Amadeus Concerts opened its fall program last week with a full-textured “fall sampler” that included performances by two accomplished young musicians.
Soprano Jessica Swink’s plaintive rendition of an aria from “Baby Doe” almost blew the windows out of the parish hall at St. Francis Episcopal Church in her powerful but musically pure ascent to a very high note that she nailed precisely on pitch.
Swink will perform with opera singer Denyce Graves on PBS in November. She sang excerpts from “La Traviata” at the White House in February and performed with the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center in May.
Frederick Jackson, an Oberlin Conservatory graduate now studying at George Mason, performed American classics by Aaron Copland and familiar spirituals that teased not just the upcoming Amadeus series but also the promise of his baritone voice.
Already he has won George Mason’s concerto competition and studied at the Summer Opera Institute in Salzburg last summer.
Both their performances were immeasurably enhanced by their accompanist, concert pianist Frank Conlon; his embellishments beneath their voices soothed each transition and nourished every note.
Amy Beth Horman, who has become a staple in the Amadeus repertoire, performed the eight-minute “Concerto for Violin and Orchestra” without anyone much noticing that Conlon was not, in fact, an orchestra, and Horman’s concentration and musicality as always, were stunning.
Conlon performed George Gershwin’s Three Preludes for Piano, for which the flat surfaces of the parish hall are acoustically well-suited.
Some of the magic purveyed by the Amadeus Concerts is wrought in the sometimes surprisingly pleasing acoustics in church sanctuaries and auditoriums not particularly noted for professional performances.
Next month, the Amadeus Orchestra will open its official subscription series at St. Luke Catholic Church on Georgetown Pike in McLean, which has a magnificent pipe organ and the acoustics to show it off.
Paul Skevington, the church’s music director, will perform Bach’s short Concerto in G for solo organ, while the orchestra will concentrate on Beethoven; his Third Piano Concerto and Fourth Symphony should enrich the concert season for anyone who loves classical music.
The orchestra’s all-Beethoven concert is scheduled at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 19, at St. Luke Catholic Church.
For ticket information, call 703-759-5334.
Tim Rowe, the orchestra’s musical director and conductor, will present a series of six Thursday lectures on “Orchestra Masterworks from 1900” at the McLean Community Center beginning at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 25. A reception follows each lecture. Call 703-790-0123 or register at the door.