Dominique LaBelle and Yehudi Wyner

PROGRAM

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YEHUDI WYNER, piano

Awarded the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for his Piano Concerto, “Chiavi in mano”, Yehudi Wyner (b.1929) is one of America's most distinguished musicians. His compositions include over 100 works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, solo voice and solo instruments, piano, chorus, and music for the theater, as well as liturgical services for worship. He has received commissions from Carnegie Hall, the Boston Symphony, the BBC Philharmonic, The Library of Congress, The Ford Foundation, Koussevitzky Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Fromm Foundation, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and Worldwide Concurrent Premieres among others.  His recording “The Mirror” on Naxos won a 2005 Grammy Award, his Piano Concerto,“Chiavi in Mano” on Bridge Records was nominated for a 2009 Grammy, and his Horntrio (1997) was a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Other honors received include two Guggenheim Fellowships, The Institute of Arts and Letters Award, the Rome Prize, the Brandeis Creative Arts Award, and the Elise Stoeger Prize given by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for “lifetime contribution to chamber music.” He currently serving as President of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and is a member of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

Yehudi Wyner has also had an active career as a solo pianist, chamber musician collaborating with notable vocal and instrumental colleagues, teacher, director of two opera companies, and conductor of numerous chamber and vocal ensembles in a wide range of repertory. Keyboard artist of the Bach Aria Group since 1968, he has played and conducted many of the Bach cantatas, concertos and motets. He was on the chamber music faculty of the Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Music Center from 1975-97.

He has been composer-in-residence at NMOP (2014), June in Buffalo (2012), DePaul University (2012), The Shepherd School of Music, Rice University (2012), Civitella Ranieri (2009), the Eastman School of Music (2008), Vassar College (2007), the Atlantic Center for the Arts (2005), the Rockefeller Center at Bellagio, Italy (1998), the American Academy in Rome (1991), and at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival (1982). 

Mr. Wyner was a Professor at the Yale University School of Music from 1963-1977 where he also served as Chairman of the Composition faculty. He became Dean of the Music Division at State University of New York, Purchase, in 1978, where he was a Professor for twelve years. A guest Professor at Cornell University in 1988, Mr. Wyner has also been a frequent Visiting Professor at Harvard University since 1991. From 1991-2005, he held the Walter W. Naumburg Chair of Composition at Brandeis University, where he is now Professor Emeritus.

Born in Western Canada, Yehudi Wyner grew up in New York City. He came into a musical family and was trained early as pianist and composer.  His father, Lazar Weiner, was the preeminent composer of Yiddish Art Song as well as a notable creator of liturgical music for the modern synagogue. After graduating from the Juilliard School with a Diploma in piano, Yehudi Wyner went on to study at Yale and Harvard Universities with composers Paul Hindemith, Richard Donovan, and Walter Piston.  In 1953, he won the Rome Prize in Composition enabling him to live for the next three years at the American Academy in Rome, composing, playing, and traveling. 

Recent compositions include Sonnet: In the arms of Sleep for soprano and two mezzo sopranos, flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello and harp (2015) commissioned in honor of Tanglewood Music Center 75th Anniversary, Into the evening air for Wind Quintet (2013), commissioned by the Boston Symphony for the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, West of the moon for guitar, mandolin, flute, oboe, violin and cello, (2013) commissioned by Cygnus, Concordance for violin, viola, cello and piano (2012), “Save me O God;” Psalm 49 for chorus a cappella (2012), Refrain for solo piano (2012), “The Lord is close to the Heartbroken” for chorus, harp and percussion (2012), commissioned by Soli Deo Gloria’s psalms project;  “Give thanks for all things” for Orchestra and Chorus (2010), commissioned by The Cantata Singers; Fragments from Antiquity for Soprano and Orchestra (rev 2011); Fantasy on B.A.C.H. for Piano (2010), commissioned by Wigmore Hall and Angela Hewitt; TRIO 2009, for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, commissioned by Chamber Music San Francisco for Lynn Harrell, Robert Levin and Richard Stoltzman.

