March 1, 2019 (updated April 18, 2019)
Contact: Peter Rodgers, Director of Marketing
Phone: (608) 257-3734 x226
Email: prodgers@madisonsymphony.org
Web: madisonsymphony.org
Photos: http://bit.ly/msomay19

The 2018–2019 season finale concerts feature three choruses, and eight soloists with more than 500 artists on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 3-5

Madison, Wis. – The Madison Symphony Orchestra partners with the Madison Symphony Chorus, Madison Youth Choirs, UW–Madison Choral Union and eight soloists to bring the magnificent performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 to Overture Hall.

For the first time since 2005, John DeMain will conduct one of the largest undertakings in the classical music repertoire. For the final concert of Maestro DeMain’s Silver Anniversary Season, he orchestrates the combination of “enormous instrumental and vocal forces” to form an “unforgettable” experience of over five hundred artists. “I have spent 25 years with this Orchestra and Chorus. In that time, our collaboration on Gustav Mahler’s monumental Symphony No. 8 in 2005 stands out as perhaps the most memorable. I feel a magnetic affinity with Mahler, and began my career 25 years ago with his first symphony. I am honored and moved to conduct this work and feel it is the perfect conclusion to my 25th season.”

Performances will be held on Friday, May 3rd at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 4th at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, May 5th at 2:30 p.m. in Overture Hall, at 201 State Street.

Composed in December 1906, Symphony No. 8 is the last work of Mahler’s to premiere in his lifetime. It is one of the largest-scale choral works in the classical concert repertoire, and because it requires huge instrumental and vocal forces, it is frequently called the “Symphony of a Thousand.” The structure of the work is unconventional; instead of the normal framework of several movements, the piece is in two parts. Part I is based on the Latin text of a 9th-century Christian hymn for Pentecost, and Part II is a setting of the words from the closing scene of Goethe’s Faust. The two parts are unified by a common idea: redemption through the power of love, a unity conveyed through shared musical themes. Symphony No. 8 is revered as one of the greatest achievements of classical concert repertoire and expresses the composer’s confidence in the eternal human spirit. 

About Alexandra LoBianco 
American Soprano Alexandra LoBianco is a consummate singing actress whom Opera News praised for possessing a “wonderful voice that should be heard in major houses.” She recently made her European stage debut in 2016 as Leonore in Fidelio with Wiener Staatsoper and met with success as Turandot with Des Moines Metro Opera in the summer of 2017. Other performance highlights include roles at the Minnesota Opera, Opera Colorado, Sante Fe Opera, and singing the role of Amelia in Un ballo in maschera with the Madison Opera in 2012. 

About Emily Birsan 
Emily Birsan is a critically-acclaimed soprano and well-known for her prominent interpretations of concert and operatic repertoire. Ms. Birsan was last in Madison performing the role of Juliette in Madison Opera’s 2016 production of Gounod’s Romeo and Juliette. She has also performed with the BBC Symphony in London, the Chicago Philharmonic, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, in the Edinburgh International Festival, and at Carnegie Hall performing her debut with Mozart’s Mass in C minor.

About Emily Pogorelc 
Praised for her “lively, incisive soprano” by the New York Times, soprano Emily Pogorelc recently graduated from the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music. A native of Milwaukee, Ms. Pogorelc has performed with the Lyric Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Glimmerglass Opera Festival, Curtis Opera Theatre, and Florentine Opera. Emily has won first place in numerous competitions, and she was featured on National Public Radio’s From the Top

About Milena Kitic 
Milena Kitic, a renowned mezzo-soprano, has performed numerous roles with opera companies around the world. Perhaps best known for her performance as the title role in Carmen, Ms. Kitic has played Carmen in major performance venues across the United States and Europe including Belgrade, Serbia Opera, Essen Opera in Germany, National Opera, Baltimore Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Pacific, and Metropolitan Opera. Ms. Kitic has received numerous accolades for her performances, including the German Music Critic’s Award for “Performer of the Season” and the Opera Pacific Guild’s “Diva of the Year.” 

