Our Mission: Santa Fe Pro Musica brings together outstanding musicians to inspire and educate audiences of all ages through the performance of great music.
Santa Fe Pro Musica is a nationally recognized musical organization that remains steeped in its commitment to community. Founded in1980 by Thomas O’Connor (Music Director and Conductor) and Carol Redman (Education and Associate Artistic Director), Santa Fe Pro Musica has consistently expanded its repertoire, its audience, and its reputation. Offering a variety of programs and ensembles in several historic Santa Fe venues, Pro Musica invites you to savor music in the heart of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Santa Fe Pro Musica presents a selection of music from the last four centuries, including works for chamber orchestra, chamber ensemble, and large-scale oratorios. The annual Baroque Christmas concerts—always sold out—are so popular that visitors from all over the world include them in their Santa Fe holiday plans.
Santa Fe Pro Musica is proud to present the next generation of solo artists such as this season’s Conrad Tao and last season’s Chad Hoopes and Jan Lisiecki, while also bringing well-established solo artists such as Colin Jacobsen, Jennifer Koh, Yo-Yo Ma, Lang Lang and Ian Bostridge to Santa Fe.
Santa Fe Pro Musica was highly honored at the end of 2007, when its recording of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde/The Song of the Earth, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Chamber Players, was nominated for a 2008 GRAMMY® Award in the classical music category of Best Small Ensemble Performance.
Santa Fe Pro Musica’s educational outreach programs introduce classical music to New Mexico residents, including thousands of local students. With several Youth Concerts throughout the season and hands-on programs such as CHAMPS! (Apprentice Artist Chamber Music Program), local young people are inspired to enjoy music and experience music making firsthand.
For music lovers of all ages, Santa Fe Pro Musica offers “Meet the Music,” a series of pre-concert talks one hour before every orchestra performance.
So What Will He Do When 20?
Conrad Tao, at Le Poisson Rouge
By CORINNA da FONSECA-WOLLHEIM
Published: May 24, 2013
Meet Conrad Tao. A composer, concert pianist and award-winning violinist, he also runs a festival in Brooklyn,"Unplay, which starts on June 11. He will turn 19 that day. His Wikipedia page features a photo of him with Hillary Rodham Clinton from when he was named a Davidson Fellow laureate. In 2011 he joined Lady Gaga, Adele and Taylor Swift on the Forbes list of the 30 most influential people under 30.
On Tuesday evening at Le Poisson Rouge Mr. Tao performed works for solo piano from his latest CD, Voyages, which will also be released on his birthday. While there was much to admire in his confident and sensitive playing, it was above all the program, with pieces by Rachmaninoff and Ravel, Meredith Monk and Mr. Tao himself, that conveyed the scope of his probing intellect and openhearted vision.
The theme of his album and Tuesday’s concert was motion, both in the literal sense of traversing distance and in the swooping virtual movement of dreams, which inspired Ravel’s haunting “Gaspard de la Nuit” and Mr. Tao’s own “vestiges.”
The program opened with Ms. Monk’s brief “Railroad (Travel Song),” which establishes a chugging ostinato in the left hand, punctuated by chords in the right. Rachmaninoff’s Prelude (Op. 32, No. 5), the first of five preludes that Mr. Tao rearranged into an emotionally charged narrative arc, employed a similar device, with the left hand creating a musical conveyor belt that transported an array of beautiful figures.
In fortissimo passages Mr. Tao produces a signature sound that is powerful and sharp, and in the first of his “vestiges,” “upon waking alongside green glass bottles,” it aptly rendered the quality of a material that is both hard and transparent. There were chiseled rhythms in “upon ripping perforated pages,” too, which gave way to a brooding hush in “upon being.” In “upon viewing two porcelain figures,” the music took on a dialectic current, with one hand seemingly fighting to break out of the repetitive strictures created in the other.
Ravel’s “Gaspard de la Nuit” brought forth a more finely graded palette in Mr. Tao’s playing, although, in these acoustics at least, it lacked the Impressionistic softness idiomatic to French music. But Mr. Tao’s “iridescence” for piano and iPad (with piano sounds transformed by an app) created an alluring sound world in which subtle crackling, scratching and static noises wrapped themselves around a surreal and dreamy waltz.
Conrad Tao’s Unplay Festival runs from June 11 through 13 in the Powerhouse Arena, 37 Main Street, Dumbo, Brooklyn; conradtao.com.
A version of this review appeared in print on May 25, 2013, on page C3 of the New York edition with the headline: So What Will He Do When 20?.
