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Princeton University Orchestra and Glee Club Concert

Presented by Princeton University Music Department

date & time

Fri, Dec 1, 2023
7:30 pm
- Sat, Dec 2, 2023
9:30 pm

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One event on Sat, Dec 2, 2023 at 7:30 pm

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Princeton University Orchestra and Glee Club combine for two December concerts.

W.A. Mozart Overture to The Magic Flute

Aster Zhang ‘24, conductor

Johannes Brahms Unsere Väter hofften auf dich, Op. 109 No. 1

Germaine Tailleferre Concerto for Two Pianos, Saxophones, Chorus and Orchestra

Margaret Kampmeier and Geoffrey Burleson, pianos

Johannes Brahms Symphony No. 3 in F Major Op. 90

Download PDF Program

W.A. Mozart—Overture to The Magic Flute

Mozart’s last year, 1791, brought an artistic and financial renaissance for him, after a long drought in composing, mounting debts to friends and exhaustion. But by spring he had begun working with a librettist, the irrepressible actor/impresario Emanuel Schikaneder, on a new fairy-tale opera for adults. By the time of the premiere of The Magic Flute on September 30, he had also finished another opera, The Clemency of Titus for a court occasion in Prague. Thus, he had two opera premieres in three weeks. Both Clemency and Magic Flute did well, with the latter becoming— and remaining to this day—a runaway hit. In October he finished one of his most sublime solo works, the Clarinet Concerto. He then set out to compose a requiem, commissioned anonymously. He fell ill to an infection and was still trying to work on his Requiem when he was taken on December 5 at 1 am.

The Magic Flute’s overture is no mere curtain-raiser. It is a tone poem that addresses the central spirit of the opera, that of the majesty of the Enlightenment ideals of reason and love. The only direct reference to the opera is in the three chords that open the evening. They are brought back at the beginning of Act 2 as part of the quasi-Masonic ritual by which the Prince Tamino will be invested into a priestly order. The overture gives us a compact scenario of brilliance and is in itself a work of high drama, densely packed into its seven minutes.

MP

Johannes Brahms – Unsere Väter hofften auf dich (from Fest- und Gedenksprüche op.109)

Brahms published his final orchestral work – the Double Concerto – in 1887, a full decade before his death; but there was no diminishment in the composer’s output of significant compositions during these years. Many of his most cherished solo vocal songs, several glorious works of chamber music, and some of the most ravishing pieces ever composed for piano (the combined miracles of opus 116, 117, 118 and 119) came from these years in which he toyed with, and drew back from, the notion of ‘retirement’. Choral musicians have a special reason to be grateful for this late productivity, for the remarkable double-choir motets of opus 109 and 110, the first group of which contains this lovely miniature. Brahms composed his Fest- und Gedenksprüche in 1889 for a festival in Hamburg commemorating German Unification in 1871, and he cherry-picked the words of the Psalms (in this case, numbers 22 and 29) for words which evoked a sense of divine benevolence and earthly unity, befitting the mood of an optimistic new nation. Like the 3rd Symphony, whose iconic opening we will hear shortly, this motet begins by lingering on a grand F major chord, although unlike the symphonic version, this choral F major chord is ‘broken’ into its component parts. The musical content showcases both his mastery of counterpoint (earned through daily exercise, so it is said), and his deep affection for the antiphonal Venetian choral music of Gabrieli and his great German pupil, Schütz. The choirs are set against each other, each adopting a different rhetorical pose (emphatic/stoic on one side, lyrical/rapturous on the other) as they sing about the strength of God’s people, and the promise of eternal peace.

GC

Germaine Tailleferre- Concerto for Two Pianos, Four Saxophones, Chorus and Orchestra

Germaine Tailleferre was born near Paris in 1892. Her first teacher was her mother (her father thought composition was no profession for a woman), and when she grew older she entered the Paris Conservatory. At the Conservatoire she began to win prizes and became close friends with five other composers: Francis Poulenc, Louis Durey, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud and Georges Auric. So closely together were they regarded that Jean Cocteau dubbed them “The Six”, a moniker that remains to this day.

