Nov. 30 & Dec 1 Holiday Brass & Organ
The Waterbury Symphony makes the season bright with the magic of Holiday Brass & Organ music!
By popular demand, the WSO presents two concerts this year - each in an iconic Northwest Connecticut venue: Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown and First Congregational Church in Litchfield.
Both concerts are a festive mix of classical and popular mix of holiday favorites and feature critically acclaimed soprano, Michelle Johnson and internationally celebrated concert organist, Christopher Houlihan.
Under the direction of Music Director & Conductor, Leif Bjaland, the holiday brass ensemble features Waterbury Symphony Orchestra's own world-class musicians.
Trinity Episcopal Church
36 Main St., Newtown, 06470
7:00 PM Doors
7:30 PM Concert
First Congregational Church
21 Torrington Rd., Litchfield, 06759
1 PM Doors
130 PM Concert
About Michelle Johnson
Soprano Michelle Johnson, a Grand Prize Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions where she was described as “a clear audience favorite” (New York Times), has been lavished with praise for her “extraordinary breath control and flawless articulation… Her voice is velvety and pliant – a dulcet dream.” Upcoming engagements include Miss Johnson’s debut with Opera Tampa in the title role of Verdi’s Aida, a return to Chicago Opera Theater as Zemfira in Aleko, a soloist feature performance with Madison Symphony Orchestra, and a return to Chautauqua to perform Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder with Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.
Past opera credits include Leonora in Il trovatore most recently with Hawaii Opera Theatre, Minnie in La Fanciulla del West with Kentucky Opera, Élisabeth de Valois in Don Carlos with Sarasota Opera, the title role in Manon Lescaut and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Opera Philadelphia, and Mimi in La bohème with both Annapolis Opera and PortOpera. Her concert and solo credits include the soprano solo in Verdi’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Boston Philharmonic, an all French Opera concert with Maestro Michel Plasson in Montpellier, France, the soprano soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem with Juneau Symphony, and an all Verdi concert with The Princeton Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Rossen Milanov. Adept in non-standard repertoire as well, Miss Johnson performed the title role in the rarely performed Sakuntala with Teatro Grattacielo along with numerous other contemporary works.
A graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Boston University Opera Institute, and New England Conservatory, she was seen as the title role in Suor Angelica, Leonora in Oberto, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, the Countess in Capriccio, and Alice Ford in Falstaff during her educational tenure. In addition to winning a Grand Prize at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Miss Johnson has also graced the winner’s circle of the William Matheus Sullivan Foundation, Gerda Lissner Foundation and the Giulio Gari Foundation.
About Christopher Houlihan
The organist Christopher Houlihan has established an international reputation as an "intelligently virtuoso musician” (Gramophone), hailed for his “glowing, miraculously life-affirming performances” (Los Angeles Times).
Houlihan has performed at Disney Concert Hall with the principal brass of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia; and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The Los Angeles Times raved about his Disney Hall debut, proclaiming, “Houlihan is the next big organ talent.”
Highlights of Mr. Houlihan’s 2019-20 season include performances of Joseph Jongen’s monumental Symphonie Concertante with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra (opening concert of the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival) and the St. Ann’s Festival Orchestra in Washington D.C.; solo recitals in St. Louis, Seattle, New York City, Rohnert Park (CA), and Birmingham (AL); and chamber performances at the Screendoor Summer Music Festival in Camden, ME.
He has appeared in recital at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, Glasgow Cathedral in Scotland and San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral and Davies Symphony Hall, and at numerous conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society. In 2017 he was featured performer at the AGO Southeast Regional Convention at Jacoby Symphony Hall in Jacksonville, FL where he premiered Hannah Lash’s Ludus (written specifically for Houlihan). In 2014, Houlihan performed in a prime-time slot of WQXR's All-Day Bach Organ Marathon in New York City which was webcast live and seen by thousands. Houlihan's “Vierne 2012” tour attracted international attention and critical acclaim for his marathon performances of the six organ symphonies of Louis Vierne.
In 2020 Christopher Houlihan will release a recording on the Azica label featuring music by Vierne and César Franck. In 2017, Houlihan released Christopher Houlihan plays Bach (Azica), recorded at Trinity College, Hartford, CT. His other recordings include music by Maurice Duruflé and Jehan Alain, and Organ Symphony No. 2 by Vierne, on Towerhill Records.
In 2017 Christopher Houlihan was appointed to the John Rose College Organist-and-Directorship Distinguished Chair of Chapel Music at Trinity College in Hartford, CT succeeding his former teacher John Rose.
In addition to his studies at Trinity College, Houlihan studied with the Grammy Award-winning organist Paul Jacobs at The Juilliard School, where he earned a master's degree, and with Jean-Baptiste Robin at the French National Regional Conservatory in Versailles.
More information is at ChristopherHoulihan.com.
Christopher Houlihan is represented in North America exclusively by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, LLC.