Handel Week Festival 2013 Performers
Dennis E. Northway, Artistic Director
Active musician, organbuilder, teacher and author DENNIS NORTHWAY is the founding Music Director of the Handel Week Festival. Most recently he wrote an anthology of inspirational music thoughts for choral groups entitled To Touch the Garment's Hem; he also was the editor of the ChicAGO Centenary Anthology celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Chicago chapter of the American Guild of Organists. He is the co-author, with Stephen Schnurr, Jr., of the critically acclaimed Pipe Organs of Chicago and Pipe Organs of Chicago Volume Two. Dennis is also Artistic Director of the annual Handel Week Festival in Oak Park, Illinois, and parish musician at Grace Episcopal Church. He is currently employed by the well-respected firm of John Paul Buzard Organbuilders.
As a recitalist, Dennis was heard at the 2009 and 2012 National Conventions of the Organ Historical Society; he was also featured by the Chicago Midwest Chapter of the Organ Historical Society to play a recital on the large 1927 W. W. Kimball Organ in First Baptist Congregational Church in Chicago. He returned recently from recitals in Scotland for the 50th anniversary conference of the Scottish Federation of Organists and also played a concert on the magnifigent organ at Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow. His teachers include Ronald Arnatt, Kathleen Thomerson, Herbert Gotsch, Richard Enright, and Wolfgang Rübsam.
Dennis Northway holds three degrees, including a Doctorate in Choral Conducting from Northwestern University, where he also attained candidacy for a Ph. D. in Musicology.
Active as a composer, Northway has more than two hundred works to his credit; his organ works are published by Belwin Mills, and he is regularly commissioned to write special or occasional compositions.
As a conductor, Dr. Northway has wide ranging experience with a vast array of forces. He has conducted four year-olds as well as a Senior Chorus; he has worked with hundreds of singers in mass choirs and intimate chamber ensembles as well. Dennis has been associated with the Chicago Children’s Choir for a decade in a variety of capacities. He conducted the Concert Choir and the Chicago Children’s Choir in Rogers Park. In demand as a choral clinician and guest artist, he has led many seminars and performances. Dr. Northway is an active lecturer throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.
Earlier in his career, he taught middle school students for eight years. Dr. Northway was chorus master of the Owensboro, Kentucky Symphony Orchestra Chorus and director of Choral Activities at Kentucky Wesleyan College. He was chorus master and conductor at Light Opera Works and was music director at St. Patrick’s High School in Chicago. In addition, Dr. Northway is the founder of Fleur de Lys, a professional chamber choir, originally dedicated to the music of the Romantic period, former artistic director of the Park Forest Singers, and conductor of the Lutheran Choir of Chicago.
As a singer, Dr. Northway has appeared in lead roles with Light Opera Works, Chamber Opera of Chicago, The Chicago Chamber Choir, the College of DuPage, the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, the Pamiro Opera, and others.
Thomas Yang, Concertmaster
In much demand as a performer throughout the Chicago area, violinist THOMAS YANG has worked with numerous musical organizations gaining him widespread recognition from many audiences. He currently serves as concertmaster of the Northbrook Symphony, Metropolis Symphony Orchestra, St. Charles Singers, and the Handel Week Festival. In the past, he has acted as concertmaster for the Lake Forest Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta, and many other ensembles. Mr. Yang has played with esteemed groups including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He is also a longtime member of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra.
A versatile performer and contractor, Mr. Yang has performed with and provided orchestras for many popular artists: Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Josh Groban, Faith Hill, Lyle Lovett, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Smokey Robinson, Natalie Cole, John Denver, Bernadette Peters, and a host of others. He and a quartet even opened for rock legend Meatloaf!
Mr. Yang currently serves as the executive director of the Chicago Musical Connection, a musical contracting agency, as well as an artist-in-residence at Robert Morris University. He currently resides in the Chicago suburb of Wilmette with his wife and four daughters. In his spare time, Mr. Yang enjoys tutoring first- and second-grade reading classes in Chicago and watching his daughters play ice hockey.
Praised for his lyrical and sweet voice, tenor WILLIAM BOUVEL performs regularly across the United States with groups such as Opera Lafayette of Washington DC, Haymarket Opera Chicago, Madison Early Music Festival, and Baroque Band.
He has received particular praise for his presentation of baroque opera and oratorio, informed by study with internationally renowned performers Jean-Paul Fouchecourt, Julianne Baird, and Ellen Hargis. He most recently sang (and danced) the role of the sailor in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with Haymarket Opera and performed the role of Tantale in last year's production of Charpentier's La Descente d'Orphée aux Enfers. As a young artist last year with Opera Lafayette, he sang Acis in Handel's Acis and Galatea and debuted at the Kennedy Center as Giovinetto in Paisiello's Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
Mr. Bouvel is also a regular presenter of Bach cantatas and oratorios. As a chorister he has been fortunate to sing with Chicago Symphony Chorus, The Oregon Bach Festival, and Apollo's Fire.
