Date: 2:30pm EDT April 6, 2014
Beyond the Line of Blue
Beyond the Line of Blue features tenor Christopher Swanson, the Anderson/Fader Guitar Duo, and Damon Ferrante. American Folk Songs, poems by Walt Whitman and Edgar Allan Poe, Alexander Calder’s sculptures, and the paintings of Christopher Engel serve as inspirations for the musical works, which follow a narrative trajectory of intersecting themes about water, surrealism, the passage of time, and the unconscious. The performances also feature films and video projections by Alessandro Bonini. Individual tickets are $20 (adults) and $15 (seniors, students over age 12, and WC faculty/staff). Children 12 and under are free. Season tickets are available, as well.
About the Performers
Anderson/Fader Guitar Duo
For the past 20 years the Anderson/Fader Guitar Duo has been heard in concerts, festivals and Master Classes throughout the U.S., Latin America and Europe, both as a duo and as members of the award-winning Cygnus Ensemble. Guitar Review magazine noted that “Anderson and Fader are expert chamber musicians with a perfect sense of timing, virtuosity and a sensitivity to nuance.” Reviewing the Duo’s premiere performance of a commissioned work by Milton Babbitt, the NY Times reported that: “His melodies leap freely around the fretboard, and his rhythms are complex and perilous. Yet Mr. Anderson and Mr. Fader played the work from memory, and gave an impressive account of it.”
The Duo champions the work of living American composers. The list of composers who have written for the Duo and Cygnus include Babbitt, Bond, Davidovsky, Naito, Rakowski, and others.
Mr. Anderson and Mr. Fader met while in their teens in New York City, as students of the legendary guitarist David Starobin. Now based in New York City, the Duo has performed with many presenters and organizations, most notably with James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Chamber Players at Zankel Hall, performing the guitar and mandolin parts in Elliott Carter’s Luimen. Anderson and Fader, with Cygnus, were in residence at the Library of Congress in the winter of 2012. Ongoing residencies at the CUNY Graduate Center and Sarah Lawrence College give the Duo an opportunity to work with young composers. In addition to classical and electric guitars, the Duo has added mandolin, banjo and theorbo to their instrumentation to accommodate their ever expanding repertoire.
Tenor Christopher Swanson is a co-founder and the Director of Vocal Studies of the Asolo Song Festival. Swanson performs a wide range of repertoire around the United States and in Europe. His operatic roles include Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Ferrando in Così fan tutte, and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus; as well as leading roles in twentieth century masterpieces such as Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress and Robert Ward’s The Crucible. Christopher has been recorded on the 2000 Newport Classics release of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Princess Ida as well as a 2003 recording of John Eccles’s opera Semele, the first complete recording of the opera. Christopher’s concert repertoire includes works by Bach, Buxtehude, Handel, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Mozart and Carl Orff. A frequent recitalist as well, Christopher has given performances throughout the United States, in Canada and Italy. His repertoire specializes in the Lieder of Schubert and Schumann and songs of Benjamin Britten, but also encompasses a wide range of literature from medieval chant to contemporary twenty-first century composers, and all stops in between.
Dr. Swanson is a published researcher, specializing in the area of vocal interpretation and has presented several lectures and lecture recitals on the topic. He is a co-founder and the Director of Vocal Studies of the Asolo Song Festival. Dr. Swanson holds degrees in music from Michigan State University and University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and has a Doctorate in Music from Florida State University.
A Michigan native, Christopher now lives in Farmville, Virginia with his wife Jennifer and their three children Ellie, Abigail, and Charles. Dr. Swanson is an Assistant Professor of Music at Longwood University.
Damon Ferrante is a composer, guitarist, and music writer with 30 scores and books in print. He has had performances throughout the US and Europe, most notably, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, and Guild Hall. Over the next year, he will be on tour in the US, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, and Greece for performances of his music. Some of the artists and groups performing Ferrante’s music are Duo Resonances (France), SYREN Modern Dance (US), Cadence Ballet (Canada), the Anderson/Fader Guitar Duo (US), Svetlana Tovstukha (Spain), and Dimitris Kotronakis (Greece). In 2011, he wrote the film scores for Gabriela Jaime’s Flor (Spain), Sonya Zolotaryovais’s White Winter (Japan), and is working on the scores for several new films. Ferrante was appointed composer-in-residence for Montauk, New York from 2006 to 2010 (funded by New York State Council for the Arts). His successful series brought world-famous composers, such as Mark Adamo, David Del Tredici, Ricky Ian Gordon, and Robert Aldridge, to Montauk for performances and talks on their operas and music. He has been the subject of feature articles in the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore City Paper, The East Hampton Star, and Johns Hopkins Magazine, and has appeared several times on National Public Radio. Ferrante has taught on the music faculties at Seton Hall University and Montclair State University. His scores and books are available on Amazon.com and his recordings are available on iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, and Rhapsody.
Tim Smith of the Baltimore Sun calls Ferrante’s music “focused and colorful..with an unexpected, decidedly poetic touch.” Geoffrey Himes of Baltimore City Paper states, “If the tune has the elegance of traditional opera, the harmonization is very modern as the vocal lines climb and descend the melodic staircases that Ferrante has constructed for them.” Anne Midgette, writing in the New York Times cited Ferrante’s opera Jefferson and Poe as one the three operas to see in New York in December; the two other operas listed were productions of La bohème and Carmen at the Met. Mary MacCauley of the Baltimore Sun describes his music as “ebullient and full of shifts of direction.” Betsy Murphy of the Ridgewood News calls him “a star on the rise.”
In 2003, he founded Steeplechase Arts & Productions, a company integrating innovation, tradition, and collaboration between music and the arts. As director of Steeplechase, Ferrante has presented concerts and operas throughout the United States.
The program will include:
- Beyond the Line of Blue: An Operatic Monodrama with Video Projections, based on the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe and Walt Whitman, for Tenor Voice and Guitar Duo
- American Folk Songs with Video Projections arranged for Tenor Voice and Guitar Duo
- The Footbridge: A Guitar Duo, inspired sculptures of Alexander Calder
- Divinità Minori: Solo Guitar Pieces with Video Projections, inspired by the paintings of Christopher Engel.
- Audio files from the Anderson/Fader Duo release, Le Cirgue
Jonathan McCollum, Ph.D.
Ken Schweitzer, D.M.A