Maestro Robert Moody’s Final Concerts with the Winston-Salem Symphony Maestro’s Farewell: Mahler Symphony No. 2

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (April 25, 2018) –Music Director Maestro Robert Moody’s final moments on the podium with the Winston-Salem Symphony will be Classics Series concerts entitled “Maestro’s Farewell: Mahler Symphony No. 2.” The concerts will take place Saturday, May 19, Sunday, May 20, and Tuesday, May 22, 2018. The Symphony, along with guest artists Christina Pier, Soprano; Cat Zachary, Soprano; and Elizabeth Bishop, Mezzo-Soprano as well as the Winston-Salem Symphony Chorale, Dr. Christopher Gilliam, director, will perform the Final Trio and Duet from Act III of Der Rosenkavalier, by Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor (Resurrection).

Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss, a comic opera composed in 1911, is considered an operatic masterpiece and is the most often performed of Strauss’s operas. The Symphony, accompanied by guest singers, will perform the beautiful Final Trio and Duet from Act III. Dr. David B. Levy, Professor of Music at Wake Forest University writes in his program notes for this concert, “The trio and duet that concludes Act III of Der Rosenkavalier is one of the most breathtaking ensemble pieces ever penned for female voices.”

Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor, known as the “Resurrection” Symphony, was one of his most successful and popular works during his lifetime. First performed in 1895, it was written between 1888 and 1894. The symphony examines questions surrounding death and life after death, moving through doubt and fear to ultimately end with a hope for transcendent redemption and resurrection. The combination of the orchestra, chorus, and soloists creates a dramatic, powerful, and profoundly moving piece that is a favorite among conductors and audiences around the world.

“Mahler’s Second Symphony is one of the largest and most powerful works in all of the orchestral repertory,” said Maestro Robert Moody. “I sang in the chorus for this magnificent piece several times in my career. I finally had my debut conducting it with the Winston-Salem Symphony in March 2007. For me it was one of, if not the, single greatest musical experiences I’ve had in my life, and certainly during my tenure as music director of the Winston-Salem Symphony.

“The final two movements include vocal soloists and large chorus,” Moody continued. “Mahler wrote the text himself, speaking to the nature of what possibly comes next after this life ends. ‘I must die, in order to live again,’ he writes. And finally: ‘Rise again! Yes, my soul will rise again, in an instant! All that you have trodden upon, here on earth, will be given over to God!’ What a phenomenal statement about the unknown. What a phenomenal idea, which really can’t be captured in words alone, but can come at least a bit closer through music. That’s why I wanted this to be the last sentiment of this chapter leading the Winston-Salem Symphony. A chapter of my career and life of which I simply could not be more proud.”

Guest artist, Christina Pier, is an American soprano who has been hailed by Opera News for her “big, gleaming soprano and impressive coloratura” and has received great critical and audience acclaim for her work on opera and concert stages. Her 2017 – 2018 season includes soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Missoula Symphony Orchestra; Handel’s Messiah with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; and Vaughan Williams’s Dona nobis pacem with Back Bay Chorale. Pier is a Grand Finals Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the George London Foundation Award, Sullivan Musical Foundation Award, two Charles A. Lynam Awards, and two Palm Beach Opera Competition Awards. She received Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Indiana University. She is currently an Artist in Residence at Catawba College and a Guest Lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. For more information please visit WSsymphony.org.

Catherine (Cat) Park Zachary, soprano, received both her Professional Artist Certificate and Master of Music degree from the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Comfortable in both operatic and musical theater roles, Zachary has performed extensively across the region and nation. During her time at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, Zachary was seen as Despina in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Anne Page in Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, Lisette in Puccini’s La Rondine, and Mrs. Julian in Britten’s Owen Wingrave, among others. Zachary also has performed with Piedmont Opera, Western Plains Opera, the Winston-Salem Symphony, and the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Classical Voice of North Carolina has stated that she possesses “[an] even, seamless voice … [with] considerable depth of power.” For more information please visit WSsymphony.org.