The 1920s were both fruitful, with numerous important compositions, and stormy for Tailleferre, who married an American caricaturist, Ralph Barton, in 1926. She moved to Manhattan that year but returned to Paris in 1927 after a divorce. The decade culminated with a commission from Serge Diaghilev for the Ballets Russes 1930 Paris season. But the death of Diaghilev brought this project to a halt. She remained productive in the 1930s, with tonight’s work, dedicated to the eminent conductor Pierre Monteux, premiering in 1934. The German invasion in 1940 forced her to flee France, leaving most of her scores behind. Making her way across Portugal and Spain, she found her wartime home in Philadelphia.

Returning to Paris after the war ended, she kept composing and teaching up until her death in 1983. She remained prolific, writing ballets, concertos and solo works. Most of these were not published until after her death.

Tonight’s Concerto for Two Pianos, Saxophones, Chorus and Orchestra is like a champagne — bubbly, tickling and just the right touch of sweetness. Its offbeat scoring gives us sonorities and colors that are unique, although those colors recall its roots in Montparnasse in Paris, a site of meetings of Les Six. We onstage tonight are thrilled to have discovered this gem.

MP

Johannes Brahms- Symphony No. 3 In F major Op. 90

A fun Greatest of All Time game that I’ve played over the years with colleagues and students is to debate what opening of a symphony is the GOAT? Inevitably, the clear winner is Beethoven’s Eroica with its two crashing, defiant E flat chords. Several of Mahler’s symphonies certainly are in the mix. For me, tonight’s Brahms Third from 1883 is in the top tier. Two sustained chords (unlike the Eroica’s cannon shots), the first one in brilliant F major, the second a shocking F diminished, launch us into a heroic, athletic theme that in its second bar still cannot seem to decide whether it’s in major or minor mode. On such conflicts great symphonic structures are built. Brahms’ opening movement contains, in addition to high drama, delicate woodwind moments whose material he then transforms in an angry middle section. The final moments transform the heroic opening motive to a content and peaceful closing.

Brahms’ second movement begins as a pastoral chorale that flowers into a richly voiced variation. Then, a moment of solemnity, played by the same winds that opened the movement. It is the simplest of motives, a single note upbeat, a longer note held for three beats followed by a quicker triplet. Mysterious and uncertain, it builds into a surging string passage before returning to the original pastoral quartet, now embellished in the full orchestra. The coda is (for this sentimental writer) one of Brahms’ most moving expressions of past love and sorrow before settling back to the original pastoral gentleness that opened the movement and a final cadential benediction in the low trombones.

One of Brahms’ most endearing and enduring melodies dominates the third movement. In Brahms’ time, audiences did not bring the hushed reverence to concerts as they did later. Applause between movements was common, and this movement, with its appealingly sad, folk- like quality, was often repeated at performances.

The terse and dramatic finale summarizes the motivic transformation that binds the structure of the entire symphony. After a tension-filled piano opening, a gentle reminiscence of the woodwind tune from the second movement is sounded solemnly in a pianissimo orchestra, only to be cast aside by a furious outburst. The first movement’s heroism is recalled in a striding, confident tune in the horns and cellos, which again hurls us into a fiery section that might appear in one of Brahms’ Hungarian Dances. A new but still nervous stillness trembles just before the most violent music of the whole symphony erupts. Its melodic material is the same gentle tune first heard in the second movement and the beginning of this one but is now transformed into a searing episode dominated by the trombones. Eventually this relents and we are surprised by a plaintive viola tune that leads us gently into the pianissimo climax of the work—a final hushed recalling of the gentle second movement motive, now revealed as a serene statement of hard- won wisdom. The exquisite final cadence is a last version of the athletic opening, now resignedly and gently looking back over the complete life we all lived in the past thirty-five minutes.

MP


The 2023-2024 season marks 46 years since Michael Pratt came to Princeton to conduct the Princeton University Orchestra— a relationship that has resulted in the ensemble’s reputation as one of the finest university orchestras in the United States.

He is credited by his colleagues and generations of students in being the architect of one of the finest music programs in the country, Princeton’s certificate Program in Music Performance (now the Music Minor in Performance), Pratt has served as its director since its inception in 1991. The international reputation the program has earned has resulted in Princeton becoming a major destination for talented and academically gifted students. Pratt also established a partnership between Princeton and the Royal College of Music that every year sends Princeton students to study in London. He is also co-founder of the Richardson Chamber Players, which affords opportunities for tops students to perform with the performance faculty in chamber music concerts.

