We can’t help boasting: Berkshire Choral has a great reputation. Recognized conductors often seek us out. The experience of turning a diverse group of passionate amateurs into a tight-knit chorus in the space of a week is as invigorating for them as it is for you.
June 9-16, 2019, Sonoma, California
Gary Thor Wedow has established an enviable reputation for dramatically exciting and historically informed performances with opera companies, orchestras, festivals, and choral organizations throughout North America. In December of 2012, he debuted with the New York Philharmonic conducting Messiah, an occasion noted in the New York Times for ‘a fleet, lithe orchestral performance, aptly complemented by the buoyant singing of the chorus’. Hailed by the Baltimore Sun for “hot music making” and “convincingly elegant period style” in Opera News, Maestro Wedow’s 2014-2015 season includes a return to Seattle Opera for two productions: Don Giovanni in the fall and Handel’s Semele in the winter. Back in New York, he will again be on the podium for the New York Philharmonic’s performances of Messiah at Avery Fisher Hall in December and also conducts Handel’s masterpiece for the Santa Fe Symphony.
Born in La Porte, Indiana, and now a resident of New York City, Wedow has been a member of the Juilliard School faculty since 1994 and has led performances there of L’incoronazione di Poppea, La finta giardiniera, Ariodante and Don Giovanni. A musical scholar as well as conductor, he has prepared several performing editions of baroque works in collaboration with countertenor Lawrence Lipnik. His long association with director Stephen Wadsworth has included productions of Handel’s Xerxes, Ariodante and Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride.
Wedow has been a frequent guest of Florida Grand Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Glimmerglass Opera, Berkshire Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Amherst Early Music Festival and Pittsburgh Opera among others. His wide ranging repertoire includes Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, both Sartorio’s and Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Le nozze di Figaro, Carmen, Patience, La bohème, The Rake’s Progress, Pirates of Penzance and several world premieres including The Loathly Lady with libretto by Wendy Steiner, music by Paul Richards. Choral masterpieces and symphonic repertoire have taken him to the podiums of Orchestra London – Ontario, Phoenix Symphony, Edmonton Symphony and Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society where he was, for many years, Associate Conductor. As a pianist, Wedow studied with virtuoso Jorge Bolet at Indiana University School of Music and received his Master of Music degree at the New England Conservatory.
June 23-30, 2019, Boston, Massachusetts
Hailed by the press as engaging, elegant, and entertaining, Erin Freeman holds a joint position with the Richmond Symphony, where she serves as Director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus, and Virginia Commonwealth University, where she is Director of Choral Activities. This unique appointment comes on the heels of seven successful years as the Richmond Symphony’s Associate Conductor, and includes overseeing all of the choral ensembles at VCU and preparing the 150-voice Richmond Symphony Chorus. Projects for this season include Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, a performance honoring the Richmond Symphony Chorus’s founder, Dr. James Erb, and a collaboration with VCU’s Global HIV-AIDS initiative.
In addition to her work in Richmond, Freeman just completed her first season as Artistic Director of Wintergreen Performing Arts. Her creative and vibrant programming resulted in record crowds, multiple sell-outs, increased donations, and an endorsement in the Washington Post. Under her leadership, the Festival boasted 20 world premieres; the Wintergreen Summer Music Academy expanded to include voice, conducting, and arts administration programs; and a new interactive program for the patrons, called Community Barn Week, proved wildly popular.
Freeman has been a frequent guest conductor with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and served as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus. She has also Guest Conducted the South Carolina Philharmonic, the Savannah Symphony, the Richmond Ballet, and other ensembles in Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Missouri, and Illinois. In summer 2015, she made her debut with Berkshire Choral International and the Springfield Symphony, and this upcoming season, Freeman will guest conduct two honors ensembles, will lead several performances by the Richmond Symphony, and will continue her association with the Richmond Ballet.
Passionate about making classical music accessible to all, Freeman served as Director of Orchestras at Baltimore School for the Arts and American University, Conductor at Northwestern University’s National High School Music Institute, Lecturer for the National Philharmonic and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Richmond Philharmonic, and Resident Conductor at Peabody Conservatory. She has instructed national seminars for the Conductor’s Guild and serves on their board of directors as vice president.
Winner of numerous awards, including the Women’s Philharmonic Conducting Scholarship, Freeman was selected by Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly as one of Virginia’s 50 most influential women. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University, a Master of Music from Boston University, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Peabody Conservatory. Teachers and masterclass instructors include Gustav Meier, Victor Yampolsky, Helmuth Rilling, Murry Sidlin, and Robert Shaw.
July 7-14, 2019, Richmond, Virginia
Tom Hall was appointed Music Director Emeritus of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society in 2017. after serving for 35 years as music director. Tom Hall joined the WYPR staff as the Host of Choral Arts Classics in 2003. After 10 years as the Culture Editor and then host of Maryland Morning, in September, 2016, Tom became the host of Midday, the highly rated news and public policy program that features interviews with elected officials, community leaders, and thought provoking authors, artists, researchers, journalists, and scholars from around the world.