About Julie Miller 
Hailed by the Register-Guard as possessing a voice of “spell-binding power and intensity,” mezzo-soprano Julie Miller has appeared as a soloist with many orchestras and in many major concert halls across the country. Ms. Miller is the recipient of the Jerome and Elaine Nerenberg Foundation Scholarship and the Rose McGilvray Grundman Award (American Opera Society of Chicago), the Richard F. Gold Career Grant (Shoshana Foundation), and the Edith Newfield Scholarship Award (Musicians Club of Women). 

About Clay Hilley 
Tenor Clay Hilley’s recent credits include the title role in Parsifal at the Metropolitan Opera and performances with the San Francisco Opera, the Dallas Opera, and the Apollo Orchestra in Washington DC. On the concert stage Mr. Hilley has appeared at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, among others. In 2015 Mr. Hilley won the Wagner Society of New York’s top prize, the Robert Lauch Award. 

About Michael Redding 
Michael Redding, baritone, has been thrilling audiences in the U.S. and in Europe in roles ranging from Handel to classic American Music Theatre. Recent credits include performances with the Sarasota Opera, the Virginia Opera, and an international tour of Porgy and Bess with the York Harlem Theatre. Mr. Redding has also performed the concert suite arrangement of Porgy and Bess with the Belgrade Philharmonic and the La Verdi Orchestra. Mr. Redding last performed with the Madison Symphony Orchestra singing parts from Porgy and Bess as part of the all-Gershwin concert in May 2012. 

About Morris Robinson
Bass-baritone Morris Robinson regularly appears at the Metropolitan Opera, where he is a graduate of the Lindemann Young Artist Program. He has also appeared at the San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Opera Australia, and the Aix-en-Provence Festival. A prolific concert singer, Mr. Robinson’s recent concert engagements have included appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic. 

About the Madison Symphony Chorus, Beverly Taylor, Director 
The Madison Symphony Chorus gave its first public performance on February 23, 1928 and has performed regularly with the Madison Symphony Orchestra ever since. The Chorus is comprised of more than 150 volunteer musicians who come from all walks of life and enjoy combining their artistic talent under the direction of Beverly Taylor.

About the Madison Youth Choirs, Michael Ross, Artistic Director
Inclusive to members of all skill levels, the Madison Youth Choirs incorporate singers from ages 7-18 into their orchestration. The choirs aim to introduce youths interested in musical performance to collaborative forms of self-confidence and responsibility in the atmosphere of musical training. Randal Swiggum is conducting rehearsals preparing members of the choir for the MSO’s May Symphony of a Thousand concerts.

About the UW–Madison Choral Union, Beverly Taylor, Director 
With a controlled timbre of 150 members, the UW Choral Union fuses university and non-university members. Under the direction of Beverly Taylor, the union is another testament to the musical outreach in the Madison arts.

Concert, Ticket and Event Details
The lobby opens 90 minutes prior to each concert. One hour before each performance, Anders Yocom will lead a 30-minute Prelude Discussion in Overture Hall to enhance concertgoers’ understanding and listening experience. It is free to ticketholders. The Symphony recommends concert attendees arrive early for each performance to make sure they have time to pass through Overture Center’s security stations, and so they can experience the Prelude Discussion. Program notes for the concerts are available online: http://bit.ly/msomay19programnotes

  • Student rush tickets can be purchased in person on the day of the concert at the Overture Center Box Office at 201 State Street. Students must show a valid student ID and can receive up to two $15 or $20 tickets. More information is at: https://www.madisonsymphony.org/studentrush 
  • Seniors age 62 and up receive 20% savings on advance and day-of-concert ticket purchases in select areas of the hall.

Discounted seats are subject to availability, and discounts may not be combined.  

The Madison Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 93rd season in 2018–2019 and its 25th season under the leadership of Music Director John DeMain. The MSO has grown to be one of America’s leading regional orchestras, providing Madison and south-central Wisconsin with cultural and educational opportunities to interact with great masterworks and top-tier guest artists from around the world. Find more information at madisonsymphony.org

Major funding provided by NBC15, Larry and Jan Phelps, Diane Ballweg, Carla and Fernando Alvarado, Johnson Financial Group, and University Research Park. Additional funding provided by DeWitt LLP, Kennedy Gilchrist and Heidi Wilde, Thomas E. Terry, Fred A. Wileman, Helen L. Wineke, and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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