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University of Chicago Department of Music Performs Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem Memorial Weekend

Opera stars soprano Kimberly Jones and baritone Jeffrey Ray lend their voices to the annual Cathy Heifetz Memorial concerts

Chicago, IL, May 19, 2010 --( The University of Chicago Department of Music celebrates the close of another successful season on Saturday, May 29 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, May 30 at 3:00 pm in Mandel Hall located at 1131 E. 57th Street in Hyde Park. This year, the University Symphony Orchestra, University Chorus, Motet Choir, and members of the Rockefeller Chapel Choir present Johannes Brahms’ eloquent Ein deutsches Requiem featuring soprano Kimberly Jones and baritone Jeffrey Ray. Howard Hanson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Symphony No. 4, subtitled Requiem, completes the program. Barbara Schubert and James Kallembach conduct.

Johannes Brahms’ (1833-1897) Ein deutsches Requiem, Opus 45, [“A German Requiem”] was composed between 1857 and 1868 following the deaths of his close friend and mentor Robert Schumann in 1856 and his mother in 1865. Although the work uses sacred texts, the subject is meant to be humanistic in nature. Of his choral masterwork, Brahms wrote: “As for the title, I must admit I should like to leave out the word ‘German’ and refer instead to ‘Humanity’.” Brahms employed a German text drawn from the Beatitudes, a part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5: “Blessed are they that mourn, for they will be comforted.” Indeed, A German Requiem may be the most comforting, humane requiem ever written, not simply as a memorial to the composer’s mentor or mother, but as a message of hope and comfort.

Howard Hanson (1896-1981), a major American composer and educator, founded the annual American Music Festival and directed the Eastman School of Music for 40 years. Among Hanson's significant compositions are an opera, Merry Mount, and seven symphonies, of which the second, so-called “Romantic,” is perhaps the best known. In 1943, Hanson received a Pulitzer Prize for his Fourth Symphony, Requiem, which he conducted with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on December 3, 1943.

Internationally renowned soprano Kimberly E. Jones is an alumna of the Ryan Opera Center with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and has performed in venues around the world. She is the recipient of awards from Baltimore Opera; a George London grant; two Sullivan grants; a nomination for the Richard Tucker award; the Licia Albanese Encouragement Award; and three grants from the MacAllister Awards Competition. She was awarded the Richard Gold Career grant from Lyric Opera of Chicago, and was presented in Opera Now’s “Who’s Hot in Opera” edition by the late Ardis Krainik. For her portrayal of Clara in Porgy and Bess, she was nominated for the NAACP Awards for Best Supporting Actress. She is on the voice faculty at Merit School of Music and Sherwood Conservatory of Music with Columbia College.

Jeffrey Ray, baritone, made his European opera debut at Deutsche Opera, Berlin in 1997, cementing him as a regular on their roster. In the United States, he has sung roles with Opera Delaware, Utah Opera, Knoxville Opera, DuPage Opera, and Opera Grand Rapids. His roles include Marcello, Sharpless, Seville's Figaro, Gianni Schicchi, Belcore, and Don Giovanni. Mr. Ray's orchestral collaborations include two appearances at Carnegie Hall, Handel's Messiah and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem. He made his debut at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, singing The Messiah with The National Chorale. He has worked with conductors Leonard Slatkin, Bruno Bartoletti, and John Nelson, among many others.

The Cathy Heifetz Memorial Award was established to commemorate the life and honor the memory of Cathy Heifetz (1949-1976), who came to The University of Chicago in 1973 as a student in the Department of Music. The Memorial’s first endowment created an annual award to honor a student in the Department of Music whose associations as a member of this community have been singularly marked by a spirit of caring and helpfulness. The 2010 Cathy Heifetz Memorial Award will be presented at the May 29 concert.

Quick Facts

What: University Symphony Orchestra, University Chorus, Motet Choir, and members of the Rockefeller Chapel Choir
2010 Annual Cathy Heifetz Memorial Concerts
Barbara Schubert and James Kallembach, conductors
Kimberly Jones and Jeffrey Ray, soloists

Howard Hanson’s Symphony No. 4, subtitled Requiem Johannes Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem

When: Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 8:00 PM
Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Where: Mandel Hall
1131 E. 57th St., on the University of Chicago campus

Admission: Donations requested at the door: $10 / $5 students and children

Event Hotline: 773.702.8069 -

Persons who require assistance should call in advance: 773.702.8484.

Contact Information
University of Chicago Department of Music
Rashida N. Black

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