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Gala Participants

Ruth J. Simmons (President, Brown University)
Ruth J. Simmons was sworn in as the 18th president of Brown University on July 3, 2001. Under her leadership, Brown is making new investments to secure its standing as one of the world’s finest research universities.
A French professor before entering university administration, President Simmons also holds an appointment as a professor of comparative literature and of Africana Studies at Brown. She graduated from Dillard University in New Orleans and completed her Ph.D. in Romance languages and literatures at Harvard. She served in various administrative roles at the University of Southern California, Princeton University, and Spelman College before becoming president of Smith College, the largest women’s college in the United States. At Smith, she launched a number of initiatives including an engineering program, the first at an American women’s college.  
Simmons is the recipient of many honors, including a Fulbright Fellowship, the 2001 President’s Award from the United Negro College Fund, the 2002 Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, the 2004 Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal, the 2010 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and the 2010 Foreign Policy Association award.  She has been a featured speaker in many public venues, including the White House, the World Economic Forum, the National Press Club, the American Council on Education, and the Phi Beta Kappa Lecture at Harvard University.  She is an officer and past-President of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, an Honorary Fellow at Selwyn College at Cambridge University, a member of the Howard University Board of Trustees, a member of the Dillard University Board of Trustees, a member of the board of Texas Instruments, and has been awarded numerous honorary degrees.  She was also appointed by President Obama as a member of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.

Jane Shivick Soprano
Jane Shivick, a national winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, has performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra under the baton of Sir Charles MacKerras and in Boston with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra led by Keith Lockhart in Symphony Hall. The New York Times has praised her “character and vocal richness” while the Boston Globe has written, “Shivick has a voice evenly glamorous throughout its compass and an engaging stage presence."

Alexandra Dietrich, Mezzo-Soprano
Alexandra Dietrich, a 2011 graduate of the Longy School of Music, has already compiled an impressive resume of achievements althoughjust at the outset of her promising career. A native of Freeport, Maine, she has sung with PORTopera as one of its Emerging Artists and in Belgium under the auspices of the Intermezzo Foundation's Young Artists Program. Her roles include Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus, Zita in Gianni Schicchi, and Madame Flora in The Medium.

Jeffrey Hartman, Tenor
Jeffrey Hartman is a 2011 Award Winner of the Wagner Society of New York. With opera companies in the US and Canada, he has sung the roles of Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Rodolfo in La Bohème, Cavaradossi in Tosca, and Calaf in Turandot. A native of Anderson, Indiana, he has sung with Indianapolis Opera, Sarasota Opera, and Connecticut Lyric Opera. His oratorio repertoire includes the tenor solos in the Verdi Requiem, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Orff's Carmina Burana, and Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde.

Craig Verm, Baritone
Craig Verm is rapidly gaining recognition for his exciting
performances throughout North America, South America, and Europe. Recent performances include Ramiro in L’heure espagnole with the Nationale Reisopera in the Netherlands, Escamillo in Carmen at the Teatro Municipal de Santiago, Ping in Turandot with Pittsburgh Opera, and baritone soloist in Messiah with the Rhode Island Philharmonic and Providence Singers in December 2011. Following recent performances of Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette extolled him as “again impressive. His Mercutio was a winning mix of insouciance and insolence with a superb grasp of the French.” The Denver Post enthusiastically echoed these sentiments, citing his ability to “make full use of his resonant, expressive baritone voice, bringing the necessary depth to this complex role and imbuing the all-important final scene with poignancy and depth.”

I Cantori is the elite choral ensemble at Providence College representing some of the finest singers from New England. Specializing in choral music that spans all eras, the group is comprised solely of undergraduate students from the Department of Music and other academic programs within the College. I Cantori performs throughout the academic year on the PC campus and at major venues throughout New England and has toured extensively throughout the United States and in Europe. Recent honors include selection to perform at the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME) Eastern Division Conference in Baltimore, MD-spring 2011; singing High Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica on Sunday, May 22, 2011; Demonstration Choir for Conducting Master Class at the Conservatory of Naples, on May 19, 2011; selection to perform at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Eastern Division Conference in Providence, RI-spring 2012.

