APRIL 6, 2020 – first united methodist CHURCH
“When you sing as beautifully as the young soprano Susanna Phillips does, it almost seems like gilding the lily to spread those gifts around through a range of unusual and provocative repertoire, not to mention working with a pianist of remarkable artistry.”
“A pianist who balances qualities of excitement and spontaneity with clarity and elegance.”
“If there has been a better violist since William Primrose was in his prime more than a half-century ago, this listener does not know of him or her.”
Alabama-born soprano Susanna Phillips, recipient of The Metropolitan Opera’s 2010 Beverly Sills Artist Award, continues to establish herself as one of today’s most sought-after singing actors and recitalists.
In the 2018-19 season, Ms. Phillips will return to the Metropolitan Opera for an eleventh consecutive season to sing her acclaimed Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème. She will also make two role debuts as Micaela in Carmen and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with the Metropolitan Opera. With Cincinnati Opera, Ms. Phillips will sing the role of Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro. Orchestrally, Ms. Phillips will perform and record Berg’s Sieben Frühe Lieder with the San Francisco Symphony, led by Michael Tilson Thomas, and will sing Mahler’s Fourth Symphony at the La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest. Ms. Phillips will celebrate the bicentennial of Alabama with her native Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, performing Strauss’s Vier Letzte Lieder. This summer’s highlights include a recital with Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, and the 10th Anniversary of chamber music with Twickenham Fest.
The 2017-18 season saw Ms. Phillips return to the Metropolitan Opera to sing her acclaimed Musetta in Puccini’s La bohème. She made her role and company debut as Birdie in Blitzstein’s Regina with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, sharing the stage with Susan Graham and James Morris. Orchestra engagements included Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s, the soprano solo in Elijah with the Music of the Baroque in Chicago, concerts in New York and Chicago with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Teddy Abrams’s leading the Milwaukee Symphony. She also gave a recital at the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago. Highlights of Ms. Phillips’s previous opera seasons include numerous Metropolitan Opera appearances: Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte with James Levine conducting, in what the New York Times called a “breakthrough night,” Rosalinde in a new production of Die Fledermaus, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Pamina in Julie Taymor’s production of The Magic Flute, Musetta in La Bohème (both in New York and on tour in Japan), as Clémence in the Met premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de loin, Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, and as a featured artist in the Met’s Summer Recital Series in both Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park. She also appeared at Carnegie Hall for a special concert performance as Stella in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire opposite Reneé Fleming – a role Ms. Phillips went on to perform, to rave reviews, at Lyric Opera of Chicago. She also has sang Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes with the St. Louis Symphony in St. Louis and at Carnegie Hall.
Ms. Phillips made her Zurich Opera debut as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, and made her Santa Fe Opera debut as Pamina, and subsequently performed a quartet of other Mozart roles with the company as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Arminda in La finta giardiniera, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. Ms. Phillips also performed recitals at Carnegie Hall, the Celebrity Series of Boston, and with Eric Owens at the Washington Performing Arts in a program co-curated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As a member of the Ryan Opera Center, Phillps sang the female leads in Roméo et Juliette and Die Fledermaus. Additional roles include Elmira in Reinhard Keiser’s The Fortunes of King Croesus, and the title roles in Lucia di Lammermoor and Agrippina. Phillips has made appearances at Oper Frankfurt, Dallas Opera, Minnesota Opera, Fort Worth Opera Festival, Boston Lyric Opera and Opera Birmingham.
Highly in demand by the world’s most prestigious orchestras, Ms. Phillips has appeared with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Oratorio Society of New York, Santa Fe Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Atlanta Symphony, Santa Fe Concert Association, Boston Baroque, and her native Huntsville Symphony.
An avid chamber music collaborator, Ms. Phillips recently teamed with bass-baritone Eric Owens for a recital of Schubert lieder, which they have taken on tour in Chicago with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, at the Gilmore Festival, and Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. Additional recital engagements included chamber music concerts with Paul Neubauer and Anne Marie McDermott, an appearance at the Parlance Chamber Music Series with Warren Jones, the 2014 Chicago Collaborative Works Festival, and the Emerson String Quartet in Thomasville, Georgia with Warren Jones and colleagues from the Metropolitan Opera. She co-founded Twickenham Fest, a chamber music festival in her native Huntsville, Alabama, which will celebrate its 10th Season in 2019. Ms. Phillips made her solo recital debut at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall with pianist Myra Huang.
