Oldcastle Theatre Inaugurates New Music Series

Oldcastle Theatre is enhancing its emphasis on musical performances with a new series in collaboration with the Bennington Musical Arts bringing an array of powerful individual concerts opening with  “A Colonial Gathering” celebrating Bennington’s Ten years of settlement Sunday October  22 at 2 p.m. and culminating in March with “An Evening of Philip Glass.”

The first in this line-up of unique brings some of the most celebrated and talented,  musicians and actors in our region. The line-up includes Bennington College faculty members: Allen Shawn, Yoshiko Sato, Kaori Washiyama, Nathanial Parke, John Kirk as well as Trish Miller. “A Colonial Gathering” will include  multi-disciplinary performances is a flashback in time to those settlers who arrived in 1761, built a church around what eventually became the Bennington Monument and decided to a have a celebration giving thanks. Music of true classical nature, Mozart, Hayden, Boccherini and traditional contemporary reels, gigues and other dances will be performed.

Thomas Lawrence Toscano is the founder and Artistic Director of Bennington Musical Arts. He is a conductor, composer and Performance Specialist. Founder of OperaOGGINY, he has a vibrant history of performances in Sicily, Italy, South America and the United States.. He has pursued a lifetime of deeply moving performances preparing first with serious study under renowned conductors and teachers Leonard Bernstein, Carla Maria Giulini, Gustav Meier, and James Dixon. Mr. Toscano is a graduate of Yale’s celebrated conducting program under Otto Werner-Mueller. He has founded various orchestras as well as the Vizzini Music Festival and he conducted and co-produced the first Philip Glass opera in South America, “The Fall of House of Usher; and has performed countless world premieres over the last  30 years. In November of 2014 Mr. Toscano brought his opera company to Oldcastle Theatre presenting two works Menotti’s “The Telephone” and his own “made in America: The Interview.” last season he was curator/narrator and conductor for Music at the Bennington Museum. he has lived in Brazil, Venezuela, Italy, Sicily and now in Bennington.

Allen Shawn is a pianist, composer and author who has taught at Bennington College since 1985. He began composing at the age of ten with a teacher from the Mannes College of Music. He attended the Putney School in Putney, Vermont. He conducted the Vermont Philharmonic at the age of 17. A graduate of Harvard, Mr. Shawn earned his Master’s Degree at Columbia University. He has written film scores, music for ballet and incidental music for plays. As a pianist he has played for Broadway shows; and recorded a number of CDs.

Yoshiko Sato studied piano at tin Keio University in Tokyo, at the Hart School of Music in Connecticut and at Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris in France. Ms. Sato has given recitals in Japan, the United States, France, and Switzerland. Over the years she has won numerous prizes in piano competitions in Europe and in the United States. She has performed on several recordings. Ms. Sato and her Bennington College colleague Christopher Lewis have been performing a concert series devoted to the complete piano Sonatas of Beethoven performing at various locations including the park McCullough House and Oldcastle Theatre.

John Kirk is known for his lyric voice and versatile instrumental skills. On fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo, ukulele, and tin whistle, Mr. Kirke demonstrates a vast knwledge of musical traditions. he is also a composer, dancer, and dance caller. “Sing Out” Magazine has said,: John Kirk is a fine player on all his instruments and he sing quite well. With such a widely varied repertoire, there’s really something here for everyone. This one that’s worth seeking out.” He teachers at Bennington and Skidmore College in Saratoga. Springs.

Violinist, violist Kaori Washiyama has been a faculty member at her alma mater, the Kyoto University of Art and Music, and is a founding director of a well-established chamber music series also in Japan. She was the First Prize Winner of the Lipizer Violin Competition and recipient of the prestigious Rode Award in Italy. She is a core member of “In the Music Room” which performs in distinguished music rooms throughout southern California. she has been on the Bennington College faculty since 2005.

Nathaniel Parke is principal cellist of the Berkshire Symphony. He has been a member of the Boston Com[posers String Quartet with whom he can be heard performing new works by Boston composers on the MMC Record label.  He teaches at Williams College, Bennington and Skidmore. Mr. Parker performs on an instrument made in 1721 by C.G Testore.

According to Oldcastle Theatre Producing Artistic Director Eric Peterson in addition to presenting award-winning professional theatre, Oldcastle is determined to become one of the major music venues in the region.

“Since moving to Main Street in 2012 we have been presenting classical music, jazz, folk, and rock on a regular basis. The chamber music group L’Ensemble has been in residence at the theatre for four years and will be returning with additional concerts this season. We are delighted to begin a new relationship with Bennington Musical Arts that will enable us to present many of the finest classical musicians in New England. We have also been developing a strong relationship with Bennington College Music faculty that is beneficial for the college the theatre and absolutely for area music aficionados.”

Peterson stressed that this is the first in a series of concerts that will culminate with the appearance of famed composer Philip Glass. “It is a high honor to be able to bring Philip Glass to our audience, Peterson said. He is one of the greatest artists of our time and we think it will be an event people will remember for a very long time.”

For tickets of additional information contact www.oldcastletheatre.org or call 802-447-0564.

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