New York Festival Orchestra – Special concert dedicated to the 5th Anniversary Memorial after Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami
NEW YORK FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA
a program of ”Musical Prayers”
on the 5th Anniversary Memorial after Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami
Music by Barber, Dvorak, Grieg, Hirai, and Sisler
Saturday, March 12 at 8 PM
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (Chelsea), 346 West 20th Street, N.Y.C.
New York Festival Orchestra
New York Festival Chorus
Adagio for Strings………………………………………………………………………………………………..Samuel Barber
Nocturne in B Major……………………………………………………………………………………………..Antonin Dvorak
“5 Ave Maria Selections” by Gounod, Caccini, Schubert, Mascagni, and Hideaki Hirai (U.S. premiere)
“Last Spring” from Two Elegiac Melodies………………………………………………………………Edward Grieg
“Intermezzo” from the Opera, Kaguya-Hime (Princess from the Moon)…………………..Hideaki Hirai
Lullaby of Sand (2011)* (U.S. premiere)………………………………………………………………….Hideaki Hirai
Cantata, “Japan Tragedy 2011″ * (U.S. premiere)………..………………………………………..Hampson Sisler
*dedicated to the victims of the great earthquake and tsunami
The New York Festival Orchestra, under the baton of Maestro Hideaki Hirai, will present a concert of “musical prayers,” dedicated on this 5th anniversary to the victims of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami. A special program features works by Samuel Barber, Antonin Dvorak, Edward Grieg, as well as the U. S premiere of the Cantata, “Japan Tragedy 2011”, dedicated to the victims of the Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami, by a renowned American composer, Hampson Sisler, with 2 guest soloists, Asako Tamura (Soprano) and Nobuki Momma (Baritone), along with NY Festival Chorus and Mr. Sisler at the organ himself.
NYFO is proud to present “5 Ave Maria Selections”, including the U.S. premiere of Hideaki Hirai’s own, sung by an internationally acclaimed Japanese Soprano, Asako Tamura,who appeared as soloist with the Three Tenors- Domingo, Pavarotti and Carreras - in the 2002 World Cup Championship performance in Yokohama.
Program also includes “Intermezzo” from Hideaki Hirai’s Opera, “KAGUYA-HIME” (Princess from the Moon), which has been enthusiastically praised in Canberra (2006), Prague (2009), Salzburg (2012), Los Angeles (2015) among many other cities in Japan.
Saturday March 12, 8 PM, at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Chelsea, 346 West 20th Street.
New York Festival Orchestra
New York Festival Orchestra (NYFO) made a highly successful debut at Carnegie Hall/Stern Auditorium in December 2013 with a cast of exceptional young artists and veteran musicians. The New York Concert Review critic found that the Orchestra’s performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony was “…among the best of the live performances I have heard of this work, and justly deserving of the standing ovation it was accorded. Bravo to all!” The New York Festival Orchestra is a project of the non-profit organization Forte 90, Inc. (http://www.Forte90inc.com).
Hideaki Hirai, conductor
Hideaki Hirai, who has “a talent deeply ingrained in his genes” (The Den), is one of the most gifted young conductors from Japan. In 2013, “Maestro Hirai made a remarkable Carnegie Hall debut” (The New York Culture Examiner) with rave reviews such as “especially impressive, dynamic, confident, justly deserving of the standing ovation” (The New York Concert Review), conducting from the memory the Beethoven 9th Symphony with New York Festival Orchestra (NYFO). Upon a great success, NYFO has appointed him Music Director and Conductor, starting from 2014/15 season. Since 1998, as a co-founder, Hirai also frequently conducts the Czech Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, now as Principal Guest Conductor.
Highlights of the 2012/13 season include Hirai’s sensational debut at the Wiener Staatsoper, immediately followed by a successful return during the 2013/14 season, as well as his debut in Salzburg for the Austrian premiere of his own acclaimed opera Princess from the Moon, which has received more than 20 performances in Canberra, Prague, Anif, Los Angeles, and throughout Japan. In addition, Maestro Hirai has composed two other operas: True Love of Komachi and The White Fox, which have become very popular in frequent performances in Japan. In 1997, Hirai was the first prize winner of the Sixth International Conducting Competition in Hradec Kralove (Czech Republic), and in 2001 was named by Lorin Maazel as one of the ten most promising conductors in Asia.
