Friday, November 5, 3:00 pm
Sunset Center Theater

Thomas Cooley, tenor
Donald Sulzen, piano 

Luise Adopha le Beau (1850-1927) Juchhe
Spielmanns Lied
Josephine Lang (1815-1880) Abschied
In weite Ferne
Nähe des Geliebten
Den Abschied schnell genommen
Samuel Barber (1910-1981) Sleep Now
Rain has Fallen
I hear an Army
Joseph Fennimore  (b. 1940 ) Berlitz Introduction to French
Before you Land
When you go Sightseeing
Florence B. Price  (1887-1953) Night
The Poet and his Song
Adolphus Hailstork  (b. 1941) If I can Stop one Heart from Breaking
Juliana Hall (b. 1958 ) Sonnet – (Night Dances)
Ned Rorem (b. 1923) A Birthday
Early in the Morning
Stopping by Woods on a Snow Evening

Today’s concert has a message for everyone.

If one breezes through the works of the recital, several song titles shed a bit of light on the listener: Sleep now, If I can Stop one Heart from Breaking, Early in the Morning or Alleluia. There are a couple of well known composers on the program, such as Ned Rorem or Samuel Barber, but the interpreters have intentionally selected lesser known minority composers – female composers, black composers and gay composers. Luise Adolpha le Beau, Josephine Lang, Florence B. Price, Adolphus Hailstork: These are not names you frequently experience in concert programs but they, too, have produced musical gems that will surely provide hope, healing and who knows – perhaps a bit of happiness as well. – Donald Sulzen


Artist Biographies


Praised by the New York Times for his “sweet, penetrating lyric tenor with aching sensitivity,” and by San Francisco Classical Voice as “an indomitable musical force,”  Thomas Cooley (pictured above) is a singer of great versatility, expressiveness, and virtuosity.

He has collaborated with conductors such as Teodor Currentzis, Nicholas McGegan, Robert Spano, Manfred Honneck, Donald Runnicles, Helmuth Rilling, Osmo Vänskä, Eji Oue, David Robertson, Markus Stenz, Bernard Labadie, Jane Glover, and Franz Welser-Möst

Internationally in demand for a wide range of repertoire in concert, opera, and chamber music, Cooley performs regularly with major orchestras such as the Atlanta, St. Louis, and National Symphonies; the Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra; Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec; Copenhagen Philharmonic; Bavarian Radio Symphony; Orchestra Sinfonica Giuseppe Verdi; the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig; and the Osaka Philharmonic.

Thomas Cooley’s repertoire on the symphonic stage includes works such as Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis; Berlioz’s Requiem; productions of Britten’s Peter Grimes and War Requiem in Carnegie Hall as part of the Britten Centennial; Haydn’s Creation; Britten’s Serenade and Les Illuminations; Mendelssohn’s Elijah; Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius; Rihm’s Deus Passus; Mahler’s Lied von der Erde; Penderecki’s Credo, and Kodály’s Psalmus Hungaricus. Recent highlights include a tour of Mozart’s Requiem with musicAeterna, and the world premiere and recording of Christopher Theofanidis’s Creation/Creator with Atlanta Symphony.  Other important recordings include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Copenhagen Philharmonic and the title role in Handel’s Samson with Nicholas McGegan and the Festspiel Orchester Göttingen.

Renowned for his agility and skill in Baroque music, Mr. Cooley is in demand, particularly as an interpreter of the works of Bach and Handel. This year, he returns for his 10th season as the tenor soloist at the Carmel Bach Festival. He was named Artist-in-Residence by Music of the Baroque in Chicago in the 2015-16 season.  Of his Evangelist with Jane Glover, the Chicago Tribune wrote, “In the stylish tenor Thomas Cooley she had an ideal Evangelist, firm of voice and commanding of expression.  So intensely did he penetrate the long and demanding narration that the familiar saga took on the urgency of on-site reportage.” He appears regularly with such groups as Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Boston Baroque, Handel and Haydn, Akadamie für Alte Musik Berlin, Les Violons du Roy, and the Göttingen Händelfestspiele.

Important recent engagements of Baroque music include Telemann’s Tag des Gerichts in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; the Evangelist in St. John Passion on tour in Italy with the Munich Bach Choir; Purcell’s Indian Queen with musicAeterna, Bach’s Lutheran Masses with Violons du Roy in Montreal,  Evangelist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Seattle Symphony, Handel’s Joshua with Philharmonia Baroque and created the role of Acis in a new production of Acis and Galatea with the Mark Morris Dance Group. A program of Handel arias and duets entitled “As Steals the Morn” with San Francisco’s Voices of Music was selected as the best Early/Baroque performance in the Bay Area in 2019 and a video of one of the selections of this concert has received over one million views.

