The University of Lynchburg Choral Union and Chamber Orchestra will present the 11th annual performance of Handel’s Messiah on Monday, December 2, at 7:30 p.m. at E.C. Glass Auditorium.
Dr. Jong Kim, professor of music and director of choral activities/vocal studies, will conduct the performance, which will feature guest soloists Joann Martinson, soprano; Clara O’Brien, mezzo-soprano; Robert Bracey, tenor; and Donald Hartmann, bass/baritone.
Tickets for the performance are $15 and are available at the University of Lynchburg Campus Store, Givens Books, Aylor’s Farm and Garden, and at the door until the performance begins.
Joann Martinson is an award-winning opera singer and concert performer. A native of North Dakota, she has been a top award winner for North Dakota and North Carolina in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) competition. She was first runner-up in the Mid-Atlantic Regional level of NATS Artists Awards competition and placed second in the North Dakota District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. She is a recipient of the Bel Canto Institute Orchestra Performance Award and was a finalist in the Harold Haugh Light Opera Competition.
Martinson received her Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance Degree from Minot (North Dakota) State University, and her Master of Music Degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She maintains voice and piano studios in the communities of Greensboro, Summerfield and Oak Ridge, North Carolina.
Clara O’Brien is known nationally and internationally for her operatic and recital performances. Her international career began when she was awarded the Sonderpreis des Badischen Staatstheaters, a prize created especially for her at the First International Coloratura Competition, Sylvia Gesztyin Stuttgart, Germany. She has appeared on such international stages as Berlin, Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Dresden, Leipzig, and Frankfurt, as well as Chicago and Dallas in the US. For several years, she was engaged as soloist at the State Theater of Baden and based her career from Germany.
O’Brien is professor of voice at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and conducts master classes throughout the United States. She holds a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music and a Bachelor of Music Degree (Summa cum laude) from the Dana School of Music. She completed her stage training at the Curtis Institute of Musicm and as a Fulbright Scholar, she was awarded a fellowship to the Münchener Singschul. She has also taught at the American Institute for Musical Studies in Graz, Austria.
Robert Bracey has performed throughout the United States as well as Canada, Russia, Europe, India, and Japan. In 2002, he was awarded first place in the Oratorio Society of New York’s Annual International Solo Competition at Carnegie Hall, and later that year, he returned to Carnegie Hall for performances of Handel’s Messiah. He made his Detroit Symphony debut at Orchestra Hall and his Kennedy Center debut in Washington, D.C. with the Choral Arts Society of Washington. A regional finalist in the New York Metropolitan Opera Auditions, he also won first place in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Regional Competition. Other honors include the NATS Jessye Norman Award for the most outstanding soloist at the competition, the Rose Marie Jun Voice Award, the Betty Brewster Award from the Cranbrook Music Guild, and the Joy Whitman Weinberger Opera Award.
Bracey is professor of voice and coordinator of vocal studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in music education from Michigan State University, a Master of Music, and a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in voice performance from the University of Michigan. He has previously served on the faculties at Bowling Green State University and Michigan State University.
Donald Hartmann began his professional operatic singing career in 1978 with performances at the Stadttheater Regensburg in Germany. Since then, he has appeared in more than 125 operatic productions and 50 operas, singing more than 60 different roles. During 2012-2013, Hartmann appeared as the Sacristan, the King in Verdi’s Aida, and the title role of Mikado. He was a featured soloist in last summer’s Eastern Music Festival/Greensboro Opera collaboration, Verdi to Broadway. In January of 2014, he will sing roles in two of Puccini’s one-act operas —Simone in Gianni Schicchi, and Talpa in Il Tabarro— for Opera Carolina. Hartmann was a second place finalist in the San Antonio Opera Guild Talent Search and a winner of the Friedrich Schorr Memorial Prize in Vocal Performance under the auspices of Opera! Lenawee. Appearing in five productions with Opera!Lenawee, he was recognized as the First Honored Artist of that organization.
He completed his Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance and his Master of Music degree in vocal performance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in vocal performance from the University of Oklahoma, graduating with honors. He is currently professor of voice in the Department of Performance Studies in the School of Music, Theater, and Dance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.