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Works by Mendelssohn, Bach and Beethoven Comprise a Beautiful Program Linking Faith and Music When the Dayton Philharmonic Presents Mendelssohn and the Reformation

Communications & Media Manager 
Dayton Performing Arts Alliance 
Phone 937-224-3521 x1138 

DAYTON, OH (September 29, 2017) – On Friday, October 13, 2017 and Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 8:00 pm in the Mead Theatre of the Schuster Center, Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra will present the third concert in the 2017–2018 Premier Health Masterworks Series, Mendelssohn and the Reformation. The DPO proudly welcomes to the stage piano virtuoso Angela Cheng.  Ms. Cheng is the Louis S. Cantor, Rose Sorokin Cantor, Samuel L. Cantor, and Lena Cantor Endowed Guest Artist for this season. 

The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Chorus, comprising over 120 local vocalists, takes the stage for this performance. Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Chorus  members are selected volunteer singers from throughout the Miami Valley and join the Orchestra in concert several times each season to perform some of the most challenging and beautiful choral-orchestral music in the Western tradition. The DPO Chorus is directed by Hank Dahlman, who also holds the title of Director of Choral Studies at Wright State, where he serves as the conductor of the WSU Collegiate Chorale. In 2015, Dahlman was appointed to the rank of University Professor, the university's highest rank, held by only three faculty members at any one time. 

Returning to the stage to showcase their vocal expertise for these two evenings are all four Dayton Opera 2016–2017 Artists-in-Residence. The DPO welcomes with open arms the return of soprano Chelsea Friedlander, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Frey, tenor Brian Skoog, and bass-baritone Vincent Grana. Joining these four talented singers are two vocalists from the Dayton Opera Chorus, who will add even further musical depth to this evening of song. The DPO also welcomes soprano Rachael Andrew Boezi and tenor Mark Hanson into the spotlight of the Mead Theatre stage. 

The year 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. International events throughout the year will celebrate and recognize Martin Luther and his historic 95 Theses. The world of music, always heavily linked to the world of faith, has long contributed to the celebration of Reformation Day. With this concert, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra continues this tradition. 

The evening begins with Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cantata No. 80, also known as “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” (“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”). Bach composed this chorale cantata for Reformation Day celebrations, basing the work on Martin Luther’s hymn setting for Psalm 46. 

The Philharmonic then performs Choral Fantasy by Ludwig von Beethoven. Beethoven wrote this piece in 1808, during what is often called his “middle period” (from 1803 to 1813). It was during this period that Beethoven came to grips with his hearing loss. And it is during this time that his music became stronger, almost heroic. Choral Fantasy was premiered in a four-hour concert that also featured his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, as well as his Piano Concerto No. 4! 

For the performance of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and Mendelssohn’s Capriccio Brillant, the DPO will be joined by guest pianist Angela Cheng. This talented musician from Canada has appeared as soloist with more than 100 orchestras both in the United States and around the world. Ms. Cheng also holds a position as professor of piano at Oberlin College and Conservatory. Consistently praised for her brilliant technique, tonal beauty and superb musicianship, Canadian pianist Angela Cheng is one of her country’s national treasures, and the DPO is fortunate and very pleased to have here in Dayton. 

The final two pieces of the evening are works by Felix Mendelssohn. Capriccio Brillant is a charming piece written in 1832, while Mendelssohn was on an extended visit to Paris. It is works such as this Capriccio that helped mark Mendelssohn as one of the “Sunshine Composers,” a group that also included Rossini and Saint-Saëns, two other composers of truly optimistic, joyous music. Mendelssohn is lucky to have been recognized for his talent and craftsmanship within his lifetime. 

Mendelssohn wrote his Symphony No. 5 in preparation for the 300th anniversary of Luther’s Augsburg Confession, an important date in the Protestant Reformation. The composer had become ill during the writing of the work, however, and finished too late for the commission’s deadline. Just as Bach did for his Cantata, Mendelssohn gained inspiration for the symphony from Martin Luther’s hymn “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott.” The hymn also lies as a motif in the third and fourth movements of "Reformation."  

“Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” (Psalm 46). . . . Join us as the music of the evening celebrates our world, physical and spiritual.

Tickets for Mendelssohn and the Reformation range from $16 to $65 and are available at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or online at  Senior, teacher and student discounts are available at the box office. For more information or to order subscriptions, including flexible subscription types that include performances by Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet, visit

About the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance 
The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was formed in July 2012 as the result of a groundbreaking and innovative merger between the Dayton Ballet, the Dayton Opera, and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Together, they are the largest performing arts organization in the community, offering a tremendous variety of performance and education programs and setting a new standard for artistic excellence.  Dayton Performing Arts Alliance performances are made possible in part by Montgomery County and Culture Works, the single largest source of community funds for the arts and culture in the Miami Valley. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance also receives partial funding from the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency created to foster and encourage the development of the arts and to preserve Ohio's cultural heritage. Funding from the Ohio Arts Council is an investment of state tax dollars that promotes economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohio residents. In 2013, The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was thrilled to be one of five performing arts organizations in the country selected to receive a three-year "Music Alive" grant from New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance is the proud recipient of a 2017-2018 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
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