On Jan. 27, 28, and 29, Santa Fe Pro Musica offered what is called its Classical Weekend at the Lensic Center for the Performing Arts, a burst of music making in which two orchestral concerts sandwiched a recital by the pianist Cecile Licad, who was also the soloist in the opening symphonic performance. I attended that first concert as well as the solo recital. Living as we do in challenging times for classical music, we may consider it a boon that a classical weekend should be realized at all. That said, one had to wonder if Santa Fe Pro Musica was overly optimistic about what it could achieve in so concentrated a time.
In my experience, Pro Musica has made its strongest showing over the years through its chamber-music concerts, many of which have been top-notch. The organization’s music director, Thomas O’Connor, has participated in many of those performances as an oboist, but he has made it clear that, at this point, he is more interested in conducting an orchestra. This raises a formidable challenge on an institutional level. Symphony orchestras are complicated organisms that are expensive to support – so expensive, in fact, that they have been going out of business across the country with alarming regularity. It’s hard to go halfway with an orchestra; outside major metropolitan areas, an orchestra has essentially no hope of achieving much refinement except through an ongoing investment of time, and this is an industry in which time costs bushels of money. I have to wonder whether current resources are most wisely deployed in supporting a full symphony orchestra that convenes only sporadically and on those occasions seems stretched to the very limits of its abilities.
That Pro Musica’s orchestra is capable of impressive work was made clear in the development section of the first movement of Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony and again in that work’s scampering finale, in which the violins achieved unity that was elsewhere elusive. Indeed, the precision of the playing at the finale’s opening was remarkable, and considerably more individual and group rehearsal time must have been devoted to that section than to expanses of the symphony that might have seemed, on paper, to be less perilous. A listener wished that similar care had been expended on, for example, the phrasing of the principal theme of the Allegro vivace, which Beethoven notated meticulously to underscore an interesting alternation of very quick notes and silences. It is admittedly a difficult effect to convey at high velocity, but Beethoven left no doubt about what he wanted, and it’s up to an orchestra to deliver it.
(About Baroque Christmas) “The presentation was evenly divided between dramatic recitation and music provided by the unfailingly excellent Santa Fe Pro Musica Baroque Ensemble crowned by Santa Fe’s Deborah Domanski, a voice I have long considered Metropolitan Opera quality.”
“This summer’s Bach Mass in B Minor was simply an embarrassment, notwithstanding the instrumental presence of the Santa Fe Pro Musica. Thirty seconds into the Kyrie I was wishing Pro Musica’s Thomas O’Connor were conducting.”
Pro Music (sic) ably fills the symphonic void
By D.S. Crafts
For the Journal
Finally, we have to face it. There is no longer a professional symphony orchestra in Albuquerque. The demise of the New Mexico Symphony is a loss to everyone, whether they know it not, symphony-goers or not. The only consolation is that within an hour’s drive up Interstate 25 there are still excellent orchestras to be heard.
In its final concert of the season, titled “Lenny & Friends,” the Santa Fe Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra performed music by American composers “Lenny” Bernstein and Aaron Copland on Sunday afternoon at the St. Francis Auditorium.
The two Bernstein pieces that began an ended the afternoon, the Sonata for Clarinet and the Serenade, are both a far cry from the more familiar “West Side Story.” Bernstein’s style here covers an eclectic range of influences: Stravinsky, jazz, American folk music, neo-Romanticism – anything but atonalism, which the composer vehemently opposed.
The arrangement of the two-movement Clarinet Sonata, originally for piano accompaniment but here given with strings and percussion, makes a decided difference in the atmosphere of the piece. Besides the usual trade-off of intimacy for power in orchestrations of chamber works, the music takes on a feeling of ensemble in which the clarinet sound is not quite as predominant.
Clarinetist Michael Anderson played it with a warm and ingratiating sonority, drawing one enticingly into the expressive qualities of the instrument.
The Serenade, from 1951, is intended as a musical re-creation of major characters in Plato’s dialogue “Symposium.” The speakers discourse on the subject of love in all its many aspects. The music is in no way intended to reflect an ancient Greek atmosphere (whatever that might have been), but is very much in an idiom reflecting mid-20th-century America.
Colin Jacobsen took the stage as solo violinist in this veritable violin concerto. His elegantly rich and singing tone lent itself luminously to the two low lyrical movements, the opening Phaedrus-Pausanius and the adagio Agathon, possibly the composer’s most beautiful creation.
