SAKURA SONGS was a great success!

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Following “Sakura Songs” on March 13 at Centenary United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, the artists posed for a group photo. (L-R) David Lee Ruest, violinist / Taro Wayama, guitarist / Gerald Seminatore, tenor / Marisa De Silva, soprano / Izumi Kashiwagi, pianist. We had an appreciative and enthusiastic audience, and this program was an auspicious beginning for Izumi’s new concert series at the church.

PROGRAM

SCHUBERT “An die Musik” and “Mein!”
RODRIGO “Coplas del pastor enamorado,” “Adela,” and “En Jerez de la frontera”
(Taro and Gerald)

PIAZZOLLA “Bordel-1900” from Histoire du Tango
TRAD. “Danny Boy”
(Taro and David)

TAKI “Kojo no Tsuki” (荒城の月)
HIRAI “Nara-yama” (平城山)
NAKADA “Sakura Yokocho” (さくら横ちょう)
(Izumi and Gerald)

IPPO TSUBOI
Blue smoke is flowing in Lento (煙の青い lento もながれ)
I. Spring
II. Village Girl
III. Summer
IV. Dispirited Autumn
V. January on the Iwate Light Railway
(Izumi and Marisa; this was a joint commission from the composer)

BURLEIGH “Deep River”
KOHN “On the Other Shore”
COPLAND “Zion’s Walls”
(Izumi and Gerald)

WEBBER “Pie Jesu”
(Izumi, Marisa, Gerald)

Details about the next Spacious Vision program will be announced in early April.

 

SAKURA SONGS–Introducing the Artists

We are pleased to share information about the impressive roster of artists for SAKURA SONGS on March 13 at the Centenary United Methodist Church in Los Angeles. They are introduced here in alphabetical order.

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Marisa De Silva headshotSoprano MARISA DE SILVA is active as a performer, voice teacher, and Certified Teacher of the Alexander Technique. Marisa grew up in Japan and has been singing Japanese songs her entire life. Her rendition of “Hana wa saku” — a song dedicated to the victims of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami — has reached nearly half a million views on YouTube. An avid recitalist, she has given recitals in Italy, Spain, France, the USA, and Japan. Marisa has also spent several summers in Spain studying with Teresa Berganza, and performing songs from the Castilian, Latin American, and Catalan song repertoires. She is currently a student in Early Music Performance at the University of Southern California, and teaches at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
 

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Izumi_photo_croppedPianist IZUMI KASHIWAGI started playing the piano at the age of five. She attended California State University in Long Beach, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance. She continued her studies with Kevin Fitz-Gerald at the USC Thornton School of Music, where she earned both the Masters and Doctoral degrees in Keyboard Collaborative Arts. Izumi has been both a student and performer at festivals such as the Aspen and the Quartet Festival in Boulder, CO. She has worked as a collaborative pianist with many singers, including at SongFest in Los Angeles in 2014. As a chamber musician, Izumi has played with several professional instrumentalists, including violinist Charles Castleman and Los Angeles Philharmonic cellist Peter Stumpf. Izumi is on the staff of the Centenary United Methodist Church, and also teaches at Vanguard University.

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Violinist David Lee Ruest was born in South Korea and grew up in New York City. After earning his Bachelor’s degree at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, he came to California to become a member of the Santa Barbara Symphony. He then went on to graduate study at UCLA, where he earned his Master’s degree. As an orchestral violinist, David has also performed with the Harrisburg, Annapolis, Baltimore, New West, and Long Beach Symphonies. He also plays the viola and is active as a private teacher in both instruments.
 
 

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Taso_headshot_BWTenor GERALD SEMINATORE is the director of the Spacious Vision Song Project. He began his musical career with professional ensembles including the Handel and Haydn Society, the Boston Early Music Festival, and Emmanuel Music. Operatic engagements in the USA have included roles with the Chautauqua, Dayton, Glimmerglass, Oakland, Santa Fe, and West Bay opera companies. Gerald made his European debut at England’s Aldeburgh Festival, and went on to become a member of the solo ensemble at the Dortmund Opera in Germany. He was also a frequent guest artist at the Frankfurt am Main Opera, the Rheinland/Pfalz Theater in Kaiserslautern, and the Bremen Opera. His concert performances have included appearances with many orchestras and choral ensembles. Gerald’s singing has been recognized with numerous awards, and praised in publications such as the London Times, Opera News, and San Francisco Classical Voice. Gerald has taught at several colleges and universities in Southern California, and traveled extensively as a master class teacher in the United States and in Europe.