Over the years, Pratt has guided many generations of Princeton students through a remarkable variety of orchestral and operatic literature, from early Baroque Italian opera through symphonies of Mahler to the latest compositions by students and faculty. He has led the Princeton University Orchestra on eleven European tours. Under Pratt the PU Orchestra has also participated in major campus collaborations with the Theater and Dance programs in such works as the premieres of Prokofiev’s Le Pas d’Acier and Boris Godunov, a revival of Richard Strauss’s setting of the Molière classic, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, and a full production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with all of Mendelssohn’s incidental music.

Pratt was educated at the Eastman School of Music and Tanglewood, and his teachers and mentors have included Gunther Schuller, Leonard Bernstein, Gustav Meier, and Otto Werner Mueller.

In March 2018 Michael Pratt was awarded an honorary membership to the Royal College of Music, London (HonRCM) by HRH The Prince of Wales. At Princeton’s Commencement 2019 he was awarded the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by President Christopher Eisgruber.

In October 2023 he published his first novel, The Copyists.

The Princeton University Orchestra (PUO) has been the flagship symphony orchestra of Princeton University since 1896 and is one of the most prestigious and highly-acclaimed collegiate orchestras in the country. At over one hundred and twenty undergraduate musicians strong, the orchestra performs eight annual performances in Alexander Hall and tours internationally every other year. Since 1977, Maestro Michael Pratt has served as its Music Director. For more information about PUO, visit orchestra.princeton.edu.

Gabriel Crouch is Director of Choral Activities and Professor of the Practice in Music at Princeton University. He began his musical career as an eight-year-old in the choir of Westminster Abbey, where his solo credits included a Royal Wedding, and performances which placed him on the solo stage with Jessye Norman and Sir Laurence Olivier. After completing a choral scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge, he was offered a place in the renowned a cappella group The King’s Singers in 1996. In the next eight years, he made a dozen recordings on the BMG label (including a Grammy nomination), and gave more than 900 performances in almost every major concert venue in the world. Since moving to the USA in 2005, he has built an international profile as a conductor and director, with recent engagements in Indonesia, Hawaii and Australia as well as Europe and the continental United States. In 2008 he was appointed musical director of the British early music ensemble Gallicantus, with whom he has released six recordings under the Signum label to rapturous reviews, garnering multiple ‘Editor’s Choice’ awards in Gramophone Magazine, Choir and Organ Magazine and Early Music Review, and, for the 2012 release ‘The Word Unspoken’, a place on BBC Radio’s CD Review list of the top nine classical releases of the year. His recording of Lagrime di San Pietro by Orlando di Lasso was shortlisted for a Gramophone Award in 2014, and his follow-up recording – Sibylla (featuring music by Orlandus Lassus and Dmitri Tymoczko) was named ’star recording’ by Choir and Organ magazine in the summer of 2018. His most recent release is Mass for the Endangered, a new composition by Sarah Kirkland Snider released on the Nonesuch/New Amsterdam labels, which has garnered high acclaim from The New York Times, Boston Globe, NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ and elsewhere.

Ulysses S. Grant was President and Verdi’s Requiem had just premiered when the Princeton University Glee Club was founded by Andrew Fleming West, the first Dean of the Graduate College, in 1874. Since that time, the ensemble has established itself as the largest choral body on Princeton’s campus, and has distinguished itself both nationally and overseas. Nowadays the Glee Club performs frequently on Princeton’s campus, enjoying the wonderful acoustic and aesthetic of Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall. In the last few years performances have included Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Bach’s St. Matthew and St. John Passions and Mass in B Minor, Mozart’s Requiem, MacMillan’s Seven Last Words and Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Mass for the Endangered. In 2014 the Glee Club was the first collegiate choir to perform Wynton Marsalis’ Abyssinian Mass, and in 2018 gave the United States premiere of John Tavener’s Total Eclipse, alongside the world premiere of Shruthi Rajasekar’s Gaanam. The performing arts series ‘Glee Club Presents’ was founded in 2014 to bring professional vocal and choral artists to Princeton to work with and perform alongside the Glee Club. Since then the Glee Club has shared the Richardson stage with artists of the caliber of Tenebrae, Roomful of Teeth and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The choir embraces a vast array of repertoire, from Renaissance motets and madrigals, Romantic partsongs, and 21st century choral commissions to the more traditional Glee Club fare of folk music and college songs. The spectrum of Glee Club members is every bit as broad as its repertoire: undergraduates and graduate students, scientists and poets, philosophers and economists – all walks of academic life represented in students from all over the world, knit together by a simple belief in the joy of singing together.

