Friends of Music Artists Series Kicks Off
MURFREESBORO, NC – The Fall semester has arrived with new voices filling the air in the Music Department at Chowan University. The first Friends of Music Artists Series will be held Sunday, September 18, 2016 at Murfreesboro Baptist Church. The event begins at 3:30 PM and will feature the latest faculty additions to the Music Department at Chowan University.
This summer two new full-time faculty members, Dr. Lisa Lowry, soprano and music educator and Dr. Benjamin Thorburn, Director of Choral Activities, were hired to assist with the increasing enrollment and the growth within the music department. This semester alone the department welcomed twenty-seven new freshmen for a total of forty-one music majors. Drs. Lowry and Thorburn are acclimating to their new roles at the university, spending much needed time with our freshmen class.
Soprano Lisa Lowry has performed throughout the United States and western Canada. Roles from operas and musicals have included Lucy in The Telephone, Marie in The Most Happy Fella, Clorinda in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff, Naiad in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, and Fire in L’Enfant et les sortilèges by Ravel. Concert or oratorio works have included Mark Hayes’ Spirit Suite, Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s Creation (Gabriel), Orff’s Carmina Burana, Heras’ de profundis, and Dubois’ Seven Last Words of Christ.
Lisa has done much contemporary music including premieres of works by Dan Locklair and Andrew Creaghan. She has appeared with the Canadian chamber groups Land’s End Chamber Ensemble and Rosa Selvatica, singing such works as Joseph Schwantner’s Sparrows, Russian Stravinsky songs, and new Canadian music. Her performance of Chansons Madécasses by Ravel and this is a beautiful way by Peter Jancewicz, with Land's End Chamber Ensemble, were recorded for broadcast by CBC Radio.
She previously taught at Indiana State University, Wabash College, Vincennes University, and Southern Virginia University. She is enjoying her new position at Chowan University.
Bass-baritone Benjamin Thorburn is Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Chowan University. A versatile singer with experience in art song, opera, oratorio, and early music, he has performed throughout Virginia, the mid-Atlantic, and the Northeast. As a music scholar, he is a specialist in Baroque music and performance practice and has presented his research at national and international conferences. Thorburn previously was on the music faculty of Bluefield College in Virginia. He received a Ph.D. in music history from Yale University and Bachelor of Arts in music from the University of Rochester. Thorburn’s principal voice teachers have been Lielle Berman and Jane Günter-McCoy.
Thorburn welcomes the community to join him on January 23, 2017 for the first rehearsal of the new Chowan Community Chorus under his direction. The Chowan Community Chorus in conjunction with the University Singers will present an Easter Celebration, performing Vivaldi’s Gloria Sunday, April 23rd at Murfreesboro Baptist Church.
The Friends of Music Artist Series will also feature Dr. Colleen Potter Thorburn, a harpist on the music faculties of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. She presents concerts as a touring artist with the Virginia Commission for the Arts, performs as principal harpist with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, and performs as a substitute harpist for the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. An advocate for new music, Thorburn commissions and performs new works with the horn-and-harp duo Apple Orange Pair, which released its first album in 2013. Thorburn completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Yale School of Music, where she studied with June Han, and she holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Illinois, where she studied with Ann Yeung.
The Music Department at Chowan University welcomes all who enjoy music to attend the concerts and is grateful to Murfreesboro Baptist Church for allowing the use of their sanctuary for art music concerts. More information about joining The Friends of Music will be available at the opening concert. Following the opening concert will be a reception in the fellowship hall honoring the new artists in the community.