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Taro_portrait_cropped_webTARO WAYAMA is a Japanese born guitarist and composer. He was the First Prize winner in the 2003 Aron Green/American String Teachers Association Guitar Competition, and the Second Prize winner in the Thailand International Guitar Competition. As a composer, Taro received the award for “Best Original Score” at the Los Angeles Movie Awards for the independent film Anne Jennings. He is an active soloist and a chamber musician, and has performed in Japan, Thailand, Canada, and the USA. Taro frequently collaborates with instrumentalists and singers in presenting Classical music from the Renaissance through 20th Century, as well as venturing into Folk and World music. Taro earned both his Masters and Bachelor of Music degrees at the University of Southern California, where he studied guitar and composition with Pepe Romero, William Kannengiser, James Smith, Brian Head, and Scott Tennant.

 

New Year’s Greeting–Britten’s “A New Year Carol”

220px-Ilex_aquifoliumOn this last day of 2015, here is an audio excerpt from our 2014 program Carols Rare and Bright. “A New Year Carol” is from Benjamin Britten’s Friday Afternoons (op.7), a collection of songs written for the students of Clive House School in Prestatyn, Wales, where the composer’s brother was Headmaster.

The text relates a Welsh custom of sprinkling people and the doorways with water newly drawn from a well. The words “Levy dew” may be derived from the Old English levedy (“lady”), or from the French Levez à Dieu (“Raise to God”), which alludes to the elevation of the host during the Eucharist. (This would explain the water and the wine in the words that follow.) The “seven bright gold wires” represent the strings of a golden harp, presumably played by an angelic chorus that also includes shining bugles. The “Fair Maid” is medieval personification of the Virgin Mary. The East and West doorways are both literal and metaphorical.

Here are the lyrics, followed by the link to the recording.

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“New Year Carol” (Walter de la Mare)

Here we bring new water from the well so clear,
For to worship God with, this happy New Year.

Chorus (after each verse):
Sing levy-dew, sing levy-dew, the water and the wine,
The seven bright gold wires and the bugles that do shine.

Sing reign of Fair Maid, with gold upon her toe;
Open you the West Door and turn the Old Year go.

Sing reign of Fair Maid, with gold upon her chin;
Open you the East Door and let the New Year in.

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Click here for this live performance on SoundCloud of “A New Year Carol.” The singers are Ariel Pisturino and Anthony Moreno, with Krystof Van Grysperre at the piano.

We wish all of our visitors and friends a very happy and musical New Year!

 

 

SONGS FOR THE NATIVITY Program Information

TIME: Sunday, Dec. 20, 4:00 pm
VENUE: St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1020 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, CA

PROGRAM: Something a little different than arrangements or covers of the same handful of classics. We will present rarely heard holiday-themed songs and arias by J.S. Bach, Benjamin Britten, Michael Head, Joaquin Rodrigo, Peter Warlock, Ralph Vaughn Williams and others, as well as Spanish villancicos, carols by Alfred Burt, and a few American standards for audience participation! The ambience of historic St. Mark’s Church provides a superb and intimate setting for this unusual program, performed by three acclaimed singers, a pianist, and a guitarist.

TICKETS: There is no pre-sale of tickets. General admission / open seating by donation. $20 is suggested, but any amount will be greatly appreciated. Cash preferred, checks accepted.

There is ample (free) street parking in front of the church, or in the lot behind the church off Dryden Ave. The church is wheelchair and walker friendly.

Scroll down to learn more about the artists. We hope to greet you personally at the concert!