The Brown University Chorus, 50 dedicated singers drawn from all concentrations within the University, is one of the oldest groups on campus.  As well as performing regularly in Providence and New England, the choir has earned an international reputation for more than 30 years for the quality of its performances. Their impressive legacy as university ambassadors includes a 2009 tour of Vienna and Prague, a 2006 tour of Argentina and Uruguay, a 2004 tour of Russia and Finland, a 2002 tour of Costa Rica, and a 1999 tour of Italy. The chorus also enjoyed a 1996 journey through Iberia, a 1993 concert tour of the Mediterranean, with performances in Greece, Israel and Egypt, a three-week concert tour of the USSR and Scandinavia in 1990, and a four-week concert tour of the Pacific Rim, featuring concerts in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. In 1979, the Chorus was the first American collegiate performing group to tour China, while in 1976 the group spent one month in India at the invitation of the Indian Government, presenting concerts for Prime Minister Indira Ghandi and Mother Teresa.   The chorus has made numerous convention appearances, including the American Choral Directors Association and the Deutsche Sängerbund Festival, held every decade in Germany.  The Chorus made its Lincoln Center debut in 1980, debuted at Carnegie Hall in 1987, and returned to Carnegie Hall in February of 1990 to perform with the Dave Brubeck Quartet.  They have performed under the baton of Aaron Copland and made numerous radio and network television appearances. A concert tour of Cuba is planned for Spring 2012.

The Brown University Orchestra, founded in 1918, is widely recognized as one of the finest university orchestras in the United States. Led by music director Paul Phillips since 1989, its membership consists of approximately ninety students from Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design. The Brown Orchestra has performed in New York at Carnegie Hall with Dave Brubeck and in Avery Fisher Hall with Itzhak Perlman. Mstislav Rostropovich, Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman, Eugenia Zukerman, Joseph Kalichstein, Christopher O’Riley, and Navah Perlman ’92 have also appeared as soloists, and Daniel Barenboim conducted the Brown Orchestra during his 2006 residency with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Composers-in-residence hosted by the Brown Orchestra include Samuel Adler, Peter Boyer, Lukas Foss, Steve Reich, Joseph Schwantner, Steven Stucky, and Michael Torke. Notable performances include four Mahler symphonies and Das Lied von der Erde; Stravinsky’s Firebird, Petrushka, Le Sacre du Printemps, and Symphony in Three Movements; and William Bolcom’s Violin Concerto in D with Sergiu Luca, Christopher Rouse’s Flute Concerto with Carol Wincenc, and William Perry's The Silent Years with pianist Michael Chertock, each performed with the soloist for whom it was composed. The Brown University Orchestra has toured China and performed in Montreal, Boston, and Cambridge. A member of the League of American Orchestras, it has won seven ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, most recently in 2009, and represented Rhode Island in the Ford Made in America project. Its alumni include current and former members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and YouTube Symphony Orchestra.

TJ Harper (Providence College I Cantori); Paul Phillips (Brown University Orchestra); Frederick Jodry (Brown University Chorus)

T.J. Harper (Director of Choral Activities, Providence College)
T. J. Harper is Director of Choral Activities and supervises the Secondary Music Education curriculum at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island. He conducts the college’s three choral ensembles: I Cantori, Concert Chorale and the Oriana Choir. He also teaches courses in Conducting, Secondary Choral Methods, Applied Conducting, and Applied Voice. Dr. Harper received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Southern California where he graduated with honors. He received the Master of Arts in Choral Conducting from California State University, Northridge and the Bachelor of Arts degree in Vocal Performance and Choral Conducting from California State University, Fresno.
Dr. Harper is a passionate conductor and teacher with extensive experience working with choirs of all ages and levels of ability. His past appointments include The University of La Verne, Biola University, The University of Southern California, and Burbank First United Methodist Church. At the USC Thornton School of Music he taught courses in undergraduate and graduate Choral Conducting and conducted the USC Thornton Apollo Choir (Men’s Ensemble). Dr. Harper is the Rhode Island State Representative and founding member of the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO). He is the President of the Rhode Island chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). He is a member of the ACDA International Conductor Exchange Program Steering Committee. He is active as a choral clinician, festival adjudicator, Music Education consultant and honor choir director. Dr. Harper taught middle school and high school in the California public school system for six years and was honored for excellence in teaching in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.
As a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society, MENC, ACDA, Chorus America, NCCO and the International Federation of Choral Music, Dr. Harper is an advocate for the promotion of undergraduate education and choral music in the public schools and institutions of higher education. Dr. Harper's interests have led to extensive research of the Nazi influence on German choral music and the music of Hugo Distler. His dissertation entitled, Hugo Distler and the Renewal Movement in Nazi Germany focuses on the juxtaposition of Distler's personal beliefs and his political/professional obligations to the Nazi Party. Dr. Harper is also a contributing author to the recently published Student Engagement in Higher Education: Theoretical Perspectives and Practical Approaches for Diverse Populations (Routledge).

