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Willa Cather Foundation - Red Cloud Nebraska (NE)

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The Song of the Lark Gala Dinner and Performance

The Song of the Lark Gala Dinner and Performance

Saturday, August 15, 2015 - 5:00pm to 8:00pm
Red Cloud Opera House
413 North Webster Street
Red Cloud, NE 68970

The Willa Cather Foundation’s Gala Dinner and Performance will take place Saturday, August 15, beginning with cocktails at 5:00 p.m. in the Art Gallery followed by a dinner and performance at 6:30 pm in the historic Red Cloud Opera House. Entertainment at the Gala Dinner will feature a performance entitled The Song of the Lark, a song cycle by Barlow Bradford that received its first performance at Salt Lake City’s Intermezzo Chamber Music series in 2010. Based on Willa Cather’s 1915 novel of the same name, the cycle was warmly received at its premier and in the reviews that followed for both its skillful composition and its melodic expressivity and emotional impact. The cycle's four songs focus on four key episodes in the novel. Though its libretto at every point draws on Cather's text, it adapts the words of her novel freely and creatively to the different needs of a different genre, the lyric song cycle.

The performance will receive its Nebraska debut through support from the Giger Foundation and the Porter Family. The Porters commissioned the piece in memory of Laudie Porter who, as wife and mother, had gotten the whole Porter family into Willa Cather enthusiasts. David Porter, violinist with the Utah Symphony and President of the Intermezzo Chamber Music Series, will be present to introduce the program.

About the Performers

Michelle Dean (soprano) is currently a senior at the University of Utah. She has participated the past three years as a soloist and ensemble member in the University's Chamber Choir and Lyric Opera Ensemble. She has traveled to France and Spain to sing with the Chamber Choir and to Italy to sing a lead role in an opera with the La Musica Lirica opera program. After Michelle completes her Bachelor's degree in the spring of 2016 she plans on earning her Master's degree and pursuing a career as a classical singer.

Dr. Barlow Bradford (composer and pianist) has distinguished himself as a conductor, composer, arranger, pianist, organist, and teacher. As an orchestral and choral conductor, he co-founded the Utah Chamber Artists in 1991 and has led that organization to international acclaim for its impeccable, nuanced performances and award-winning recordings. His compositions and arrangements have garnered much attention for their innovation and dramatic scope, from delicate, transparent intimacy to epic grandeur. Presently Dr. Bradford serves as the Ellen Neilsen Barnes Presidential Chair of Choral Studies at the University of Utah where his work with the Chamber Choir lead to the Gran Prix in the Florilege International Competition for Choral Singing in 2014 and the European Gran Prix for Choral Singing in 2015. He also continues as Music Director of Utah Chamber Artists and Chorus Director of the Utah Symphony Chorus.