Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Meet the VoxAmaDeus soloists singing Vienna Magic this November

On Friday evening, November 21, beginning at 8:00 p.m. in the Perelman Theater of the Kimmel Center, I will conduct the orchestral and vocal musical artists of VoxAmaDeus' Ama Deus Ensemble in a stunning program of popular works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The program is entitled Vienna Magic.

The first half of this most melodic and high-energy concert will feature two famed works by Beethoven—the rousing Coriolan Overture and the melodiously lush and technically challenging Piano Concerto No. 3 in c minor, with yours truly conducting from the keyboard of the legendary Bösendorfer Imperial Grand Piano!

For the second portion of the evening, the artists of the Ama Deus Ensemble will assay overtures, choruses and scenes from three great Mozart operas—Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), Così fan tutte (Thus Do They All), both sung in English, as well as delightful excerpts from his less well-known opera, Idomeneo, re di Creta (Idomeneo, King of Crete), sung in Italian.

Portraying the numerous solo roles during the operatic portion of the evening will be eleven fabulous, professional vocalists drawn from the choral ensemble. Since this will be the first time VoxAmaDeus has done anything like this—and especially so that you can get to know them a little—I’ve invited each to introduce him/herself to the VoxAmaDeus audience with a brief “shout-out.”

I hope that you enjoy learning about the diverse, and highly talented, individuals whom I have the pleasure of leading on November 21. Come and enjoy!  
Valentin Radu

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Vivian Barton Dozor

Principal Cellist of VoxAmaDeus Orchestras

In Conversation with Richard Shapp

Sometime during the 1990s, Vivian Barton Dozor became the rock-solid fixture—the principal cellist of VoxAmaDeus’ orchestras—who is so admired by Vox’s audiences and her fellow musicians. While an orchestra’s first violinist (aka, the concertmaster) generally attracts the majority of the public’s attention, the primo cellist frequently—but unfairly—sits in the shade. So, let’s begin to redress a snub to this pivotal player in the orchestra, and especially to the vastly talented, and tremendously important, Vivian Barton Dozor.
During the Sempre Vivaldi concerts of Friday, October 17 at 8:00 p.m., at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill, and Sunday, October 19 at 4:00 p.m. at Thomas Great Hall on the Bryn Mawr College campus, Vivian Barton Dozor will be the featured soloist in Vivaldi’s Cello Concerto in a minor, RV 422. Other featured soloists in these concerts include Paul Miller, viola d’amore, Daniel Boring, lute, and Sarah Davol, Baroque oboe.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Season 28 and the Bösendorfer Grand Piano

Great News for Lovers of Piano Concertos…
During Season 28
Bösendorfer Grand Pianos
Will Grace the VoxAmaDeus Concert Stage!

For the 2014-15 performance season, Valentin Radu and VoxAmaDeus have scored a pianistic coup. Thanks to a very special arrangement with the Cunningham Piano Company of Philadelphia, during Season 28 our stage will be graced, exclusively, by the incomparable, world-renowned pianos of the Austrian firm of Bösendorfer. And this means that you will be treated to the one-of-a-kind sonorities of what has been described as the “biggest, baddest piano in existence”—the 9-foot 6-inch long, 97-keyed, $250,000 Imperial Grand.We have two stories to relate about this musical triumph:
Since he was a child piano prodigy in Romania, Valentin Radu has performed on these magnificent instruments. Read his personal story about what makes the Bösendorfer such a world-renowned instrument.

Following that, read how a lad from upstate Pennsylvania—who used to play in rock-'n-roll bands—became an operatic tenor and is now the Philadelphia region's exclusive purveyor of the exquisite Bösendorfer piano…the fascinating personal journey of Timothy Oliver.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Highlights of Concert Season 28 from Maestro Radu

From the Director of Ticket Sales:
Purchasing tickets from VoxAmaDeus is easy and convenient. We have brought back two popular flexible Season Pass opportunities this season (click here to purchase). You can order individual tickets to all of our non-Kimmel Center concerts online from our web site, call our office at 610-688-2800 and speak to a real person(!) or fill out an order form from our Season 28 brochure and mail it with a check or credit card information [your credit card information is secure and is not stored on our server or on that of our card processor]. Tickets to our Kimmel Center concerts must be purchased from Ticket Philadelphia online, via telephone at 215-893-1999 or in person at the Kimmel Center Box Office. Click here for complete details of Season 28. We look forward to seeing you at our concerts! ~ Paul Marchesano

From Maestro Radu:
Similarly to my idol Johann Sebastian Bach (and also my engineer father), I have always been fascinated by numbers and their significance in my life and the world at large. My two favorite numbers have always been 3 and 7. Three represents the Holy Trinity (three Persons in one God), and seven was acquired later in life after I became a nut-case fan of James Bond ("Double O…").

