Ravinia's 2009-2010 Rising Stars series opens with countertenor Ian Howell, first-prize-winner of the American Bach Soloists's International Solo Competition, at 8 p.m. on Oct. 9 in Bennett • Gordon Hall in the John D. Harza building on the Ravinia grounds. His program entitled "With a Beginner's Ear" will include works by Purcell, Falla, Handel, Strauss and others and will feature pianist Douglas Dickson and guitarist Karl Wohlwend. As a member of the all-male chamber choir Chanticleer, Howell has recorded seven CDs, including the Grammy-Award winning Lamentations and Praises and has recently sung the alto solos in Handel's Messiah at Carnegie Hall, the title role of Handel's Solomon, Endimion in Cavalli's La Calisto and Lichas in Handel's Hercules.
First-prize-winner of the 2008 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, 20-year-old Armenian cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan performs at 8 p.m. on Oct. 23 in a program featuring works by Schumann, Beethoven, Shostakovich, Scriabin/Piatigorsky, Tchaikovsky and Rostropovich. Hakhnazaryan has appeared as soloist with the Westmoreland Symphony and in recitals at Saint Vincent College, Lincoln County Concert Association, Patrons for Young Artists, the Paramount Theatre and the Colonial Theatre. He is joined by pianist Noreen Polera.
Described as "prodigiously gifted" by Arte.tv, pianist Sodi Braide performs at Ravinia Oct. 30. His program includes Mozart's Fantasy in D minor, K. 397; Schubert's Sonata in C minor, D. 958; and Liszt's Années de Pélerinage II: L'Italie, No. 5, Venezia e Napoli, Der Müller und der Bach and Erlkönig. A cosmopolitan artist influenced by numerous cultures, Braide explores a large repertoire of different styles and periods. A prize-winner in the 2003 Leeds Competition and recipient of the Jury Discretional Prize at the 2005 Van Cliburn Competition, he performs recitals and chamber concerts throughout Europe and the United States. In 1994 Braide was invited to perform in South Africa, becoming one of the first black African pianists to perform there after the end of apartheid.
Designed to provide gifted young musicians with the opportunity to refine their performing skills, the Rising Stars series encourages audiences to experience and support new talent while presenting musicians with the chance to perform before discerning audiences in an intimate setting. Back by popular demand, seven concert/dining packages will be offered at a speciAl Price of $45 on Oct. 30, Nov. 6, March 5, March 26, April 9, April 30 and May 7. Dinners will begin at 6 p.m. in Ravinia's Park View ® restaurant in the festival's dining pavilion. Patrons will also receive a $10 gift certificate redeemable at Ravinia Gifts if they purchase all seven concert/dining packages.
The festival is dedicated to developing the full potential of emerging artists, beginning with their performances on the Rising Stars series and, ultimately, their Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut on the pavilion stage during the festival's summer season. Rising Stars concerts have introduced Ravinia patrons to such major artists as pianists Jonathan Biss and Lang Lang and violinist Pamela Frank. Held in Ravinia's acoustically splendid Bennett • Gordon Hall, Ravinia's Rising Stars series gives audiences an intimate introduction to the superstars of tomorrow.
In addition to their Rising Stars performances, each artist will also perform in free concerts for students through Ravinia's Education and Community Partnerships Programs throughout Chicagoland. These performing opportunities give students a chance to make an intimate connection not only to the young artist, but also to classical music. Ravinia's
education programs make music accessible to thousands of children, K-12 in Chicago and the north suburbs teaming working musicians with teachers to put music back into the public schools.
Following the October concerts are bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, who has performed internationally at the Metropolitian Opera in New York, Teatro Real in Madrid, Carnegie Hall in New York and Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, on Nov. 6; and violinist Elena Urioste, featured in the Emmy Award-winning documentary Breaking the Sound Barrier, on Nov. 13.