTC and Fearless productions are available at city-theater.org.

Wilmington’s most affordable and diverse music series presents three full-length Festival Concerts this fall, featuring organist David Schelat on Saturday, Oct. 14; Pyxis Piano Quartet on Saturday, Oct. 28; and Mastersingers of Wilmington on Saturday, Nov. 4. Its much-beloved weekly music fest, Thursday Noontime Concerts, begins Thursday, Oct. 5 with a lineup including regional favorites like Copeland String Quartet, pianist Daniel Carunchio and countertenor Gus Mercante as well as a return appearance by Lyra Russian Choir – the vocal ensemble of St. Petersburg. The Noontime schedule culminates in the holiday tradition of the Cartoon Christmas Trio on Thursday, Dec. 7 and a holiday concert by Center City Chorale on Thursday, Dec. 14. Festival concert tickets and more details can be found at marketstreetmusicde.org.

Delaware’s ensemble known for ‘provocative pairings’ announces its 25th Anniversary Season! On Saturday, September 30, the season begins in a new partnership with the Delaware Historical Society for Up Close & Personal: The Violin – an informal afternoon of music and conversation featuring ensemble violinist, Christof Richter. This landmark season is highlighted by four new works from composers Chris Braddock, Jennifer Nicole Campbell, Mark Hagerty and Thomas Whitman, as well as a poetry and music collaboration entitled United Sounds of America with Delaware's Poets Laureate, The Twin Poets, Nnamdi Chukwuocha and Albert Mills. The ensemble also continues its longstanding partnership with its Wilmington Series home, The Delaware Contemporary, with a performance on Sunday, Oct. 29.  That concert will feature the World Premiere of Up to the Light by Mark Hagerty with guest percussionist Chris Hanning and additional music of Bach and Abel. Full details and tickets for all performances can be found at melomanie.org.

The Music School boasts a busy fall of student and professional performances, beginning with its Opening Night – All Bach! A Thank-You Concert on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 7:00pm at its Wilmington Branch. This concert will feature noted works by Bach including Brandenburg Concertos #3 and #5; B Minor Orchestral Suite & Violin Concerto in E Major, performed by chamber orchestra conducted by Simeone Tartaglione. The Music School’s additional professional concerts will include music of the Revolutionary War; the 10th anniversary of its Music of Many Lands program; and an annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration.  The Wilmington Community Orchestra, under the baton of Tiffany Lu, will perform works from Barber to Beethoven. And, the school continues to host its Classical Café sessions, which encourage lively discussion on a variety of music-related topics, quarterly Open Mic Nights, a monthly Bluegrass Jam, jazz and several rock-based student and faculty ensemble performances. For complete details and tickets, visit musicschoolofdelaware.org.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Mics Are Open All Over Wilmington!

Wilmington is suddenly rich with open stages for up-and-coming artists of every genre. Welcome three new open mic venues in the city — Get out and experience them all!

Christina Cultural Arts Center presents "The Pivot" Open Mic
A night for singer-songwriters, musicians, spoken-word artists and more! Opening night of the series began October 31 and now continues on the 2nd and 4th Fridays monthly at the Clifford Brown Performance Space of Christina. Sign-ups at 7:00pm and performances at 8:00pm.
Christina Cultural Arts Center
705 N. Market Street • Wilmington, DE 19801


The Arts at Trinity Open Mic
All storytellers, poets, musicians and singers are invited to come and share your gift during this open mic event, hosted on the 3rd Tuesday of the month by Ginny Wilder. Sign-ups begin at 6:30pm, and the entertainment begins at 7:00pm. Artists wanted. Listeners appreciated.  Mark your calendars with the full schedule: November 18; January 20; March 17; April 21; May 19 & June 16.
Trinity Episcopal Church
1108 N. Adams Street • Wilmington, DE 19801

#theBASSment at The Nomad
The Nomad is already known as the downtown spot for live jazz and hip, cozy gatherings. Now, it will be known for its Tuesday nights with #theBASSment, an open mic hosted by local musician Darnell Miller and his musical friends, The Souldaires. They promise plenty of poetry, funk, soul and good vibes. The fun happens Tuesdays 8:00-10:00pm, with no cover.
The Nomad Bar
905 N. Orange Street • Wilmington, DE 19801