Emmanuel Music presents: Music of Benjamin Britten
William Hite, Brett Hodgdon, and Mark Berger
Emmanuel Music performs highlights from its recent Britten Festival, including the great song cycle of Thomas Hardy poems “Winter Words” and Lachrymae for viola and piano, based on a song of Dowland. Also on the program, in a nod to Valentine’s Day, are Britten’s arrangements of love-themed folk songs and Purcell songs.
William Hite (tenor) joined Emmanuel Music in 1986 and sang regularly in the Sunday morning cantata series until 2002. He was fortunate to have many important formative musical experiences while singing at Emmanuel, including the world premiere of Dido and Aeneas with the Mark Morris Dance Group, the first Schumann Series, the Schubert Series, and recording projects of Bach and Schütz. He will be forever grateful for the mentoring of Craig Smith and for the rich and inspiring musical community that is Emmanuel. This inspiration has found an outlet at the University of Massachusetts where he has co-produced three festivals devoted to Bach’s music. Outside of Emmanuel, Hite’s reputation as an engaging and expressive artist has led to appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, Dresdner Philharmonie, Charlotte Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, Boston Baroque, and others. Mr. Hite’s extensive discography now contains more than 40 recordings. He is an associate professor of voice at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Brett Hodgdon (pianist, vocal coach, and conductor). He serves on the faculty of the University of Connecticut as music director of the Opera Theater, as well as on the opera coaching faculty at New England Conservatory. He is a regular rehearsal pianist and coach at Boston Lyric Opera, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. As a chamber musician and vocal collaborator, Hodgdon has performed for audiences at Merkin Concert Hall, Symphony Space, Jordan Hall, the Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap Opera Company, Tanglewood Music Center, and the Aspen Music Festival. A frequent performer in the Emmanuel Music Chamber series, he has also been a rehearsal pianist for Emmanuel’s Bach Cantata series since 2006. He received a DMA in collaborative piano from New England Conservatory, as well as an MM in accompanying and chamber music and a BM in piano performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He spends his summers in Urbania, Italy, as a vocal coach for the Italian language program Si Parla, Si Canta.
Mark Berger (composer, violinist, violist) has performed with many of Boston’s finest ensembles, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, Emmanuel Music, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Opera Boston, and Boston Lyric Opera. An avid chamber musician, he is a member of Music at Eden’s Edge, the Worcester Chamber Music Society, has a duo partnership “The Two Composers” with pianist and composer Ketty Nez, and has performed with Lydian String Quartet, Radius Ensemble, and Ludovico Ensemble. Berger has also performed at summer festivals such as Kneisel Hall and Tanglewood. He has recorded music by Ketty Nez on Albany Records. His own compositions have been performed by the New York Music Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex, ALEA III, the Worcester Chamber Music Society, Ensemble Permutaciones (Mexico) and the Hellenic Ensemble of Contemporary Music (Greece), and others. Berger has received awards from the League of Composers/ISCM and SCAP, and has received grants from NEFA and the Brannen-Cooper Fund. He studied composition at Boston University and Brandeis, where his principal teachers included Theodore Antoniou, Lukas Foss, David Rakowski, Eric Chasalow, and Martin Boykan. He is on the faculty at Clark University, UMass Lowell, Middlesex Community College, and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.
Pick up My Beloved Man : The Letters of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears to celebrate both Britten’s musical accomplishments and Valentine’s Day. The book brings together 365 letters written throughout Britten and Pears’ 39-year relationship, offering glimpses into their personal and professional lives.