Frederick Jodry (Director of Choral Acitvities, Brown University)
Frederick Jodry is a native of Ohio, and holds the Bachelor's degree in Organ Performance from New England Conservatory where he studied organ with Yuko Hayashi and conducting with Lorna Cooke de Varon and Donald Teeters.  Upon graduation, he was awarded the Chadwick Medal, given each year to the most promising graduate who shows distinction both in musical performance and academic  excellence.  He continued at NEC, being awarded a Master's degree in the Performance of Early Music in 1987, during which time he was a harpsichord student of Francis Fitch, and an organ pupil of William Porter. While completing his studies, Mr. Jodry founded the Schola Cantorum of Boston, a twelve-voice ensemble dedicated to the performance of Renaissance sacred music.  During the past Twenty five years, the group has presented concerts throughout New England, and has frequently been heard at the Boston Early Music Festivals. As a vocal soloist, Mr. Jodry has appeared with the Providence singers, the Civic Chorale, Boston Cecilia, the Boston Camerata, Musique Ancienne de Montreal, and at the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institue under Gustav Leonhardt. Since 1991 he has been Director of Choral Activities at Brown University, where he is also an instructor in music theory and history, and teaches Harpsichord. He has led the Brown Chorus throughout New England, singing in Boston, New York and Washington DC. Recent Tours include Argentina, Russia/Finland and the Czech Republic. Mr. Jodry also serves as Music Director at the First Unitarian Church of Providence.

Paul Phillips (Director of Orchestras and Chamber Music Performance, Brown University)
Director of Orchestras and Chamber Music at Brown University since 1989, is an award-winning conductor, composer, and author. Since beginning his career as an opera coach and conductor at the Frankfurt Opera and Stadttheater Lüneburg in Germany, he has conducted more than sixty orchestras, opera companies, and ballet troupes, including the San Francisco Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Detroit Symphony, and Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra and Choir. Recent guest conducting appearances include the 2011 Opera Providence production of Cosi fan tutte using his own revised English version of the libretto, Messiah with Commonwealth Opera, a return engagement at the Manhattan School of Music, and, in France, the world premiere staged production of Anthony Burgess's Shakespeare ballet Mr W.S. Phillips has conducted recordings with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Pioneer Valley Symphony, which he has led as Music Director since 1994. On the recent Naxos CD Music for Great Films of the Silent Era, he conducts the RTE National Symphony of Ireland in music by William Perry. Phillips's compositions include War Music, a musical theatre work based on poetry of Christopher Logue; Battle-Pieces, settings of Civil War poems by Melville as a song cycle for baritone and orchestra; and several works for young people composed in collaboration with singer-storyteller Bill Harley. His reduced orchestration of Stravinsky’s opera Mavra, recently performed at the Glyndebourne Festival, is published by Boosey and Hawkes. His numerous honors include ten ASCAPAwards for Adventurous Programming, seven of them with the Brown University Orchestra; three fellowships in composition from the RI State Council for the Arts; serving on the Board of Directors of the American Music Center; and appointment to the Artists Council of New Music USA. His 2010 book Clockwork Counterpoint: The Music and Literature of Anthony Burgess was lauded in the Providence Journal as "sumptuous, prodigiously researched, elegantly written…a necessary and splendid book." An essay drawn from that book appears in the new Norton Critical Edition of A Clockwork Orange.

David Josephson (Professor of Music, Brown University)
Born and raised in Montreal, David Josephson earned the BA, MA, and PhD at Columbia, where he also taught, directed the wind ensembles for three years, and was an editor of Current Musicology. At Brown he founded and directed an Early Music Group, chaired the Music Department for six years, established the Orwig Music Library in partnership with the University Librarian, and created an artists-in-residence program anchored by a campus-based string quartet. His early scholarly work in Renaissance music led to a book about the Tudor composer John Taverner. He later turned to the life and music of the composer-pianist Percy Grainger, playing and conducting his music, publishing articles about him, and inaugurating the Annual Grainger Lecture series at the University of Melbourne. More recently he has published on the musical émigrés from Nazi and fascist Europe; his biography of the émigré scholar Kathi Meyer-Baer will appear later this year. He has taught courses on Mozart and Beethoven, opera, symphony, song, chamber music, conductors and orchestras, the culture of death in nineteenth-century Europe and America, the sociology of twentieth-century music, and the European musical diaspora. His interests beyond music include architecture and landscape design, political and military history, maps and atlases, jigsaw and crossword puzzles, gardening, wine, and sport cars.