The Department of Music at Princeton University provides its undergraduates—whether they major or minor in Music—the opportunity to learn from a world-renowned faculty of scholars and composers. Performance opportunities include student-led and departmental ensembles like symphony orchestras, multi-genre choruses, jazz, contemporary music, African music, steel band, laptop orchestra, and much more, and students have access to private instrumental and voice lessons from eminent performing artists. The graduate program offers two distinct and prestigious PhD programs in composition or musicology; graduate students receive fully- funded, immersive experiences conducting research, advancing their craft, and collaborating with faculty within Princeton University’s inspiring, interdisciplinary campus.

For more information about the Department of Music and other upcoming events, and to sign-up for our mailing list, please visit music.princeton.edu.

Conductor and cellist Aster Zhang has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician at venues across the nation and worldwide, including Carnegie Hall, the Tanglewood Music Festival, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Liszt Academy, and the Vienna Musikverein. She is currently a cellist and conducting student in the Princeton University Orchestra, of which she has previously been principal cellist, as well as in Opus. She is an alumnus of the Aspen Music Festival, the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute, in which she was a fellow and principal cellist, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and the Philadelphia International Music Institute, where she was a winner of the concerto competition. Aster’s special interests include the Pokémon video game franchise, niche perfume, origami, pour-over coffee, long coats, and pasta. Her current independent research focuses are the multidimensional analysis of markets with certification intermediaries, fundamentals analysis of corporate fixed income markets, fraudulent trading in NFT markets, and femininity and gender performance in Russian opera. Aster currently studies conducting with Michael Pratt and cello with Alberto Parrini at Princeton University, where she is a member of the Class of 2024 completing an A.B. in Economics with certificates in finance, cello performance, and conducting. She has previously studied with Nayoung Baek, Darrett Adkins, Mihail Jojatu, Eugena Chang, Greg Beaver, and Tracy Sands.

Pianist Margaret Kampmeier enjoys a varied career as a soloist, collaborative artist, and educator. Equally fluent in classical and contemporary repertoire, she has concertized and recorded extensively. She has performed with the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic Ensembles, Kronos Quartet, and Mirror Visions Ensemble. As an orchestral keyboardist, she performs regularly with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, as well as the New York Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. She co-founded New Millennium Ensemble, a new music sextet that won the 1995 Naumburg chamber music award. She has performed and recorded hundreds of new works, and has worked with composers of all ages and stages. Ms. Kampmeier can be heard on the Albany, Centaur, CRI, Koch, Nonesuch, and Bridge labels.

Ms. Kampmeier teaches piano and chamber music at Princeton University. In addition, she is on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, where she teaches piano and chamber music in the Contemporary Performance Program. Ms. Kampmeier is known for her collaborative leadership style, inspired teaching, clarity of vision, and inclusive programming. She earned degrees from the Eastman School of Music and SUNY Stony Brook, and is deeply grateful for the shared wisdom of her mentors, Barry Snyder, Jan Degaetani, Julius Levine, and Gilbert Kalish.

Equally active as a recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber musician, and jazz performer, Geoffrey Burleson, pianist, has performed to wide acclaim throughout Europe and North America. The New York Times has hailed Burleson’s solo performances as “vibrant and compelling,” praising his “rhythmic brio, projection of rhapsodic qualities, appropriate sense of spontaneity, and rich colorings.” Current recording projects include Camille Saint-Saëns: Complete Piano Works, on 6 CDs, for the new Naxos Grand Piano label. The first 5 volumes have been released to high acclaim from Gramophone, International Record Review, Diapason (France) and elsewhere. Other noteworthy recordings include Vincent Persichetti: Complete Piano Sonatas (New World Records), which received a BBC Music Choice award from the BBC Music Magazine, and AKOKA (Oxingale Records), featuring Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, as well as companion works, for which Burleson was nominated for a 2015 JUNO Award for Classical Album of the Year. Mr. Burleson’s concerto appearances include the Buffalo Philharmonic, New England Philharmonic, Boston Musica Viva, and the Holland Symfonia in the Netherlands. He has also appeared as featured soloist at the Bard Music Festival, Mostly Modern Festival, Monadnock Music Festival, Santander Festival (Spain), and the Mänttä Music Festival (Finland). He is a core member of the American Modern Ensemble, Ensemble Ipse, SWARMIUS, and the David Sanford Big Band. Mr. Burleson teaches piano at Princeton University and is Professor of Music and Director of Piano Studies at Hunter College-City University of New York. He is also on the piano faculty of the CUNY Graduate Center.


