Yara Ensemble | Sirens of the Sea: Love and Longing

September 15, 2018 @ 7:30 pm
PianoForte Studios
1335 South Michigan Ave
IL 60605
Yara Ensemble | Sirens of the Sea: Love and Longing @ PianoForte Studios

Yara Ensemble
Yara Ensemble is an exciting and unique collaboration between Portuguese-Italian pianist Alexandra Mascolo-David and Brazilian-British-American mezzo-soprano Sarah Stone. With direction and choreography by Annette Thornton and digital media art by Eric Limarenko, the Yara performance experience weaves music, theatre, and art into an intimate and accessible narrative journey designed for 21st century audiences. Our goal is to create an immersive performance experience where the audience is engaged in the act of discovery. Entertaining while educating is at the core of the Yara mission. Showcasing music of the Iberian peninsula and the Americas, Yara Ensemble’s repertoire includes a combination of classical, folk, and popular music repertoire unified by a narrative theme. Yara recitals tell a story and are supported by diverse media that allow audience members the freedom to sit back and enjoy without having to squint at programs in a darkened hall.

Alexandra Mascolo-David, piano 
“A splendid pianist—refined, searching and expressive, and  her playing is loaded with insight and interpretative detail.”
So wrote The Washington Post, after Alexandra Mascolo-  David’s performance at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in the  nation’s capital. Alexandra has performed and led workshops  and master classes in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Her  New York debut recital at Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall) in  May 2004 was favorably reviewed in The New York Concert Review. She has devoted the last decade to exploring and unearthing the music of  Portuguese and Brazilian composers, especially that of Francisco Mignone.  Alexandra’s performances of his Valsas brasileiras (Brazilian Waltzes) have been  widely acclaimed, and her compact disc recording of Volume One of those works  received a rave review in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Alexandra also recorded  Mignone’s Fantasias brasileiras for piano and orchestra with the Kalamazoo  Symphony under Raymond Harvey’s baton, for the White Pine Music label in 2010.  In addition, she is a champion of new music, performing and recording works by  living composers, some of whom have written and dedicated pieces to her. In 2017,  Alexandra premiered David Maslanka’s Concerto No. 3 for Piano and Wind  Symphony, a work commissioned by a consortium of universities. Her collaboration  with Maslanka began in 2007, when she performed and recorded his Concerto No.  1 for Piano and Wind Symphony, for Albany Records. Lately, Alexandra has found  the courage to explore composing, inspired by Yara Ensemble. She has served on  the piano faculties of Iowa State University and the Interlochen Arts Camp (MI).  Currently she is Professor of Piano at Central Michigan University. At CMU,  Alexandra has developed workshops and curriculum addressing performance  anxiety management. She loves dogs, good wine, aquatic sports, soccer, jewelry  making, reading, and visiting art museums.

Sarah Stone, mezzo-soprano 
Mezzo-soprano Sarah Stone’s performance is “outstanding…  charming… portraying conviction well beyond her years.”  —Bloomington Herald-Times.
Praised for her “naturally warm, unpretentious and appealing”  voice, Brazilian-British-American mezzo-soprano Sarah Stone  is comfortable in a variety of genres and has been featured in  both North and South America with the Bay View Music  Festival, Kentucky Opera & Louisville Ballet, Tanglewood Music Center, and Dorian  Opera Theatre and the Traditional Jazz Band. Recognized for her versatility she is  described as “a fearless performer” and “an imaginative actress with natural stage  presence.” An active proponent of contemporary classical music she has  collaborated with composers Dan Powers, Vietnamese composer P.Q.
Phan—premiering the lead role in his opera The Tale of Lady Thi Kinh, Brazilian  composer Marcos Balter, and in 2013 she had the privilege of performing Missy  Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar. Sarah was raised in São Paulo, Brazil, where she  played soccer professionally in her early twenties. A self-described “information  junky,” her research interests lie in Brazilian modernism, vocal technique, and the  application of the arts in STEAM education. Sarah Stone serves as chair of the Fine  Arts Department at the Kentucky Country Day School in Louisville, Kentucky, as  well as a resident opera and music theater stage director at the Bay View Music  Festival in Michigan.

