All Press Releases for May 11, 2017

Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra Presents Don Giovanni as 2016-17 Season Finale - May 26th at Miller Auditorium

This May 26, 2017 performance also marks Maestro Raymond Harvey's final concert as KSO Music Director

    KALAMAZOO, MI, May 11, 2017 /24-7PressRelease/ -- For their final concert of the 2016-2017 season, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra presents Mozart's masterpiece, Don Giovanni for Maestro Raymond Harvey's last performance as Music Director. Maestro Harvey brings an international cast of opera stars to the stage for the first KSO performance of this masterwork since 1980. In Don Giovanni, Mozart brings the escapades of Don Juan, a fictional libertine, to life. Blending comedy, melodrama, and the supernatural, Don Giovanni has become one of the most performed operas of all time.

Raymond Harvey
For more than 35 years, Raymond Harvey has made a significant impact as an American conductor of great skill and insight. Born in New York City, he studied piano and conducting, receiving Bachelor's and Master's degrees in choral conducting from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music; and then studied orchestral conducting at the Yale School of Music, earning Master's and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees.

This season Maestro Harvey celebrates 18 years as Music Director of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. He previously held the top post at the Fresno Philharmonic (California), Springfield Symphony (Massachusetts), and El Paso Opera (Texas).

Maestro Harvey has appeared as guest conductor with many of America's leading orchestras, including those of Philadelphia, Atlanta, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Buffalo, Detroit, New Orleans and Minnesota, as well as the New York Philharmonic's Young People's Concerts and the Boston Pops. He has also had engagements with the Maggio Musicale Orchestra of Florence, Italy, the Pusan Symphony of South Korea, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica. He regularly performs as a pianist, both in chamber music and as pianist/conductor in works of Gershwin, Mozart, and Rachmaninoff.

In addition to his commitment to Kalamazoo, Dr. Harvey has been named an Associate Professor at the University of Houston, where he serves as Music Director of the Moores School of Music opera department. His operatic repertoire is extensive, including favorites such as Carmen, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, La Boheme, Turandot, and Aida; as well as the more rarely performed The Consul, The Rape of Lucretia, and Samson and Delilah.

The Kalamazoo community continues to embrace Raymond Harvey through appreciation of his compelling performances and engaging lectures.

Buck Ross (Stage Director)
Buck Ross holds the Edythe Bates Old Chair in Opera at the Moores School of Music, University of Houston, where he is the director of the Moores Opera Center. Mr. Ross founded the Opera Center in 1985 and has led it to national prominence as one of the largest university opera production programs in the country. He has staged productions for the Houston Grand Opera, Nevada Opera, Kentucky Opera, El Paso Opera, Houston Symphony, and Augusta Opera among others. For many years he was director of dramatic studies for the Houston Opera Studio and co-director of the apprentice program for the Des Moines Metro Opera. Particularly noted for his work in contemporary opera, he is the first person to direct all the completed operas of Daniel Catan including Florencia en el Amazonas, Salsipuedes, Il Postino, and Rappaccini's Daughter. He has directed productions of John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles, Conrad Susa's The Dangerous Liaisons, David Carlson's Anna Karenina, William Bolcom's A Wedding, Jonathan Dove's Flight, Ricky Ian Gordon's The Grapes of Wrath, Daron Hagen's Amelia, Robert Aldridge's Elmer Gantry, Thomas Pasatieri's Frau Margot, Dominick Argento's Miss Havisham's Fire and Casanova's Homecoming and Carlisle Floyd's Cold Sassy Tree. His productions are frequently award winners in the National Opera Association's annual opera production competition, last year winning first place for Rappaccini's Daughter and second place for Frau Margot.

For composer Robert Nelson he is the librettist for an opera adaptation of E. M. Forster's A Room with a View released on DVD on the Newport Classic label. His singing translation of Orpheus in the Underworld has had over 22 productions. Currently he also teaches in Italy in the program Lingua e Canto. He holds degrees in music and theatre from Bucknell University and an MFA in stage direction from the University of Minnesota.