The final movement begins starkly depicting the somber philosophy of Socrates describing the demonology of love. It began with Jacobsen in a poignant duet with solo cello (James Holland). In mid-sentence Socrates is brashly interrupted by the uninvited Alcibiades and his band of drunken followers, for which Bernstein invoke a jazz-imbued sense of revelry and generally disorderly conduct. Built over a jazz (pizzicato) bass (Aaro Heinonen), the reading was full of deftly athletic rhythms and syncopations.
“Appalachian Spring” is essentially a fantasia based on the Shaker folk tune “Simple Gifts.” It tells the story of a pioneer bride and groom in early 19th-century Pennsylvania. In this as throughout concert, Thomas O’Connor skillfully conducted these rhythmically complex works, eliciting a sparkling precision from the ensemble.
Santa Fe Pro Musica Recording
Nominated for Grammy Award
Santa Fe, NM – Santa Fe Pro Musica is thrilled to announce that its recording of Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde/The Song of the Earth has been nominated for a Grammy Award in the classical category of Best Small Ensemble Performance. Nominations for the 50th Annual Grammy Awards were just announced; and the awards will be presented on February 10, 2008.
The Dorian/Sono Luminus recording, released in 2006, is a collaboration between Santa Fe Pro Musica, which specializes in the performance of works for chamber orchestra and chamber ensembles, and the Smithsonian Chamber Players, dedicated to exploring the worlds of the master instruments from the collection of the Smithsonian Institution. This performance of Mahler’s masterwork is based on the chamber orchestra transcription by Arnold Schonberg (completed by Rainer Riehn), and is conducted by Kenneth Slowik, artistic director of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, and features soloists John Elwes, tenor, and Russell Braun, baritone.
Thomas O’Connor, general director of Santa Fe Pro Musica, expressed his delight over the nomination. “Coming as a total surprise in the middle of our twenty-sixth season, this nomination is a wonderful validation of the success of Santa Fe Pro Musica, the Smithsonian Chamber Players, and the importance of the chamber orchestra repertoire and performance. The nomination is a great honor, and we are very grateful.”
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
M. Carlota Baca, President
Donald Tashjian, Vice President
C. Byron Kohr, Treasurer
Bernard van der Hoeven , Secretary
J. Revell Carr
Thomas O’Connor Biography
Thomas O’Connor is the Co-Founder, Music Director and Conductor of Santa Fe Pro Musica. Mr. O’Connor is also a highly regarded oboist who has performed extensively on modern and historical oboes. He has performed with all of the major classical music organizations in New Mexico including the Santa Fe Opera, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire and the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. He frequently performs outside of New Mexico with festivals and orchestras including the International Festival at the Domaine Forget (Canada), Oregon Bach Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Oregon Festival of American Music, Philharmonia Baroque ˙Orchestra (San Francisco), San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival (California), Maryland Handel Festival, American Bach Soloists (San Francisco), the Bach Ensemble, Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, Dallas Chamber Orchestra, and Boston Baroque. He was formerly the Artistic Director of the Ernest Bloch Music Festival at Newport (Oregon) and also served on the faculty of Texas Tech University. He has recordings with Sony, Telarc and Dorian including a GRAMMY® nominated disc of the chamber version of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde for Dorian Records. Mr. O’Connor is a graduate of the University of New Mexico and has pursued graduate studies at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri at Kansas City and at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Musicale, Montreux, Switzerland.
