Letter from the Opalka Family Artistic Director
Dear music lover,
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to an Albany Pro Musica performance this season. After more than a year of virtual programming, it is so gratifying to have music ringing once again throughout the Troy Music Hall, and an audience present to hear it.
As I was selecting the music for this season, I kept coming back to the theme of love. Love of music, surely, but also love of community, love of one another, and the tremendous power of love to sustain us even in our darkest hours. Throughout the pandemic, during a time when our world needed the soothing balm of music more than ever, Albany Pro Musica was sustained by the love of our patrons and donors – and we hope we offered sustenance to you in return.
It was important to me that, once Albany Pro Musica returned to the stage this year, we come back with a strong season, full of the glorious and ambitious choral programming you love. We start our season in October with the music of love, with songs that showcase the many faces that love takes: platonic and romantic, secular and sacred, intimate and universal. In December, our “Many Moods of Christmas” concert features holiday favorites along with the premiere of a new work for chorus, orchestra, and baritone, written and performed by APM’s composer-in-residence Bradley Ellingboe. In March, we perform Rachmaninoff’s magnificent “All Night Vigil,” often referred to as “Vespers,” which is one of the most celebrated choral works of all time and is beloved for its beauty and spirituality. We close our season with Brahms’s profound humanist masterpiece, his Ein deutsches Requiem. Unlike traditional requiem masses, this piece focuses on the living, beginning with the second Beatitude: “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Through this work, we will remember those lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, and comfort those who survived.
Over the past several seasons, Albany Pro Musica has established a tradition of bringing world-class guest artists to share our stage. This season, I’m thrilled to bring four phenomenal voices from the opera world – David Vanderwal, Elizabeth Eschen, Michael Chioldi, and Laquita Mitchell – to perform with the chorus for the Rachmaninoff and Brahms works. We are also bringing violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn, who performs on the famed “Red Mendelssohn” Stradivarius, and pianist Marcos Daniel Flores-Caraballo (my little brother!) to perform in the March and May concerts, respectively. Our April fundraiser, the “Gala Bel Canto,” will feature a recital by two opera superstars, and we’ll also be performing with the Albany Symphony that month for their world premiere of a new Requiem by George Tsontakis.
It’s an exciting season, one that I know you will enjoy – both for the tremendous music itself, and for the incomparable feeling that comes from listening to choral music performed live and in-person. There is simply nothing like it, and it is a privilege to lead an organization that brings art, beauty, and meaning to so many. Thank you for joining us.
José Daniel Flores-Caraballo
Opalka Family Artistic Director