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W.A. Mozart—Overture to The Magic Flute

Mozart’s last year, 1791, brought an artistic and financial renaissance for him, after a long drought in composing, mounting debts to friends and exhaustion. But by spring he had begun working with a librettist, the irrepressible actor/impresario Emanuel Schikaneder, on a new fairy-tale opera for adults. By the time of the premiere of The Magic Flute on September 30, he had also finished another opera, The Clemency of Titus for a court occasion in Prague. Thus, he had two opera premieres in three weeks. Both Clemency and Magic Flute did well, with the latter becoming— and remaining to this day—a runaway hit. In October he finished one of his most sublime solo works, the Clarinet Concerto. He then set out to compose a requiem, commissioned anonymously. He fell ill to an infection and was still trying to work on his Requiem when he was taken on December 5 at 1 am.

The Magic Flute’s overture is no mere curtain-raiser. It is a tone poem that addresses the central spirit of the opera, that of the majesty of the Enlightenment ideals of reason and love. The only direct reference to the opera is in the three chords that open the evening. They are brought back at the beginning of Act 2 as part of the quasi-Masonic ritual by which the Prince Tamino will be invested into a priestly order. The overture gives us a compact scenario of brilliance and is in itself a work of high drama, densely packed into its seven minutes.

MP

Johannes Brahms – Unsere Väter hofften auf dich (from Fest- und Gedenksprüche op.109)

Brahms published his final orchestral work – the Double Concerto – in 1887, a full decade before his death; but there was no diminishment in the composer’s output of significant compositions during these years. Many of his most cherished solo vocal songs, several glorious works of chamber music, and some of the most ravishing pieces ever composed for piano (the combined miracles of opus 116, 117, 118 and 119) came from these years in which he toyed with, and drew back from, the notion of ‘retirement’. Choral musicians have a special reason to be grateful for this late productivity, for the remarkable double-choir motets of opus 109 and 110, the first group of which contains this lovely miniature. Brahms composed his Fest- und Gedenksprüche in 1889 for a festival in Hamburg commemorating German Unification in 1871, and he cherry-picked the words of the Psalms (in this case, numbers 22 and 29) for words which evoked a sense of divine benevolence and earthly unity, befitting the mood of an optimistic new nation. Like the 3rd Symphony, whose iconic opening we will hear shortly, this motet begins by lingering on a grand F major chord, although unlike the symphonic version, this choral F major chord is ‘broken’ into its component parts. The musical content showcases both his mastery of counterpoint (earned through daily exercise, so it is said), and his deep affection for the antiphonal Venetian choral music of Gabrieli and his great German pupil, Schütz. The choirs are set against each other, each adopting a different rhetorical pose (emphatic/stoic on one side, lyrical/rapturous on the other) as they sing about the strength of God’s people, and the promise of eternal peace.

GC

Germaine Tailleferre- Concerto for Two Pianos, Four Saxophones, Chorus and Orchestra

Germaine Tailleferre was born near Paris in 1892. Her first teacher was her mother (her father thought composition was no profession for a woman), and when she grew older she entered the Paris Conservatory. At the Conservatoire she began to win prizes and became close friends with five other composers: Francis Poulenc, Louis Durey, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud and Georges Auric. So closely together were they regarded that Jean Cocteau dubbed them “The Six”, a moniker that remains to this day.

The 1920s were both fruitful, with numerous important compositions, and stormy for Tailleferre, who married an American caricaturist, Ralph Barton, in 1926. She moved to Manhattan that year but returned to Paris in 1927 after a divorce. The decade culminated with a commission from Serge Diaghilev for the Ballets Russes 1930 Paris season. But the death of Diaghilev brought this project to a halt. She remained productive in the 1930s, with tonight’s work, dedicated to the eminent conductor Pierre Monteux, premiering in 1934. The German invasion in 1940 forced her to flee France, leaving most of her scores behind. Making her way across Portugal and Spain, she found her wartime home in Philadelphia.

