Welcome to the 2023 – 2024 Season!

July 5, 2023
Author: Seeking Attribution

Welcome to the 2023 -2024 Season

Stephen Stubbs, Founding Artistic Director

Welcome to Pacific MusicWorks 2023-2024 Season. We have an adventurous season in store for you! I hope you will join us to experience some new venues, new guest stars, and one newly commissioned piece, along with the triumphant return of beloved soloists like Amanda Forsythe, Reggie Mobley, Danielle Reutter-Harrah and Douglas Williams.

A Concert with The Countess – Drag returns to the baroque

The beginning of our season will be a truly unique production centered on John Taylor Ward based on two of his special attributes: he is a direct descendant of the hugely important (though not well-known today) 17th century English composer, Nicolas Lanier, and Taylor has developed a magnificent drag persona which we he calls “The Countess”. Taylor developed a creative friendship with native Seattle-born dancer, Tshedzom Tingkhye, and suggested that we build a program with her as a choreographic partner. We will perform this in the intimate cabaret atmosphere of “The Rabbit Box” at Pike Place market, including Lanier’s epic tale of Hero and Leander, as well as Shakespeare’s most famous speech, To be, or not to be in the 17th century setting by Samuel Pepys. Anna Mansbridge will choreograph and stage the event.

Navidad! The Mystery of Mary

December continues with a holiday tradition spearheaded by Co-Artistic Director, Henry Lebendinsky. ¡Navidad! The Mystery of Mary celebrates the blending of African, Indigenous, and European musical traditions which created a uniquely American music, evoking the wonder and joy of the Christmas story. This program features the dynamic mezzo soprano Cecilia Duarte who recently had a triumphant performanc at the Boston Early Music Festical, and renowned percussionist Antonio Gomez along with a colorful band of strings, Spanish harp, baroque guitar, and keyboards.

Root & Branch: An American Musical Journey

In early spring (February), we will realize a project that has been germinating since we did our first exploration of American music called An American Tune in 2013. That program in turn was born of my personal realization that I had spent my career pursuing the nooks and crannies of historical music in Europe, but that I was under-informed about the history of music in America. My delightful friend and colleague, Reggie Mobley made me aware of the multi-faceted history of music in this country, and recommended that I read a book by Colin Woodard called American Nations in which he describes at least 8 strands of American culture (Yankees, Appalachians, Deep South etc.). Since Reggie is from the “Deep South” and we had already begun to explore Appalachian traditions with Danielle Reutter-Harrah (you may remember her stirring rendition of The Wind and the Rain in our March concerts) we decided that a concert featuring the two of them as vocal soloists, and tracing the intertwining of Deep South and Appalachian culture over time would make for an exciting adventure. To bring this into focus in the present we have commissioned Jonathan Woody, (known to Seattle audiences as a bass, but also a shooting star amongst young American composers) to write a new piece for Reggie and Danielle which would bring the historical culture clash into modern focus. We are calling the resulting program Root and Branch.

The Maid’s Revenge: Pergolesi, Mozart, Agnesi

Finally, to end our season in grand style, we will bring two of our long-time collaborators (and two of todays brightest vocal stars) Amanda Forsythe and Douglas Williams to town to perform Pergolesi’s riotous Serva Padrona. Some years ago we did a stage production in Boston with Amanda and Douglas, and the result went far beyond our expectations. Everyone knows that Pergolesi’s melodies are bubbly and fun (a direct foreshadowing of that side of Mozart’s music) but the witty repartee of the dialogue is like discovering the sound track to a lost Marx brothers movie, between the delightful solos and duos. The two protagonists also play off of a mute (commedia dell’arte character) who needs to be a masterful actor to sustain this role. Luckily, Julia Benzinger knew one, John Patrick Lowrie, and was able to engage him for these concerts. Another special aspect of the score for Serva Padrona is that it calls for virtuoso horn playing – and we have been able to invite Todd Williams, who is, to my knowledge, the best natural horn player in the US. To get an extra bonus for having Todd with us, he suggested we program Mozart’s Musical Joke. You may have heard it before and not understood what was funny – but we intend to get to the bottom of Mozart’s cheeky (and sometimes diabolical) sense of humor. We are calling the program The Maid’s Revenge, and you will be rooting for Serpina (the maid) as she thinks rings around her “master” and gets everything she wants.

We are excited to see you at our performances and events this season and look forward to sharing the wealth of artistry and music that is on tap.

-Pacific MusicWorks Founding Director, Stephen Stubbs

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Pacific MusicWorks
Attn. Daniel Goodrich 999 Third Ave, Suite 4600 Seattle, WA 98104

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