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Tenor GERALD SEMINATORE is the director of the Spacious Vision Song Project. He began his musical career with professional ensembles including the Handel and Haydn Society, the Boston Early Music Festival, and Emmanuel Music. Operatic engagements in the USA have included roles with the Chautauqua, Dayton, Glimmerglass, Oakland, Santa Fe, and West Bay opera companies. He made his European debut at England’s Aldeburgh Festival, and went on to become a member of the solo ensemble at the Dortmund Opera in Germany. Gerald was also a frequent guest artist at the Frankfurt am Main Opera, the Rheinland/Pfalz Theater in Kaiserslautern, and the Bremen Opera. His concert performances have included appearances with many orchestras and choral ensembles. Gerald’s singing has been recognized with numerous awards, and praised in publications such as the London Times, Opera News, and San Francisco Classical Voice.

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Ariel_pisturino_headshot_webSoprano ARIEL PISTURINO  completed her graduate studies at the University of Southern California, where she performed with the Thornton Opera. She has since performed with the Long Beach Opera and other regional opera companies, in roles from CarmenDon Giovanni, Nixon in China, and The Magic Flute. Most recently, Ariel appeared in the nationally acclaimed operatic event Hopscotch with the Los Angeles-based company The Industry. Upcoming roles include Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with the Redlands Opera Theater. Ariel is a co-founder of the Chamber Opera Players of Los Angeles (COPOLA), and a frequent collaborator in performances of new works. She was a featured soloist on the Delos Records release “Terrain of the Heart” by composer Mark Abel, released in 2014.

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E_Scott_Levin_headshotBass-Baritone E. SCOTT LEVIN completed graduate studies at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. He began his singing career in St. Louis, where he sang in over twenty productions with Union Avenue Opera. Since moving to Los Angeles, Scott has performed regularly with the Pacific Opera Project, and also appeared with Long Beach Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Celestial Opera, Center Stage Opera, and the Redlands Opera Theater. This season he made his debut as the Sacristan in Tosca with the Townsend/Fresno Opera, and his Los Angeles Opera “Off-Grand” debut as Babayan (Bartolo) in Figaro 90210! Most recently, Scott had his Los Angeles Opera main stage debut as Dr. Spinelloccio in Gianni Schicchi, starring Placido Domingo and directed by Woody Allen. Scott is also the co-founder of Chamber Opera Players of LA (COPOLA).

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Taro_portrait_cropped_webTARO WAYAMA is a Japanese born guitarist and composer. He was the First Prize winner in the 2003 Aron Green/American String Teachers Association Guitar Competition, and the Second Prize winner in the Thailand International Guitar Competition. As a composer, Taro received the award for “Best Original Score” at the Los Angeles Movie Awards for the independent film Anne Jennings. He is an active soloist and a chamber musician, and has performed in Japan, Thailand, Canada, and the USA. Taro frequently collaborates with instrumentalists and singers in presenting Classical music from the Renaissance through 20th Century, as well as venturing into Folk and World music. Taro earned both his Masters and Bachelor of Music degrees at the University of Southern California, where he studied with Pepe Romero, William Kannengiser, James Smith, Brian Head, and Scott Tennant.

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RON BARNETT is the Director of Music and Sacred Arts at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.
In addition to his work as an organist, choir director, and keyboard artist, Ron is active as a composer and music educator. His choral works have been published by GIA Publications and Morning Star Music Publishers. His score for A Christmas Carol (book by Fulton Barry Kornhauser) premiered at the Fulton Theatre (Lancaster, PA) in 2001. Since its recent commercial publication, the show has enjoyed several productions across the United States. A second show, Around the World in 80 Days (book and lyrics by Julianne Homokay) premiered at the Fulton Theatre in 2007. Ron’s new show When Butter Churns to Gold (book by Peter Welkin, lyrics by Randi Wolfe) had its 2015 premiere at the Northern Sky Theatre (Fish Creek, WI). Ron has also scored over two dozen shows for regional children’s theatre, some of which have toured nationally, been performed at the Producer’s Association of Children’s Theatre in NYC and the Kennedy Center in Washington, and been nominated for TCG awards. Ron’s orchestrations include the world premiere productions of Bojangles (music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Sammy Cahn), Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus (music and lyrics by David Kirshenbaum) and Treasure Island (music and lyrics by Marc Robin and Curt Dale Clark). Sound Design credits include the Off-Broadway production of All Under Heaven starring Valerie Harper as Pearl S. Buck, and Zelda and The Last Flapper, which has played in Romania and Hungary as part of an ACTIV-5 international theatre festival.

