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Annual Gala Banquet & Silent Auction
March 18, 6 PM
Honolulu Country Club
About the Soloists:
Charlene Chi, Mezzo Soprano
Originally from Toronto, Canada, Charlene is an active performer of operatic, chamber and concert repertoire. Last year, she had the pleasure of appearing as the Alto Soloist with the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra & Oahu Choral Society’s performance of Bach Magnificat. For several years, Charlene was active in the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara areas, and has also provided solo and chamber recitals in the Pacific Northwest, Denver, Canada, Korea, Germany and Italy. Recently, Charlene appeared as a guest soloist in Rome’s Basilica de Santa Maria del Popolo, performing Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with three women’s choruses, conducted by Maestro Fabrizio Fucile. She also collaborated in concert with celebrated Vatican organist Maestro Giancarlo Libertucci to present the newly restored and historically significant organ and mural in Bologna. In 2014, Charlene was honoured to be only the second singer ever to record her debut CD at the world renowned Fazioli Concert Hall in Sacile, Italy.
In April 2010, Charlene had her debut at the legendary Walt Disney Concert Hall as the Alto Soloist for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, to a full house in Los Angeles, California. She also appeared as a featured soloist at the funeral of the late President of South Korea, Kim Dae-Jung, where she had the honour of premiering a solo cantata which was composed specifically for the occasion.
In 2009, Charlene was a competition winner of the Beverly Hills Chamber Music Series. She was a first-prize winner of the Bohemian Opera Association of Los Angeles vocal competition. A recipient of the highly-acclaimed Léni Fé Bland Vocal Scholarship, she has also been honoured with numerous awards such as the USC Jeannette MacDonald Opera Scholarship, Marilyn Horne Scholarship for Vocal Performance, Flora L. Thornton Endowed Voice Scholarship Award, and was a recipient of the Arques Charitable Trust Fellowship. Charlene had received a special congressional recognition from the U.S. House of Representatives and the County of Los Angeles for her active involvement as a performer in the cultural musical development of the Korean-American community.
In 2005, Charlene made her operatic debut with Opera Santa Barbara as Suor Infermiera, in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, and has also performed over 14 roles including Carmen, Dorabella, Mélisande, Vanessa, Orfeo, Romeo, Siebel, and the Old Maid, in both full productions and opera scenes at UC Santa Barbara and at USC’s Thornton School of Music. She has also performed as an Alto soloist of oratorios, masses and requiems by Händel, Bach, Haydn, Mendelssohn and Duraflé.
Prior to pursuing her graduate degrees, Charlene applied her previous training in piano, violin and flute by teaching music in the classroom for several years (K-12), where she built and conducted choruses, orchestras and concert bands for Middle School and High School ensembles. At the University level, she was chosen as a graduate assistant during her Master’s and Doctoral training, where she was an instructor for Class Voice and individual vocal instruction to undergraduate and graduate students. For three years, Charlene enjoyed a vocal professorship at Hope International University in Fullerton, CA. Charlene was delighted to be the newest addition to the vocal department at San Diego State University’s School of Music and Dance in 2010, before relocating to northern Italy, and most recently was a Visiting Vocal Professor at BYU-Hawaii in Laie, Hawaii.
Currently, Charlene resides in Honolulu, with her husband Paul, their daughters Natalia & Kaleia, and their dog Zeus.
Leon Williams, Baritone
American baritone Leon Williams has performed Mendelssohn’s Elijah (Honolulu Symphony and Florida Orchestra), Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (Hawaii Symphony/Andrew Litton), Orff’s Carmina Burana (Florida Orchestra, Baltimore, Reading, Alabama, Lima, Westchester, Grand Rapids, Jacksonville, Hartford and Colorado Symphonies, National Philharmonic, and at the Berkshire Choral Festival); Vaughan-Williams’ A Sea Symphony, Britten’s War Requiem, the Mozart and Fauré Requiems and Haydn’s Creation with the Colorado Symphony; A Sea Symphony with the Portland, Colorado, Grand Rapids and Illinois Symphonies and Florida Orchestra; Fauré’s Requiem with Raymond Leppard and the Kansas City Symphony; Brahms’ Requiem with the Alabama, Springfield and Santa Barbara Symphonies; Weill’s Lindberghflug with the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall; Mahler’s Rückertlieder at Japan’s Sapporo Festival, and the composer’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen and Eighth Symphony at New York’s Bard Festival; Copland’s Old American Songs with the Warren Philharmonic, the Verdi Requiem with the Modesto Symphony and Lee Hoiby’s I Have a Dream with the Amarillo Symphony. Among the other conductors with whom he has worked are Leon Botstein, David Lockington, Andrew Constantine and Marin Alsop. As well-versed in “classical” and “pops” literature, Mr. Williams is celebrated for programs of spirituals, Holiday and popular standards and showtunes. He appeared on Broadway and on tour in the musical Ragtime, and has been guest soloist on “Pops” programs with the Grand Rapids, Elgin, Stockton, Westfield and South Bend Symphonies.
Opera credits include Anthony in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd at Toledo Opera, Papageno in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and the same composer’s Figaro at Hawaii Opera Theatre. A much-in-demand Porgy and Bess principal, he sang Porgy with Yuri Temirkanov conducting in St. Petersburg, Russia; Sportin’ Life with Markand Thakar and the Duluth-Superior Symphony and Jake in the Dallas Opera production, as well as for his Los Angeles Philharmonic and Boston Symphony debuts, both under Bramwell Tovey.
