City Choir Dunedin: Applaud! Women In Music

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City
Choir Dunedin is pleased to announce Applaud! Women in
Music, a concert presented by City Choir on Saturday 29 May
at 7:30 pm in Knox Church, George Street, Dunedin.

We
celebrate the contribution of women to choral music, as
symbolised by St Cecilia, the patron saint of music. She was
a noble lady of Rome around 230 AD who, despite her vow of
virginity, was forced by her parents to marry a pagan
nobleman named Valerian. During the wedding Cecilia sat
apart singing to God in her heart. She was later declared
the saint of musicians.

The programme includes works
by Marianna Martines (Austria), Cécile Chaminade (France),
Tamsin Jones (United Kingdom), Rosephanye Powell (America),
and New Zealander Felicia Edgecombe. Also included is
Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to St Cecilia.

The
choir will be joined by soloists Olivia Pike (soprano),
Tessa Romano (mezzo-soprano) and Benjamin Madden (tenor),
all local Dunedin artists. Sandra Crawshaw, lauded for her
excellence on the piano, will provide the accompaniment.
Other musicians on flute, oboe, clarinet and organ will add
to the riches of this production. David Burchell, who has
made a name for himself as a brilliant conductor, will
provide musical direction and conduct the performance. Mark
Anderson, who usually plays the timpani in the Dunedin
Symphony Orchestra, will be the assistant
conductor.

Tickets range from $10-$40, available from
Eventfinda online or phone 0800 289 849, or cash at
MusicWorks, Music Planet or at the door on the
night.

Highlights on the programme:

Marianna
Martines (1744–1812), was a singer, pianist and composer
of the classical period. Little known today, Marianna
Martines was an acclaimed composer in her lifetime who
influenced Mozart. Growing up, she took music lessons from a
young, struggling composer who rented the attic of her
family’s Vienna home. His name was Joseph Haydn. Already
as a child she was good enough to perform before the
imperial court. Laudate Pueri Dominum is a psalm by
Mattei that Martines set to music. As befits the text,
Marianna’s setting of Psalm 112 is a joyful,
energetic work.

Benjamin Britten (1913–1976)
composed Hymn to St Cecilia, a work that is as easy
to love as it is to admire. Throughout the hymn it is as if
we are floating in the heavens, swooping down towards earth
occasionally but then rising up again on the breeze –
Britten’s music really is that wondrous and weightless.
Small wonder that many Britten conductors count this hymn
among their favourites of the composer’s works. The hymn
was given its first (radio) performance in
1942.

Felicia Edgecombe (b. 1945), teacher,
song-writer and musician, was born in Napier and educated at
Tauranga Girls’ College, then later at Auckland
University, studying English and Music for a BA degree. She
has taught in secondary schools in Auckland and Wellington,
serving as Head of Music at Queen Margaret College for many
years. She is currently the musical director of the Capital
Choir in Wellington. Extensively involved with choirs and
church music, she has written many wide-ranging songs.
Shaky Places is a set of 14 songs for mixed-voice
choir, set to poems by various New Zealand poets. It is a
collection of quintessential New Zealand experiences
including the natural world, puzzles of identity and the
Christchurch earthquakes. The individual songs range from
powerful and profound to good humoured, witty and
evocative.

About the featured
soloists:

Olivia Pike

Olivia
Pike is a soprano and pianist based in Dunedin, after
completing her Bachelor of Music in Classical Voice
Performance at the University of Otago. She has extensive
experience on the stage, performing in both musical theatre
and opera. She has sung with the NZ Opera Chorus since 2016,
and regularly competes in aria competitions around the
country, with many successes – including winning the 2018
Dame Malvina Major Foundation Dunedin Aria Competition. She
has performed frequently around Dunedin as an opera singer,
including making her principal role debut as Donna Elvira in
Mozart’s Don Giovanni in 2018 for Opera Otago, and
is performing for The Little Box of Opera’s production
this March. When not singing, Olivia is a sought-after
accompanist for both choirs and soloists. She also teaches
both piano and singing privately, and has been a musical
director for several shows. 2021 sees Olivia returning to
study, working towards a Masters of Music in Classical Voice
Performance.