Also acknowledged as an opera conductor, Maestro Hirai has been a frequent guest with the prestigious New National Theatre in Tokyo. Following his successful debut with Mitridate and LucioSilla (Mozart) in November 2003, he was immediately offered return engagements for The Marriage of Figaro, April 2005, and Serse (Handel) in January 2006. His recent opera performances include productions of La Boheme, Carmen, Madama Butterfly, and La Traviata.
Mr. Hirai was born into a celebrated musical family and studied piano, violin and composition with his grandfather, the eminent composer Kozaburo Hirai, and cello with this father Takeichiro Hirai (http://www.takeichiro-hirai.com), a noted cellist whom Pablo Casals designated as his successor. Maestro Hirai graduated from the University of Rochester, NY, with a bachelor’s degree in political science, and studied conducting under David Effron at the Eastman School of Music. He completed his Master’s degree at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University under Frederik Prausnitz, followed by further studies under Otakar Trhlik at the Janacek Academy of Music (Czech Republic), and his mentor, Sir Colin Davis in London.
Hampson Sisler, composer/organist
Hampson Sisler is one of today’s most prolific American classical composers, and was recently named “one of the significant composers of contemporary America” by The Organ Magazine, London. His first works were published when he was 19, starting with H.W. Gray Co. and continuing to Jos. Fischer & Co., Belwin Mills, World Library, Laurendale and Morning Star. Sisler has written more than 100 works for solo instruments, organ, voice, choir and orchestra. His works have been performed in the U.S., Argentina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Israel, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, and Ukraine. The majority of Sisler’s orchestral works have been recorded on the MSR Classics label.
Asako Tamura, soprano
A native of Kyoto, Japan, Ms. Tamura has appeared with opera companies worldwide. She was recently chosen as the first foreigner to sing the US National Anthem at the exhibition baseball game between the N.Y. Yankees and Washington Nationals in Washington, D.C. In 2014 she sang Cio-cio-san in Madama Butterfly for Lyric Opera Baltimore and at the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., as well as Summer of Knoxville 1915 with the Chicago Philharmonic.
Ms. Tamura’s extensive engagements include Madama Butterfly at London’s Royal Albert Hall; Teatro Solis in Montevideo, Uruguay; the Dubuque Symphony; and for the 2013-14 opening season of the Sarasota Opera in Florida. She has appeared as Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor with the Hungarian State Opera in Budapest; Ente Luglio Musicale Trapanese in Sicily; Teatro Lirico di Cagliari in Sardinia; and Opera Constanza in Romania. Other roles include Amalia in Verdi’s I Masnadieri with the Sarasota Opera; Violetta in La Traviata with the El Paso Opera in Texas; female leads in Leoni’s L’Oracolo and Montemezzi’s L’Incantesimo with Teatro Grattacielo at Avery Fisher Hall in N.Y.C.; Despina in Cosi Fan Tutte with Hyogo Opera in Kobe; Ottavia in L’Ottavia at the Scarlatti Festival in Tokyo; Arlene in Franco Donatoni’s comic opera Alfred, Alfred at the Contemporanea Arena di Verona; Gilda in Rigoletto, and Juliette in Romeo et Juliette with the Hungarian State Opera.
Her many appearances in orchestral concerts around the world include The Three Tenors (Domingo, Pavarotti, Carreras) in Yokohama, Japan; the New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; BBC Symphony Orchestra; L.A. Symphony; Chicago Philharmonic; Roman Festival Orchestra; Philharmonic Orchestra of Tokyo and orchestras across Japan; and at venues including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York; Kennedy Center and Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.; and Suntory Hall, NHK Hall, and Tokyo International Forum/Tokyo.
Nobuki Momma, baritone
Momma graduated from the Tokyo National University of Arts with an MFA in Voice, and also graduated summa cum laude from the Nikikai Opera Institute in 2010. He has performed many roles in both Japan and the U.S., including Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice; Guglielmo in Cosi Fan Tutte, Germont in La Traviata, Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas, and the title role of Gianni Schicchi. He is a member of the Tokyo Nikikai Opera Company and currently studies voice at Mannes College/The New School. Momma has been awarded a fellowship to study in N.Y. by the Agency for Cultural Affairs under the Japanese government, which sends talented artists abroad for a year-long program.
For more information about New York Festival Orchestra, please contact
Kalin Ivanov, Executive Director