Recordings of his music can be found on Naxos, Bridge, New World, Albany, Pro Arte, CRI, 4Tay, and Columbia Records. His Bridge release, Orchestra Music of Yehudi Wyner, was chosen by American Record guide as one of the Ten Best Recordings of 2009.

Mr. Wyner’s music is published by Associated Music Publishers, Inc. (G. Schirmer). He is married to conductor and former soprano Susan Davenny Wyner. 


DOMINIQUE LABELLE, soprano

Soprano Dominique Labelle, whose voice has been called  “angelic,” “silvery,” and “vibrant,” could easily lay claim to the title “diva.” Instead, she simply calls herself a musician, and takes greatest pride not in her rave reviews, but in her work with colleagues and in her probing explorations of the repertoire from the Baroque to new music. 

Throughout her career she has fearlessly plumbed the technical and emotional depths of music, turning in performances of “almost alarming ferocity” (San Francisco Chronicle), possessed of  “conviction but without exhibitionism” (De Telegraf), that have “the audience hanging on every note” (Boston Globe). Her legendary musicianship and passionate commitment to music-making have led to close and enduring collaborations with a number of the world’s most respected conductors and composers, most recently Nicholas McGegan, Iván Fischer, Jos van Veldhoven, and the Pulitzer Prize winning composer Yehudi Wyner. She also treasures her long association with the late Robert Shaw. 

Recent and upcoming engagements include Handel’s Messiah with Kent Nagano and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, and with Gerard Schwartz and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra; Yehudi Wyner’s Fragments from Antiquity with the Lexington Symphony; Barber’sKnoxville, Summer of 1915 with the Boston Classical Orchestra; and ten performances in the spring of 2011 at the Göttingen Festival in Germany with Nicholas McGegan, including a Handel Gala that will celebrate his 20-year tenure as the festival’s artistic director. She and Mr. McGegan, with whom she has recorded and performed extensively, are also collaborating in performances of Handel’s Orlando and Alexander’s Feast, with San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. 

Her recent appearances with Hungarian conductor Iván Fischer include the Countess Almaviva in Mozart’s Nozze di Figaro at Teatro Perez Galdos in Las Palmas and in Budapest, a Bach B-minor Mass in Washington, D.C., and a Bach St. Matthew Passion with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. 

In addition to her renowned Handel, Mozart, and Bach interpretations, she is drawn to contemporary music. She sings Seven Romances on Poetry of Alexander Blok by one of her favorite modern composers, Shostakovich, at the Mt. Desert Festival of Chamber Music in Maine in the summer of 2011. Her recent performance of Britten’s Les Illuminations with the New England String Ensemble and Susan Daveny Wyner was called “heated” and “voluptuous” by the Boston Globe. She has performed and recorded John Harbison’s The Rewaking with the Lydian String Quartet.

Dominique Labelle first came to international prominence as Donna Anna in Peter Sellar’s daring production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, set in Spanish Harlem, which she performed in New York, Paris, and Vienna. She has also won great acclaim for her portrayal of Micaela in Bizet’s Carmen: “You would have to go back to the young Mirella Freni to find a Micaela to rival the golden-throated Labelle…  her singing is enough to give you religion,” wrote Richard Dyer of the Boston Globe. 

Among her numerous recordings of opera and concert repertoire is Monsigny’s Le Déserteur, with Opera Lafayette and Ryan Brown (Naxos), with whom she also performed in Gluck’sArmide at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Of her performance in the title role, Anthony Tommasini wrote in the New York Times, “Singing with tender longing one moment and steely determination the next, Ms. Labelle conveyed Armide’s aching conflicts.” She can also be heard on recordings on the Virgin Veritas, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, RCA Victor Red Seal, Koss, Denon, New World, Carus and Muisica Omnia labels. Her recording of Handel’s Arminio (Virgin Classics) won the 2002 Handel Prize. 

Born in Montreal and trained at McGill and Boston Universities, Ms. Labelle enjoys sharing her technical and musical insights with young singers, and has taught master classes at Harvard University, McGill, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts with more being planned.  She is now Professor of Voice at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, in Montreal.