When I was growing up in Communist Romania, religion and God were highly unpopular with, disapproved of, and disallowed by the regime. But in the majority of cases this edict had the opposite effect, making the "subjects" of the Eastern European communist countries even more religious and God-loving than they might otherwise have been. On the other hand, the films from the James Bond series somehow were not deemed to be too threatening to the regime. So, they were allowed to be shown on Romanian movie screens (whereas, with the exception of John Wayne Westerns, movies from the United States were no-nos).

Thursday, July 3, 2014

VoxAmaDeus Supports People's Light & Theatre! All about Bach!!!

Don't miss this one! A comedic look at classical music...
In this innovative comedy by playwright and screenwriter Itamar Moses (Outrage, Boardwalk Empire), seven rival musicians resort to a hilarious battle of wit, bribery, and blackmail to win the most sought-after musical post in Europe. Set in 1722 Leipzig, Germany, "Moses uses an obscure historical incident as a jumping-off point for this funny, fiercely intelligent romp." (Los Angeles Times)
People's Light & Theatre
39 Conestoga Road
Malvern, PA 19355


And for a taste of "live performance" Bach masterpieces...
don't miss these exciting VoxAmaDeus
concerts in our upcoming Season 28!


Keyed on Bach & Mozart

Sunday, September 14   6 PM    Daylesford Abbey, Paoli

Valentin Radu piano

Thomas DiSarlo violin
Edward Schultz flute

Bach: Piano Concerto in f minor
Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 2
Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 20

In addition to his vast trove of sacred choral masterpieces, Bach wrote magnificent instrumental works ranging from his renowned Brandenburg concerti to his delightful orchestral suites, one of which, the Suite No. 2 featuring a solo flute, is being performed in this program. Also, Bach being a consummate organist and keyboardist, composed solo concerti for one, two, three and four keyboards with orchestra. The f minor is one of his finest. Like Bach’s, Mozart’s amazing legacy includes both vocal and instrumental masterpieces.Of his twenty-seven piano concerti, the No. 20 stands among Maestro’s favorites, and his soul-stirring Violin Concerto No. 5 enchants the senses.

Running time: 2 hours including one intermission

Bösendorfer Concert Grand Piano courtesy of Cunningham Piano Company, Philadelphia

Bach & Handel Gala
Sunday, March 8    5 PM    Gladwyne Presbyterian Church, Gladwyne

Valentin Radu organ and piano
Robert Spates violin
Elin Frazier trumpet

For many years this March tradition was a Bach birthday soirée to celebrate the great German Baroque master. This year we are adding the other giant German master (turned British subject and king’s court musician), Handel, to this quaint “Castle Somewhere”, beloved "Chapel-in-the-Woods" tradition—with Maestro’s “live notes”. Oh yes, Happy 330th, Johann!

Running time: 75 minutes – No intermission
Bach B-Minor Mass
Sunday, March 29    4 PM    St. Katharine of Siena Church, Wayne
Friday, April 3            8 PM     Kimmel Center, Philadelphia

Megan Monaghan soprano (March 29)
Karina Sweeney alto (March 29)
Julie-Ann Green soprano (April 3)
Jody Kidwell alto (April 3)
Timothy Bentch tenor
Kevin Deas bass

The High Mass in B Minor is Bach’s crowning achievement—his musical testament—written over a twenty-year period and never performed during his lifetime. It was discovered by Mendelssohn one hundred years later and performed then in Leipzig’s St. Thomas Church, where Bach spent his last twenty-seven years as its most prolific and famous organist, Musikdirektor and Kapellmeister.

Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes including one intermission

The 3 B’s ~

Bach • Beethoven • Brahms

Friday, May 15    8 PM     Kimmel Center, Philadelphia

Peter Donohoe piano

Bach Piano Concerto in d minor
Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 15
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5
(“The Emperor”)

This spectacular season grand finale is a “concert of concerti”, featuring the second appearance in Season 28 of the critically acclaimed British virtuoso pianist Peter Donohoe on a Bösendorfer Imperial Grand piano. Bach’s exciting d-minor keyboard concerto, followed by the elegant and heart-wrenching Brahms No. 1, and ending with the amazing Beethoven No. 5 “The Emperor”, make a true piano feast.

Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes including one intermission
Bösendorfer Imperial Grand Piano courtesy of Cunningham Piano Company, Philadelphia

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Beethoven: Mass in C & Piano Concerto 3

Of few composers can it be said that through them, and them alone, the art of music became completely transformed.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is such a composer. He represented a break with all the old concepts of what music should be and with the methods by which these concepts should be realized. Beauty of sound, balance and symmetry of structure, attractive lyricism for its own sake, even the expression of deeply felt emotion—all this is no longer that toward which Beethoven directed his means. He not only had to speak that which was in his heart; he also had to give voice to the beliefs and ideals that governed his life. He was a son of the Enlightenment. The new ideas of freedom and the rights of man sweeping across Europe, with Voltaire and Rousseau as their leading voices, sound loud and clear in Beethoven’s music. The world was aflame with the spirit of Revolution, its fires kindled in France. The “I”—the creative personality—was asserting itself more strongly than ever. “I must write,” Beethoven said, “for what weighs on my heart, I must express.” Everywhere in Europe, wherever genius spoke, such words were now being heard. 

Join the Ama Deus Ensemble at the Kimmel Center for a program of exciting, emotional and uplifting music of the master. Maestro Valentin Radu will play the Concerto No. 3 for Piano ("Empress"), the Ama Deus Ensemble orchestra and chorus will perform the wonderful Mass in C major, Op. 86 (Missa Brevis).
For Tickets

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April E-Newsletter. Rossini & Mozart

The Mozart Requiem and the Rossini Stabat Mater are connected historically (or perhaps hysterically)…so the young Richard Wagner would have us believe!

It is no secret that Richard Wagner (1813-1883) had a rocky and unrequited relationship with the artistic high society of Paris. As a hot-headed young man in his mid to late twenties, from late 1839 to 1842, he lived in Paris in impoverished fashion. To make a living, the young, undiscovered composer wrote articles for magazines, arranged the operas of others for publication and completed his own, unperformed, third and fourth operas: Rienzi and Der fliegende Holländer.

Fast forward about seventeen years to November of 1859. We find Wagner has returned to Paris as a well-established composer. It was during this sojourn that he faced the debacle of the March 1861 performances of Tannhäuser. This infamous fiasco, which resounds throughout musical history, came at the hands (and cat-calls!) of the haughty bon vivants of the Jockey Club. Wagner had the audacity to compose a ballet to be danced in Act I of Tannhäuser; but the Jockey Clubbers demanded it be in Act II so as not to spoil their dinners—and/or assignations with the ballerinas! Wagner got his way, but the Jockey Club booed him out of the opera house and out of Paris.

Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868), on the other hand, had wonderful relationships with both the cultural elite and denizens of theatrical amphitheaters. It seems that Rossini was feted everywhere he went; his musical works were generally adored and one of his nicknames was “The Italian Mozart.”

Sunday, March 30, 2014

VoxAmaDeus teams up with Main Line School Night

Presenting a Maestro Radu lecture series and
intimate afternoon soirée concerts with “live notes”

Baroque Titans: Bach and Handel

Lecture: Essentials and Secrets
 –Wednesday April 2 at 7:30-9:00 PM
Enjoy a discussion of Bach - quintessentially cerebral and pious, and Handel - the flamboyant court musician of the Kings of England. Essentials and fascinating “kitchen” secrets about what made them tick and so different from each other, yet both in the service of the great western civilization trove of eternal treasures. Lecture, questions & answers, and musical examples.

Concert: Sunday Afternoon Soiree
- April 6 at 4:00-5:30 PM
An intimate musical journey, featuring works of Bach & Handel, reminiscent of what might have taken place in the music room of “Castle Somewhere” on a sunny Sunday afternoon over 300 years ago. Baroque instruments. Enchanting violin, warm mellow oboe and exciting harpsichord, with “live notes” by the Maestro.

