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To open the 2011-2012 concert series at Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral, music director Paul Monachino decided to go for Baroque.
He didn't have to go very far to find performers who are experts in the ornate 17th to18th century style. Ohio is rich with leading proponents and practitioners of music penned by such composers as Bach, Handel, Telemann, Vivaldi, and Corelli.
Three musicians will converge on the beautiful sanctuary at 3 p.m. Sunday to share their knowledge, artistry, and enthusiasm in the first concert of the season. Presented in memory of Joseph Lawton by his family, this special event is free, as are all but one of the series concerts.
Cellist Rene Schiffer, a Toledoan, and two Oberlin College faculty members -- harpsichordist Webb Wiggins and flutist Kathie Stewart -- will perform an international array of works from that rich period.
All three have connections through Apollo's Fire, the world-renowned early music ensemble based in Cleveland, which performed last season in Rosary Cathedral. Schiffer is principal cellist for the group and records widely on Harmonia Mundi, Phillips, Virgin Classic, and Sony labels. A gamba player and composer as well, Schiffer is in demand worldwide.
Wiggins, associate professor of harpsichord at Oberlin, also is part of the historical performance faculty on campus. Stewart, who plays a pre-1832 Baroque flute, frequently performs with Wiggins.
The Cathedral series will continue with one concert a month emphasizing music written for performance in centers of worship -- whether for religious rituals or simply because organs are typically found in churches.
On Oct. 14, organist Craig Cramer will present a diverse program of music at 7:30 p.m. Cramer is professor of organ at Notre Dame University. He earned a doctorate at the Eastman School of Music, where he was awarded the Performer's Certificate for excellence. He is a frequent recitalist and performs on the popular "Pipedreams" program hosted by Michael Barone for the Public Broadcasting System. Works by Lynn Trapp, J.S. Bach, Toni Zahnbrecher, and August Fauchard are on his Toledo program.
Cleveland's beloved Yarbrough & Co. Gospel Ensemble will appear at 4 p.m. Nov. 6 in Rosary, bringing their mix of traditional and contemporary African-American music to town. This concert is co-sponsored by the Toledo Diocese Office of Black Catholic Ministries.
At 3 p.m. Feb. 12, Monachino will step into the spotlight, performing on the cathedral's historic Skinner organ a selection of music from Baroque to Early American, German Romantic styles to French Impressionism. Monachino is a graduate of Heidelberg University and is a former dean of the Toledo Chapter, American Guild of Organists.
Bowling Green State University's chorus and orchestra, led by Mark Munson and Emily Freeman Brown, will perform the majestic Requiem by Mozart at 7:30 p.m. March 25, one of three concerts in the series to mark major events in the church calendar. A 3 p.m. Dec. 4 performance will offer the traditional Advent lessons and carols with the Rosary choir and Monachino at the organ. And during Holy Week, the choir and Monachino will offer their Tenebrae service at 7:30 p.m. April 4.
The grand finale for the season will be the ongoing tradition that brings Bruckner to the Cathedral, performed by the Toledo Symphony, with Stefan Sanderling conducting. This year's program is Symphony No. 3, to be presented at 4 p.m. April 15. The only ticketed event, this concert is co-produced with the symphony. Tickets are $35 at 419-246-8000 or www.toledosymphony.com.
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