Returning to Paris after the war ended, she kept composing and teaching up until her death in 1983. She remained prolific, writing ballets, concertos and solo works. Most of these were not published until after her death.

Tonight’s Concerto for Two Pianos, Saxophones, Chorus and Orchestra is like a champagne — bubbly, tickling and just the right touch of sweetness. Its offbeat scoring gives us sonorities and colors that are unique, although those colors recall its roots in Montparnasse in Paris, a site of meetings of Les Six. We onstage tonight are thrilled to have discovered this gem.

MP

Johannes Brahms- Symphony No. 3 In F major Op. 90

A fun Greatest of All Time game that I’ve played over the years with colleagues and students is to debate what opening of a symphony is the GOAT? Inevitably, the clear winner is Beethoven’s Eroica with its two crashing, defiant E flat chords. Several of Mahler’s symphonies certainly are in the mix. For me, tonight’s Brahms Third from 1883 is in the top tier. Two sustained chords (unlike the Eroica’s cannon shots), the first one in brilliant F major, the second a shocking F diminished, launch us into a heroic, athletic theme that in its second bar still cannot seem to decide whether it’s in major or minor mode. On such conflicts great symphonic structures are built. Brahms’ opening movement contains, in addition to high drama, delicate woodwind moments whose material he then transforms in an angry middle section. The final moments transform the heroic opening motive to a content and peaceful closing.

Brahms’ second movement begins as a pastoral chorale that flowers into a richly voiced variation. Then, a moment of solemnity, played by the same winds that opened the movement. It is the simplest of motives, a single note upbeat, a longer note held for three beats followed by a quicker triplet. Mysterious and uncertain, it builds into a surging string passage before returning to the original pastoral quartet, now embellished in the full orchestra. The coda is (for this sentimental writer) one of Brahms’ most moving expressions of past love and sorrow before settling back to the original pastoral gentleness that opened the movement and a final cadential benediction in the low trombones.

One of Brahms’ most endearing and enduring melodies dominates the third movement. In Brahms’ time, audiences did not bring the hushed reverence to concerts as they did later. Applause between movements was common, and this movement, with its appealingly sad, folk- like quality, was often repeated at performances.

The terse and dramatic finale summarizes the motivic transformation that binds the structure of the entire symphony. After a tension-filled piano opening, a gentle reminiscence of the woodwind tune from the second movement is sounded solemnly in a pianissimo orchestra, only to be cast aside by a furious outburst. The first movement’s heroism is recalled in a striding, confident tune in the horns and cellos, which again hurls us into a fiery section that might appear in one of Brahms’ Hungarian Dances. A new but still nervous stillness trembles just before the most violent music of the whole symphony erupts. Its melodic material is the same gentle tune first heard in the second movement and the beginning of this one but is now transformed into a searing episode dominated by the trombones. Eventually this relents and we are surprised by a plaintive viola tune that leads us gently into the pianissimo climax of the work—a final hushed recalling of the gentle second movement motive, now revealed as a serene statement of hard- won wisdom. The exquisite final cadence is a last version of the athletic opening, now resignedly and gently looking back over the complete life we all lived in the past thirty-five minutes.

MP


The 2023-2024 season marks 46 years since Michael Pratt came to Princeton to conduct the Princeton University Orchestra— a relationship that has resulted in the ensemble’s reputation as one of the finest university orchestras in the United States.

He is credited by his colleagues and generations of students in being the architect of one of the finest music programs in the country, Princeton’s certificate Program in Music Performance (now the Music Minor in Performance), Pratt has served as its director since its inception in 1991. The international reputation the program has earned has resulted in Princeton becoming a major destination for talented and academically gifted students. Pratt also established a partnership between Princeton and the Royal College of Music that every year sends Princeton students to study in London. He is also co-founder of the Richardson Chamber Players, which affords opportunities for tops students to perform with the performance faculty in chamber music concerts.

Over the years, Pratt has guided many generations of Princeton students through a remarkable variety of orchestral and operatic literature, from early Baroque Italian opera through symphonies of Mahler to the latest compositions by students and faculty. He has led the Princeton University Orchestra on eleven European tours. Under Pratt the PU Orchestra has also participated in major campus collaborations with the Theater and Dance programs in such works as the premieres of Prokofiev’s Le Pas d’Acier and Boris Godunov, a revival of Richard Strauss’s setting of the Molière classic, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, and a full production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with all of Mendelssohn’s incidental music.

