McIntire Department of Music

Sharon Christman, Soprano
The Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra will open its thirty-second season with "Songs of Home," a program including works from Dvorák, Barber, and Smetana. This will be the symphony's first concert led by its new Music Director, Kate Tamarkin. The program will also feature acclaimed soprano soloist Sharon Christman. The opening concert will be on Saturday, October 7 at 8:00pm, with a second performance on Sunday, October 8 at 3:30pm.

Prior to joining the Symphony, Ms. Tamarkin was the music director of the Monterey Symphony for five years and the music director of the East Texas Symphony Orchestra for ten years. Ms. Tamarkin has also participated in the American Conductor Program with Leonard Bernstein and has been on the music faculty for the Catholic University of America. She holds music degrees from Chapman University, Northwestern University, and the Peabody Conservatory of Music.

Ms. Tamarkin will lead an orchestra of students, faculty, and community members in an inspiring program of vibrant music. The Moldau from Ma vlast is one of Czech composer Bedrich Smetana's best-known pieces, first premiered in 1882. Literally "My Country," the piece features intricate and uplifting wind melodies meant to evoke the victorious battles of Prague's early years. Smetana wrote that his inspiration stemmed from watching the Moldau river wind through Prague, through hills and past ancient castles. Even though its roots are in Czech nationalism, the piece has become popular in repertoires worldwide.

Soprano Sharon Christman joins the Symphony for the performance of Samuel Barber's "Knoxville: Summer of 1915." Ms. Christman has held leading roles with over a dozen major opera companies around the world including The Metropolitan Opera, the Dallas Opera, L'Opera de Montreal, and the Teatro Municipal in Santiago, Chile. She has frequently sung at the Kennedy Center and was a guest soloist for The White House. She has also soloed with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Opera Orchestra of New York, and the Montreal Symphony, among many others. Ms. Christman is on the faculty at the Washington National Opera's Young Artist Program, where she presents masterclasses, and The Catholic University of America, where she chairs the Vocal Division of the School of Music.

Samuel Barber, an American composer from Pennsylvania, wrote "Knoxville" in 1947. The text for the piece is taken from A Death In The Family, the Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiography by American author James Agee. Barber was greatly influenced by the French and Irish poets of his time, and his appreciation for form and lyrics surface in his vocal works. The complexity and emotion of his compositions tie him closely to the Romantic European composers of the 19th century. Barber, the winner of the 1935 Prix de Rome, wrote works for opera, orchestra, and piano, among other arrangements, before his death in 1981.

Czech composer Antonín Dvorák was greatly influenced by the dance and folk tunes of Bedrich Smetana. Dvorák was a very proficient composer, writing operas, concertos for piano and violin, and nine symphonies. Written in Bohemia in 1889, the eighth symphony, in G major, is more soothing than the darker seventh and the triumphant ninth surrounding it. A light flute melody in the first movement and an intense series of brass trills in the finale enclose a challenginá saga of sounds invoking images such as peaceful streams, raging battles, and the rolling hills of Dvorák's Bohemia. Though some of the more memorable phrases of the work are in minor keys, the major key emerges optimistically in each movement.

At times thoughtfully peaceful and at others boldly triumphant, the inspiring program of "Songs of Home" has a variety of musical moods with something for everybody.

Who: Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra
Kate Tamarkin, Music Director
Sharon Christman, Soprano
What: Songs of Home
Opening Concert in the 2006-2007 Season
Program: The Moldau from Ma vlast by Bedrich Smetana
Knoxville: Summer of 1915 by Samuel Barber
    Sharon Christman, Soprano
Symphony No. 8 in G major by Antonín Dvorák
When: Saturday, October 7 at 8:00pm
Sunday, October 8 at 3:30pm
Where: Old Cabell Hall at the University of Virginia
Tickets: Single tickets range from $11-$25 and can be purchased at the Cabell Hall Box Office at (434) 924-3984, 12pm to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Season tickets are also still available. For more information, call (434) 924-6505 or email

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Last Modified: Monday, 28-Jul-2008 23:27:19 EDT
112 Old Cabell Hall, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
Departmental Information: (434) 924-3052
Cabell Hall Box Office: (434) 924-3984