2011 Programs

Image of performers and composers

Friday, October 28, 2011
"My Business Is To Sing"
Modern settings of Emily Dickinson poems

A lively exploration of Dickinson’s power to inspire composers, featuring the luminous duo of soprano Sarah Pelletier and pianist Lois Shapiro.  No charge.

4:30-5:30 p.m. 

Dickinson and Music  A discussion with Karen Sanchez-Eppler, profesor in the Amherst College English Department, the performers, and two of the composers.  Room 3, Arms Music Center, Amherst College (on Route 9). 

7-8 p.m.

Song recital by Sarah Pelletier and Lois Shapiro.  The recital will feature Aaron Copland’s classic Twelve Emily Dickinson Poems along with the world premieres of two new works: The Waters Wrecked the Sky by Ross Bauer and Jehovah’s Watch by Amherst College music faculty Eric Sawyer.  Buckley Recital Hall, Arms Music Center, Amherst College (on Route 9). 

This program is presented by Live in Concert and the Emily Dickinson Museum.

Performer Biographies

Praised by the Boston Globe for possessing “virtues of voice, intelligence and musicianship… with purity of tone and expression," soprano Sarah Pelletier demonstrates these qualities in all her performances. She has been a guest artist at Spoleto Festival USA, Bard Music Festival, and Aldeburgh Festival.  Past seasons include a solo recital on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage and performances with New Jersey Symphony, Princeton Symphony, San Francisco Bach Choir, New England Philharmonic, Emmanuel Music, and Princeton Festival Opera.  Ms. Pelletier toured with Maestro Seiji Ozawa to Japan, China, and Italy performing at the Saito Kinen Festival in Matsumoto, Japan and at Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.  Her dedication to art song led her to Vocal Fellowships at Tanglewood and Ravinia with solo recitals at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Goethe Institute.

Pianist Lois Shapiro “conjures enchantment” and “produces and inspires musical magic,” notes The Boston Globe. A New York Concert Artists Guild Award winner and highly sought-after soloist and collaborative pianist, she has appeared throughout the U.S. and abroad in concerts ranging from 18th-century period-instrument performances to premieres. Shapiro has recorded on Afka, Channel Classics, Centaur, MLAR, and Pierrot. She teaches at Wellesley College, where her piano trio Triple Helix has been Artist-in-Residence Ensemble since 2000. As an expression of her abiding interest in inspiring young people, Ms. Shapiro has created, in collaboration with the Longy School of Music Dalcroze Department, engaging and highly popular family programs in which she has performed as narrator and pianist. She was a 2011 recipient of the Yale School of Music alumni/Ventures grant to create interdisciplinary music programs in the Boston public schools. She holds degrees from Peabody Institute and the Yale School of Music.

Composer Biographies

Ross Bauer’s music has been performed and recorded by orchestras, chamber music groups and soloists worldwide. His work is published by C.F. Peters, APNM, and ACA, and is recorded on the GM, Centaur, New World and Albany labels. Recipient of many fellowships, awards and prizes, he's taught composition at UC Davis for the past twenty-two years.  He is the founder and former director of Empyrean Ensemble. Recognition has come from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in the form of a 2005 Academy Award in Music and the Walter Hinrichsen Award. Other honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Fromm Foundation commissions, Barlow and Koussevitzky commissions, an NEA Composition Fellowship, and residences at the MacDowell Colony. He teaches composition and theory at the University of California, Davis and has also taught at Stanford and Brandeis Universities. He attended New England Conservatory and Brandeis studying composition with John Heiss, Martin Boykan, Arthur Berger, and Luciano Berio (at Tanglewood).

The music of Eric Sawyer receives frequent performances on both coasts, including at New York’s Weill and Merkin concert halls and at Tanglewood, as well as in England, France, and Germany.  His opera Our American Cousin recently received its stage premiere from Boston Modern Orchestra Project and was released on the BMOP/sound label. A second opera, The Garden of Martyrs, with libretto by Harley Erdman of the UMass faculty, is in workshop with a full premiere expected in 2013. A chamber music collection String Works and cantata The Humble Heart (performed by New England Voices) are available on CD from Albany Records.  Mr. Sawyer has received the Joseph Bearns Prize, awards from the Tanglewood Music Center and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a recent prize from the Ravinia Festival for his piano trio Lincoln’s Two Americas.  He is on the music faculty at Amherst College.  His teachers have included Leon Kirchner, Ross Bauer, George Edwards, and Thomas Benjamin.