/ News / Curtis 20/21 Ensemble Opens 2018–19 Season with A Mad King on November 10

Curtis 20/21 Ensemble Opens 2018–19 Season with A Mad King on November 10

Streamed Live on YouTube (Curtis.edu/YouTube); Performance combines works by Peter Maxwell Davies and Julius Eastman

PHILADELPHIA—November 7, 2018—The Curtis 20/21 Ensemble presents A Mad King, the first of three programs in the 2018–19 season, on Saturday, November 10 at 8 p.m. in Gould Rehearsal Hall. A preconcert discussion will begin at 7:30 p.m. The program and discussion will also be streamed live at Curtis.edu/YouTube.

This performance is built around Peter Maxwell Davies’s melodrama Eight Songs for a Mad King, long recognized as a major work of experimental theater. Composed in the late 1960s, it captures King George III’s descent into madness through inventive music and a wide array of non-traditional performance techniques. Baritone Jonathan Beyer (Opera ’07) appears in the lead role, accompanied by Curtis student and faculty performers on flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion.

The work is preceded by Joy Boy, a bright and minimal piece by Curtis alumnus Julius Eastman (Composition and Piano ’63), a gifted and idiosyncratic composer, pianist, and one of the first vocalists to take on the Eight Songs in performance.

At 7:30 p.m. David Ludwig, artistic director of the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble and Gie and Lisa Liem Artistic Advisor to the President, leads a conversation about the composers on the program, exploring their lives and their works.

Tickets for $20 are available from Curtis Patron Services at (215) 893-7902 or Curtis.edu/Performances. The concert and preconcert conversation will also be streamed live at 7:30 p.m. EST on YouTube (Curtis.edu/YouTube) and Facebook Live (Facebook.com/CurtisInstitute).

Jonathan Beyer has quickly established himself as a versatile performer in opera and concert. A grand prize winner at the 2011 George London Foundation competition, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2012 as Wagner in Gounod’s Faust. His roles include Figaro in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia (Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis); Marcello in La bohème (Dallas Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Boston Lyric Opera); Guglielmo in Così fan tutte (Florida Grand Opera); Count Almaviva in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (Austin Lyric Opera, Fort Worth Opera); Le Comte de Vaudemont in Verdi’s Les Vespres Siciliennes (Frankfurt Opera); and Captain Gardiner in the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick (Dallas Opera); among many others.

Mr. Beyer has appeared in concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra; the Munich and Netherlands Radio philharmonics; and the American, Chicago, Colorado, Fort Worth, Lansing, and New Jersey symphony orchestras. An avid recitalist, he has performed in recital with Craig Rutenberg, Mikael Eliasen, Kristin Okerlund, Martin Katz, and Brian Zeger. 

Mr. Beyer is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

Flexible in size and scope, the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble performs a wide range of music from the 20th and 21st centuries, including works by Curtis students and alumni. The ensemble has appeared at major U.S. venues such as the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and the Miller Theatre, as well as international venues, including the Intimacy of Creativity festival in Hong Kong. The ensemble has presented concert portraits of iconic composers in residence Unsuk Chin, John Corigliano, George Crumb, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Chen Yi, among many others. Of the ensemble’s Joan Tower portrait program, the New York Times wrote, “Ms. Tower could hardly have hoped for more passionate performances.” The Curtis 20/21 Ensemble is led by artistic director David Ludwig.




Saturday, November 10 at 8 p.m.
Gould Rehearsal Hall, Lenfest Hall, 1616 Locust Street, Philadelphia

Preconcert discussion at 7:30 p.m.


  Curtis 20/21 Ensemble
PETER MAXWELL DAVIES Eight Songs for a Mad King
  Jonathan Beyer (’07), baritone
  Susan Nowicki, piano
  Curtis 20/21 Ensemble


Tickets: $20, sold by Curtis Patron Services at (215) 893-7902 or Curtis.edu/Performances.

Streamed live on YouTube (Curtis.edu/YouTube) and Facebook Live (Facebook.com/CurtisInstitute) at 7:30 p.m. EST.


Generous support for the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble is provided by the Daniel W. Dietrich II Foundation.



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