Calendar of EventsPremieres, Concerts and Lectures
Osowski Premieres 2 DET Cycles at Landmark CenterRenowned mezzo Clara Osowski sings two song cycles by David Evan Thomas on texts by Louis Jenkins and E. A. Robinson. In the Mad Moonlight: Four Poems of Louis Jenkins was commissioned by John Michel and Barbara Brown in memory of Louis Jenkins, a prominent Minnesota poet who died in 2019. The work is one of a series of compositions commissioned In 2021 celebrating the work of Jenkins through the music of Minnesota composers. Children of the Night treats seven lyrics by American poet Edwin Arlington Robinson, the author of “Miniver Cheevy” and “Luke Havergal.” The cycle was composed in March 2019 and dedicated to Clara Osowski.
In this Courtroom Concert hosted by Abbie Betinis, Osowski will sing with pianists Sonja Thompson and Celeste Johnston. The event will be held in the Cortile of Landmark Center, 75 West 5th St., downtown Saint Paul, Minn. Admission is free.
Mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski is one of Minnesota’s musical treasures, recognized with the coveted McKnight Artist Fellowship and Co-Artistic Director of Source Song Festival, a week-long art song festival in Minneapolis which strives to create and perform new art song and cultivate an educational environment for students of song.
With pianist Tyler Wottrich, Osowski became the first-ever American prize winner when she placed second at Thomas Quasthoff’s International Das Lied Competition in Heidelberg, Germany in 2017. Later that year, the duo reached the final round in the Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation Song Competition in London. Osowski was awarded the Richard Tauber Prize for the best interpretation of Schubert Lieder. She recently won the Radio-Canada People’s Choice Award.
Osowski has collaborated with pianist Wu Han, The Lydian String Quartet, the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, Accordo, and Dark Horse Consort. Her passion for contemporary music is evident in the song-cycles and chamber music she has premiered or commissioned by numerous composers including Libby Larsen, David Evan Thomas, Linda Kachelmeier, Reinaldo Moya, Carol Barnett, and Juliana Hall.
Orchestral performance highlights include her soloist debuts of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee, Bach’s Mass in B minor with the Back Bay Chorale of Boston, Christmas Oratorio with Bach Society of Minnesota, Mozart’s Requiem with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with Tulsa Signature Symphony, and Dominick Argento’s orchestral song cycles Casa Guidi and A few words about Chekhov with the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra of Minneapolis.
Recent performance highlights include her debut with Minnesota Opera as Mrs. Herring in Britten’s Albert Herring, and a solo appearance in The Schubert Club International Artist Series Recital with Eric Owens. She is also a member of Lumina Women’s Ensemble, Lorelei Ensemble, and Seraphic Fire.
Pianist Sonja Thompson has enjoyed a varied career as a pianist, chamber music collaborator, conductor, vocal coach, and educator. A graduate of The Juilliard School and University of Minnesota, Thompson’s performing credits include a wide array of chamber music and Art Song, new music, Music Theater and opera, and programs that mix genres and styles: for the International Grieg Society in Bergen (Norway), the Oregon Festival of American Music, the Victoria Bach Festival (TX), and live radio shows, and cruises to Norway and the Caribbean with A Prairie Home Companion.
Locally she has performed for the Schubert Club, the Bridge Festival, the Alexandria Festival of the Lakes, the Edvard Grieg Society of Minnesota, Source Song Festival, VocalEssence and The Lied Society. Theater credits include Frank Theater, Nautilus Music Theater, Open Eye Figure Theater, Opera 101 Theater Company (co-founder/Music Director, 1991-96), Skylark Opera, Minnesota Opera, and Minnesota Orchestra, as well as Florida Grand Opera in Miami. Currently, Thompson is the music director for Theater Latte Da’s presentation of La bohème.
Pianist Celeste Marie Johnson returns as a Resident Artist with Minnesota Opera for the 2021-22 season. Last season, her projects included designing and performing a program for the Apart Together Artist Showcase series and serving as music staff and orchestral pianist for Albert Herring.
Earlier in 2020, Celeste was selected to be a participant in Renée Fleming’s SongStudio at Carnegie Hall and completed her D.M.A. in collaborative piano at Boston University. In 2018-19, she was a Young Artist with Opera Saratoga, received the Marc and Eva Stern Fellowship at SongFest, and was a faculty coach at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.
Previously, Celeste has played for productions with the Boston University Opera Institute, Odyssey Opera, Opera Saratoga, Inland Northwest Opera, Atlantic Music Festival, the Hawai’i Performing Arts Festival, and Peabody Opera Theatre. She holds degrees in piano performance from Baylor University (B.M.) and vocal accompanying from The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University (M.M.).
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