Pratt was educated at the Eastman School of Music and Tanglewood, and his teachers and mentors have included Gunther Schuller, Leonard Bernstein, Gustav Meier, and Otto Werner Mueller.

In March 2018 Michael Pratt was awarded an honorary membership to the Royal College of Music, London (HonRCM) by HRH The Prince of Wales. At Princeton’s Commencement 2019 he was awarded the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by President Christopher Eisgruber.

In October 2023 he published his first novel, The Copyists.

The Princeton University Orchestra (PUO) has been the flagship symphony orchestra of Princeton University since 1896 and is one of the most prestigious and highly-acclaimed collegiate orchestras in the country. At over one hundred and twenty undergraduate musicians strong, the orchestra performs eight annual performances in Alexander Hall and tours internationally every other year. Since 1977, Maestro Michael Pratt has served as its Music Director. For more information about PUO, visit orchestra.princeton.edu.

Gabriel Crouch is Director of Choral Activities and Professor of the Practice in Music at Princeton University. He began his musical career as an eight-year-old in the choir of Westminster Abbey, where his solo credits included a Royal Wedding, and performances which placed him on the solo stage with Jessye Norman and Sir Laurence Olivier. After completing a choral scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge, he was offered a place in the renowned a cappella group The King’s Singers in 1996. In the next eight years, he made a dozen recordings on the BMG label (including a Grammy nomination), and gave more than 900 performances in almost every major concert venue in the world. Since moving to the USA in 2005, he has built an international profile as a conductor and director, with recent engagements in Indonesia, Hawaii and Australia as well as Europe and the continental United States. In 2008 he was appointed musical director of the British early music ensemble Gallicantus, with whom he has released six recordings under the Signum label to rapturous reviews, garnering multiple ‘Editor’s Choice’ awards in Gramophone Magazine, Choir and Organ Magazine and Early Music Review, and, for the 2012 release ‘The Word Unspoken’, a place on BBC Radio’s CD Review list of the top nine classical releases of the year. His recording of Lagrime di San Pietro by Orlando di Lasso was shortlisted for a Gramophone Award in 2014, and his follow-up recording – Sibylla (featuring music by Orlandus Lassus and Dmitri Tymoczko) was named ’star recording’ by Choir and Organ magazine in the summer of 2018. His most recent release is Mass for the Endangered, a new composition by Sarah Kirkland Snider released on the Nonesuch/New Amsterdam labels, which has garnered high acclaim from The New York Times, Boston Globe, NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ and elsewhere.

Ulysses S. Grant was President and Verdi’s Requiem had just premiered when the Princeton University Glee Club was founded by Andrew Fleming West, the first Dean of the Graduate College, in 1874. Since that time, the ensemble has established itself as the largest choral body on Princeton’s campus, and has distinguished itself both nationally and overseas. Nowadays the Glee Club performs frequently on Princeton’s campus, enjoying the wonderful acoustic and aesthetic of Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall. In the last few years performances have included Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Bach’s St. Matthew and St. John Passions and Mass in B Minor, Mozart’s Requiem, MacMillan’s Seven Last Words and Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Mass for the Endangered. In 2014 the Glee Club was the first collegiate choir to perform Wynton Marsalis’ Abyssinian Mass, and in 2018 gave the United States premiere of John Tavener’s Total Eclipse, alongside the world premiere of Shruthi Rajasekar’s Gaanam. The performing arts series ‘Glee Club Presents’ was founded in 2014 to bring professional vocal and choral artists to Princeton to work with and perform alongside the Glee Club. Since then the Glee Club has shared the Richardson stage with artists of the caliber of Tenebrae, Roomful of Teeth and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The choir embraces a vast array of repertoire, from Renaissance motets and madrigals, Romantic partsongs, and 21st century choral commissions to the more traditional Glee Club fare of folk music and college songs. The spectrum of Glee Club members is every bit as broad as its repertoire: undergraduates and graduate students, scientists and poets, philosophers and economists – all walks of academic life represented in students from all over the world, knit together by a simple belief in the joy of singing together.

