Pianist Brian Ganz and mezzo-soprano Magdalena Wor. (Submitted photo)
ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. (January 13, 2019)—On Thursday, January 17, St. Mary's College of Maryland Musician-in-Residence Brian Ganz will give a special full preview of his upcoming all-Chopin recital at the Music Center at Strathmore. He will be joined by Polish-born mezzo-soprano Magdalena Wor, who will also perform with him at Strathmore, in ten of the composer's rarely heard songs. The recital will be held in the Auerbach Auditiorium of St. Mary's Hall on the college campus, and will begin at 8pm. The program is entitled "Chopin: Spirit of Poland," and will feature works that reveal Chopin's profound connection to his homeland, including mazurkas, polonaises and the work Chopin said would be the first he would play in an independent Poland, the Allegro de Concert, Op. 46. This will be a ticketed event. St. Mary's College of Maryland students will be admitted free of charge; seniors, college faculty and staff, as well as St. Mary's Arts Alliance members, will be charged a $10 admission fee; general admission will be $15. For more information call (240) 895-4498 or visit www.smcm.edu/events/organizer/music-department/.
"Chopin was, without question, the greatest Polish composer of all time," said Ganz. "Although he spent only the first half of his life in Poland, much of his music reveals his deep love for-and connection to-his homeland. This recital features works that highlight that connection. For example, his mazurkas are chock full of exotic folk flavor. I'll talk about and demonstrate some beguiling aspects of that flavor before playing the mazurkas on the program. And Magdalena is incredible. She sings Chopin straight from the heart." The singer herself has said "Chopin is such an important part of the Polish heritage, his music being its quintessential element." She continued, "Being Polish myself, I identify with Chopin's melodies, first by deeply feeling the flavor of the music-it's in my soul-and second by understanding the symbolism of the lyrics, whether heavy, history woven poems, or the tradition-laden, often quirky lyrics of folklore." For Wór, "Singing his songs always comes with a deep realization that I am performing the music that represents Poland, and thus sharing our heritage with others across the globe. This definitely comes with a feeling of gratitude to the great composer, whose music is as beautiful as it is timeless."
Ganz and Wor will perform the 9th recital in Ganz's "Extreme Chopin" quest at the Strathmore Music Center on February 2 at 8pm. He is now well into the second half of his multi-year journey through the complete works of Chopin, a project he has undertaken in partnership with the National Philharmonic. He began the quest, which he calls a "dream come true," at Strathmore in January of 2011 in a sold out recital that launched the ambitious endeavor to perform the composer's approximately 250 works. After the inaugural recital, The Washington Post wrote: "Brian Ganz was masterly in his first installment of the complete works [of Chopin]."
Polish born mezzo-soprano Magdalena Wór is a winner, finalist, and recipient of prestigious national and international competitions and awards including the Marcello Giordani and Moniuszko International Vocal Competitions, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and Marcella Kochanska Sembrich Vocal Competition. She is an alumna of Washington National Opera's Domingo-Cafritz and San Francisco Opera's Merola Opera Programs.
Over the last several seasons Magdalena has worked with The Metropolitan Opera, the National Symphony Orchestra and the National Philharmonic in Washington, DC, the Washington National Opera, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Baltic Opera, Washington Concert Opera, The Atlanta Opera, Virginia Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and New Trinity Baroque.
Magdalena's opera roles include Carmen, Suzuki, Cherubino, Maddalena, Tisbe, Enrichetta, Orfeo, and Rosina. Selected orchestral repertoire includes Bach's Mass in B Minor, Handel's Messiah, Mahler's Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection," Vivaldi's Gloria, Bach's Magnificat, Beach's Mass in Eb Major, Grieg's Peer Gynt, Bach's Johannes-Passion, Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky, and Berlioz's Les nuit d'été.
Praised often for the rich color of her voice and her complete devotion to music and text, Magdalena's vocal flexibility allows her to easily span the lower to upper registers of the mezzo range as well as Baroque through 21st century repertoire.