Concert film: Gerald Seminatore and Taro Wayama perform songs of John Dowland

On their April 2015 concert at the Pasadena Presbyterian Church, guitarist Taro Wayama and tenor Gerald Seminatore opened the program with three “ayres” by English lutenist John Dowland (1563-1626). These songs from the twilight of the Elizabethan era are wonderfully expressive examples of the conventions of courtly love in art music.

Gerald_Taro_portrait_PPC_1Awake, sweet love
Flow my tears
Can she excuse my wrongs?

Click here to view.

(YouTube will open in a new page.)

Taro Wayama and Gerald Seminatore perform April 29 in Pasadena

On Wednesday, April 29, guitarist Taro Wayama and tenor Gerald Seminatore will be hosted by the Friends of Music at the Pasadena Presbyterian Church. The program will include selections by Benjamin Britten, John Dowland, and Franz Schubert. pasadena-presbyterian

12:10-12:45 pm
Pasadena Presbyterian Church
585 East Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101

Free admission. Donations to the Friends of Music will be gratefully accepted.


ABOUT THE ARTISTS

210795_212480025436007_6947082_oGuitarist and composer Taro Wayama was born in Japan. He earned both the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Southern California, where his teachers included Pepe Romero and Scott Tennant. Taro is a winner of numerous competitions, including first place in the Aron Green/American String Teachers Association Guitar Competition, and second place in the Thailand’s International Guitar Competition. As a composer, he received the award for “Best Original Score” at the Los Angeles Movie Awards for his work on the independent film “Anne Jennings.” Taro produces the classical music series for Noble House Concerts in Van Nuys, and he is an active member and performer of the Ventura Classical Guitar Society. He also performs with guitarist Thomas Foster as part of Duo Ex Ovo. The duo works with the Los Angeles Public Library and other libraries and community organizations to promote an interest in live music through concerts, lectures, and teaching activities.

gerald_seminatoreAmerican tenor Gerald Seminatore began his career with professional ensembles including the Handel and Haydn Society, the Boston Early Music Festival, and Emmanuel Music. Operatic engagements in the USA have included the Chautauqua, Dayton, Glimmerglass, Oakland, Santa Fe, and West Bay opera companies. He made his European debut at England’s Aldeburgh Festival, and went on to become a member of the solo ensemble at the Dortmund Opera in Germany. Further engagements in Europe include the Bremen Opera, the opera of Frankfurt am Main, and the Pfalztheater in Kaiserslautern. Gerald’s concert performances have included appearances as a soloist with many orchestras and choral ensembles, and he has many song recitals throughout the United States and Europe to his credit. His work has been recognized with numerous awards, and praised in publications such as the London Times, Opera News, and San Francisco Classical Voice.

Two Villancicos, sung by Bernardo Bermudez and Anthony Moreno

pianoFor our 2014 program “Carols Rare and Bright,” Bernardo Bermudez and Anthony Moreno sang rarely performed villancicos (Spanish language Christmas songs). These wonderful songs deserve a wider audience, and here are two selections from our salon at Elise’s in Long Beach, CA. For this concert, Kristof Van Grysperre played a restored Hamburg Steinway grand piano from 1890.

JUAN PLAZA (1898-1965, Venezuela)

“Trinan las aves” (The Birds Sing)
Sung by Bernardo Bermudez

The birds sing with great joy;
They announce that
Jesus the Messiah is coming.
The prairie prepares itself,
Putting on a gallant dress of
Colorful flowers.

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JOAQUÍN RODRIGO  (1901-99, Spain)

“Colplillas de Belen” (Carols of Bethlehem)
Sung by Anthony Moreno

If the palm tree knew that
A star had fallen from heaven
To light a child sleeping
In a stable, it would offer
Its green leaves to fan
The baby in its cradle.

The Virgin prays and sings,
And the baby smiles sweetly.
How sorrowful the palm tree
Would be, if it knew what was
Yet to come.

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A playlist of selections from “Carols Rare and Bright” is available at the Spacious Vision channel on the SoundCloud music service. Videos from past programs may also be viewed at the Spacious Vision YouTube channel.