Campus News

Final Concert, Department of Music's 1998-99 Series

Story posted April 15, 1999

March 29, 1999, BRUNSWICK, Maine -- Baritone Kurt Ollmann '77 will be featured at the fourth and final concert of the 1998-1999 concert series presented by the Bowdoin College Department of Music. He will perform at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 5, in Kresge Auditorium. Admission is $10 for the general public, $8 for seniors 65 or older and free with a Bowdoin ID card. Tickets are available in advance at the Smith Union Information Desk or by calling 725-3375.

Pianist Donald St. Pierre will accompany Ollmann, and the program will include Theodore Chanler's "Eight Epitaphs," Elliott Carter's "Voyage," Ned Rorem's "Evidence of Things Not Seen" and "Walt Whitman in 1989" from the "AIDS Quilt Songbook."

Ollmann came to prominence singing the part of Riff on the Deutsche Grammophon recording of "West Side Story," directed by Leonard Bernstein. He sang Bernstein's "Songfest" in Rome under Bernstein's direction and in a televised production from the steps of the U.S. Capitol. His long association with the music of Leonard Bernstein also includes recordings of "Candide," "On the Town," and "A Quiet Place."

His distinguished career also includes many operatic performances. He created the title role in Peter Lieberson's "Ashoka's Dream" at the Santa Fe Opera in the summer of 1997 and is a frequent oratorio soloist, most recently "Elijah" in New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. He has appeared at the Ravinia and Tanglewood festivals and has given recitals at London's Wigmore Hall and in Paris, Milan, Geneva, New York, Chicago and Montreal. He was one of the original performers of "The AIDS Quilt Songbook" and made his Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center debut during the 1995 season. He regularly appears with the New York Festival of Song.

Ollmann's recent recordings are Gounod's "Romeo et Juliette" with Placido Domingo, Gershwin's "Oh, Kay!" with Dawn Upshaw and "Music of Paul Bowles." Other recordings include Carly Simon's "Family Opera," "Romulus Hunt," Haydn's "Creation" and Kurt Weill's "Street Scene." Soon to be released are Ravel's "L'Heure Espagnol," with Andre Previn, and Michael Torke's "The Book of Proverbs." Kurt Ollmann has been featured in several PBS television specials including "A Grand Night for Singing" with Tyne Daly, Sylvia McNair and Frederica von Stade.

Born in Wisconsin, Ollmann earned a bachelor's degree in Romance languages and an honorary doctorate in music from Bowdoin.

St. Pierre joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 1990 as opera and voice coach. He served as music director of the Skylight Opera Theater in Milwaukee from 1978-1990. Prior to 1978 he served many seasons as keyboard player for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. In 1986 St. Pierre served as chorus master at the Vienna State Opera for Leonard Bernstein's "A Quiet Place." From 1987-1994 he was head coach of the voice department at the Chautauqua Institution. Since 1995 he has held the same position at the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival.

As a recital accompanist, he has appeared at venues such as New York's Lincoln Center, London's Wigmore Hall, and the Almeida Theater. He is one of the contributing composers to the "AIDS Quilt Songbook." Other compositions include three chamber operas commissioned by the Skylight and two folk hymn settings commissioned and premiered by the Mendelssohn Club.

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