Mark Walters (Don Giovanni)
Being touted as one of the next great American Verdi baritones, Opera News describes Mark Walters as "a force to be reckoned with." He is lauded for his performances throughout the United States in the title role of Rigoletto, Germont in La traviata, and Renato in Un ballo in maschera. For his performance in La forza del destino, "The Chicago Sun Times" commended his "vocal fury." Walters is now foraying into richer, more dramatic roles including: Die fliegende Hollander, Jochanaan in Salome, and Iago in Otello. He also recently debuted the role of Scarpia in Tosca as well as Pizarro in Fidelio and continues to perform Rigoletto and Germont in La traviata.

This season Walters sings the role of Peter in Hansel und Gretel with Seattle Opera, Scarpia in Tosca with Opera Tampa, the title role in a concert version of Don Giovanni with Kalamazoo Symphony, and in the 10th Anniversary Gala with Opera Louisiane. In concert, he will sing Handel's Messiah with Augustana College, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with Traverse City Symphony, and a concert of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and Vaughn Williams Serenade with Springfield Symphony. Recent engagements include a company debut as Scarpia in Tosca with Minnesota Opera and a return for their world premi-ere of The Shining as Mark Torrance; the title role of Rigoletto with Florida Grand Opera and Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, and the title role in Don Giovanni with Seattle Opera.

Walters' oratorio work includes his Carnegie Hall debut in Orff's Carmina Burana and Faure's Requiem conducted by John Rutter; Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Tallahassee Symphony, Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, and the Lima Symphony; Verdi's Requiem with the Mississippi Symphony; the Brahms Requiem with Arizona Music Festival and Handel's Messiah with the Mississippi Symphony and the Handel Oratorio Society. As a featured soloist, Mr. Walters has sung in the Milnes Voice Gala Honors James Morris, in the Baritones on the Bayou with Opera Louisiane, as Elijah with the Pensacola Choral Society, and in a Gala concert for the Canterbury Festival, UK.

Aaron Sorenson (Leporello)
Aaron Sorensen is a rare young bass known not only for his powerful and rich sound, but also his commanding stage presence. In recent seasons, Sorensen returned to Gotham Chamber Opera for productions of Comedy on the Bridge and Alexandre bis; debuted with Huntsville Symphony as Judge Barnett/Officer Jimmy in the world premi-ere of Gregory Vajda's Georgia Bottoms: A Comic Opera of the Modern South, based on the best-selling novel by Mark Childress; sang Osmin in Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail at Peabody Opera Theatre and with Houston Symphony Orchestra; debuted with Nashville Opera as the Sergeant of Police in Pirates of Penzance; and Neptune/Antinoo in Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria with West Edge Opera. This season he appears at Huntsville Symphony Orchestra as Osmin in Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail and sings Leporello in Don Giovanni with Kalamazoo Symphony.

Recently, Mr. Sorensen debuted with Fort Worth Opera as Benoit/Alcindoro in La boh-eme and returned as the French General in Kevin Puts' Silent Night; made a debut with Gotham Chamber Opera for their productions of Die Prinzessin auf der Erbse, Weill's Mahagonny Songspiel, Hindemith's Hin und Zuruck, and Milhaud's L'enl-evement d'Europe; performed the role of Angelotti in Tosca with Austin Lyric Opera; sang in the National Symphony's concert performance of Der Rosenkavalier under Christoph Eschenbach; and appeared as Colline in La boh-eme at Bar Harbor Music Festival and Opera Theatre of Connecticut.

In prior seasons, Mr. Sorensen appeared with Wolf Trap Opera, where he sang the roles of Masetto in Mozart's Don Giovanni and Father Trulove in Stravinky's The Rake's Progress, and subsequently returned as Don Prudenzio in Rossini's Il viaggio a Reims and Pistola in Falstaff. He also performed in multiple seasons with The Glimmerglass Opera Festival where he portrayed such roles as Zuniga in Carmen and Angelotti in Tosca. Also a favorite with Des Moines Metro Opera, he joined the company in recent seasons for their productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Die Zauberflote, Tosca, and The Rake's Progress.

