Acclaimed Soloists and Ensembles to Perform at Ithaca College in 2019–20

By Dave Maley, July 3, 2019
School of Music announces slate of guest artists.

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Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe will perform in Ford Hall in September.

The Ithaca College School of Music will bring a wealth of talent to campus in 2019–20, with a guest artist lineup featuring a half dozen acclaimed soloists and ensembles. All of the concerts are free and open to the public.

The first concert of the year will also be the inaugural performance in the newly established Manley and Doriseve Thaler Vocal Concert Series. Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, with pianist Craig Terry, will perform on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 8:15 p.m. in Ford Hall.

Named Vocalist of the Year by Musical America in 2009, Blythe is one of the most celebrated opera and concert singers of her generation. She has starred in the Metropolitan Opera’s live broadcasts of the complete Ring Cycle, among other works, and appeared in PBS’s “Live From Lincoln Center” broadcasts of “Carousel” and her own acclaimed show, “We’ll Meet Again: The Songs of Kate Smith.” Worldwide, she has performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall, Covent Garden, Paris National Opera and the San Francisco, Chicago Lyric and Seattle Operas.

The season continues on Tuesday, Oct. 29, when violinist Benjamin Baker gives a special guest recital, with support from the Office of the President, at 8:15 p.m. in Hockett Family Recital Hall. He will perform with pianist Daniel Lebhardt.

Winner of the top prize at the 2016 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Baker has been touring the world ever since. The New Zealand native has soloed with the Royal Philharmonic, Auckland Philharmonia, English Chamber, Sinfonia Cymru, Orchestra Sinfonica Abruzzese L’Aquila in Italy and Maui Pops Orchestras. In 2015 he released his first CD for Champs Hill Records, which rose to No. 12 on the classical music charts.

The Louis K. Thaler Concert Violinist Series will return on Tuesday, Nov. 19, with Isabelle Faust on violin and Alexander Melnikov on piano at 7 p.m. in Hockett Family Recital Hall.

A versatile artist with a thorough expertise in the historical contexts of her wide-ranging repertoire, Faust will perform an all-Beethoven program for her Ithaca appearance, in honor of the upcoming 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth. After winning the Leopold Mozart Competition at the age of 15 and the Paganini Competition six years later, Faust has gone on to be a regular guest performer with the world’s major orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, and Chamber Orchestra of Europe. She performs on the 1704 “Sleeping Beauty” Stradivarius, on loan from Germany's L-Bank Baden-Württemberg.

In the spring semester, the Rachel S. Thaler Concert Pianist Series welcomes Nikolai Lugansky on Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 8:15 p.m. in Ford Hall. He will perform three Beethoven piano sonatas, as well as Prélude, Choral et Fugue by César Franck.

A Silver Medalist at the 10th Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition (no first prize was awarded), Lugansky has also been honored with the Sergei Rachmaninov International Award and the State Prize of the Russian Federation. Acclaimed as an artist of extraordinary depth and versatility, the Moscow-born Lugansky has collaborated regularly with the world’s foremost conductors and orchestras. He serves as Artistic Director of the Tambov Rachmaninov Festival and teaches at the Moscow Conservatory.

The Robert G. Boehmler Community Foundation Series will present Cuarteto Latinoamericano on Friday, Feb. 7, at 8:15 p.m. in Hocket Family Recital Hall.

Founded in Mexico in 1982, the group has been the leading proponent of Latin American music for string quartet. Cuarteto is a two-time winner of the Latin Grammy and represents a unique voice in the international arena. The group has premiered more than 100 works written for them, and in addition to touring extensively, its members have played a decisive role in the training of musicians in Mexico.

Wrapping up the season, the Shirley and Chas Hockett Chamber Music Concert Series will present the vocal sextet The King’s Singers on Sunday, March 1, at 4 p.m. in Ford Hall.

The renowned group recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding by six former choral scholars from King’s College, Cambridge. While its membership has changed over the years, the a cappella ensemble still consists of two countertenors, a tenor, a baritone and two basses. And they continue to tour the world’s great stages performing in the English choral tradition as well as popular music and commissioned works, with their unique British charm.

All School of Music concerts are held in the James J. Whalen Center for Music. More information can be found at