|Deborah Domanski – Mezzo soprano – Santa Fe Opera 2008 Radamisto: "The lovely Deborah Domanski sings with luscious sound & lyrical refinement." – New York Times, The Metropolitan Opera (2013), Austin Lyric Opera, Opera Hong Kong, Pittsburgh Opera, New Orleans Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Tulsa Opera, Amarillo Opera, Juilliard Opera Center, American Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Utah Symphony, Asheville Symphony – Her inspiration is expressed by J.S. Bach: “The aim of all music should be the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.”||Dianna Grabowski – mezzo soprano – described as “glamorous” and “glowing-toned” by the Dallas Morning News - performances with Misiones de Chiquitos International Baroque Music Festival (Bolivia) and Le Violon d'Ingres (Paris) – opera roles range from Diane in Rameau’s Zéphyre to the title role in Offenbach's La Périchole – solo performances of great works by Monteverdi, Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Mozart, Copland, Saint-Saëns– appeared as Francesca Caccini in educational documentary, “Culture Wars of Venice and the Birth of Public Opera” – founding member Armonia Celeste specializing in the virtuosic music of the Renaissance and Baroque Italy.|
|Winner of 2011’s prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, pianist Benjamin Hochman has performed as soloist with the New York, Los Angeles, Israel and Prague Philharmonics and the Chicago, San Francisco and Pittsburgh Symphonies, among others. An avid recitalist and chamber musician, he has performed at major venues such as Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, the Louvre and the Concertgebouwe. His festival appearances include Marlboro, Ravinia, Gilmore, Lucerne and Prussia Cove. Mr. Hochman’s recording of solo works by Schubert, Kurtag and Jorg Widmann will be released by Avie in November 2013.||Winner of the 2012 Cleveland Quartet Award, the Jasper String Quartet has been hailed as “sonically delightful and expressively compelling” (The Strad) and as "powerful" (The New York Times). They play "with sparkling vitality and great verve, ...polished, engaged, and in tune with one another.” (Classical Voice of North Carolina) The quartet has won numerous accolades including the Plowman, Coleman, and Yellow Springs Competitions. They record with Sono Luminus and are Ensemble-in-Residence at Classic Chamber Concerts in Naples, FL. For more information, please visit. www.jasperquartet.com or facebook|
|Kathryn Mueller - Soprano – solo performances with Santa Fe Pro Musica, American Bach Soloists, Portland Baroque Orchestra, New Mexico Symphony, Seraphic Fire, Les Sirènes, Arizona Opera, Phoenix Symphony, Santa Fe Desert Chorale – music degrees from University of Arizona and Brown University – 2011 Adams Fellow, Carmel Bach Festival – Finalist, 2012 Oratorio Society of New York Competition – recorded 2 Grammy-nominated albums with Seraphic Fire –marketing director for her family's Arizona winery, Canelo Hills – listens to NPR incessantly – aspiring mandolin player.||Carol Redman – Flute – Associate Music Director and Principal Flute, Santa Fe Pro Musica – performances with Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, festivals in California, Colorado, Oregon, Texas, Canada, Maryland, Germany, Japan – B. M. magna cum laude University of New Mexico – 2008 Grammy nominee Best Classical Album/Small Ensemble – Flute instructor New Mexico School for the Arts – Carol plays a silver Brannen Bros flute (Boston, 1998) and for Baroque performances she plays on a 1760 C.A. Grenser ebony copy made by Rod Cameron (Mendocino CA).|
|Cármelo de los Santos – Violin – originally from Brazil, currently Associate Professor at UNM – first prize winner of the IV Júlio Cardona International Competition (Portugal), Music Teachers National Association Collegiate Artist Competition (United States), the VII Eldorado Prize (Sao Paulo), VII Young Artist International Competition (Argentina), Young Talents of MEC Radio (Rio de Janeiro) - Cármelo is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and he is known for performing tricks “on the spot” for friends, students, and audience members - he plays on a Carl Becker violin, 1929.||Brian Shaw – Trumpet – performs throughout North America on baroque, modern and jazz trumpets – prizewinner in international competitions – principal trumpet with the Dallas Wind Symphony, Conspirare, the University of Texas Wind Ensemble, Eastman Wind Ensemble – Eastern Illinois University (B.M.), the Eastman School (M.M.), University of Texas at Austin (D.M.A.) – currently Assistant Professor of Trumpet and Jazz Studies at Louisiana State University – not to be confused with any other Brian Shaw, including 2011 “World’s Strongest Man” or the former #20 for the Miami Heat.|
|Conrad Tao The only classical musician on Forbes’ 2011 “30 Under 30″ list of people changing the world, 18-year-old Chinese-American pianist Conrad Tao was found playing children’s songs on the piano at 18 months of age. Born in Urbana, Illinois, he gave his first piano recital at age 4; four years later, he made his concerto debut performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A Major, K. 414. In June of 2011, the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the Department of Education named Conrad a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, while the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts awarded him a YoungArts gold medal in music. Later that year, Conrad was named a Gilmore Young Artist, an honor awarded every two years highlighting the most promising American pianists of the new generation. In May of 2012, he was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.||The Variation Trio was founded in 2005 and gave its first performance in Darrows Barn as part of the Salt Bay Chamberfest program. Since then, they have performed in chamber music series across the United States. In February 2006, they made their European debut in Geneva, Switzerland. The members of the trio – Jennifer Koh, violin; Hsin-Yun Huang,viola; and Wilhelmina Smith, cello – are all busy with solo careers, as well as playing together each season. Their name, Variation, comes from a unique arrangement of Bach’s Goldberg Variations and describes both a commitment to the rarely heard string trio repertoire and a goal of collaborating with a range of guest artists to vary and enhance their musical offerings|
