The School of Music will present two livestreamed concerts by guest artists in April: Grammy Award-winning vocalist Kevin McMillan performing “Liederabend” (“Song evening”) with pianist Gabriel Dobner on Tuesday, April 6, and the Borromeo String Quartet, considered one of the most important ensembles of our time, performing quartets by Beethoven and Bartók, on Saturday, April 10. Both concerts will be livestreamed at 7:30 p.m. from the School of Music’s world-class Watson Chamber Music Hall.
“The School of Music is thrilled to livestream concerts by renowned recitalists and ensembles,” said Interim Dean Saxton Rose. “And it is particularly exciting that we are able to do so even when COVID-19 has restricted travel for many artists over the past year. We are providing access to exceptional musical performance not only to our students and patrons, but to alumni, potential students, and music lovers around the world.”
"Liederabend” with Kevin McMillan and Gabriel Dobner
Tuesday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Livestream (from Watson Hall)
McMillan and Dobner will perform a recital of lieder, German songs of the Romantic Period that are often poems set to music, written for voice and piano with each given equal importance in telling the story.
The concert program includes Robert Schumann’s best-known song cycle, “Dichterliebe” Op. 48 (words by poet Heinrich Heine); selected Heine-Lieder by Schumann; and Sechs Monologe aus “Jedermann” by Frank Martin. Works will be sung in German with English captioning.
In addition to the April 6 concert, McMillan will offer a master class to voice students and Dobner will give a master class to collaborative piano students.
One of the most respected lyric baritones and vocal pedagogues of his generation, McMillan has been praised by critics for his “elegant voice” and “singularly remarkable interpretive skills.” Despite an unfortunate farming accident 35 years ago that left him a partial paraplegic, McMillan is a preeminent recitalist, and his performing career has spanned over 30 years with more than 800 concerts, 16 professional recordings, a Grammy Award, a Gramophone Award and numerous Juno Award nominations. McMillan has performed in concert with the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra and throughout Europe.
After schooling in Canada at the University of Guelph and Western University, McMillan attained a master’s degree from The Juilliard School. He currently serves as professor of voice in the School of Music at James Madison University, where he teaches a full studio of undergraduate and graduate voice students.
Called “a master among lieder pianists” by West German radio, Gabriel Dobner spent nine years in Germany after earning a German academic exchange scholarship to study lied accompanying with Helmut Deutsch at the Munich Hochschule für Musik. He has appeared in performance in many of Europe’s leading venues including the Semperoper in Dresden, Hamburg Staatsoper, Opernhaus Zürich, Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Herkuleesaal in Munich, Kölner Philharmonie, and Musikverein in Vienna. He won the special collaborative pianist’s prize in the International Hans Pfitzner Lieder Competition held in Munich. Dobner has played for notable singers including Gerhard Siegel, Rod Gilfry, René Kollo and Cornelia Kallisch, in addition to McMillan. Broadcast recordings include those for the Bavarian State Radio, West German Radio, North German Radio and Nippon Broadcasting Corporation in Japan, as well as National Public Radio in the United States.
Dobner was born in Chicago where he earned a bachelor’s degree in piano from Roosevelt University. He has master’s and doctoral degrees from Indiana University in Bloomington. Dobner has been a member of the piano faculty at James Madison University since 2001 and is a lieder coach at the American Institute for Musical Study in Graz, Germany.
Borromeo String Quartet
Saturday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Livestream (from Watson Hall)
Admired and sought after for both its fresh interpretations of the classical music canon and its championing of works by 20th- and 21st-century composers, the Borromeo String Quartet is regarded as a pioneer in the use of technology in chamber music performance. The Boston Globe hailed the ensemble’s “edge-of-the- seat performances” and called it “simply the best.”
The program for April 10 includes Beethoven String Quartet No. 2 in G major, Op. 18; Bartók String Quartet No. 4; and Beethoven String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132. The quartet will perform from original composer manuscripts on digital devices.
Inspiring audiences for more than 25 years, the Borromeo continues to be a pioneer in its use of technology, and has the trailblazing distinction of being the first string quartet to utilize laptop computers on the concert stage rather than traditional paper sheet music. Reading music this way helps push artistic boundaries, allowing the artists to perform solely from four-part scores and composers’ manuscripts, a revealing and metamorphic experience which these dedicated musicians now teach to students around the world.
The quartet (violinists Nicholas Kitchen and Kristopher Tong, violist Mia Motobuchi and cellist Yeesun Kim) has collaborated with some of this generation’s most important composers, including Gunther Schuller, John Cage, György Ligeti, Steve Reich, Aaron Jay Kernis, Osvaldo Golijov, Jennifer Higdon, Steve Mackey, John Harbison, Sebastian Currier and Leon Kirchner, among many others; and has performed on major concert stages across the globe.
“The digital tide washing over society is lapping at the shores of classical music. The Borromeo players have embraced it in their daily musical lives like no other major chamber music group,” said The New York Times. “The Borromeo provides an example of how technology is shaping the production and creation of classical music, a bastion of traditional acoustic sound and repository of centuries-old masterpieces.”
The Borromeo String Quartet has been the ensemble-in-residence at the New England Conservatory and Taos School of Music, both for 25 years, and ensemble-in-residence for National Public Radio's “Performance Today” in 1998-99. The ensemble has been awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant, a Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center and a Cleveland Quartet Award. The quartet was a prizewinner at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France.
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March 18, 2021