Music Director Andrew Constantine and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic will be joined on the historic Embassy Theatre stage by vocal soloists, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Chorus, Fort Wayne Children’s Choir, and the Ball State University Choirs to present a concert entitled, Beethoven’s 9th: An Ode to Joy. The performance will take place on March 16th at 7:30 p.m.

The program pairs John Adams’ powerful and stirring On the Transmigration of Souls, a musical commemoration of the victims of 9/11, with Beethoven’s profound Symphony No. 9.

Said Andrew Constantine, “With its message of universal brotherhood, Beethoven’s 9th could not be a more striking opposite to Adams’ newer work. Beethoven’s lofty idealism is in effect juxtaposed with Adam’s musical reflection about one of the most heinous acts ever committed against mankind.”

John Adams is one of America's most respected living composers with an output of enormous range. He has produced both operatic and symphonic works that stand out among his contemporary peers in classical music for their deep expression, brilliance of sound, and profound themes of humanity.

In an interview with NPR’s program Deceptive Cadence, Adams spoke about how he structured his work On the Transmigration of Souls and the unique source of its texts:

“I didn’t want to even refer to the event [September 11th] itself. I wanted to refer to loss, to grief. Generally, my text came from an interesting source which was posters that people had posted around ground zero in the days right after the event,” said Adams.  

Adams began writing the piece in late January 2002, and it was premiered by the New York Philharmonic on September 19, 2002 at Avery Fisher Hall. On the Transmigration of Souls was awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Music. Its premier recording (with Lorin Maazel conducting the New York Philharmonic, the New York Choral Artists, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus) received the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance, and Best Classical Contemporary Composition.

For almost 200 years, the famous 9th Symphony of Beethoven has symbolized hope, unity and fellowship. The final theme of its fourth movement is based on the ode "An die Freude," written in the summer of 1785 by German poet, playwright, and historian Friedrich Schiller, and published the following year.

The 9th is arguably the greatest symphony ever composed, and while Beethoven conducted the premiere in 1824, he actually never heard it. Completely deaf at the time, the composer was in a fit of ecstasy as he led the massive orchestral, vocal, and choral forces, but got behind and didn’t realize the work had ended. Famously unaware of the rapturous response his ninth symphony was receiving, it took one of the musicians to alert him to the cheering audience behind him.

Katie Van Kooten, soprano

Van Kooten’s operatic and concert appearances have earned her praise for using her “powerful, gleaming soprano” to bring vibrancy and life to all of her performances. Of her recent role debut as Tatyana in Tchaikovsky’s Yevgeny Onegin, the Houston Chronicle wrote, “Her singing is extraordinary in its radiance, power and sheer expressiveness. Her ‘Letter Scene’ alone, would be reason enough to attend.”

In April Ms. Van Kooten will make her house debut with Arizona Opera as the Countess in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. Concert appearances this season include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as Verdi’s Requiem with the Eugene Symphony. In the 2017-2018 Season, Ms. Van Kooten made her house debut at Dallas Opera as Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, under the baton of music director Emmanuel Villaume. On the concert stage, she returned to the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Tanglewood Festival for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony conducted by Andris Nelsons, a piece that she also sang with the Rochester Philharmonic.

A graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, Ms. Van Kooten studied voice with Rudolf Piernay. She received her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Biola University where she studied with Dr. Jeanne Robison, and is a graduate and perpetual member of the Torrey Honors Institute.

Corinne Wallace-Crane, mezzo soprano

Wallace-Crane hails from the Chicago suburb of Plainfield, IL. She’s a full-time chorister at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Corinne was most recently seen as the Sixth Spirit in Cendrillon (2019), a Nightmaid in My Fair Lady (2017), Fraulein Schweiger and Sister Sophia in The Sound of Music (2014), and the Fourth Page in Tannhauser (2014). She’s also a member of the Grant Park Chorus, and has performed various roles around the country, in Colorado, Wisconsin, Mississippi and Florida.

Andrew Owens, tenor

Owens has quickly built a reputation as a promising singer of his generation, exhibiting a beautiful Italianate timbre, soaring top notes, and effortless agility. In the 2018-2019 Season, Andrew Owens made his Opera Philadelphia debut as Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor, and will perform Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Manitoba Opera in April. He will also return to the Kammeroper Wien.

In the 2017-2018 season, Mr. Owens returned to Seattle Opera, first as Count Almaviva, then as Benedict in Béatrice et Bénédict, a role debut. He also performed Almaviva at Greensboro Opera, returned to Theater an der Wien for Snout in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and debuted at Cincinnati Opera as Lucano in L’incoronazione di Poppea. Concert highlights included tenor solos in Handel’s Messiah with the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland and the Eugene Symphony in Oregon.

Michael Dean, baritone

Lauded by the New York Times for his “strong appealing bass-baritone,” American Michael Dean has been hailed by the San Jose Mercury News as “the standout, his voice a penetrating wake-up call." Other 2018-19 season highlights include performances of Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor and Bach’s St. John Passion at the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, Haydn’s The Creation with the Florida Orchestra, and Verdi’s Requiem with the Eugene Symphony.

In the 2017-18 season Mr. Dean was a soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, in Handel’s Messiah with the Eugene and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras and returned to the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park. Dean made his New York Philharmonic debut in the world premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis’ Garden of Light and returned the following season for a concert performance of Kurt Weill’s Street Scene.

Michael Dean is currently the Music Department Chair and Professor of Voice at The University of California, Los Angeles and a member of the voice faculty at the Chautauqua Music Festival.

Program:

Andrew Constantine, conductor

Fort Wayne Philharmonic Chorus, Benjamin Rivera, director
Fort Wayne Children’s Choir, Jonathan Busarow, director
Ball State University Chamber Choir, Andrew Crow, Director of Choral Activities
Ball State University Concert Choir, Kerry Glann, Associate Director of Choral Activities
Katie Van Kooten, soprano
Corinne Wallace-Crane, mezzo soprano
Andrew Owens, tenor
Michael Dean, baritone

Adams — On the Transmigration of Souls
     Fort Wayne Philharmonic Chorus
     Fort Wayne Children’s Choir
     Ball State University Chamber Choir, Andrew Crow, director

Beethoven — Symphony No.9 in D minor, Op. 125
     Fort Wayne Philharmonic Chorus
     Ball State University Concert Choir, Kerry Glann, director
     Katie Van Kooten, soprano
     Corinne Wallace-Crane, mezzo soprano
     Andrew Owens, tenor
     Michael Dean, baritone