A Sinfonia Showcase: Concerts feature Young Artist prize winners

Staff Writer
The Destin Log
French clarinetist Raphaël Sévère will perform a Classical Connections concert at Grace Lutheran Church in Destin Nov. 7.

Keeping the tempo on the Emerald Coast’s cultural scene since its founding in 2005, Sinfonia Gulf Coast will mark its milestone 10th season as the region’s only fully professional symphony orchestra by offering a stellar lineup of concerts and educational initiatives featuring the orchestra, world-renowned guest artists and a 10th anniversary gala event headlined by an Emmy and Tony Award-winning singer and actress.

With its continued commitment to education and supporting emerging guest artists, Sinfonia will present two winners of New York City’s Young Concert Artists, who were also awarded the related Sinfonia Gulf Coast Prize.

“We are honored to support and nurture young artists through concert appearances,” states Sinfonia Music Director Demetrius Fuller. “Education plays a critical role in our mission and we are fortunate to be able to assist in the development of new artists as well as provide critical arts education and initiatives to schools throughout Okaloosa and Walton Counties.”

French clarinetist Raphaël Sévère, winner of the 2013 Sinfonia Gulf Coast Prize, will be the featured soloist performing W.A. Mozart’s “Concerto for Clarinet & Orchestra” during the Saturday, Nov. 7 Classical Connections concert at Grace Lutheran Church in Destin. Sévère, 22, who made his concerto debut at 11 years old with the Beijing Opera Orchestra, received a degree with highest honors from the Conservatoire national supérieur de Paris by age 19.

As a soloist, Mr. Sévère has performed with many orchestras throughout France, including the Orchestre National de France. Outside of his home country, he has played with the Russian National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Vladimir Spivakov, as well as the Czech Philharmonic, Budapest Chamber Orchestra, Württemberg Chamber Orchestra, and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

He has also participated in La Folle Journée festivals in Nantes, Bilbao, and Tokyo, as well as the Festival de Radio France et Montpellier, Festival International de Colmar, Festival de Menton, Festival Antibes Génération Virtuoses, and Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. A seasoned chamber player, Mr. Sévère frequently collaborates with distinguished musicians including YCA alumni Jean-Frédéric Neuburger, Olivier Charlier, and the Modigliani String Quartet.

The 2012 Sinfonia Gulf Coast Prize winner, vocalist Julia Bullock, will take the Sinfonia stage on Friday, Jan. 29 at Destiny Worship Center, performing in “Made in America” featuring selections by George Gershwin, Josephine Baker and Leonard Bernstein.

Winner of the 2014 Naumburg International Vocal Competition and recipient of a 2015 Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship, the 2015 Richard F. Gold Grant from the Shoshana Foundation, and Lincoln Center’s 2015 Martin E. Segal Award, soprano Julia Bullock has been hailed as an “impressive, fast-rising soprano… poised for a significant career” (The New York Times).

Her busy schedule includes performances with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, Napa’s Festival del Sole, the University of Florida Performing Arts Center, Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, the Levine School of Music, and Music for Youth, as well as recitals at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Rockefeller University, the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University, and Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts.

She is also featured in the New York Festival of Song’s Harlem Renaissance program on tour and at Merkin Concert Hall, as well as in the Mondavi Center’s Rising Stars of Opera. She reprised the title role in Henry Purcell’s “The Indian Queen,” directed by Peter Sellars at the Perm Opera House, and at English National Opera.

She was acclaimed for her performance of the role last season in Perm and at the Teatro Real in Madrid; a DVD of the Madrid production will be available this season.

This past summer, Ms. Bullock made her debut with the New York Philharmonic, performing Bernstein’s “West Side Story Concert Suite No. 1” with Alan Gilbert and tours with the orchestra in Vail and Santa Barbara.

For more information about Sinfonia, or to purchase tickets, see www.sinfoniagulfcoast.org or call 460-8800.

Season tickets feature preferred seating for all five concerts are available for $195 per person. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m., with the exception of the gala, which begins at 8 p.m.

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