SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts to present two premieres at “Meadows at the Winspear” benefit concert, May 11

The 2016 Meadows at the Winspear event, benefitting the Meadows Scholars Program, will take place at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 11 in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora Street in Dallas.

AppalachianSpringFinal
The Meadows Dance Ensemble performing Appalachian Spring

The concert will feature the critically acclaimed Meadows Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Paul Phillips, and the Meadows Dance Ensemble, composed of top students from the Meadows School’s nationally respected dance program, in both works.

The first is the premiere of a newly envisioned choreography of Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird, created by Claudia Lavista and Victor Manuel Ruiz, noted artistic directors of the acclaimed Delfos Danza Contemporanea in Mazatlán, Mexico. They have replaced the magical and mercurial glowing bird of Russian folklore with a more contemporary version of Stravinsky’s masterwork, inspired by the visual aesthetics of Hieronymus Bosch and the theme of migration.

The second is Martha Graham’s ballet masterpiece Appalachian Spring, featuring the world premiere of the newly completed, full orchestra version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning music by Aaron Copland. The Meadows Symphony Orchestra will be the first to perform the new material and will also act as “test drivers” for the score, helping to inform any corrections required before the music is published.

Donna-Wilhelm-photo-by-Kim-Leeson
Donna Wilhelm

The event will also honor Donna Wilhelm, a committed supporter of the arts in education and will inaugurate the new scholarship fund in her name. Beginning this fall, the Donna Wilhelm Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide SMU Meadows scholarships to highly qualified students from underrepresented ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

“Meadows at the Winspear is the pinnacle of our performance season,” said Meadows Dean Samuel S. Holland. “Not only will talented students in dance and music collaborate in presenting two extraordinary premieres, they will do so in a world-class venue. We’re honored to give the first performance of Copland’s iconic work with full symphony orchestra and to present a moving reinterpretation of Firebird based on a theme of migration and human displacement – reflecting our philosophy that art can become a form of social action. We are also delighted to honor Donna Wilhelm – whose work has had an impact not only on SMU but on all of North Texas.”

Tickets are $17 for students, faculty and staff and can be purchased online.

2016 Meadows Virtuosi Concert takes place Saturday, Jan. 30

Andres Diaz
Andrés Díaz

The 2016 Meadows Virtuosi Concert will spotlight Professor of Cello Andrés Díaz and Artist-in-Residence and Director of Chamber Music Matt Albert in an annual performance featuring Meadows faculty, students and guests playing side-by-side in an exciting chamber music program.

Also featured will be Dallas Symphony Orchestra violinist Maria Schleuning and the Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence Cézanne Quartet, made possible by a generous campaign donor.

Matt Albert, 2014
Matt Albert

The program will include works by Caroline Shaw, Andrew Norman, Kevin Puts and Astor Piazzola, as well as the rarely performed septet realization of Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen.

The show is free and open to the public and will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30  in Caruth Auditorium.

Stefan Engels named Leah Young Fullinwider Endowed Centennial Chair in Music Performance

Concert organist Stefan Engels, SMU
Internationally renowned organist and educator Stefan Engels is the new Leah Young Fullinwider Endowed Centennial Chair in Music Performance in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.

Following an international search, world-renowned organist and educator Stefan Engels has joined the Division of Music in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts as the new Leah Young Fullinwider Endowed Centennial Chair in Music Performance. The new endowed senior position was made possible by a $2 million gift from Sarah and Ross Perot Jr., in honor of Sarah’s mother, Mrs. Leah Fullinwider.

The position is the first Endowed Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts and the second for SMU.

The winner of the “Concerto Gold Medal” at the 1998 Calgary International Organ Competition, Engels has served as professor of organ at one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious musical institutions, the University of Music and Theatre “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy” in Leipzig, Germany, since 2005. He is also the founder and artistic director of the European Organ Academy Leipzig and has recorded two highly acclaimed CDs on the Naxos and Priory labels.

Engels maintains a vigorous international concert schedule and is a sought-after teacher, having presented lectures and master classes across Europe, North America and South Korea. His specialization in the organ works of Sigfrid Karg-Elert has resulted in the world premiere recording of the complete organ works of Karg-Elert, also on the Priory label. Of this 14-CD project, eight CDs are now available for purchase and have been reviewed to the highest international acclaim.

“Without a doubt, Stefan Engels is one of the world’s top organists and organ pedagogues,” said Sam Holland, director of music and Meadows interim dean. “For many years, he has brought an outstanding class of young organists to his teaching position at Leipzig. He is equally brilliant as a concert organist and as a high liturgical organist, and each will be important since he will be teaching in both the Meadows School of the Arts and the Perkins School of Theology at SMU. We couldn’t be more pleased to bring an organist of his talent and pedigree to Dallas. Great things lie ahead.”

The search for the new chair was led by Pamela Elrod, director of choral activities at Meadows. The search committee included SMU faculty members Andrés Díaz, international concert cellist; Xi Wang, award-winning composer; and Christopher Anderson, associate professor of sacred music, as well as noted Dallas Morning News classical music critic Scott Cantrell.

Engels received his broad musical education in Germany and the United States. He studied organ, piano, harpsichord, choral conducting and church music at the universities in Aachen, Düsseldorf and Cologne. From 1993 until 1998 he pursued organ studies with Wolfgang Rübsam in Chicago and the late Robert Anderson in Dallas, receiving an Artist Certificate degree from the Meadows School in 1995.

He will present his first concert at SMU, “à la française!,” on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 with a program of classic French works spanning the centuries. Included will be Nicolas de Grigny’s Selections from Livre d’Orgue (1699), Michel Corrette’s 18th-century Organ Concertos No. 2 and No. 5, and Louis Vierne’s Symphonie IV, Op. 32 (1914). The concert is offered in partnership with the Dallas Bach Society and will also feature a Baroque orchestra. For more information, visit meadows.smu.edu.

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