Jonathan Lasch and Rob Conway





Jonathan Lasch and Rob Conway


  • Jonathan Lasch, baritone
  • Rob Conway, piano

Event Details

Performing Franz Schubert's Schwanengesang in it's entirety, with a brief intermission.

Schwanengesang, or Swan Song, was published in 1829 just a few month’s after Schubert’s death, and was advertised as the composer’s third major song cycle by the publisher. However, this collection of songs was not a true cycle, as the poems came from three different poets; Ludwig Rellstab, Heinrich Heine, and Johann Seidl and the texts do not tell a continuous story. Schubert composed the first 13, of 14 songs in a single sitting on consecutive manuscript pages. 

Jonathan Lasch

Jonathan Lasch has been described by critics as possessing a voice of “arresting color and heft,” that is “smooth and flexible,” “thrillingly resonant and firm-lined,” a singer able to “balance a big, powerful sound with a light-handed facility with which he makes every note of the fast passagework perfectly clear, and a performer who is a “master of the stage” and “tour de force.” Most recently, Mr. Lasch performed the roles of Sam in Trouble in Tahiti with Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival and Hannah Before in As One with Aepex Contemporary Performance at Kerrytown Concert Hall. Other recent roles include Leporello in Don Giovanni and Marco in A View from the Bridge with Michigan Opera Theater, Captain Corcoran in H.M.S. Pinafore with Piedmont Opera, Scarpia in Tosca for Opera Saratoga’s Pasta and Puccini Night, Marcello in La bohème with Arbor Opera Theatre and Bar Harbor Music Festival, Masetto in Don Giovanni with Green Mountain Opera Festival, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Fargo Moorhead Opera, the title role in Le Nozze di Figaro for Princeton Festival, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Master Players Concert Series at University of Delaware and Fargo Moorhead Opera, and Ford in Falstaff with Aspen Opera Theater Center.

An accomplished concert artist, Lasch has sung the premiere of Rene Clausen’s Passion at Minnesota Orchestra Hall, Mozart’s Requiem at Carnegie Hall with Manhattan Concert Productions; Händel’s Messiah with Houston Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, and Calvin Orotorio Society, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Adrian Symphony, Bach’s Ich habe genug with Trinity Lutheran Church Foundation Series; and performances of Fauré’s and Duruflé’s Requiem, Henry Mallicone’s Beatitude Mass, The Creation, The Five Mystical Songs, and Dover Beach with The Emerson String Quartet. He was also featured as a recitalist in Spain (Leon, Salamanca, Soria, and Baiona La Real). Mr. Lasch will sing his first performances of Orff’s Carmina Burana this season with Adrian Symphony in May and Wayne State University Ensembles at Orchestra Hall in Detroit in March. Jonathan will also perform Schubert’s Schwanengesang several times in venues across Michigan in September.

While earning an Artist Diploma in Opera at University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, Jonathan’s roles included the title role in Verdi’s Falstaff, Melisso in Alcina, Shrike in the Midwest première of Lowell Liebermann’s Miss Lonelyhearts, and Marcello in La bohème. Mr. Lasch performed Ford in Falstaff and Escamillo in La tragédie de Carmen with Seattle Opera’s Young Artist Program and Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia with Portland Opera. Jonathan was a Glimmerglass Opera Young American Artist for two summers where he performed Achilla in Giulio Cesare, and covered Scarpia in Tosca and Friedrich in Wagner’s comic opera Das Liebesverbot.

Mr. Lasch was fortunate to learn from some of the best training programs in the United States, having participated in the Young Artist Programs at Glimmerglass Opera, Seattle Opera, Portland Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Connecticut Opera and the Aspen Opera Center. Dr. Lasch holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Hartt School at University of Hartford, an Artist Diploma in Opera from The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and has became a Doctor of Musical Arts at The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. Through these programs he was able to study with some of the foremost baritone pedagogues of today, including; William McGraw, Stephen Lusmann, Stephen King, Mark Oswald and Mark Schneible, as well as ‘Breath Specialist’ Deb Birnbaum and renowned Wagnerian soprano, Jane Eaglen. Dr. Lasch has taught voice at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, Adrian College, University of Michigan, and will return to Wayne State University in Detroit as Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Voice this coming school year. Jonathan enjoys living in Ferndale, Michigan with his wife and three kids.
That’s an especially nuanced explanation; then again, the gleaming successes of Barber’s art lie in the nuances, the nooks and crannies, of conventional performance. When the veteran music writer Don Heckman (in the Los Angeles Times) called Barber “one of the most utterly individual jazz performers to arrive on the scene in years,” he wasn’t referring to the virtuosic spectacle that comes all too easily to today’s jazz artists; he had homed in on the quiet audacity with which Barber has redefined the role of the singer/songwriter for 21st-century jazz.