The Santa Fe Pro Musica Baroque Ensemble
|Danny Bond – Bassoon – lives in Taos NM, family home is in Mississippi, but his main jobs are in Amsterdam (Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century) and San Francisco (Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra) – solo diploma with distinction in baroque bassoon from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague in 1977, then appointed teacher at the conservatory, a position he held until 1992 – numerous orchestral and solo recordings, including Mozart Bassoon Concerto and Vivaldi concertos with Academy of Ancient Music and sonatas of Boismoitier, Corrette, Devienne, and Ozi.||Karen Clarke – Violin – solo appearances with Buffalo Philharmonic, North Carolina Symphony, Atlanta Baroque Orchestra – former member Baltimore Symphony, concertmaster Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, Tallahassee Symphony, Atlanta Baroque Orchestra – currently concertmaster Music City Baroque, Nashville – member Rogeri Trio, performing throughout the US – Professor Emeritus Florida State University, currently faculty Vanderbilt University – plays a Pietro Giacomo Rogeri violin, made in 1770, Cremona Italy – she loves playing anything Bach, but listens to bluegrass and jazz in addition to all eras classical.|
|Sally Guenther – Cello – after working in major US orchestras (Syracuse, Cincinnati, Metropolitan Opera) she moved to Norway, performing as cello soloist with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra (20 years) – relocated to New Mexico in 2004 to begin career as chamber musician and pedagogue – student of Janos Starker (Bloomington, IN) and Harvey Shapiro (Juilliard School) – plays a cello made in 1790 by John Betts (London) – composer/flutist father Ralph arranged music to fit the Guenther family quartet which was featured in the Sunday supplement “Parade Magazine.”||Kathleen McIntosh – Harpsichord – Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Bravo! Vail Valley Festival, Esteban Salas Festival Havana, Musica Antigua Festival Lima, Deya Festival Mallorca, Tsuyama Festival Japan, Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, National Symphony of Vietnam Hanoi, Serenata of Santa Fe, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Angelica Consort Los Angeles, McFish Duo, 20th Century Unlimited – premieres of works by Melinda Wagner, Tomiko Kohjiba, John Steinmetz, Carl Mansker and others – recordings with Gasparo and Maricam Studio – performs on instruments custom-made for her by John Phillips, harpsichord maker in Berkeley, CA.|
|Susan Patrick – Organ – Albuquerque Baroque Players, New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Desert Chorale, staff harpsichordist National Flute Association 2007 Convention – emerita faculty University of New Mexico – Bachelor’s degree Tulane University (Newcomb College), Master’s and Doctorate University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Susan especially likes French Baroque music and the challenging and creative art of accompanying other musicians.||Stephen Redfield – Violin – Concertmaster Santa Fe Pro Musica – performs with Victoria Bach Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, San Luis Obispo Festival, other festivals and orchestras in Canada, Mexico, Asia, Europe – won the Coleman and the Monterey Chamber Music Competitions, awarded Quartet Fellowships at Aspen and Chautauqua Festival – currently faculty University of Southern Mississippi and part-time art gallery manager – plays a Kloz violin (which was Mozart’s violin maker), and a baroque violin from the Haupt family of makers – favorite listening music is jazz.|
|Carol Redman – Flute – Associate Music Director and Principal Flute, Santa Fe Pro Musica – performances with Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, festivals in California, Colorado, Oregon, Texas, Canada, Maryland, Germany, Japan – B. M. magna cum laude University of New Mexico – 2008 Grammy nominee Best Classical Album/Small Ensemble – Flute instructor New Mexico School for the Arts – Carol plays a silver Brannen Bros flute (Boston, 1998) and for Baroque performances she plays on a 1760 C.A. Grenser ebony copy made by Rod Cameron (Mendocino CA).||Gail Robertson – Viola – founding member Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra (Boston), member Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, Wolf Trap Chamber Players, Pacific Symphony, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Kirov Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet – Principal Viola Mantovani Orchestra nationwide tours – first recipient of Austrian Government Ministry of Education Scholarship – after leaving the classical music world for seven years, it was flamenco and musical theater that renewed her passion for the classics – Gail plays violin, viola and baroque viola, and is the Santa Fe Pro Musica Champs Coordinator.|
|MaryAnn Shore – oboe and recorders – received a Performer’s Diploma in Baroque oboe from Indiana University as well as music degrees on modern oboe from the University of New Mexico and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. She is a founding member of Albuquerque Baroque Players, was previously a woodwind specialist with Musica Antigua de Albuquerque and has performed with such groups as Madison Bach Musicians, the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado, Musica Angelica, Baroque Band, Ars Lyrica and Houston Bach, and Toronto’s Classical Music Consort|