One more time...
Our first live concert since the pandemic began is also our farewell. We are privileged to welcome these incredible artists for our series finale:
Selections from Peace, a newly released album
Harriet Fraser, soprano
Harriet Fraser, (www.harrietfraser.com) originally from Norwich, England, has called Santa Monica her home since 2008. Her singing career began while she was studying and subsequently practicing medicine in London, UK, and here in the USA she works as a professional oratorio soloist, and professional ensemble singer with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, with whom she has sung countless performances as soloist and ensemble singer at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl . She has sung with many of the worlds top conductors, including Zubin Mehta, Michael Tilson Thomas, Esa Pekka Salonen and Gustavo Dudamel, with whom the LA Master Chorale just won their first GRAMMY® award for best choral performance for Mahler’s 8th Symphony. Harriet also works as a session singer in Los Angeles and her voice can be heard on such films as Star Wars, Frozen, Ice Age and Star Trek. She also narrates audiobooks, her most recent was for Hachette Audio, a novel entitled Just the Two of Us by Jo Wilde. During the pandemic, Harriet developed her work as a recording artist and released her first solo a cappella album in October 2021, entitled Peace, which can be found on all streaming platforms and for purchase as a CD. She collaborated with her long time friend Shawn Kirchner, who arranged and composed 12 pieces for female voice, and mixing artist Dana Nielsen. She sang and recorded all parts at her home and created an album that is intended to soothe, calm and create a feeling of peace in the anxiety that the recent pandemic brought.
Selections from 12 Settings of Lorine Niedecker by Harrison Birtwistle
thaes ofereode, thisses swa maeg by Evan Johnson
Stephanie Aston, soprano
Jennifer Bewerse, cello
Dr. Stephanie Aston is “fearless” in her pursuit of new repertoire (Steve Schick). She has participated in numerous American and world premieres including Luigi Nono’s Guai ai Gelidi Mostri, Michael Gordon’s What to Wear, and George Aperghis’ Sextuor: L’Origine des espèces. She has appeared on L.A. Philharmonic Green Umbrella, Noon to Midnight and Chamber Music series, (Re)Sounds at Stanford University, and at REDCAT in Los Angeles. Ms. Aston is an original member of Kallisti, and a founding member of ROMP Ensemble, ASTRALIS DUO and Accordant Commons. She has performed with Los Angeles Philharmonic, wasteLAnd, Long Beach Opera, The Industry, Red Fish Blue Fish, Gnarwhallaby, Chamber Cartel, 18-squared, and ad-hoc ensembles at Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Norfolk Contemporary Music Festival, UC San Diego, Stanford University, Chatter ABQ and Los Angeles. Stephanie is an affiliated artist with San Diego New Music. Noteworthy performances include Brian Ferneyhough’s Etudes Transcendantales, John Zorn’s Rituals, Jason Eckardt’s Tongues, John Adams’ A Flowering Tree (Kumudha), Edgard Varese’s Offrandes, Igor Stravinsky’s Les Noces, and Alberto Ginastera’s Cantata Para America Magica. Stephanie can be heard on the soundtrack for the movie Downsizing. She holds a D.M.A. from University of California San Diego, an M.F.A. from California Institute of the Arts, and a B.M. from University of North Texas, and currently teaches at Moorpark College and Mount St Mary’s University.
Learn more at www.stephanieaston.com
Jennifer Bewerse is an award-winning cellist and specialist in contemporary music, described as “[drawing] from her instrument every possible sound short of a human voice” (WholeNote). As a result, she has premiered over 100 works including Peter Ablinger’s WEISS / WEISSLICH 17k: Violoncello und Rauschen (2015), and Johanna Beyer’s String Quartet IV (2019). Other composers she has had the privilege to work with include Anthony Davis, Laurence Crane, Chaya Czernowin, Jonathan Harvey, Gunther Schuller, Augusta Read Thomas, and Christian Wolff.
Jennifer has performed as a guest soloist for the wasteLAnd and Synchromy Concert Series, Robert Helps Festival and International Composition Competition, and Without Walls Festival; in concerts at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, REDCAT, the Center for New Music, Monday Evening Concerts, Equilibrium Concert Series, Tuesdays at Monk Space, and People Inside Electronics Concert Series; as a guest performer and presenter for the New Music Gathering and Eureka! Musical Minds Conference. Recently, she was awarded a Quick Grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation and an artist residency from Human Resources Los Angeles.
Jennifer is an enthusiastic chamber musician and is currently the cellist of the experimental music group Southland Ensemble – sponsored by the Aaron Copland Fund and described by the Los Angeles Times as “entrancing” – and of Diagenesis Duo with vocalist Heather Barnes. In 2018, Diagenesis Duo released their debut album, Hands and Lips of Wind, featuring three premiere recordings of works for
cello and soprano, which was described by Sequenza 21 as “a radiant combination of text, music and performance, brilliantly realized and masterfully recorded.” Jennifer has also collaborated with The Industry, wild Up, Calithumpian Consort, Synchromy, Experimental Music Yearbook, now hear ensemble, and Ellen Fullman. Her longtime collaboration with Rachel Beetz, Autoduplicity, was recently in residence at Boston Court’s DuoFest and at the Women’s International Study Center with composer Celeste Oram.
A native of Florida, Jennifer received her Bachelor of Music from the University of South Florida, her Master of Music from The Boston Conservatory, and Doctorate in Contemporary Performance at the University of California in San Diego.
To learn more, visit www.jenniferbewerse.com.