Annette Thornton, director 
Annette Thornton (PhD, University of Colorado, Boulder) is  Associate Professor at Central Michigan University where she  teaches Music Theatre Performance Courses, Acting,  Movement for the Actor, Music Theatre History, Dance  History, and directs/choreographs the musicals. Selected  directing/choreographing credits include: The Full Monty (Attic  Theatre), Blood Wedding (KC-ACTF Certificate of Merit for  Directing), The Secret Garden, Into the Woods, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Scarlet Pimpernel, 42nd Street, Edges, Hair, Oedipus the King,  and Oklahoma! (KC-ACTF Certificate of Merit for Directing). In 2011 Annette played  the role of Vivian Bearing in Wit at Bethel College (KS) sharing the bill of Greer  Visiting Artist Series with playwright Margaret Edson. Annette’s scholarly interests  include mime, mime performers, and music theatre. Her article, “Jane and Jerusha:  Finding a Voice on the Musical Stage,” was published in Studies in Musical Theatre.  Her dissertation on Lotte Goslar, Grandma Always Danced: The Mime Theatre of  Lotte Goslar, is the first full-length study of this important female clown/pantomime/  dancer. She is currently co-editing a book on Physical Dramaturgy to be published  by Routledge. Annette has studied mime with Marcel Marceau and Meyerhold’s  Theatrical Biomechanics with Gennadi Bogdanov, and is a certified yoga teacher.  She was the invited keynote speaker at Ohio State University’s “Mime & Movement  Theatre Symposium” (2014) organized by Jeanine Thompson. Annette is the  immediate past-president of Association of Theatre Movement Educators.

Eric Limarenko, digital media artist
Eric Limarenko (MFA, The Savannah College of Art & Design)  is a multimedia artist who got his start in video at The Home  Shopping Network working on set as well as in Master  Control. In 2002, he moved to Michigan where he landed at  Forest Post Productions. He served in the editorial  department working with such clients as Ford, FOX Sports,  KFC and Quicken Loans. He was also the lead creative editor  on the children’s series Noodlebug. In 2008, Eric was appointed the Sr. Avid Editor position at the J. Walter Thompson Advertising  Agency for Team-Detroit where he worked on national campaigns as well as created  daily elements for Ford’s web presence. Currently he is an Assistant Professor at  Central Michigan University where he serves as Video Unit Head over the
award-winning student run station, MHTV. Eric is the recipient of the 2016 Telly  award for his film Whatnots, featuring his original score. His passions are still  grounded in new media, discovering his own art by creating original music, motion  graphics, and abstract video.

Sirens of the Sea: Love and Longing

This program was inspired by the Portuguese maritime discoveries of the 15 th and 16 th centuries, and by Saudade, the intense longing felt by both sailors and the loved ones left behind.

Alexandra Mascolo-David (b. 1962)
“Saudade” for piano

Ernesto Halffter (1905–1989)
“Ai, que linda moça” (Oh, What a Beautiful Maiden)
from Seis Canções Portuguesas (Six Portuguese Songs)

Alexandra Mascolo-David
Trovas de Coimbra (Songs from Coimbra)
Vão-se os anos (Gone are the days)
Se eu soubesse ao ver o dia (Had I known when I saw the day)
Olho, atento, o céu imenso (Intently watching the immense sky)

António Fragoso (1897–1918)
Seven Preludes for piano solo
1. Muito vivo
2. Muito lento
3. Allegretto com graça
4. Allegretto molto
5. Calmo
6. Andantino
7. Vivo

Francisco de Lacerda (1869–1964)
Trovas (Troubadour Love Songs)
1. Em cima do alto monte (At the Top of the Hill)
4. Desde que os cravos e rosas (Ever Since Roses and Carnations)
8. A alegria dos meus olhos (The Joy of My Eyes)
11. Não morreu nem acabou (It Is Neither Death, Nor the End)
14. Os meus olhos não são olhos (My Eyes Aren’t Eyes)
19. É ter arte não falar (It’s Art, Not to Speak)
20. Quero cantar ser alegre (I Want to Sing, Be Happy)
22. Amor que me traz presa (The Love that Keeps Me Prisoner)

Frederico Valério (1887–1961) 
Portuguese Fado “ Ai Mouraria ”

Raul Ferrão (1890–1953) 
Portuguese Fado “ Coimbra ”