Long familiar to Chicago-area audiences, KAYE CLEMENTS has been an active performer and teacher for many years. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in flute performance and music history from the Chicago College of Performing Arts and Roosevelt University. Kaye has also completed two years of doctoral work in musicology at the University of Chicago.
As principal flute and frequent featured soloist with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, she has performed throughout the Midwest and on three well-reviewed European tours. She performed and recorded with Chicago’s Music of the Baroque as principal recorder and has played flute and/or recorder with many other ensembles, including the Lyric Opera Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She is a frequent featured performer for the Handel Week Festival of Oak Park and the Bach Week Festival of Evanston.
Until her retirement in 2012, she taught applied flute and music history and served as Dean of Undergraduate Studies at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago. In recognition of her work, the VanderCook Board of Trustees has designated her Professor Emerita of Flute and Music History.
As a member (with guitarist Pamela Kimmel) of the Cecilia Duo, Professor Clements has appeared in recitals throughout the Midwest, has been heard on WFMT’s “Live from Studio One” and in 2003 released the compact disc Sortilèges, French Music for Flute and Guitar.
She is a frequent clinician and adjudicator and is co-author of the Essential Elements Recorder Classroom Method, published by Hal Leonard Corporation. She currently resides in southwest Michigan, but returns frequently to the Chicago area where her passion for music history continues to inform both her performing and her teaching.
Soprano AMY CONN is in demand throughout the Midwest. She is known for her pure tone, communicative warmth, and musical intelligence. Amy appears on both the concert and theater stage in music of many periods, with a special love for baroque repertoire. Recent performances include Mozart’s Mass in C Minor and Exsultate, Jubilate, Charpentier’s Te Deum, Schumann's Das Paradies und die Peri, Purcell's King Arthur, Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Handel’s Israel in Egypt, Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, Vivaldi's Dixit Dominus, Couperin's Leçon de Ténèbres, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Haydn’s Creation, “Lord Nelson” Mass and Theresienmesse.
Ms. Conn has soloed with Music of the Baroque, Baroque Band, the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra, Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Elgin Choral Union and Symphony, Chorus Angelorum, North Shore Choral Society, Lutheran Choir of Chicago, and Bach Chamber Choir. She is a former longtime member of Chicago a cappella. Stage appearances include lead roles in Acis and Galatea, The Turn of the Screw, Yeomen of the Guard, and The Pirates of Penzance. In 2010, she made her debut with Chicago Opera Theater, covering the role of Isifile in Cavalli’s Giasone.
Ms. Conn enjoys many opportunities in chamber music and has performed with Eighth Blackbird, The Orion Ensemble, The Newberry Consort, The Madison Bach Musicians, Trio Settecento, Rembrandt Chamber Players, and Ars Antigua.
Ms. Conn is featured on a CD of Celtic Baroque music with Ars Antigua. In 2006 she participated in the Handel Singing Competition in London and was a semi-finalist in the American Bach Soloists Young Artists Competition in Berkeley, California. In 2010 Amy was a finalist in the New York Oratorio Society’s Young Artist Competition, performing in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall and was a winner of the Bel Canto Chorus Regional Artists Competition.
In 2011-12 Amy recorded cantatas with the Madison Bach Musicians, performed the Coffee Cantata and other Arias with the Rembrandt Chamber Players, was featured in Music of the Baroque’s Holiday Brass and Choral Program, and stepped in at the eleventh hour to sing the role of the Angel in Baroque Band’s performance of La Resurrezione. She also performed recitals with Trevor Stephenson at the fortepiano and pianist Shannon McGinnis, and sang Faure’s Requiem with the Alabama Symphony.
2012-13 will mark Amy’s first performance at the Latin American Music Festival in Chicago, presenting Spanish and South American music with longtime recital partner, Shannon McGinnis. Two compact discs Amy has recorded in recent years will be released, one with the Madison Bach Musicians and one with the Grant Park Chorus, both of which feature her as a soloist. Music of the Baroque will also be featuring her in the Brass and Choral Concerts and in Handel’s Israel in Egypt.
Equally at home performing solo music, chamber music, and orchestral repertoire, ERIN FREUND is a versatile and creative harpist. Dr. Freund is a frequent recitalist and embraces the challenge of performing virtuosic solo repertoire, spanning ancient and modern works, that displays the full capabilities of the harp.