Other recent concert and oratorio engagements include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mahler’s Second and Fourth Symphonies, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, the Fauré and Mozart Requiems, Carmina Burana, and Handel’s Messiah. She made her Carnegie Hall debut with Skitch Henderson, Rob Fisher, and the New York Pops. Following her Baltimore Symphony Orchestra debut under Marin Alsop, the Baltimore Sun proclaimed: “She’s the real deal.”
In August 2011, Ms. Phillips was featured at the opening night of the Mostly Mozart Festival, which aired live on Live From Lincoln Center on PBS. The same year saw the release of Paysages, her first solo album on Bridge Records, which was hailed as “sumptuous and elegantly sung” (San Francisco Chronicle). The following year saw her European debut as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte at the Gran Teatro del Liceu, Barcelona.
As resident artist at the 2010 and 2011 Marlboro Music Festivals, she was part of Marilyn Horne Foundation Gala at Carnegie Hall, made her New York solo recital debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, and appeared at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC under the auspices of the Vocal Arts Society. In 2005 Ms. Phillips won four of the world’s leading vocal competitions: Operalia (both First Place and the Audience Prize), the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the MacAllister Awards, and the George London Foundation Awards Competition. She has also claimed the top honor at the Marilyn Horne Foundation Competition, and has won first prizes from the American Opera Society Competition and the Musicians Club of Women in Chicago. Ms. Phillips has received grants from the Santa Fe Opera and the Sullivan Foundation, and is a graduate of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center. She holds both a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School.
A native of Huntsville, Alabama, over 400 people traveled from her hometown to New York City in December 2008 for Ms. Phillips’ Metropolitan Opera debut in La Bohème. She returns frequently to her native state for recitals and orchestral appearances.
In a career that has spanned over 25 years, American pianist Anne-Marie McDermott has played concertos, recitals and chamber music in hundreds of cities throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. The breadth of her repertoire matches that of her instrument, spanning from Bach, Haydn and Beethoven to Rachmaninoff, Prokoviev and Scriabin to works by today’s most influential composers — Aaron Jay Kernis, Steven Hartke, Joan Tower and Charles Wuorinen, among them. As an Artistic Director, Ms. McDermott leads the Ocean Reef Chamber Music Festival in Florida and the Avila Chamber Music Celebration in Curacao.
Beginning with the 2011 season, she is also the Artistic Director of the Vail Valley Music Festival in Colorado. Anne-Marie has been an Artist Member of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 1995. Ms. McDermott’s passions have recently coalesced in several important projects that are indicative both of her popularity and the range of her musical interests: the presentation of The Complete Prokoviev Piano Sonatas and Chamber Music as part of the Lincoln Center Festival; The Chamber Music of Shostakovich at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center ; the premiere of Charles Wuorinen’s Piano Sonata No. 6; and the performance and recording of Gershwin’s Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra with the Dallas Symphony (2008, Bridge Records). The latter was named Editor’s Choice by Gramophone.
About her critically acclaimed recording of the Complete Prokoviev Piano Sonatas (2009, Bridge Records), Gramophone wrote “we have waited a long time for an American pianist of this stature.”
Violist Paul Neubauer‘s exceptional musicality and effortless playing led the New York Times to call him “a master musician.” In 2018 he made his Chicago Symphony subscription debut with conductor Riccardo Muti and his Mariinsky Orchestra debut with conductor Valery Gergiev. He also gave the U.S. Premiere of the newly discovered Impromptu for viola and piano by Shostakovich with pianist Wu Han. In addition, his recording of the Aaron Kernis Viola Concerto with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, was released on Signum Records and his recording of the complete viola and piano music by Ernest Bloch with pianist Margo Garrett was released on Delos. Appointed principal violist of the New York Philharmonic at age 21, he has appeared as soloist with over 100 orchestras including the New York, Los Angeles, and Helsinki philharmonics; National, St. Louis, Detroit, Dallas, San Francisco, and Bournemouth symphonies; and Santa Cecilia, English Chamber, and Beethovenhalle orchestras. He has premiered viola concertos by Bartók (revised version of the Viola Concerto), Friedman, Glière, Jacob, Kernis, Lazarof, Müller-Siemens, Ott, Penderecki, Picker, Suter, and Tower and has been featured on CBS’s Sunday Morning, A Prairie Home Companion, and in Strad, Strings, and People magazines. A two-time Grammy nominee, he has recorded on numerous labels including Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, RCA Red Seal, and Sony Classical. Mr. Neubauer is the artistic director of the Mostly Music series in New Jersey and is on the faculty of The Juilliard School and Mannes College as well as a Visiting Professor at DePaul University.