Selections from Inner Astronomy, a newly released album
Molly Pease, vocalist
Miller Wrenn, bass
Molly Pease is a versatile, experimental and collaborative LA-based vocal artist and composer whose singing has been described as “sonically mesmerizing” (LA Weekly) and “amazing” (LADC), and whose compositions defy genre.
Whether performing an aria by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Du Yun in The Industry’s critically acclaimed experimental opera Sweet Land, improvising with a jazz orchestra at Blue Whale, or belting out pop vocals with indie band Hello Forever, Molly is known for passionate originality. Molly sang on Björk’s Cornucopia tour in 2022, and performed solos with Tune-Yards at Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2020, WildUp at The Grand LA in 2019, and David Rosenboom’s Battle Hymn for Insurgent Arts at REDCAT in 2018. TV credits include vocals for Hulu’s Castle Rock in 2019 and CBS’ Strange Angel in 2018. Ongoing performance projects include C3LA, HEX Ensemble, Tonality, and First Congregational Church of LA’s Laude.
As a performer-composer, Molly uses improvisation and extended vocal sounds, merging music, movement and visuals in solo projects and interdisciplinary collaborations. Examples include her new album, Inner Astronomy, a project pairing
her father’s poetry with original music, fashion design and collage; and Score for the Near Future, a 2019 collaboration with sculptor Jimena Sarno. Molly is currently composing an opera called Hysteria, which was selected for Overtone Industries’ Original Vision development program and 2021 showcase. Her 2018 experimental rock album, ACKLAND, was pegged as “not of this world” (Emerging Indie Bands), and her original song, "Transform", was featured on critically acclaimed vocalistAlicia Olatuja’s 2019 album. Molly’s music has been performed at Blue Note Tokyo, The Jazz Bakery, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and Monk Space, among others. She was a 2019 composer fellow at N.E.O. Voice Festival.
Molly completed her MFA in Jazz Studies at California Institute of the Arts in 2017, and received her BFA at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York.
Miller Wrenn is a bassist and composer-improviser based in Los Angeles, CA.
His first album as a leader, Alternates, with his quintet Escapist was released May 4th, 2018 on pfMentum Records.
His music explores alternative models of improvisation, creative orchestration, and unfamiliar timbral and melodic gestures in pursuit of expressing universal experiences through an idiosyncratic lens.
He performs and records frequently in a wide variety of contexts and has been fortunate to do so with artists such as Steve Lehman, Vicki Ray, Larry Koonse, Joe LaBarbera, GE Stinson, Tony Malaby, Mark Menzies and many others. Notably he recently performed the world premiere of John Cage’s “all sides of the small stone for Erik Satie” at the RedCat Theater in Los Angeles with The Ensemble at CalArts, and regularly performs and records with avant-garde jazz luminary Vinny Golia.
Additionally, he performs with and composes for a multitude of collective musical ventures and his own projects. He is a member of Off Cell, a forward-thinking quartet comprised of musicians from Los Angeles and Dallas, which released its debut recording in February of 2017. As both a performer and composer, he is a member of the New Music chamber group EnsembleVomma, which recently premiered his long-form work The Shape of Them Dissolving, for piano and string quintet, at ArtShare LA along with two premieres of renowned composer/violinist Mark Menzies.
Miller received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Bass Performance and Composition from California Institute of the Arts.
New England Folk Songs by Steve Danyew
Natalie Mann, soprano
Tali Tadmor, piano
Natalie Mann is an active recitalist and champion of contemporary music, which has allowed her to work with living composers on albums and sing on the world premiere opera recording of “The Mask in the Mirror” by Richard Thompson. Opera News wrote, “…Sarah, sung by Natalie Mann, whose ingratiating vibrato makes her character unmistakably seductive.” She is currently working on an album of music featuring multiple world premiere recordings by American composers titled “An Evening on the Mezzanine”
As a concert soloist, she has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the South Shore Orchestra during two New Year’s tours of China, and the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus as the soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and the Ninth Symphony. Her operatic roles include Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s Macbeth and Ameila in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, Mozart’s Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Micaela in Bizet's Carmen and Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust. Critics praised of her portrayal of the title role in Suor Angelica: According to Peter Jacobi of the Herald-Times, "Her soprano soared with fullness of tone through the climaxes; no high note seemed to tax her.”
Ms. Mann’s concert appearances have been equally well received. Of her Carnegie Hall recital, Abigail Wright of The Opera Insider observed: “Ms. Mann does an excellent job of continuing her brilliantly sustained legato, undeniably stunning high notes, and impressive quality of pitch and tone center across the board."
Ms. Mann has received a Metropolitan Opera Encouragement Award and has been a finalist in both the Gerda Lissner Competition and the American Prize for Art Song. She has been a winner of the Audience Favorite Award in the David W. Scott Memorial Competition and the Hawaii Public Radio International Art Song Competition. She holds advanced degrees from Indiana University and the University of Wollongong in Australia, funded through the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar program, as well as a Bachelor of Music from Butler University.
Dr. Tali Tadmor is a Los Angeles-based pianist, educator, music director and vocal coach. Her performance career includes collaborations with a wide variety of musicians and appearances at worldwide venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and The Great Hall at the heart of China’s Forbidden City. Though classically trained, Tali is sought after in a wide variety of musical settings, ranging from world music, pop and worship, to her own compositions.
Tali received both Master and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees on full scholarship from the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California (USC) majoring in Keyboard Collaborative Arts. She currently serves as Chair of the Collaborative Piano program at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and has been with the LA Opera family since 2008.