On the operatic stage he has performed many of the great tenor roles in the operas of Mozart, including Tamino, Belmonte, Ferrando, Don Ottavio and the title role in Idomeneo. Other roles include Count Almaviva in Rossini’s Barbiere di Siviglia, the title role in Bernstein’s Candide, and Bajazet in Handel’s Tamerlano.  He was a member of the ensemble at the Gärtnerplatz Theater in Munich for four years.  Additionally, he has performed at the Bavarian State Opera, the Krakow State Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and the Göttingen Händelfestspiele, where he returns in 2021 as Grimoaldo for their 100th Anniversary production of Rodelinda.  Of his performance as Don Ottavio in the Concertgebouw with Orchestra of the 18th Century, Opera Gazette wrote, “The man sang his two arias so inhumanly beautifully-his ‘Dalla sua pace’ was a diamond –that for a moment we no longer knew what we were doing. The last thing we are aiming for is the Fritz Wunderlich police, but our thoughts wandered for a moment to the best Mozart tenor ever. Cooley’s virtuosity and expressiveness are of an extraterrestrial level. A breathtaking climax.”

Highlights of the coming season include Rodelinda in a stage/television production at the Göttingen Handel Festival, Handel’s Ode to St. Cecilia and the role of Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas at the Carmel Bach Festival, Messiah with Nicholas McGegan in Cleveland and with the Jacksonville Symphony, the Evangelist in St. Matthew Passion with St. Thomas and Trinity Wall Street in New York City, and the arias of the St. John Passion with the Columbus Symphony.


Donald Sulzen (photo: Christian Palm)

Donald Sulzen, piano, is one of the few pianists who has attained highest international recognition in two realms of classical music. Not only is he a collaborator with some of the worlds most celebrated singers, such as Anna Caterina Antonacci, Laura Aikin, Doris Soffel, Thomas E. Bauer, Thomas Cooley and James Taylor, but is also the pianist of the renowned Munich Piano Trio. The London Times hails him as “spirited and stimulating” and the Süddeutsche Zeitung praises his “intelligent, brilliant interpretation.”

A native Kansas Citian, Donald Sulzen received his first degree at the École Normale de Musique in Paris (Jules Gentil), from which he graduated with honors. Under the instruction of Joseph Banowetz and Harold Heiberg he took a summa cum laude Master degree in Music at the University of North Texas. He then moved to Europe to specialize in German song through master classes with Martin Katz, Geoffrey Parsons and John Wustman.

His extensive concert activity includes tours through the most prestigious recital halls of Europe, the USA, South America and Japan. He has amplified his personal appearance schedule through numerous performances on radio and television: Bayerischer Rundfunk, MunichWDR, CologneRadio France, ParisRAI 1, RomeRAI 3, NaplesSüdfunk StuttgartRadio Bremen; Nippon-TV, Tokyo. More than thirty CD productions for Orfeo International, Toshiba-EMI, Koch International, Genuin, Arte Nova, cpo and Amati document the high artistic level of this pianistHis most current releases are “Antonín Dvořák’s Piano Trios Op. 65 / Dumky Trio, Op. 90” (Genuin), as well as “Georg Schumann’s Piano Trios 1 & 2” (cpo), both with the Munich Piano Trio.

After teaching for several years at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst “Mozarteum” in Salzburg, he accepted a professorship for the instruction of song duos at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munichwhere he presently resides. His interest in young singers is evidenced by his former activity as accompanist for the master classes of Astrid Varnay, Eleanor Steber, Magda Olivero, George Shirley and Hermann Prey. He also gives master classes for singers and pianists throughout America, Europe and Japan (Yale University, Cursos Internacionales “Manuel de Falla”, Granada …).

Currently among the artists accompanied by Donald Sulzen are such well-known names as Anna Caterina Antonacci, Laura Aikin, Doris Soffel, Ofelia Sala, Marilyn Schmiege, Thomas E. Bauer, Thomas Cooley and James Taylor. He also collaborates with New York flutist Don Bailey for Voyage Unlimited, a not-for-profit organization committed to the performance, recording and publication of new and standard chamber music for flute.

Since 2001 he is the official pianist of the Munich Piano Trio, which cellist Gerhard Zank founded in 1982. Donald Sulzen’s passion to combine the musicians of his trio with his vocal artists is revealed through unique CD recordings involving works of Joseph Haydn, Alberto Ginastera, Ned Rorem and Astor Piazzolla.