Selections from Scott Wheeler ’s Portraits and Tributes on tonight’s program are nestled among character pieces by American composers Martin Boykan, John Harbison, and Alexei Haieff. In a nod to Mr. Wheeler’s background in musical theater, mezzo-soprano Krista River will sing “If Love Were All” by Noel Coward alongside Wheeler’s lovely “Lullaby ” from Singing to Sleep. The evening will also feature an excerpt from Fern R Lopez’s film Portraits: The Piano Music of Scott Wheeler.
Scott Wheeler (b. 1952) is a Boston-based award-winning composer, conductor, and teacher with a multi-faceted career. Although his chamber and orchestral music shows an omnivorous range, it is his prominent profile as a composer of vocal and operatic music that defines his career and artistic personality. His operas have been commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center Theatre, Boston Lyric Opera, New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, and Fort Worth Opera. He has received awards and commissions from the Koussevitsky Foundation, the Fromm Foundation, American Academy in Berlin, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Bogliasco Fellowship, Tanglewood, Yaddo, and the MacDowell Colony, as well as the Stoeger Prize for excellence in chamber music from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Wheeler’s latest recording Portraits & Tributes (Bridge Records, 2016) features his piano portraits and tributes performed by Donald Berman. His current projects include a set of songs on texts of Paul Muldoon, the new opera Naga with libretto by Cerise Jacobs, and a new ballet with choreographer Melissa Barak. Wheeler currently serves as composer-in-residence at Brooklyn Art Song Society’s “IN Context Series,” Affiliate of NYU’s Center for the Ballet and the Arts, and Professor at Boston’s Emerson College. scottwheeler.org
Donald Berman has been on the frontlines of new music scholarship, performance and recording for over 30 years. His newest recording, Scott Wheeler: Portraits & Tributes, has just been released by Bridge Records (BRIDGE 9463). A pianist and scholar of exceptional gifts, he currently serves on the faculties of both Tufts University and the Longy School of Music of Bard College. He has been a Fellow at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, guest lecturer on minimalism at Northeastern University, Director of New England Conservatory’s Summer Piano Institute, Advisor to the Boston Jewish Music Festival, and Vice-president/Treasurer of the Charles Ives Society. As General Editor of Charles E. Ives: Shorter Works for Piano, Mr. Berman has collaborated with two different publishers to issue a new edition of these important works, in 3 editions published from 2015-2017.
Hailed by Opera News for her “lovely clarity and golden color,” mezzo-soprano Krista River is a versatile performer who is at home in repertoire ranging from the Baroque period to the 21st century. She was a winner of the 2004 Concert Artists Guild International Competition and a 2007 grant recipient from the Sullivan Foundation. Recent notable performances include the International Water and Life Festival in Qinghai, China, and recitals at Jordan Hall in Boston and the Asociación Nacional de Conciertos in Panama City, Panama. The New York Times praised her debut recital at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, lauding “her shimmering voice…with the virtuosity of a violinist and the expressivity of an actress.”