WVIA Public Broadcasting for Northeastern PA&the Central Susquehanna Valley

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November 27, 2014
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Mezzo-soprano Ellen Rutkowski and pianist, Rick Hoffenberg perform during WVIA's next Simply Grand Concert on November 10 - Public Invited
(2013-10-30)
(wvia) - WVIA FM invites the public to its next Simply Grand Concert. Mezzo-soprano Ellen Rutkowski and pianist, Rick Hoffenberg perform a program of songs and piano pieces by neglected German masters of the late-Romatic period on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. in the Sordoni High Definition Theater at WVIA Studios in Pittston, PA. Seating is free, but limited. To make reservations call 570-655-2808 or reserve seats online at www.wvia.org.

Among the once-highly-regarded composers represented on the program are Joseph Marx one-time Director of the Viennese Music Academy who left over 150 lieder; Max Reger who left an enormous output of music in all genres, Alma Mahler, the beautiful, talented Viennese socialite who married the great symphonist Gustav Mahler and perhaps the best-known composer of the group Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Korngold is most famous for his many film scores written during Hollywood's Golden Age, however, he was a child prodigy who was considered the successor to Richard Strauss as an opera composer.

Ellen Rutkowski, mezzo-soprano, is well-known regionally as a soloist, recitalist, and voice teacher. Recent performances include scenes with Mostly Opera, and recitals with pianists Arno Drucker, David Burge, and Rick Hoffenberg. Mrs. Rutkowski received Bachelors' degrees in music therapy and psychology from College Misericordia, and a Master's degree in music education with a concentration in vocal pedagogy from Marywood University. She teaches general music, music appreciation, and music theory, and conducts both high school and middle school chorus at Greater Nanticoke Area School District. In addition, she is a part-time faculty member at Marywood University, where she teaches applied voice, and co-teaches an opera workshop with Dr. Rick Hoffenberg. Mrs. Rutkowski coaches with Ruth Drucker of Baltimore, and for many years, was a student of the late Thomas Houser of New Holland.

In 2007, Rick Hoffenberg joined the faculty of Marywood University, where he is currently Associate Professor, Director of Choral Activities, and Coordinator of Vocal and Keyboard Studies. He is also serving as the 2013-14 Conductor of the Wyoming Seminary Civic Orchestra. Prior to these appointments, he held positions at the University of Northern Iowa, where he directed three choirs and taught courses in conducting and repertoire, and Williams College, where he was Visiting Director of Choral and Vocal Activities. In 2005, he completed his doctoral residency at Yale University, where he served as Principal Assistant Conductor of Yale Camerata and Assistant Conductor of Simon Carrington's ScholaCantorum. Dr. Hoffenberg has spent the past fifteen summers at Chautauqua Opera, where he is a pianist, coach, and assistant conductor on the music staff. He has also worked in various capacities for New York City Opera, BMG Classics/RCA Victor Red Seal, Columbia Artists Management, the Milken Archive, and Spoleto Festival USA. As a pianist, he has performed at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, the Music Institute of Chicago, and Rockefeller Chapel in New York City, as well as Richardson Auditorium, Taplin Auditorium, and Bristol Chapel, all in Princeton, New Jersey. He was the state winner, division winner, and national finalist in the 1994 MTNA Wurlitzer Piano Competition. He holds degrees from Princeton University, Yale University, and Westminster Choir College of Rider University.

The WVIA "Simply Grand" concert series showcases the talent of regional classical musicians. Since the series began in 1990, dozens of regional musicians have been featured. The concerts are recorded for broadcast before a live audience in the Sordoni High Definition Theater at the WVIA Studios.

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