Tessa Romano

Tessa
Romano is Lecturer in Voice at the University of Otago. A
native of Syracuse, New York, mezzo-soprano Tessa holds a
DMA in Voice and Pedagogy from the University of Colorado
Boulder, an MMus in Voice from the University of Michigan,
and a Bachelor of Arts (AB) in Italian from Princeton
University. Tessa has held opera fellowships at Aspen Opera
Center and the Colorado University New Opera Workshop (CU
NOW). Past awards include First Place in the Florida Grieg
Voice Competition, Winner of The Art of Art Song
Competition, and Winner of the French American Vocal
Association’s Grand Concours Prize. She has been a soloist
with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, Syracuse Symphony,
Hartford Symphony and the American Handel Society, and has
studied under Jennifer Bird, Freda Herseth, Christopher
Arneson, Richard Lalli, Nancy Andresen, and Helen
Boatwright.

Benjamin Madden

Benjamin
Madden is a proudly born-and-bred Dunedin tenor trained by
Pat Scally-Richardson and Judy Bellingham. Since finishing
vocal study at the University of Otago, Benjamin has been
working as a choral director and private singing teacher in
Dunedin since 2014. Ben currently teaches singing and
directs choirs for Otago Boys’ High School, Otago Girls’
High School, St Hilda’s Collegiate School and teaches
instruments (guitar, drums and singing) at Abbotsford
Primary School. Benjamin has enjoyed the opportunity to work
with the New Zealand Secondary Students Choir as a
conducting intern, guest vocal tutor and vocal consultant.
Benjamin is a current member of Voices New Zealand Chamber
Choir and enjoys performing with the Octagon Ensemble when
their repertoire allows. Benjamin was delighted to work with
City Choir Dunedin in a vocal coach capacity in 2020 and is
looking forward to doing so again later in 2021. Outside of
singing and teaching music Benjamin is an avid endurance
athlete enjoying running long distances.

Sandra
Crawshaw

Sandra
Crawshaw is a pianist and violinist based in Dunedin. As
well as maintaining a busy teaching schedule, she is also in
demand as a performer and adjudicator. She has a passion for
promoting the music of women composers, having given several
different lecture-recitals throughout New Zealand in the
past few years. She also completed a Master’s thesis about
Cécile Chaminade in 2015. Sandra has enjoyed playing with
City Choir Dunedin on several occasions, and is therefore
quite excited to take part in this coming concert.
Currently, she is part-way through a PhD, compiling a
history of entertainment in Dunedin, focusing on His
Majesty’s Theatre (aka Sammy’s – now sadly
derelict).

About the conductor

David
Burchell

David
Burchell has been Musical Director of City Choir Dunedin
since the beginning of 2000 and is now the longest-serving
Musical Director in the choir’s history. He is Organist
and Choir Director at St Joseph’s Cathedral, and Senior
Organist and Parish Choir Director at All Saints’ Church.
He is the Dunedin City Organist, the University of Otago’s
Graduation Organist and organ tutor for the Performing Arts
Music Programme. He is also a regular conductor of the
Dunedin Youth Orchestra, and occasionally works with St
Kilda Brass. David is a graduate of Oxford University and
there enjoyed a lengthy association with the renowned Choir
of New College Oxford, first as Organ Scholar and later as
Assistant Organist. This included a term in charge of the
choir, television and radio broadcasts, and participation in
the recording of many CDs as organ accompanist and soloist.
He has also worked as a university lecturer and was director
of the Newcastle University Orchestra. From 1999 to early
2011 he was Organist and Choir Director at St Paul’s
Cathedral, Dunedin. As Musical Director of City Choir
Dunedin he directs performances of major works for choir
with a variety of accompanimental
groups.

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