FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Carrie Kikel
Director of Public Relations
OR Addy Bittner
Public Relations Coordinator
HOLIDAY CONCERT TO FEATURE ADAPTATION OF "THE SNOWMAN"
Portland, Ore. A musical adaptation of Raymond Briggs' ever-popular storybook, "The Snowman," will be the centerpiece for the Oregon Symphony's Kids Holiday concert Dec. 8 and 9 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. The tale will be set to works by award-winning film composer Howard Blake and acted out by local mimes, dancers and singers. Huw Edwards, Music Director of the Portland Youth Philharmonic, will conduct the concert, sponsored by Meier & Frank. Media support is provided by Portland Parent and OPB.
"The Snowman," the story of a young boy who builds a snowman that comes to life in a dream one Christmas Eve, will be narrated by Symphony President Tony Woodcock and set to Howard Blake's "The Snowman" in the style of a musical. The role of the boy will be mimed onstage by Adam Kelly and sung offstage by Sheridan Stevens of the Portland Symphonic Boys Choir and Rob Williams of the Oregon Repertory Singers. The Snowman will be played by actor Andrew Hickman, and the boy's mother and father will be played by Sandy Shaner and Dave Rayburn. Blake's holiday favorite, "We're Walking in the Air," will be performed as the boy and the snowman "fly" above the landscape at the end of the dream. The story also will feature Krista Bledsoe, Anezka Drazil and Deanna Maio as snowflakes.
In addition, the Kids Holiday program will include Rimsky-Korsakov's "Dance of the Buffoons" from "The Snow Maiden," Tchaikovsky's "Trepak" from "The Nutcracker" and Richmond's "Hanukkah Festival" Overture. The concert will end with a Christmas carol sing-along led by Dave Rayburn as Santa Claus.
"The Snowman" is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 8, at 11 a.m. and Sunday, Dec. 9, at 1 and 3 p.m. Kids and parents are encouraged to bring items of non-perishable food to the annual Symphony food collection for the Oregon Food Bank. Foods high in protein, such as beans or peanut butter, are especially needed. Tickets range in price from $5 to $29 for adults and $5 to $22 for children 12 and younger and may be purchased at the Oregon Symphony Ticket Office (923 S.W. Washington), Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or charged by phone at 503-228-1353 or (800) 228-7343. Tickets also may be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets (503-790-ARTS) or through Ticketmaster Online, via the Symphony's Web site at www.orsymphony.org. Service fees may apply.
Huw Edwards is only the third Music Director in the history of the Portland Youth Philharmonic. Since joining the PYP, Mr. Edwards has premiered many major works -- including Bruckner's Fifth, Mahler's First, Shostakovitch's Tenth, and Vaughan Williams's Fifth symphonies; Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances; Strauss's Death and Transfiguration and Alpine Symphony; Copland's Appalachian Spring; and Tchaikovsky's Manfred -- as well as several new works by young American composers. He and the PYP have also been honored with an ASCAP Award for "adventurous programming and commitment to contemporary music." Mr. Edwards has recorded three CDs with the PYP, as well as Fauré's Requiem with Cantores in Ecclesia and baritone Richard Zeller. In 1998, Mr. Edwards and the orchestra represented the USA at the Banff International Festival of Youth Orchestras and in 2000 made their eighth international tour to New Zealand and Australia.
Born in Wales, Mr. Edwards holds degrees from the University of Surrey in England, Southern Methodist University in Dallas (where he was Assistant Conductor from 1988 - 1990), and came to Portland from Chicago, where he was a lecturer at Northwestern University. He has been an active conductor since the age of 17 when he was appointed Music Director of the Maidstone Opera Company in England -- a post he held for six years. His principal teachers have been Simon Johnson and Barry Wordsworth (London), Anshel Brusilow and Eduardo Mata (Dallas), and Victor Yampolsky (Chicago). Mr. Edwards has conducted the Dallas, Memphis, Oregon, and Vancouver Symphonies, and other orchestras across the United States as well as in Australia and throughout Great Britain. Last season he was appointed Music Director of the Columbia Symphony. He is also on the faculty at the Marrowstone Music Festival in Bellingham, Washington and has served as an adjudicator at numerous District and All-State festivals and a speaker at several national conferences.
Tony Woodcock joined the Oregon Symphony in Portland, Ore., as President in 1998. Since that time the Symphony has undergone a process of considerable development, with improvements to the annual fundraising drive; growth of the Endowment Fund; a new strategic plan; and a ground-breaking new three-year contract with the musicians that has grown internal relationships and provided a major foundation for the future. Plans for the future include a large-scale celebration of Music Director James DePreist's 25 years with the Orchestra; an international search for a new Music Director when DePreist steps down in 2005; a new community education initiative; further regional touring; and a series of recordings.
Before moving to America, Woodcock was the Managing Director of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and Bournemouth Sinfonietta for eight years. During this time he took the BSO on two American tours including debuts at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fischer; tours of Germany and Spain; a residency at the Theatre de Champs Elysee, Paris; first visits to the Musikverein Vienna and the Concertgeboew Amsterdam; and a Grammy-award-winning series of recordings with Andrew Litton and Richard Hickox. Woodcock led the searches in Bournemouth which resulted in the appointments of Yakov Kreizberg and Alexander Polianichko as Principal Conductors of the two orchestras. Prior to Bournemouth Woodcock was the Chief Executive of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, where he led the £10 million capital campaign for the renovation of the Philharmonic Hall. He planned the orchestra's 150th anniversary celebrations, which included commissioning Paul McCartney to write the Liverpool Oratorio. Other appointments have included General Manager of Saint David's National Concert Hall of Wales; General Manager of the City of London Sinfonia; Assistant Director of South East Arts, and the position of Music Officer for the Welsh Arts Council.
A violinist, Woodcock holds an honors degree in music from University College Cardiff, Wales. He and his wife Virginia reside in Portland, Oregon, with their 18-year-old son Thomas.
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