Charles Reid (Don Ottavio)
Tenor Charles Reid has been welcomed on many of the world's opera stages, including the Metropolitan Opera (nine seasons), San Francisco Opera, Theater an der Wien, Frankfurt Opera, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Nationaltheater Mannheim, Theater Hagen (first-ever Don Jose in Bizet's Carmen), as well as the festivals of Bayreuth, Salzburg, Spoleto USA, Glimmerglass and Central City. Operas-in-concert include Wagner's Das Rheingold with Jaap von Zweden and the Hong Kong Philharmonic (acclaimed recording released on Naxos) and Der Rosenkavalier with Philippe Jordan and the Opera National de Paris.

With nearly forty works in his active concert repertoire, Mr. Reid's recent engagements include Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Hong Kong Philharmonic led by Jaap van Zweden, Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde in chamber arrangement with Matthias Goerne at the Schubertiada a Vilabertran (Spain) under conductor Josep Pons, and with conductor Jo Ann Falletta and mezzo-soprano Susan Platts at the Virginia Arts Festival (Naxos recording); and in full-orchestra version with Leon Botstein conducting The Orchestra Now at New York's Bard College. He also sang his first Britten War Requiem, with Maestra Jane Glover at the Berkshire International Festival.

Mr. Reid's diverse 2016-17 season offers includes Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic/Andrew Constantine, Verdi's Requiem with the Virginia Symphony/JoAnn Falletta, Mozart's Don Giovanni (Don Ottavio) with the Kalamazoo Symphony/Raymond Harvey, Handel's Messiah with Columbia Pro Cantare/Frances Dawson, and a recital of American Art Song at the Howard Performing Arts Center. Past seasons have brought concerts with the with Orchestre National de Lyon, Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Boston's Handel and Haydn Society, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Lisbon's Gulbenkian Orchestra, Washington, D.C.'s National Symphony, Lincoln Center's "Mostly Mozart" Festival Orchestra, the Nashville, Allentown, Madison and Harrisburg Symphonies, Rochester and Buffalo Philharmonics and the U.S. Naval Academy.

Mr. Reid's prestigious awards include the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, Loren L. Zachary Foundation, Marjorie Lawrence International Vocal Competition. He is Producer and Host of This Opera Life Podcast, and Artist-in-Residence and Associate Professor of Voice at Michigan's Andrews University.

Christina Pier (Donna Anna)
American soprano Christina Pier has been hailed by Opera News for her "big, gleaming soprano and impressive coloratura," and has received great critical and audience acclaim for her work on opera and concert stages. Originally from Flagstaff, AZ, Ms. Pier received a BM and MM in voice at Indiana University where she studied with Virginia Zeani. She is currently an Artist in Residence at Catawba College, and a Guest Lecturer at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

Ms. Pier's recent engagements included Senta in Der fliegende Hollander with Virginia Opera, Poulenc's Gloria and Barber's Prayers of Kierkegaard with the Charlottesville Symphony Orchestra, Brahms' Ein Deutches Requiem with the Missoula Symphony Orchestra, and Faure's Requiem with the Charlotte Symphony. In addition, she has performed Mahler's Symphony No. 4 with the North Carolina Symphony and Rochester Symphony; Handel's Messiah with the Indianapolis and Winston-Salem Symphonies; Verdi's Requiem with the Charlottesville Symphony, among many others.

A 2003 Grand Finals Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, recent opera engagements for Ms. Pier include the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos with Virginia Opera; Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Santa Fe Opera, Sarasota Opera, Nashville Opera, and Eugene Opera; Micaela in Carmen and Pamina in Die Zauberflote with Florida Grand Opera; the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro with Minnesota Opera; Marguerite in Faust with Eugene Opera; and Micaela with the Princeton Festival.

