Vocalist Juliet Petrus will perform in "1979," the opening concert of the Master Players Concert Series, on Saturday, Sept. 27, in Mitchell Hall.

Sept. 27: MPCS series opens

11th annual Master Players Concert Series to open with gala '1979'


10:39 a.m., Aug. 18, 2014--The 11th annual University of Delaware Master Players Concert Series (MPCS) will present a season-opening gala titled 1979 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27, in Mitchell Hall.

The concert is created and directed by MPCS founding artistic director Xiang Gao, Trustees Distinguished Professor of Music. It is co-presented by UD’s Institute for Global Studies and will celebrate the 35th anniversary of normalized China-U.S. relations.

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1979 features renowned classical and folk musicians of the two world powers as well as faculty and student performers from UD and Xiamen University of China.

They include collaborative pianist Zhihua Tang, flutist Eileen Grycky, harpist Anne Sullivan, violinist Xiang Gao, vocalist Juliet Petrus, percussionist Harvey Price, UD’s award winning a cappella group Vocal Point, di (Chinese bamboo flute) soloist Feisheng Ye, pipa (Chinese lute) soloist Kunli Li, guzheng (Chinese zither) soloist Lei Zhang, and dagu (Chinese drum) soloist Liqun Li. 

Future concerts

The second concert of the MPCS season is The Art of String Quartet II featuring the Afiara String Quartet at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 24, in the Gore Recital Hall of the Roselle Center for the Arts.

The Art of String Quartet is an MPCS tradition that brings many of today’s extraordinary string quartets to the tri-state region. Based in Toronto, the Afiara String Quartet is one of the most promising string quartets performing professionally worldwide. They have won top prizes at many major international competitions. 

The quartet will perform masterpieces by Webern, Mozart, and Mendelssohn during their MPCS debut concert.

A free master class with the Afiara String Quartet will be held from 1:20-2:20 p.m., Friday, Oct. 24, also in the Gore Recital Hall.

The third concert of the season, NYC-DE Express, a special evening of South African jazz, will take place at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 7, in Mitchell Hall, and will feature musician Kesivan Naidoo and the band Kesivan and the Lights.

In what organizers said they hope will become a new MPCS tradition, the series is bringing world-class artists and ensembles to the region within 12 months of their major New York City debuts. Naidoo is one of the exciting leaders of the next wave of Cape jazz performers. A composer and drummer, he leads Kesivan and the Lights, a remarkable jazz sextet that is equally exciting when playing a standard, an original composition, or covering an Ornette Coleman tune. 

Kesivan and the Lights make their MPCS debut one week after their Carnegie Hall debut. This jazz concert also celebrates the newly established UD-South African collaboration in arts, research and education, and is hosted by Colin David Miller.

The MPCS Holiday Pops offering features the Canadian Brass and will be held at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 6, in Mitchell Hall. As a special holiday treat for the audience, the evening will feature virtuoso brass and holiday music arranged for the prestigious ensemble. Following the concert, the world-renowned artists will also sign their internationally released holiday music CD.

As part of MPCS expansion and commitment to education, the annual Holiday Pops concert is free to anyone 14 and younger for the second year. That is made possible by a group of generous community, academic and business leaders. 

The season continues during Winter Session, with a Great Musical Families concert at 3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015, in the Gore Recital Hall.

The first MPCS winter concert event features two of the finest American vocalists who perform at major opera houses from the Metropolitan Opera to the Dallas Opera. After several successful Great Musical Families events, the Master Players audience this season will witness another powerful concert in which husband and wife vocalists show their passion for vocal music and for each other. Baritone Jonathan Lasch and his wife, soprano Caitlin Lynch, will perform music from opera arias to art songs and a selection of Broadway musical songs with collaborative pianist and vocal coach Lydia Qiu.

A Valentine’s Day event featuring the Donald Sinta Saxophone Quartet will be held at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 14, in Gore Recital Hall. The quartet is the grand prize winner of the prestigious Concert Artist Guild Music Competition held in New York City. 