The Department of Music at Princeton University provides its undergraduates—whether they major or minor in Music—the opportunity to learn from a world-renowned faculty of scholars and composers. Performance opportunities include student-led and departmental ensembles like symphony orchestras, multi-genre choruses, jazz, contemporary music, African music, steel band, laptop orchestra, and much more, and students have access to private instrumental and voice lessons from eminent performing artists. The graduate program offers two distinct and prestigious PhD programs in composition or musicology; graduate students receive fully- funded, immersive experiences conducting research, advancing their craft, and collaborating with faculty within Princeton University’s inspiring, interdisciplinary campus.

For more information about the Department of Music and other upcoming events, and to sign-up for our mailing list, please visit music.princeton.edu.

Conductor and cellist Aster Zhang has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician at venues across the nation and worldwide, including Carnegie Hall, the Tanglewood Music Festival, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Liszt Academy, and the Vienna Musikverein. She is currently a cellist and conducting student in the Princeton University Orchestra, of which she has previously been principal cellist, as well as in Opus. She is an alumnus of the Aspen Music Festival, the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute, in which she was a fellow and principal cellist, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and the Philadelphia International Music Institute, where she was a winner of the concerto competition. Aster’s special interests include the Pokémon video game franchise, niche perfume, origami, pour-over coffee, long coats, and pasta. Her current independent research focuses are the multidimensional analysis of markets with certification intermediaries, fundamentals analysis of corporate fixed income markets, fraudulent trading in NFT markets, and femininity and gender performance in Russian opera. Aster currently studies conducting with Michael Pratt and cello with Alberto Parrini at Princeton University, where she is a member of the Class of 2024 completing an A.B. in Economics with certificates in finance, cello performance, and conducting. She has previously studied with Nayoung Baek, Darrett Adkins, Mihail Jojatu, Eugena Chang, Greg Beaver, and Tracy Sands.

Pianist Margaret Kampmeier enjoys a varied career as a soloist, collaborative artist, and educator. Equally fluent in classical and contemporary repertoire, she has concertized and recorded extensively. She has performed with the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic Ensembles, Kronos Quartet, and Mirror Visions Ensemble. As an orchestral keyboardist, she performs regularly with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, as well as the New York Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. She co-founded New Millennium Ensemble, a new music sextet that won the 1995 Naumburg chamber music award. She has performed and recorded hundreds of new works, and has worked with composers of all ages and stages. Ms. Kampmeier can be heard on the Albany, Centaur, CRI, Koch, Nonesuch, and Bridge labels.

Ms. Kampmeier teaches piano and chamber music at Princeton University. In addition, she is on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, where she teaches piano and chamber music in the Contemporary Performance Program. Ms. Kampmeier is known for her collaborative leadership style, inspired teaching, clarity of vision, and inclusive programming. She earned degrees from the Eastman School of Music and SUNY Stony Brook, and is deeply grateful for the shared wisdom of her mentors, Barry Snyder, Jan Degaetani, Julius Levine, and Gilbert Kalish.

Equally active as a recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber musician, and jazz performer, Geoffrey Burleson, pianist, has performed to wide acclaim throughout Europe and North America. The New York Times has hailed Burleson’s solo performances as “vibrant and compelling,” praising his “rhythmic brio, projection of rhapsodic qualities, appropriate sense of spontaneity, and rich colorings.” Current recording projects include Camille Saint-Saëns: Complete Piano Works, on 6 CDs, for the new Naxos Grand Piano label. The first 5 volumes have been released to high acclaim from Gramophone, International Record Review, Diapason (France) and elsewhere. Other noteworthy recordings include Vincent Persichetti: Complete Piano Sonatas (New World Records), which received a BBC Music Choice award from the BBC Music Magazine, and AKOKA (Oxingale Records), featuring Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, as well as companion works, for which Burleson was nominated for a 2015 JUNO Award for Classical Album of the Year. Mr. Burleson’s concerto appearances include the Buffalo Philharmonic, New England Philharmonic, Boston Musica Viva, and the Holland Symfonia in the Netherlands. He has also appeared as featured soloist at the Bard Music Festival, Mostly Modern Festival, Monadnock Music Festival, Santander Festival (Spain), and the Mänttä Music Festival (Finland). He is a core member of the American Modern Ensemble, Ensemble Ipse, SWARMIUS, and the David Sanford Big Band. Mr. Burleson teaches piano at Princeton University and is Professor of Music and Director of Piano Studies at Hunter College-City University of New York. He is also on the piano faculty of the CUNY Graduate Center.


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