4, December 2012 § Leave a comment


The singing of classical music is not for everyone. The first important requirement is a good voice and equally good ears.  The voice can be trained; with perseverance a young singer can learn the breathing techniques which support the sound in the body, the articulation of vowels and consonants which give a sparkle to the pronunciation, and the development of
the resonance which makes the voice rich and warm. But even that does not suffice if one wants to sing solo songs. There must be a musicality with which the singer turns each phrase into an emotional gesture all his/her own. One must have a feeling for literature, a sense of the drama of the important words in the text, a sensitivity to the atmosphere of the music. And still we have not finished the list of important requirements; a singer must develop discipline. It demands much self-control to repeat exercises time and again, aspiring to a mastery of ones instrument so that the voice is used in service of the message, the implication of  the words, the ambience of the emotions.
And yet there are singers at the Aegean Center who are capable of this extreme discipline in order to express themselves in that most ephemeral of art forms, music.
The Vocal Ensemble will perform this week with a program of music inspired by spiritual and philosophical texts. Maestro Orfeas John Munsey has chosen a program of music from Greece, Russia, Estonia, Hungary, Belgium, Germany, England and the United States. There will be some absolute masterpieces like the Bach fugue Psallite Deo Nostro from the Magnificat and the Hymn to the Virgin by Rachmaninoff as well as a surprising arrangement of Arvo Paert’s piano composition Fuer Alina for a cappella voices.
The singers of the Vocal Ensemble this season are Nicola Pasterfield, Caroline Goddard, Apollonia Ikonomou, Petra Kampman, Brigitte Karavia, Lily Turmelle, Jane Morris Pack, Julia Robinson, Konstantina Andreakou, Jun Pierre Shiozawa, Terrence Mortimer and Benjamin Voisine-Addis
The Vocal Ensemble will perform Wednesday 5 December at the Agios Giorgios Catholic Church in Naousa and Saturday and Sunday 8 and 9 December at the Agios Antonios Catholic Church in Paroikia. All concerts are at 20:30 hours and admission is free of charge.
-Orfeas John Munsey

Carrie Cooley Concert 29 May, 20:00, Apothiki Art Gallery

22, May 2011 § Leave a comment

“And yet, Courage is me, courage friend! The world is lovely, and not at all fearful to the bold man. What then is music? Music is a sacred art which brings together all varieties of courage like cherubim around a shining throne, and for that reason it is the most holy among the arts.”

Courage. When one thinks of courage, the picture is usually of a hero going into battle, a knight, a policeman, James Bond, swords, guns, knives. Courage to me is a brush, a pen, a voice that breaks the silence, the click of a shutter, an empty canvas with endless possibilities. When I think of courage I think of people who follow their dreams, even if the path might be a little unorthodox. The Aegean Center is a haven for these people. To be part of the Aegean Center is to be surrounded by people who ride on the shoulders of Hope and reach their goals by these means, a great family of optimists who add color, depth and meaning to this world. People who create, and those who encourage creation. These are the heroes in this world.

It is in homage to the creators, to the dreamers, to every student and faculty member who has ever been a part of the Aegean Center, to every person who strives to add beauty to this world, not because he hopes to be acknowledged and praised, but because he can no more imagine a world without art and music, than a world without light or air, that I offer this concert as a gift of deepest gratitude from the bottom of my heart.

I have selected the music based on texts which I felt best illustrated the connection between the art forms, which at times seems almost cyclical, even eternal. Because my gift is music, I open the concert with the composer’s aria from Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss from which the above quote is taken. The Poulenc Le travail du peintre (The works of the painter) with texts by Paul Éluard illustrates the connection between painting and poetry, and poetry and music. The Respighi songs with texts by Antonio Rubino illustrate how one can see art and hear music in life and in nature, and how each sound, color and smell contributes to the music of our lives. The Jake Heggie song cycle, Statuesque, talks about life from the points of view of five different sculptures, and what they might feel when they are being gawked at by people who have little time to truly see them, only to admire their beauty with fleeting glances, and “What a Movie!” from Bernstein’s “Trouble in Tahiti,” is, in the context of the opera, a piece about an unhappy woman’s escape into one of America’s most popular art forms, film.

The entire process of planning, organizing, researching and rehearsing this concert has been painstaking and tiresome, but in the end so very enjoyable. This is a chance I have been given to truly express unbridled joy for an art-form I find practical, necessary, and essential for the survival of a truly wonderful world. Thank you to John and Jane Pack, Jeffrey and Liz Carson, Orfeas, Jun-Pierre and the Aegean Center for helping me make this concert a reality. Courage is in me! Courage, friend! And I owe a very large part of that courage to the time I have been fortunate enough to spend at the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts in Paros, Greece.

Thus begins new life, and I for one cannot wait.

Carrie Cooley

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