Tom is invited frequently to speak to professional and community organizations, including the Oregon Bach Festival, the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, the College Endowment Association, the Baltimore Broadcaster’s Coalition, The Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute, the Johns Hopkins Community Conversations Series, and the Creative Alliance. He has moderated panels and given presentations at the Baltimore City Lit Festival, the Baltimore Book Festival, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters Art Museum, the University of Maryland, the Enoch Pratt Library, and MICA. He has also moderated Mayoral Debates, panels at Light City in Baltimore, and at the Stevenson University Speakers Series.
He appears each year as the moderator of the Rosenberg-Blaustein Distinguished Artist Recital Series at Goucher College. His publications include articles in The Baltimore Sun, Style Magazine, and Baltimore Magazine, as well as many scholarly music journals, and he is the co-author of "The Bach Passions in Our Time: Contending with the Legacy of Antisemitism," published on-line by the Institute for Islamic Christian and Jewish Studies.
A longtime radio host of "Maryland Morning" on WYPR, Tom now host of "In the Bromo," "What Are You Reading?" and "Midday" on that station. He has also hosted WYPR/MD Film Festival Spotlight Series. He received an Emmy Award In 2006 for the "Christmas with Choral Arts" special that aired on WMAR television, the ABC affiliate in Maryland, for 21 years. He has been a guest co-host of Maryland Public Television’s Art Works, and in 2007, he was named “Best New Broadcast Journalist” by the Maryland Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2009, the Baltimore City Paper named him "Best Local Radio Personality." In 2016,and 2017, he was recognized as "Best Talk Show Host" in the Baltimore Magazine Reader's Poll.
Prague, Czech Republic
August 4-11, 2019, Prague, Czech Republic
Born in Lower Austria, Heinz Ferlesch has successfully established himself as a conductor of his baroque orchestra Barucco as well as a longtime choirmaster of Wiener Singakademie.
He studied at the Anton Bruckner Conservatory Linz and at the University of Music and Performing Arts with Herwig Reiter and Johannes Prinz. At the age of 27 Ferlesch was appointed Artistic Director of Wiener Singakademie by the Vienna Konzerthaus, the youngest Artistic Director in the choir´s history.
Within his career he has worked with conductors as Georges Prêtre, Valery Gergiev, Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Simon Rattle, Franz Welser-Möst, Kent Nagano, Fabio Luisi, Adam Fischer, Bertrand de Billy, Ton Kopmann, Helmuth Rilling and Simone Young.
Engagements of the Wiener Singakademie took him – besides periodic performances at Vienna Konzerthaus – to London, Zurich, Budapest, Venedig and New York. Close collaboration with orchestras like Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and Zurich Opera House Orchestra have shaped the musical development of Wiener Singakademie and its Artistic Director.
In 2004, Ferlesch founded his orchestra Barucco and since then he has increased his appearances as an orchestra conductor. Barucco, a young ensemble consisting of international baroque specialists, focuses mainly on the music of 18th century. Since its foundation the orchestra has been a regular guest at Vienna Konzerthaus and it is the orchestra in residence of the festival Vokalwoche Melk.
Performing with young Austrian soloists and the Wiener Singakademie is one of the main concerns of the orchestra. In 2009 Barucco was invited to perform at the International Baroque Festival at the monastery of Melk. Various CD recordings and broadcasts show the wide range of the orchestra´s repertoire; in 2004 the orchestra recorded music by Antonio Vivaldi for the Austrian broadcasting station ORF, and in 2006 a live recording of Handel´s Judas Maccabaeus was released by the ORF Edition of Ancient Music. In 2009 a recording of Handel´s oratorio Alexander´s Feast was published.
Ferlesch also works extensively with the choir Ad Libitum, which he founded in 1993. This mixed choir focuses on a capella music and has performed at Festspielhaus St. Pölten, the Brucknerhaus Linz and various festivals such as. Europäischer Kultursommer Aspach, Passauer Konzertwinter and Kultursommer St. Paul. Concert tours took the choir to England, Italy, Greece and Germany.
Conductor Ferlesch and his ensembles have been awarded various national and international prizes. In 2007 he was awarded the highly respected Ferdinand-Grossmann prize. In 2009 he was awarded the Erwin Ortner Prize in honor of his activities promoting choir music in Lower Austria.
Ferlesch has been a guest conductor at Berkshire Choral International and also member of the jury of several national and international choir competitions. In 2010 he was invited to conduct Antonin Dvořák’s Stabat Mater in Paris in cooperation with the Choer de Radio France. Since 2002 he has taught at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. In 2013 Ferlesch won the Golden Badge of Honour of the Municipality of St. Valentin in the category of music.