All events held at
Creutzburg Center
260 Gulph Creek Rd
(in Harford Park)
Radnor, PA 19087

Baroque Venetian Masters: Vivaldi and Corelli

Lecture: Essentials and Secrets-Wednesday June 4 at 7:30-9:00 PM
Enjoy a discussion of the passionate and very colorful Venetian Masters Vivaldi and Corelli - serving dukes, cardinals and popes. Essentials and fascinating “kitchen” secrets about what made them tick and so different from each other, yet both in the service of the great western civilization trove of eternal treasures. Lecture, questions & answers, and musical examples.

Concert: Sunday Afternoon Soiree
- June 8 at 4:00-5:30 PM
An intimate musical journey, featuring works of Vivaldi & Corelli, reminiscent of what might have taken place in the music room of “Castle Somewhere” on a sunny Sunday afternoon over 300 years ago. Baroque instruments. Sparkling flute, exhilarating trumpet and exciting harpsichord, with “live notes” by the Maestro.

Sign up now!

Tickets available in advance or at the door.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Ides of March ~ Camerata Ama Deus ~ Baroque Instrument Orchestra

The Ides of March: the name given by the ancient Romans to the mid-point of the month of March. Despite its association with the slaying of a certain would-be emperor, The Ides of March, as celebrated by the Camerata Ama Deus, will be a joyful reminder that spring is in the air, that  a new season of rebirth is at hand. Join the Camerata Ama Deus chamber orchestra, performing on period instruments, for an evening of lively Baroque masterworks guaranteed to evoke sunshine and warmth—and no more snow!

The concert will begin, appropriately, with “Spring” from Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Composed in 1723, The Four Seasons (Le quattro stagioni) is Antonio Vivaldi's best-known work, and is among the most popular pieces in the classical music repertoire. The work is a set of four violin concertos, the texture of which is varied with each concerto, each resembling its respective season. Vivaldi’s plan was that each movement would establish a certain mood, against which narrative events could then play out. When it came to the detail of those occurrences—barking dogs, drunken dancers, buzzing insects—Vivaldi delivered elegance and originality where other composers had barely moved beyond crude animal-noise clichés. In addition, Vivaldi provided verbal instructions to the players: In “Spring” he asks the solo violin to play like “il capraro che dorme” (the sleeping goatherd) and the viola like “il cane che grida” (the barking dog).

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February E-Newsletter: Renaissance Candlemas concert

Renaissance Candlemas concert: Beautiful music in a beautiful cathedral space

Friday, February 7 at 8 PM

Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter & Paul

Buy tickets here

CANDLEMAS – A Midwinter Holiday

The word Candlemas is derived from the Middle English word candelmasse, in turn descended from Old English, candelmæsse, built on the words candel + mæsse (candle+mass = candle-feast). The word Candlemas appears in English usage before the twelfth century. The spelling Candle Mass has also been used.

Candlemas is an ancient Christian feast day, also known as the Feast of the Purification of Mary, or the Feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple. It occurs on February 2, forty days after Christmas, and commemorates Mary’s submitting herself to ritual purification after the birth of her son Jesus, in accordance with Mosaic Law. It also commemorates the meeting with the aged priest Simeon, who, upon seeing Mary’s infant son, proclaimed him as the “Light to the gentiles.” Because of this, the feast has always involved a celebration of light. The most famous of the customs—and the one from which the feast gained its common name—is that of the blessing of, and procession with, candles.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

January E-Newsletter: Maestro Peter Donohoe


in conversation

with R.A. Shapp

I caught up with Peter Donohoe at his U.K. home where he was busy practicing. Our conversation, naturally, focused on his return to the stage at the Kimmel Center on Friday, January 3, with Valentin Radu and the Ama Deus Ensemble for a program of well-known and lesser-known piano works by George Gershwin, and the Maurice Ravel Piano Concerto in G Major. It was the latter work upon which our conversation focused.

RAS: Peter, in preparing for our conversation I read up a bit on the Gershwin miniatures you will perform, and especially on Ravel and his G-Major Concerto. I came across a quote, reputedly by Ravel, that I think can begin this interview for the VoxAmaDeus E-Newsletter:  “The most captivating part of jazz is its rich and diverting rhythm.  …Jazz is a very rich and vital source of inspiration for modern composers and I am astonished that so few Americans are influenced by it.”