Missoula Symphony Orchestra & Chorale Present Brahms German Requiem
—200 Musicians, a Guest Conductor, and Two Guest Soloist Perform in Massive Piece—
Missoula, Montana) The Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Chorale return to the stage to perform Johannes Brahms’ German Requiem on Saturday, February 27, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, February 28, at 3 p.m. in the Dennison Theatre on the University of Montana campus. Missoula Symphony Orchestra Music Director, Darko Butorac, describes the German Requiem as “maybe the most magnificent work written for chorus and orchestra.” This “magnificent work” will be conducted by guest conductor Thomas Heuser and will feature two guest soloists, soprano Christina Pier and baritone Charles Robert Stephens.
Guest conductor, Thomas Heuser, was selected as conductor for this particular concert for a number of reasons, according to MSO Executive Director, John Driscoll. “First and foremost, he comes highly recommended and has masses of experience, including serving as the 2010 Conducting Fellow with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Secondly, he is a vocalist by training—how appropriate for conducting a piece with such operatic elements. And thirdly, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for orchestral conducting in Munich, and his German influence seemed perfect for the German Requiem. We’re thrilled to be working with Thomas,” he said.
Symphony Chorale Director, Dean Peterson, has fond memories of the piece. “I saw the Requiem performed in 1974 in Missoula under the direction of nationally renowned conductor Robert Shaw, whose score markings I am actually using for this performance,” he said. “It's a huge work, involves close to 200 musicians, and one that we have spent many hours rehearsing, but the musicians love it and we are definitely up to the task of performing one of world's great masterworks. Each time I hear it I am moved by its beauty and message of hope, and the lush and romantic harmonies.”
The two guest soloists for the performances are no strangers to the stage. Christina Pier has been hailed by Opera News for her “big, gleaming soprano and impressive coloratura,” (sounds good, doesn’t it?). She has soloed with symphonies all over the U.S., performing Verdi’s Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Don Giovanni, to name a few. Charles Robert Stephens, who was described by the New York Times as a “baritone of smooth distinction” spent twenty years in New York City performing with the New York City Opera and at Carnegie Hall, as well as performing numerous international concert tours to France, Russia and Canada. “The fact that we have such fantastic talent joining us for this piece is such a coup to the orchestra and chorale, and such a treat for the community,” said Butorac. “This concert is one you’re not going to want to miss.”
The piece is being performed in honor of the late Jean Bowman, who died of cancer in January. Bowman played a prominent role in the symphony’s history, and was board president for a number of years, according to Driscoll. “This requiem is an anomaly in the fact that it honors life more than it mourns death—this seemed a fitting concert to dedicate to the vibrant and meaningful life of our friend Jean and the many people who miss her.”
Tickets are available online at missoulasymphony.org, by phone at 721-3194, or in person at the Symphony office at 320 East Main Street. For more information on “German Requiem” and the Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, visit missoulasymphony.org.
Press Release: February 11, 2016
Media Contact: Lucy Beighle (406) 239-3193