Tuesday, July 1, 2014 7:30pm

Gershwin girl aspen trees

Gershwin Extravaganza

Amaral Center
Tickets $55/40/35/25/15

Gershwin is the Jazz Age personified. Pianist-in-residence Konstantin Soukhovetski plays the great Rhapsody in Blue, and the MIM Chorus and Festival Orchestra present music from Porgy and Bess.  Grace Fae and the Trio Jazz Quartet play in the lobby to open, with selections from the American songbook to get you in the mood.

Gershwin            Cuban Overture
Gershwin            Rhapsody in Blue
Gershwin            Porgy and Bess- A Concert of Songs

Shawnette Sulker, Soprano; Robert Sims, Baritone; Konstantin Souhovetski, Piano
Ryan Murray, Conductor

Gershwin Extravaganza

Shawnette Sulker has been described as a singer “…displaying a bright, superbly controlled soprano with perfectly placed coloratura.”  On the operatic stage, Ms. Sulker has been a featured artist in three San Francisco Opera productions: Porgy and Bess, The Mother of Us All and Louise.  She was also a part of the joint production of Dido and Aeneas between San Francisco Opera and the Crucible, singing the roles of Second Woman andSecond Witch.  Ms. Sulker has sung leading roles with many other companies including Hawaii Opera Theatre, Internationale Opera Producties (The Netherlands), Festival Opera, Union Avenue Opera, Natchez Opera Festival, Mendocino Music Festival, West Bay Opera, Berkeley West Edge Opera and Livermore Valley Opera, to name a few.

Robert Sims, Gold Medal winner of the American Traditions Competition, has been hailed by critics for his rich tone, energetic performances, and convincing stage presence.

Mr. Sims has been highly praised for his moving interpretations of African American spirituals, and has given numerous Robert Simsrecitals of them throughout the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia. He has appeared with many orchestras in the U.S., and toured Japan with the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra where he was featured in a nationally televised performance of Bernstein’s Opening Prayer. In 2005, Sims made his recital debut at Carnegie Hall and was invited by Jessye Norman to participate in Honor! A Celebration of the African American Cultural Legacy at Carnegie Hall in March of 2009. He recently appeared with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and made his debut in the United Kingdom with the Gibraltar Philharmonic. He has performed in concert at New York’s Lincoln Center, the Smithsonian Institution, the Ravinia, Chautauqua, Savannah, Grant Park, and Big Arts summer music festivals, the Latour de France International Music Festival, and the celebrated American Church in Paris.  Under the auspices of Canti Classics, Community Concerts, and Live On Stage Series, Sims has performed more than 150 recitals throughout the United States.

konstantin-soukhovetski500Konstantin Soukhovetski is rapidly earning a reputation as a “young pianist who captivates with his “distinctive lyricism”, “immaculate technique” and “vigor…refinement… and drama”.  This season marks Mr.
Soukhovetski’s debuts with the Houston Symphony, TX and The Manchester Music Festival Orchestra, VT as well as critically acclaimed debut recital at London’s Wigmore Hall. Mr. Soukhovetski returns this season to perform with the Asheville Symphony, NC and Austin Symphony, MN. This season’s recitals include The Steinway Hall, NYC; Piano en Valois Festival in Angoulême, France; Southampton Cultural Center, NY; Ridotto Series in Huntington, NY and Music for Youth, Southport, CT among others. Mr. Soukhovetski is the Silver Medal and Audience Prize winner of 2010 Ima Hogg International Competition in Houston, TX and is recipient of the Bronze Medal at the 2011 Bosendorfer International Piano Competition in Tempe, AZ.