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The College of Music presents Schubert's Die Winterreise performed by music alumni Chris Thompson, baritone, and Steven Spooner, piano, on Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Loyola press release - March 4, 2005

Loyola graduates Chris Thompson (baritone, M.M. '91) and Steven Spooner (pianist, B.M. '95), assistant professors of voice and piano at the University of Idaho, will perform Schubert's epic song cycle Die Winterreise on March 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall. The recital is free and open to the public.

Die Winterreise (Winter’s Journey), by Franz Schubert, is a monodrama in which the wanderer speaks to no one; he is alone on his journey, and his narrative is introspective. From collections of Wilhelm Müller’s poetry Schubert discovered in a magazine called Urania, Schubert quickly set twenty-four poems in 1827. Upon completion, he declared, “I like these songs more than all the rest…”

The journey, with no particular destination in mind, is often bleak and haunted by the wanderer's regrets and tortured dreams. Landscapes trigger memories and seem to mirror the wanderer’s despair. Recurring poetic images of stillness, wintry images, and numbing cold and the musical image of a walking pattern pervade the entire cycle.

Until Winterreise, themes of such intense grief had rarely been expressed in song. Regarded by many as a pinnacle of western art music, Winterreise has been judged “unsurpassed in the art of musical representation.”

Steven Spooner is a New Orleans native who has performed around the world and is quickly becoming one of the more noted American pianists of his generation. He has performed at a host of prestigious venues such as the Salle Cortot, Holland's Vredenburg Centre, Geneva's Fête de la Musique, and numerous halls across Europe, Latin America, South America, and the United States.

He is a top prize winner at both the Artlivre International Piano Competition and the Hilton Head International Piano Competition. His performance at the 1999 International Liszt Competition was a sensational success that resulted in several return invitations to Holland. Spooner's orchestral engagements include performances with the Brevard Symphony Orchestra, Crescent City Symphony, New Orleans Civic Symphony, Ozark Chamber Orchestra, and the São Paulo Philharmonic.

His diversity was evident in collaboration with vocalists at the Paris Conservatory where he was awarded First Prize and recipient of the Niekamp
career grant for most outstanding pianist in the interpretation of French Art Song. He has been a frequent guest artist at several music festivals and performs with some of the brightest instrumental stars of today including, international bass sensation Daxun Zhang and prize-winning violinist Leor Maltinsky.

Spooner is now performing an enormous recital series akin to Anton Rubinstein’s historic recitals of 1885. These historic concerts consist of 17 solo piano recitals embracing much of the standard piano literature. In addition, he has recorded a large portion of the standard vocal literature for Everythingmusic, makers of Maestro software, and has released his critically acclaimed debut solo recording of Liszt Transcriptions on EMR Classics. Spooner has studied at Loyola University, Paris Conservatory, Moscow and Tbilisi Conservatories in the former Soviet Union, and holds a D. M. in performance and literature from Indiana University, Bloomington. He has served as guest artist-in-residence at the Paris Conservatory Summer Sessions and was most recently Coordinator of Accompanying at Indiana University.
 
Chris Thompson, lyric baritone, earned his D.M.A. in vocal performance from the University of Kansas, his master of music from Loyola and his B. Mus. from Kansas State. He has sung with San Diego Opera, San Diego Comic Opera, Rimrock Opera, Opera Idaho, Rogue Opera, The CoOPERAtive Opera, Utah Festival Opera Company, New Orleans Opera, British Youth Opera, University of Kansas Opera, and Loyola Opera Theatre.

A strong advocate of new music, Thompson has appeared in several readings and world premières including Guest from the Future with Nine Circles Chamber Theatre at Lincoln Center, The Scrimshaw Violin at An Appalachian Summer Festival, Box and Cox at the University of Utah, and Hester Prynne at Death at CUNY.

In concert, Thompson has sung with the Westchester Oratorio Society, Armor Artis, Canticum Novum, The Louisiana Philharmonic, the Virgin Consort, St. Jean's Choral Society, Augustana Oratorio Society, the Kansas City Youth Symphony, the Rogue Valley Chorale, the University of Kansas Symphony and Wind Ensemble, and the Fort Hays State University Orchestra in works such as: B minor Mass (Bach), Magnificat (Bach), St. John and St. Matthew Passions (Bach), the Requiem masses of Brahms, Faure, and Willan, Messiah and Judas Maccabeus (Handel), Te Deum (Dvorak), Verspers (Monteverdi), Christmas Oratorio (Saint-Saens), Hodie (Vaughan Williams), African Portraits (Peterson), and Five Mystical Songs (Vaughan Williams).

Thompson is a founding member of the Quinn Arts Players in which he has collaborated with actors and musicians on original works by New York author and poet Terry Quinn for the Nathaniel Hawthorne bicentennial (2004) and premiered new music projects based on poems from Mad for New Yorktown. In addition, Thompson made his Off-Broadway debut as Daniel Keane in Fermat's Last Tango (Original Cast Recordings) and is a featured soloist on the recently released CD of music by Joshua Rosenblum, Impetuosities (Albany Records).

For more information, contact Reid Wick at (504) 865-2074, or via e-mail at wick@loyno.edu. Visit the College of Music on the web at http://music.loyno.edu.