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August 8, 2012 / FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / High-res photos available upon request
Media Contact: Marla Carpenter, 770-3337, carpem@uncsa.edu



WINSTON-SALEM – Richard Ollarsaba and Leo Hurley, recent graduates of the School of Music at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), participated in two prestigious music festivals this summer.

On July 14, Richard Ollarsaba, a Fellow of the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at UNCSA who received his Professional Artist Certificate and master’s degree from UNCSA, performed as the bass soloist in Beethoven's Choral Fantasy as part of Tanglewood's 75th Anniversary Celebration gala concert. The gala concert will be broadcast on PBS’s “Great Performances” this Friday, Aug. 10, airing at 10 p.m. over UNC-TV.

The concert features the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops Orchestra and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra under the direction of conductors John Williams, Keith Lockhart and Andris Nelsons. Tanglewood is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and is located in the in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts. For more information about Tanglewood, please visit http://www.bso.org.

On July 31, Leo Hurley, a composer who received his bachelor’s degree in 2011 from the UNCSA School of Music, saw the world premiere of his choral piece “Seabird and I” at the Europa Cantat Festival XVIII Torino 2012 in Turin, Italy. Performed by the Ulmer Spatzen Chor youth choir and conducted by Hans De Gilde, the piece is the second commissioned of Hurley by the international choral festival. He also participated in a roundtable discussion on creativity as a guest composer. 

The Ulmer Spatzen Chor youth choir is a girls’ touring choir from the city of Ulm, Germany. The choir is currently planning an American tour for 2013, and it intends to include Hurley’s “Seabird and I” on the tour as part of its diverse repertoire.

The Europa Cantat Festival has been hosted every three years by a different European country since its launch in Passau, Germany, in 1961. For one week, the festival features more than 3,000 singers from across Europe and the world. For more information, please visit http://en.ectorino2012.it.

Richard Ollarsaba

Photo by Donald Dietz

Leo Hurley

Richard Ollarsaba

Bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba, a native of Tempe, Ariz., is a recent graduate of the UNC School of the Arts, where he earned a postgraduate certificate and a Master of Music through the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, studying under Marilyn Taylor. While with the Fletcher Opera Institute, Ollarsaba performed such roles as Lord Cecil (Maria Stuarda), Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte), and Sir John Falstaff (The Merry Wives of Windsor). One of his favorite performances through the Fletcher Opera Institute included a recital featuring renowned mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, where he sang alongside the diva in an impromptu encore. In his time in Winston-Salem, Ollarsaba made his debut with Piedmont Opera Theatre in the role of Ferrando (Il trovatore) and was seen again with Piedmont Opera in its 2011-12 productions of Don Giovanni as Masetto and Robert Ward’s The Crucible as Reverend Hale.

Ollarsaba earned his Bachelor of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music in Ohio, where he studied under Mary Schiller. While in Cleveland, he made his Opera Cleveland debut in the 2008 production of Le nozze di Figaro in the role of Antonio. Shortly after, he debuted with the Kansas City Symphony in its performances of Handel’s Messiah. The Kansas City Star said that “despite his youth, he exhibited a marvelous resonant voice” and that “this is one singer to watch in years to come.”

In 2011, Ollarsaba placed second in the Metropolitan Opera National Council’s Southeast Region Auditions. He was the winner of the Fifth Annual Charles A. Lynam Vocal Competition: Young Artist Division, which earned him featured performances with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, where he was praised for his “wonderful artistry and beautiful and moving voice” (Classical Voice North Carolina). Ollarsaba is currently a Resident Artist with Minnesota Opera for its 2012-3 season, performing the High Priest (Nabucco), Lord Rochefort (Anna Bolena), Horatio (Hamlet), and Timur (Turandot).

Leo Hurley

Leo Hurley, a native of Rollinsford, N.H., and recent graduate of UNCSA, has gained recognition with commissions and performances spanning the United States, Italy, and Serbia. He has had the pleasure of writing for Maya Angelou's 80th Birthday Celebration, Grammy Award-winner Pharoah Sanders, Winston-Salem Symphony, Beyond Words Dance Company in an Off-Broadway dance production, Sonnet Repertory Theater Company in an Off-Broadway musical, The Lincoln Center Institute (New York, N.Y.), Alonzo King's LINES Ballet (most notably in the performance at the La Biennale Festival in Venice, Italy), as well as several film productions.

This year, Hurley’s score for the 2011 UNCSA student film ZOMROMCOM: THE MUSICAL was the winner of the College Television Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for Best Original Score. The score was recorded on the School of Filmmaking’s scoring stage with UNCSA Chancellor John Mauceri conducting. Hurley also composed the score for MOLLY UNDER THE MOON, a UNCSA student film which premiered in May.

In 2011, Hurley was chosen by the Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino to be showcased on its New Year's Eve Concert and won the North Carolina Symphony String Quartet Competition with his “String Quartet No. 1.” In 2010, he achieved the title of “Iron Composer” at the Cortona Session’s first annual Iron Composer Competition as well as winning the Winston-Salem Symphony Composition Competition for the second time, having his work “Mirror Mirror Overture” premiered. In 2009, he was awarded the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer's Award for “Zydeco,” a saxophone quartet. Recently, Hurley assisted composer Carlisle Floyd on a production of his opera Susannah in Bilbao, Spain, and continues a mentorship with him as he writes his first opera. He studied with Lawrence Dillon at UNCSA. You can learn more about Hurley and listen to some of his music at www.leohurleycomposer.com.

As America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. World-renowned conductor and educator John Mauceri became Chancellor of UNCSA in 2006. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.