She has also performed Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with Roberto Abbado, recitals under the auspices of the George London Foundation, and concerts with the World Youth Orchestra in Italy and at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations in New York. She appears as a soloist on a recording of Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem, with David Hill and the BBC Singers on the Naxos label.

Ms. Pier is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the George London Foundation Award, Sullivan Musical Foundation Award, two Charles A. Lynam Awards, and two Palm Beach Opera Competition Awards.

Nicole Heaston (Donna Elvira)
Praised by the Houston Chronicle for her "warm supple soprano" and by "The New York Times" for her "radiant" and "handsomely resonant voice," soprano Nicole Heaston has appeared with opera companies throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera, Semperoper Dresden, Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Dusseldorf, and many more.

Heaston's recent engagements include Alice Ford in Falstaff at Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen, La contessa Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro at Den Norske Opera and Utah Opera, Pamina in Die Zauberflote at Houston Grand Opera, the title role in Alcina at Royal Danish Opera, and was the featured vocal soloist in the Houston Ballet's staging of Stravinsky's Les Noces.

Heaston has established a long-standing relationship with Houston Grand Opera, beginning as a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio. Her debut with the company was in the title role of Romeo et Juliette, and she has since been heard as Gilda in Rigoletto, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, and Zerlina in Die Zauberflote. Heaston also created the title role in Houston Grand Opera's world premiere of Jackie O, subsequently recording the opera for the Argo label.

Equally active as a concert and recital soloist, Heaston has performed with orchestras throughout the United States, including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and National Symphony Orchestra for the Kennedy Center's 11th annual gala. She has performed Handel's Messiah with the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor Michigan. Ms. Heaston was heard in Bach's B Minor Mass with Boston Baroque, which was recorded for the Teldec label and nominated for a Grammy Award. She debuted at Carnegie Hall in recital at Weill Recital Hall. Ms. Heaston completed her Master's Degree in Voice at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and received her undergraduate degree in music at the University of Akron. Her various awards and prizes include the Shoshana Foundation Grant, Robert Weede Corbett Award, Opera Guild of Dayton Competition, Opera/Columbus Competition, San Antonio Opera Guild Competition, Metropolitan Opera Regional Audition-Encouragement Award, and Houston Grand Opera's Eleanor McCollum Award Competition.

Sydney Anderson (Zerlina)
Sydney E. Anderson, a Houston-based soprano, makes her Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra debut this season. An accomplished concert soloist, Ms. Anderson has appeared with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra as a featured soloist on their 2015 donor concert series, and with Opera Saratoga for their 2015-2016 Saratoga Sings! recital series. Other recent soloist appearances include Mozart's Requiem and Christopher Theofanidis's The Here and Now (Woolsey Hall), the title role in Handel's Esther (Manchester Symphony Orchestra), the Evangelist in Schutz's Johannes Passion, and many J. S. Bach cantatas, with Bach Society Houston under the baton of Rick Erickson.

In 2016, Ms. Anderson celebrated her main stage debut with Houston Grand Opera as Arminy in Carousel, directed by Rob Ashford and conducted by Richard Bado, and participated in the company's Opera to Go! program, as the Princess in Mary Carol Warwick's The Princess and the Pea. Other recent opera roles include Manon in Manon, Lisette in La Rondine, Adina in L'eslisir d'amore and Antonia in Les Contes d'Hoffman with the Moores Opera Center, and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, The Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel, and Tallulah in the New England Premiere of Thomas Pasatieri's The Hotel Casablanca with Hartt Opera Theatre. In 2015, she participated in Opera Saratoga's young artist program, where she covered the roles of Belinda in Dido and Aeneas and Virgil in the World Premiere of The Long Walk by Jeremy Howard Beck and Stephanie Fleischmann, and received third place in the company's young artist competition. Other awards include the Karl Amelang Memorial Award in the 2016 Houston Saengerbund German Singing Competition, winner of The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Houston's 2015 vocal scholarship competition, and the Encouragement Award in Connecticut Concert Opera's 2014 American Opera Idol.

