The Johnstown Symphony Orchestra is preparing to host its “Grand Finale” concert May 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center.
Musical selections for the evening will include compositions by Beethoven, Vaughan-Williams and Santos. All music will be performed under the direction of Maestro Istvan Jaray.
Joining the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra will be the Johnstown Symphony Chorus, Samuel Louis Coco, the Greater Johnstown Community Chorus, Mari Grace Lingenfelter and Christopher McAllister.
Soprano Anna Singer, mezzo-soprano Xiu-ru Liu, tenor Matthew Vickers and bass Joseph Baunoch are serving as the guest soloists.
Singer has sung with the New York City Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh and Cleveland Opera, just to name a few. She has won awards and grants from the Minna Kaufman Ruud Foundation, the Bel Canto Foundation and the Puccini Foundation, and was a finalist in the Luciano International Vocal Competition.
Liu was born in China and graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. She received a full scholarship from Eastman School of Music in New York, where she earned her master’s degree and performance certificate. During her career, Liu has performed across the United States and in many foreign cities abroad.
Baunoch trained as an apprentice artist with Toledo Opera and Dicapo Opera of New York City. He has performed in over 50 different operas and over 30 opera roles at the professional and collegiate levels and has taken part in several opera outreach concerts, which are meant to introduce opera to students across the country.
In 2012, Vickers was named a winner of the Penn State Concerto Competition, in which he appeared with the Penn State Philharmonic Orchestra. During his performance Meistersinger Konzert performance, Vickers received third prize and the “audience favorite” award. A Pennsylvania native, the tenor completed his music degrees from Lynchburg College in Virginia and at Pennsylvania State University.
Composer Erik Santos will also be present at the concert; the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra will perform one of Santos’ original compositions.
“It was written in 1999 and has a personal connection between the composer, Mr. Erik Santos, and the JSO,” Jaray said.
A multi-instrumentalist, singer, and composer, Santos works as an associate professor at the University Michigan School of Music. His music has reached countless listeners throughout the United States, but also audiences in Denmark, Israel, Japan and the Philippines.
Santos has won numerous awards and fellowships for his work from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI), the MacDowell Colony, Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the Rackham Graduate School of the University of Michigan.
In addition to Santos’s composition, Jaray said that he and the symphony members are looking forward to performing the Beethoven piece.
“It is always an electrifying concert experience when a symphony orchestra, located anywhere in the world, includes in its program one of the most powerful pieces of music in the symphonic repertoire: the 9th Symphony of Beethoven,” Jaray said.
To purchase tickets, call the symphony office or visit www.upjarts.org.
This show is sponsored in part by Wessel and Company, Barnes, Saly, LLC, and the JSO’s Leadership Sponsors. This season’s sponsors included Concurrent Technology Corporation, Conemaugh Health Systems, Somerset Trust, AmeriServ and AmeriServ Financial.
For more information about the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra, call 814-535-6738 or visit www.johnstownsymphony.org online.
Jaray said that he hopes audiences of all ages will attend the concert.
“I am personally looking forward to this concert,” he said. “I feel that it will indeed be the crowning high point, and the appropriate conclusion, of the JSO’s 84th season. I hope that everyone will make a special effort to attend.”