The four saxophonists’ MPCS debut will feature romantic and energetic compositions by American icons Bolcom and Barber, as well as European giants Dvořák, Schubert, Grieg, Shostakovich and others. The Valentine’s Day post-concert dessert reception allows all MPCS audience members to meet the sensational performers in the lobby of the Roselle Center for the Arts.

A new project for Master Players is the musical Campus Chatter, a world premiere and part of the MPCS UDare Talent Project, which will be presented at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 20, and Saturday, March 21, in Mitchell Hall. Those who plan to attend should note that Campus Chatter contains mature language and themes and parental discretion is advised.

Inspired by the true stories of today's college students, Gao (composer and producer) and Joyce Hill Stoner (lyricist) have collaborated with playwright Scott F. Mason, with additional material by Larry Raiken, to create an original musical focusing on the challenges and issues currently facing university students throughout the country.

Based on dozens of non-fictional experiences (names changed and situations altered), the musical brings to life the story of four freshmen and four seniors as they experience relationships, discrimination, gender and sexual identity issues, roommates, social media, cultural understanding, and the tragic growing trend of campus shootings. With a combination of poignancy, humor, and an edgy conscience, Campus Chatter aims to inspire the audience and particularly today’s college students to effect needed change. 

As a part of an MPCS expansion in education and creation, Campus Chatter is the first musical theatre production presented in the history of the series. It is also the inaugural production for the MPCS UDare Talent Project, which features many of the most gifted UD students who have a talent and passion for live music. 

Campus Chatter is co-presented by Harrington Theatre Arts Company (HTAC), a UD registered student organization, and is partially funded by the President's Diversity Initiative.

Campus Chatter will be performed with a cast of 12 singing actors and an orchestra under the direction of stage director Brian Touchette, a UD and HTAC alumnus, scenic designers Qi Wei and William Browning, and a team of professional musicians. For additional information about the production, visit the website. 

The season finale will be the ever-popular iMusic 8: 6ixwire Around the World to be presented at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 18, and at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 19, in Mitchell Hall.

MPCS ensemble-in-residence 6ixwire returns from its tour of Africa and Asia to perform a world music concert featuring collaborators they met from the two continents as well as others from Europe and across America. Created and produced by 6ixwire founding member Gao and co-produced by Colin David Miller, this world premiere of new music compositions and multimedia presentations composed for 6ixwire also features leading international musicians and visual artists, making this a rare opportunity for the audience. 

A multimedia world music composition by Scottish composer Jennifer M. Barker and American composer Tyler Capp, a UD alumnus, also makes this concert a true “grand finale” with unsurpassed musicianship to close the 2014-15 season. 

This event is made possible by the President's Diversity Initiative.

Ticket information

The state-of-the-art Gore Recital Hall only seats 200 and those interested in attending are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance. 

Advance tickets go on sale Aug. 30. To order advance tickets, call 302-831-2204. 

Tickets for all events are $25 for adults; $20 for senior adults, alumni, faculty and staff; and $10 for students with ID. 

For the Holiday Pops concert, there are free of charge tickets for children under the age of 14 accompanied by an adult or adults. Printed tickets are required; up to three children per adult. Also, free of charge school tickets are available. Reservations are required; call 302-831-0039 for details. 

There are three subscription series available: 

  • An eight-concert subscription is $152 for adults; $120 for senior adults, alumni, faculty and staff; and $56 for students; 
  • A six-concert subscription is $120 for adults, $96 for senior adults, alumni, faculty and staff; and $48 for students; and 
  • A four-concert subscription is $88 for adults, $72 for senior adults, alumni, faculty and staff; and $36 for students.

Starting this season, online purchase for tickets and pre-paid parking vouchers is available to all MPCS audience members.

For more information, visit the MPCS website.

Program support

This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. Other sponsors include Vita Nova restaurant at the University of Delaware and the Marriott’s Courtyard Newark-University of Delaware.

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