Ms. Anderson holds a double Bachelors Degree from The Hartt School of Music in Vocal Performance and Music Education, and a Masters Degree in Vocal Performance from the Moores School of Music, where she first had the honor of working with Maestro Raymond Harvey and Director Buck Ross.

Evan Boyer (Masetto/Commendatore)
Bass Evan Boyer received a Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University, where he performed Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte and Prince Gremin in Eugene Oengin. Mr. Boyer is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he was heard as Enobarbus in Antony and Cleopatra, Conte Rodolfo in La sonnambula, Leporello in Don Giovanni, among many others. He attended the Chautauqua Institution in 2002 and 2003, where he appeared as Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte and Seneca in L'incoronazione di Poppea.

Mr. Boyer's 2014-15 season began with a role and company debut at Seattle Opera as Masetto in Don Giovanni. He performed Mozart's Requiem with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, followed by Handel's Messiah with the Jacksonville Symphony. In the summer of 2015, he joined Wolf Trap Opera to sing Ramfis in Aida and The Bonze in Madama Butterfly and appeared with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in the Mozart Requiem in the Bravo! Vail Festival.

Mr. Boyer was recently a member of the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago. During his three-season tenure there, from 2010-2013, he was involved in seventeen productions. He performed the roles of Sarastro in Die Zauberflote, the King of Egypt in Aida, Pietro in Simon Boccanegra, Zuniga in Carmen, among many others. He covered in eleven productions, including Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor and Sparafucile in Rigoletto.

In 2013, after his time at the Ryan Opera Center, Mr. Boyer made his debut with Canadian Opera Company as the First Soldier in Salome, followed by performances as the Second Commissaire in Dialogues des Carmelites. Other performances in 2012 included a debut with The Cleveland Orchestra as the First Nazarene and First Soldier in concert performances of Salome at Severance Hall and again at Carnegie Hall.

He was a 2009 National Semifinalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditionss. He is the Grand Prize winner in Men's Voice of the Union League Civic and Arts Foundation. Additional grants and awards have been received from the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, the Giulio Gari Foundation, the Chicago Bel Canto Foundation, the American Opera Society, and the Louisville Bach Society.

Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra presents
Symphonic Series

Don Giovanni

Raymond Harvey, Conductor; Buck Ross, Stage Director

Guest Artists: Mark Walters, Aaron Sorenson, Charles Reid, Christina Pier, Nicole Heaston, Sydney Anderson, and Evan Boyer

For their final concert of the 2016-2017 season, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra presents Mozart's masterpiece, Don Giovanni for Maestro Raymond Harvey's last performance as Music Director. Maestro Harvey brings an international cast of opera stars to the stage for the first KSO performance of this masterwork since 1980. In Don Giovanni, Mozart brings the escapades of Don Juan, a fictional libertine, to life. Blending comedy, melodrama, and the supernatural, Don Giovanni has become one of the most performed operas of all time.

Friday, May 26, 2017 | 8pm (Prelude at 7pm)
Miller Auditorium

Tickets: $60 - $24
Student & Veteran discounts available.
$5 Student Rush tickets, and $10 Harvey's Hideaway seating available at the box office the night of the concert.

For tickets, visit, call the KSO Box Office at (269) 349-7759 or call Miller Auditorium Ticket Office at (269) 387-2300.

Visit for up-to-date information, details and schedules. Prices, artists, dates, time and program are subject to change without notice.

The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra receives major support from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra also receives generous support from other local, state and national foundations, as well as private and corporate support. For more information, visit

Founded in 1921, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra is Southwest Michigan's premier musical organization, providing musical enrichment to over 80,000 adults and youth per year. The third-largest professional orchestra in the state, the KSO has won numerous awards and grants, including the Met Life Award for Arts Access in Underserved Communities, the National Endowment for the Arts for its extensive education programs, and a major Ford Foundation grant to found its innovative Artist-in-Residence program.

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