Dr. Freund is an Assistant Professor of Music at Augustana College, where she teaches both applied harp lessons and music appreciation. She holds a Doctor of Music degree, Certificate of Performance, and Master of Music degree from Northwestern University, where she studied under former Chicago Lyric Opera principal harpist Elizabeth Cifani. She received a Bachelor of Music degree at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music under soloist Yolanda Kondonassis. For two summers, Dr. Freund attended the Salzedo Harp Colony in Camden, Maine, where she was a student of Alice Chalifoux.
As an orchestral harpist, Dr. Freund has performed under the batons of eminent, internationally renowned conductors and composers, including Sir Simon Rattle, Steven Smith, Johnny Mandel, and Edwin Outwater. She is an alumna of the International Festival-Institute at Round Top, the Pierre Monteux School, and the final session of the Henry Mancini Institute. She has appeared with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Michoacán, among many others. Dr. Freund has performed extensively with choirs and is a seasoned church performer.
As a supporter of new music, Dr. Freund has premiered orchestral works by George S. Clinton, Greg D’Allesio, Jason Eckardt, and Laurence Rosenthal. She premiered the harp concerto The Parting Glass by Alan Terricciano with Northwestern University’s Contemporary Music Ensemble in 2011. She premiered German native Ulf Anneken’s harp solo Liebesabenteur in Persien, which bears a dedication to Dr. Freund. She was a performer on world premiere recordings featured on Lewis Nielson’s album The Twittering Machine (2008). Her solo playing is featured in New York filmmaker Sean Gill’s works Crescendo and Thursday Night. She frequently collaborates with composers, and has led workshops at the Henry Mancini Institute, Northwestern University, and Augustana College.
Dr. Freund’s true zeal for the harp can be seen in her canon of transcriptions. She loves the challenge of transcribing unusual works for the harp, and her projects have included movements of Beethoven and Chopin piano concertos, and Joplin piano rags. Recent projects have included Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture, Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Suite, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition for two harps, and Wagner’s “Liebestod” from Tristan und Isolde. She views each transcription as an opportunity to present beloved pieces of music in a new light, expand the harp’s repertoire, and bust a few stereotypes along the way.
Baritone PHILIP KRAUS has sung as soloist with the Handel Week Festival every season since its inception. He has been on the roster of the Lyric Opera of Chicago for over 20 seasons, most recently portraying the Bailiff in Werther. Other notable roles at the Lyric include Pish Tush in The Mikado, Harashta in The Cunning Little Vixen, Antonio in The Marriage of Figaro, Dr. Bartolo in The Barber of Seville, Ratcliffe in Billy Budd, Abe Kaplan in Street Scene, and the Mayor in Jenůfa. He has appeared at the Los Angeles Opera as Baron Duphol in La Traviata and appears on the Decca/London DVD of that production opposite Renée Fleming. Other opera appearances include major assignments with the Minnesota Opera, Cleveland Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Chicago Opera Theater, Chamber Opera Chicago, and Light Opera Works. Mr. Kraus has appeared as soloist with major and regional orchestras across the United States, including the Chicago Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Grant Park Festival, Bravo Festival, Santa Barbara Symphony, and Fort Wayne Philharmonic. He specializes in requiems (the Verdi, Fauré, and Brahms), as well as Handel’s Messiah, Carmina Burana, and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.
Mr. Kraus is equally at home in the light opera and Broadway repertoire. Considered a specialist in Gilbert and Sullivan, Mr. Kraus received high accolades from the press for his performances of Sir Joseph Porter in H.M.S. Pinafore at the Cleveland Opera and Major General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance at Michigan Opera Theater. Also adept in the Viennese repertory, Mr. Kraus has portrayed leading roles in The Gypsy Baron, Wiener Blut, The Merry Widow, and One Night in Venice. He scored a critical coup in 1989 with his acclaimed portrayal of Russell Paxton in the first major revival of Kurt Weill’s Lady in the Dark at Light Opera Works. Mr. Kraus has also been a frequent guest of choral ensembles, including the Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee, Chicago’s Apollo Chorus, the Bach Festival of Winter Park, Music of the Baroque, the Handel Week Festival, and the Calvin College Oratorio Society. Mr. Kraus holds three degrees, including a Doctor of Music from Northwestern University.
Mezzo soprano AMY PICKERING has blended a career of opera, operetta, musical theater, concert, and ensemble work. She has performed leading roles with the Grant Park Music Festival, Central City Opera, the Colorado Symphony, Chicago Opera Theater, Light Opera Works, Chicago Folks Operetta, and the Muddy River Opera Company. Favorite roles include Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, the Muse/Nicklausse in Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Phoebe in Yeomen of the Guard, the title role in Iolanthe, Lucy Harris in Jekyll and Hyde, and Molly Gray in Girl Crazy, among others. For her performance as Princess Rosemarie in the U.S. premiere of Kalman's Duchess of Chicago, the Chicago Tribune declared, "Amy Joan Pickering not only displayed an appealing voice, she turned the stick-figure character into a person."