American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Bishop began the 2017 – 2018 season as a soloist in Verdi’s Requiem at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The season also includes the role of Herodias’ Salome with Florida Grand Opera and the role of Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro with Palm Beach Opera. To finish the season, she steps into the role of Mary in Der fliegende Holländer at Cincinnati Opera. Bishop enjoys a long relationship with the Metropolitan Opera, which began with her win at the National Council Auditions in 1993. She has returned many times, most recently last season as Kostelnicka (cover) and the Mayor’s Wife in Jenůfa. She is a former San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow and member of its Merola Opera Program. Other featured appearances include multiple engagements with LA Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and Atlanta Opera and in concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. For more information please visit WSsymphony.org

Under the baton of Maestro Moody, the concerts will take place on Saturday, May 19; at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, May 20 at 3 p.m.; and Tuesday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Stevens Center of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, 405 West Fourth Street in downtown Winston-Salem. Tickets range from $20 to $67 and are available in advance by calling the Symphony Box Office at 336-464-0145 or online at WSSymphony.org.

The Saturday, May 19 performance is part of the Kicked-Back Classics Series. Kicked-Back Classics concerts are full-length but have a more informal atmosphere and include educational insights from the conductor.

Several pre-concert programs will take place and will give attendees an opportunity to learn more about the upcoming Classics concerts:

On Thursday, May 17 at 4:30 p.m. there will be a screening of Jason Starr’s 2011 documentary entitled Of Love, Death and Beyond, Exploring Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony, which provides an in depth examination of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 from conception to completion. It is narrated by baritone Thomas Hampson and features musicians from the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, and New Jersey Symphony under the direction of Neeme Järvi. The orchestra was assembled by former Winston-Salem Symphony principal oboist and UNCSA School of Music faculty member, Joseph Robinson. The documentary will be introduced by Winston-Salem Symphony Program Annotator and Wake Forest University Professor of Music, Dr. David B. Levy, who will hold a post-viewing Q&A session. The screening is free and open to the public and will take place at the Wake Downtown Auditorium at 455 Vine Street in Winston-Salem.

Music Lovers’ Luncheon, a fun and informative pre-concert lunch with Maestro Moody and concert guest artists, will take place Friday, May 18 at noon at 1703 Restaurant, located at 1703 Robinhood Road in Winston-Salem. The luncheon is $20 per person and is a great opportunity to learn more about the concert in a relaxed atmosphere. Reservations are required for Music Lovers’ Luncheon and can be made by calling 336-464-0145.

This concert series and the Winston-Salem Symphony are sponsored by Season Presenting Sponsors Bell, Davis, & Pitt, P.A. and BB&T; Kicked-Back Classics Series Presenting Sponsors Chris & Mike Morykwas; Kicked-Back Classics Series Concert Sponsor River Landing; Guest Artists Sponsor Talon; Media Sponsor 89.9 FM WDAV Classical Public Radio; the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County; and the North Carolina Arts Council.

About the Winston-Salem Symphony Chorale

The Winston-Salem Symphony Chorale is comprised of nearly 120 auditioned volunteer singers, many of whom are members of area church choirs and university choruses. It is directed by Dr. Christopher Gilliam. The group rehearses weekly and performs several times each year with the Winston-Salem Symphony. For more information visit WSsymphony.org/about/chorale.

About the Winston-Salem Symphony

The Winston-Salem Symphony, one of the Southeast’s most highly regarded regional orchestras, began its 71st season, which is Music Director Robert Moody’s Farewell Season, in September 2017. Under the baton of Maestro Moody, the season includes the Classics and Kicked-Back Classics series, Plugged-In Pops series, Discovery Concerts for Kids, annual performances of Handel’s Messiah, a concert featuring Winston-Salem Symphony and Youth Symphony musicians, holiday concerts, three youth orchestra ensembles, and a multitude of educational and community engagement programs. The Symphony is supported by Season Presenting Sponsors BB&T and Bell, Davis & Pitt, P.A., as well as generous funding from the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, the North Carolina Arts Council, and other dedicated sponsors. For more information, visit WSsymphony.org.

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