Born in the Chicago suburbs, Barber came by music naturally. Her father was Floyd “Shim” Barber, a saxophonist who had worked with Glenn Miller’s orchestra, and the instrument beguiled young Patricia: “When he played the saxophone around the house, I’d put my hand in the bell to feel the music.” She began playing classical piano at the age of 6, but by the time she had graduated high school – in South Sioux City, Iowa, where the family had moved in the mid-60s, following her father’s death – Barber had foresworn jazz entirely. “It was hanging over my head the whole time,” she recalled years later. “But I thought that becoming a jazz musician was such a stupid thing for a woman to do – for a smart woman to do – that I tried to resist it.”

Barber enrolled at the University of Iowa with a double major in classical music and psychology, while continuing to indulge the voracious reading habit she had nurtured since childhood. But the jazz echoes she thought she’d banished only grew louder, and by graduation, she had decided to follow in her father’s path. She returned to Chicago, and in 1984 she landed the gig that put her (and the venue at which she performed) on the national jazz map: five nights a week at the intimate Gold Star Sardine Bar, which held 60 people at the most, but where the audience made up in sophistication what it lacked in size.

Soon her reputation spread beyond Chicago, spurred by enthusiastic response to performances at the Chicago Jazz Festival (1988) and the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands (1989), culminating in her major label debut (A Distortion Of Love) in 1992. Two years later, she released Café Blue, her debut for the small Premonition label; working with label head and producer Michael Friedman, Barber garnered rave reviews from around the nation, which would quickly become the normal response to each new release.

At about the same time, Barber began a steady engagement at Chicago’s legendary Green Mill (which was owned in the 1920s by a lieutenant of Al Capone’s, and is today considered the city’s leading jazz room); when not on tour, she continues to perform there every Monday night. And, ever the student, Barber returned to academia in the mid90s to earn her master’s degree in jazz pedagogy from Northwestern University. (She regularly gives master classes in this country and overseas.) Barber’s first two albums for Premonition made her an international star: despite the label’s tiny size, Barber sold more than 120,000 of the album Modern Cool and even more of the follow-up Nightclub, attracting the attention of Blue Note Records. In 1999 Blue Note started distributing her discs as part of a unique partnership – the first joint imprint in the fabled label’s then-six-decade history. In 2002, Barber moved into an exclusive contract with Blue Note, recording three albums, including Mythologies, a genre-crashing song cycle based on the writings of the ancient Roman poet Ovid; the project was supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship in composition (the first ever awarded to a non-classical “songwriter”).

Rob Conway

Robert Conway is an associate professor of piano at Wayne State University, where he is also the director of the piano area. Since 1989, he has performed regularly as orchestral keyboardist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and has been a soloist with them on several occasions. In 2013, he performed the solo piano part to Symphony No. 4 by Charles Ives in Carnegie Hall as part of the Detroit Symphony’s presentation of the complete symphonies of Ives. He has served as a musical representative of the United States as an Artistic Ambassador of the United States Information Agency on a month-long tour of South Asia and the Middle East in 1997, as well as acting as a Department of State Cultural Envoy to Jamaica in 2005 and Azerbaijan in 2008. As a soloist and chamber musician, he has appeared at numerous national and international festivals, performed concertos with many orchestras, collaborated with prestigious composers, given countless premieres and is featured on several recordings on numerous labels. In 2009, he performed as part of the American Romanian Festival in Timisoara and Sannicolau Mare, Romania.

Conway received a bachelor's degree in piano performance from the New England Conservatory and master's and doctoral degrees in piano performance from the University of Michigan. His principal teachers were Theodore Lettvin, Rudolf Kolisch and Eugene Bossart.

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