Concert work includes performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Orchestra Hall and at the Ravinia Festival, the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Handel Week Festival, and the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, with works including Mozart's Requiem and Mass in C Minor, Bach's Mass in B Minor, and Handel's Messiah, Ezio, Saul, and Israel in Egypt. Ensemble work includes professional appearances as a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, the Grant Park Chorus, Chicago a cappella and Table for Five. Amy holds a Bachelor of Music degree from DePaul University and a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University. She is on faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Elmhurst College.
Active as a singer, pianist, and instructor, mezzo soprano LINDSEY POLING comes to Chicago from Erie, Pennsylvania, where she appeared in opera roles including Hansel in Humperdink’s Hansel und Gretel, Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, and First Prioress in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites. She has also appeared in concert oratorios ranging from Mozart’s Requiem to Rutter’s Magnificat, in addition to performing Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Erie Philharmonic.
Ms. Poling’s Chicago career highlights include La Zia Principessa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, and the Composer in Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos. Solo concert credits include Mozart’s Requiem with the Illinois Philharmonic, Lauridson’s Cuatro Canciones and Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été with the University of Chicago and the Salt Creek Sinfonietta, Second Woman in Handel’s Solomon with the Apollo Chorus, Respighi’s Laud to the Nativity with the DePaul Community Chorus, and Mahler’s Symphony 4 with Wright College.
Outside Chicago, Lindsey has performed Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible, Nurse in Michael Torke’s Strawberry Fields, Zweite Dame in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with the New Jersey Opera, Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte with the Peninsula Music Festival.
Most recently, she created the role of Lady Smith in the world premiere of Seymour Barab’s This Little Light of Mine at New York’s Symphony Space. She has had the pleasure of singing in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to Chicago’s WFMT studios. As chorus master, Lindsey recently finished her fifth consecutive production with the Evanston Opera Company, of Gilbert & Sullivan's Savoyaires. She earned a Master of Music degree in voice at Northwestern University.
Countertenor JOSEPH SCHLESINGER began his musical education playing principal trumpet in the Augustana College Symphony, where he completed a Bachelor of Arts in Finance and Asian Studies.
After receiving his Master in Music degree from DePaul University, Mr. Schlesinger received a Netherland-America/Fulbright Fellowship to study baroque music at the Royal Conservatory, The Hague.
Mr. Schlesinger’s baroque repertoire includes J.S. Bach’s Magnificat, Weihnachts Oratorium, B-minor Mass, St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion, and other cantatas and oratorios composed by Telemann, Schütz, Zelenka, Handel, and John Adams.
Upon returning to the United States, Mr. Schlesinger joined Chicago’s Music of the Baroque under the direction of William Gray and later sang Handel’s Israel in Egypt in the Oak Park Handel Festival 2010 under the direction of Dennis Northway. In 2011 Mr. Schlesinger sang J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion with Seattle Pro Musica, directed by Karen P. Thomas. Music of the Baroque has invited Mr. Schlesinger to sing Handel’s Israel in Egypt in 2013 with Jane Glover conducting.
As an acclaimed cellist and violist da gamba, CRAIG TROMPETER has been a musical presence in Chicago for more than fifteen years. He performs in concert and over the airwaves with Haymarket Opera Company, Music of the Baroque, the Newberry Consort, the Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Theater, the Cal Players, the Oberlin Consort of Viols, and the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society. He has appeared at such prestigious venues as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Glimmerglass Festival, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
As the former principal cellist of Chicago’s nationally recognized period instrument orchestra, Baroque Band, he has appeared as soloist at the prestigious Ravinia Festival and at the annual conference of the American Bach Society. He has been soloist with the Chicago Symphony and Music of the Baroque, and has recorded discs of Mozart, Biber, Boismortier, Marais, Handel, Maurice Greene, Henry Eccles, and a potpourri of Elizabethan composers on the Harmonia Mundi, Cedille, and Centaur labels. As a modern cellist, Trompeter was a founding member of the acclaimed Fry Street String Quartet. He premiered several chamber operas by MacArthur Fellow John Eaton, performing as actor, singer, and cellist in roles written expressly for him.
A passionate educator, Trompeter has taught master classes at his alma mater the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Oberlin Conservatory, Grinnell College, and the Chicago Musical College. In 2003 he founded the Feldenkrais Center of Chicago, where he teaches Awareness Through Movement® and Functional Integration®. Craig has given Feldenkrais workshops throughout the nation in universities, music conservatories, and dance studios. He is general director of the Haymarket Opera Company.
See the Handel Week Festival’s past performers here.