Editor’s note: Due to current conditions in the COVID-19 pandemic, the concert by Angel Blue has been rescheduled for April 24. For more information and updates, click here.
The Great Artists Series at Washington University in St. Louis presents affordably priced concerts by some of the world’s finest classical musicians. In 2022, the series will return to live performances with four intimate recitals in the university’s historic E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall.
Angel Blue, one of today’s most acclaimed sopranos, will open the series Jan. 23, followed Feb. 27 by pianists Kirill Gerstein and Garrick Ohlsson. The Grammy Award-winning Attacca Quartet will perform April 3. South Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho will conclude the series May 1.
“Angel Blue is fresh from starring roles in the Metropolitan Opera’s ‘Fire Shut Up in My Bones’ and ‘Porgy and Bess,’” said Patrick Burke, associate professor and chair of music in Arts & Sciences. Gerstein and Ohlsson “are piano royalty who will take the stage together for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“The Attacca Quartet has received wide acclaim as passionate advocates of contemporary repertoire,” Burke added. “Seong-Jin Cho, who came to the world’s attention in 2015 with a first prize win at the Chopin International Competition, is already regarded as one of the consummate talents of his generation.
“We are proud to bring these artists to campus.”
Subscriptions to all four recitals are $120 — a 25% discount from single-ticket pricing — and include premier reserved seating, post-concert receptions with the artists (when available) and all ticketing fees.
Single tickets are $35-40, or $32-37 for Washington University faculty and staff, and $15 for students and children. Ticket sales open to the public Monday, Nov. 1.
All four performances take place in the E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall, located in the 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Ave., at the intersection with Delmar Boulevard. Tickets are available through the Edison Theatre box office, 314-935-6543, or at edison.wustl.edu.
To ensure the safety of all concertgoers, the concert hall will be kept at reduced capacity and campus visitors must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter. For more information about campus COVID-19 policies, visit the WashU Together website.
Blue, a “sumptuously voiced soprano” (New York Times), won widespread acclaim for the role of Bess in the Metropolitan Opera’s recent “Porgy and Bess.” Other major roles include her French Opera debut, in 2019, as Flora in “Tosca” and her 2018 debuts as Liu in “Turandot” at the San Diego Opera and Marguerite in “Faust” at the Portland Opera.
In September, Blue made history by performing the role of Destiny / Loneliness / Greta in Terrance Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” the first production at the Metropolitan Opera by a Black composer. She has appeared in recital and in concert in more than 35 countries, with the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, among many others. Read her full bio here.
Garrick Ohlsson and Kirill Gerstein
Ohlsson, widely regarded as one of the world’s leading exponents of the music of Chopin, is a “marvel of virtuosity” (New York Review of Books) whose repertoire ranges from Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert to 21st-century works, many commissioned for him. His numerous honors include an Avery Fisher Prize and a Grammy Award for his complete Beethoven Sonatas. In 1970, Ohlsson took first prize at Warsaw’s International Chopin Competition — the only American to have done so. In 2018, he launched an ambitious project spread over multiple seasons exploring the complete solo piano works of Brahms.
Gerstein, who was born in the former Soviet Union, is an American citizen now based in Berlin. In 2020, his decade-long relationship with composer Thomas Adès resulted in the release of two recordings, including the Grammy-nominated “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra,” which Adès wrote for Gerstein and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Other recordings include “Mozart: Sonatas for Piano Four Hands,” with Ferenc Rados; “Strauss: Enoch Arden,” with the late actor Bruno Ganz; and “The Gershwin Moment,” with David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony.
Read their full bios here.
Gliding between the music of the 18th through 21st centuries, the Attacca Quartet “lives in the present aesthetically, without rejecting the virtues of the musical past” (The Nation) — a quartet for modern times. Passionate advocates of contemporary repertoire, the group won a 2020 Grammy Award for “Orange,” which features string quartet works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw.
Previous recordings include an album of string quartets by Michael Ippolito and the complete works for string quartet by John Adams. Recent concert highlights include performances at the Lincoln Center and the Miller Theatre in New York; Kings Place in London; and the Vertavo Haydn Festival in Oslo. Read their full bios here.
Born in 1994 in Seoul, Cho began learning piano at age 6 and, in 2009, became the youngest-ever winner of Japan’s Hamamatsu International Piano Competition. After winning the Chopin International Competition in Warsaw, in 2015, he recorded Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the London Symphony Orchestra for Deutsche Grammophon. This was quickly followed by collections of Debussy and Mozart.
His latest album, released in 2020, features Schubert’s “Wanderer” Fantasy, Berg’s Piano Sonata op. 1 and Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor. Highlights of the 2021-22 season include performances with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchester, the New York Philharmonic and the Orchestre National de France. Read his full bio here.