Passionately devoted to the art of the song, Mr.Williams has performed Brahms’ Vier ernste Gesänge with Sarah Rothenberg and the Da Camera Society of Houston (to which he returned for a special program of the music of Charles Wuorinen, repeated at the Guggenheim under the baton of James Levine); an “Art of the Spiritual” program at San Francisco’s Herbst Theater; an all-American program at Japan’s Tochigi Music Festival and Maine’s Arcady Music Festival; and given recitals in Hartford, Pittsburgh, Princeton and throughout his native New York City, including Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall (the songs of Richard Hundley) and the 92nd Street Y (a much-acclaimed all-Poulenc program with Michel Sénéchal and Dalton Baldwin). Mr. Williams has won top prizes in the Naumburg, Joy-in-Singing, and Lola Wilson Hayes Competitions. He holds a Master of Music degree from Juilliard and Bachelor’s degree from Westminster Choir College of Rider University.
His recordings include Frederick Delius’ Appalachia – Variations on an Old Slave Song with Final Chorus and Sea Drift with Stefan Sanderling and the Florida Orchestra on the Naxos label; The Art of Leon Williams, Leon Sings Noël and Handfuls (see: http://www.watchfiremusic.com/artist.php?arid=34].
Rachel Schutz, Soprano
Hailed for her “diamantine high notes, witty characterization, and giddily delirious coloratura” (Boston Globe), Welsh-born soprano Rachel Schutz is increasingly in demand throughout the US, Europe and Asia for her sensitive and evocative performances and wide range of repertoire. She enjoys a multi-faceted career which includes both concert/recital and opera performances and her upcoming engagements include Mysteries of the Macabre with the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra, Lise in Glass's Les enfants terrible with Opera Paralèlle, a concert tour of Thailand, and recitals at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center and on the Hawai'i Concert Society series.
In 2016, Ms. Schutz won First Prize at the 44th National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award competition. She was also awarded the third prize at the Jensen Foundation competition, and was a finalist in the Hans Gabor Belvedere competition held in Cape Town. Most recently, she performed Papagena, Johanna (Sweeney Todd) & Diana (Siren Song) with Hawai'i Opera Theater, Adele (Die Fledermaus) with Stockton Opera, and Thérèse (Les mamelles de Tirésias) and Jessie (Mahagonny Songspiel) with Opera Paralèlle about which the San Francisco Chronicle exclaimed "the finest singing was delivered by soprano Rachel Schutz [who] brought lyricism and cogency to the Weill songs and a vivacious spirit to the role of Thérèse." She also recently appeared in Beethoven's 9th Symphony and Dvorak's Stabat Mater with the Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra, and in Imbrie's Adam with the Riverside Symphony. In 2012 Ms. Schutz made her Ravinia Festival debut singing Zemlinsky's Maiblumen blühten überall with Maestro James Conlon and members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Other engagements have included performances and tours with the Boston Pops Orchestra, singing, most notably "Glitter and be gay;" her Carnegie Hall Zankel Hall debut singing the world premier of Elena Langer's Songs at the Well; Susanna with Stockton Opera; Giannetta in L'elisir d'amore with the Santa Fe Opera, which the MVDaily called "enchanting," and a guest appearance at the Ojai Festival.
A seasoned recitalist known for her "communicative zest" (Boston Globe), Ms. Schutz has been invited to perform at prestigious Concert and University Series around the world including the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago, the Honolulu Chamber Music Series, the Hawai'i Concert Society, the Austin Chamber Music Series and venues in China, Taiwan, Korea and Germany. Ms. Schutz has performed with famed artists such as Dawn Upshaw, Christian van Horn, Martin Katz, Leon Botstein, James Conlon, JoAnne Faletta and Keith Lockhart, and frequently collaborates with husband and pianist Jonathan Korth. Know for their variety and originality, recent programs have featured both vocal and piano music woven together by creative themes.
Ms. Schutz is also an avid supporter of new music and enjoys close working relationships with many young composers and new music ensembles such as Maui-based Ebb & Flow Arts. A two-time Tanglewood Music Center Fellow, she performed Babbitt's Phonemena to critical acclaim in the presence of the composer, and has premiered dozens of new works, several of which were written specifically for her. She has worked with composers Augusta Read-Thomas, John Harbison, Libby Larsen, John Musto, Peter Winkler and Thomas Osborne on their music and recently, with William Bolcom on a performance and recording of his Briefly it Enters.
Equally at home in the opera house as on the concert stage, Ms. Schutz's roles have included Musetta (La Bohème), Blondchen (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Euridice (Orpheus ed Euridice), Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier), Rose (A Street Scene), Gloria (Handel's O come chair e belle) and St. Settlement (Four Saints in Three Acts), about which the Daily Freeman wrote "[Schutz's performance] revealed a comic streak lurking in this astounding lyric coloratura." Other roles have included First Maid in Daphne, Flora in The Turn of the Screw, Mable in The Pirates of Penzance and the title role in Patience.
She has been the recipient of the 2012 Sorel Fellowship at SongFest, the winner of the Roland Jones Scholarship Competition at the Welsh National Eisteddfod, New York Civic Morning Musicals Vocal Competition, and the Lillian Caroff Meyer Award from the Santa Fe Opera. She has been featured on Hawai'i's 88.1 KHPR and Chicago's WFMT, and can be heard on "Elements", an Albany Records album of contemporary American music, released in 2013.
After making her professional debut at age 12 premiering John Hardy’s The Roswell Incident with Music Theatre Wales, Ms. Schutz began studying with Mark Gruett of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin. She completed her B.A. in Music at Stony Brook University under the tutelage of Elaine Bonazzi, and received her Masters of Music degree from the Dawn Upshaw-run Vocal Arts Program at Bard College
Verdi's Messa da Requiem
with the Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra
April 6, 7:30 PM
Blaisdell Concert Hall