::Beginner's Ear is::

A rethinking of the classical recital...

A redefinition of the countertenor repertory...

An invitation to mindful awareness...

::About the program:: Beginner's Ear

Live music, like a well told story, is a co-creational experience. A performer enters a piece of music, breathing life into the composer’s creation. Audience members experience this through their senses of sight and hearing (which is really just touch at a distance) and somewhere in the middle exists the actual music. It is guided and informed by the musician, but incorporates the listeners mood, previous experience, prejudice, taste, knowledge, lack of knowledge, personal reaction to their lack of knowledge, etc…

My goal with Beginner’s Ear is to strip away as many pre-conditioning perspectives as possible in order that the audience may truly hear the music. Firstly, in the printed program you will find a limited recital guide that provides just enough information to illuminate; I wish to avoid the concert experience becoming an exercise in either reading while listening or listening without understanding (see pages four and six in the 'resources' links to the right for examples of this). Secondly, I have side-stepped the standard format of proceeding chronologically through my repertory. Instead, songs are grouped by a common theme in sometimes logical and at other times jarring ways. These transitions are not always easy, but they are always intentional. I find that the uncertainty that this approach creates cultivates in the mind of each audience member a sense of immediacy and mindful awareness. My hope is that this mental shift will linger long after the recital is finished.    

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::Our Bios::

more Ian Howell - Countertenor

Ian's headshot Praised by the New York Times for his "clear voice and attractive timbre" and San Francisco Classical Voice for his "flawless singing," Ian Howell, Countertenor, has performed on major concert stages on five continents and in thirty-five American states. In 2006, Mr. Howell took First Prize at the American Bach Soloists International Solo Competition with an acclaimed performance of Bach's Cantata BWV 170, Vergnügte Ruh, and Third Prize at the Oratorio Society of New York's Competition. This Blacksburg, VA native can be heard with the all male chamber choir Chanticleer on one DVD and seven CDs, including the GRAMMY award winning Lamentations and Praises and the GRAMMY award nominated Our American Journey.

Recent roles include the alto soloist in Handel's Messiah at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium, the title role in Handel's Solomon, Endimion in Cavalli's La Calisto, and Lichas in Handel's Hercules. Future opera and concert engagements include performances with the American Bach Soloists, The Choir of St Thomas 5th Ave (NYC), The Vancouver Chamber Choir, The Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, The Staunton Music Festival,and The Princeton University Glee Club. A debut solo CD with the American Bach Soloists will be released April of 2009 featuring repertory by D. Scarlatti, J.S. Bach, and Handel. Mr. Howell is committed to spreading awareness of the countertenor voice and is an active teacher and clinician; he maintains a teaching studio in New Haven and teaches regularly in New York City. Mr. Howell graduated in 2006 with a Master of Music Degree in Voice offered jointly by the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and the Yale School of Music

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more Douglas Dickson - Piano

Douglas Dickson received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Princeton University and his Master of Musical Arts Degree from the Yale School of Music. On various occasions the Washington Post has called him an "intelligent, sensitive" pianist with "super technique," a "skillful pianist," and has praised him for the "finely integrated oneness" he achieves as an accompanist. Mr. Dickson has performed in the US, Europe, Asia, South America in venues ranging from Japan's Expo Hall to the Cincinnati Coliseum. While still in college, he was the accompanist for the American Boychoir. As part of Duodecaphonia, a prize-winning piano duo, he has performed at the Kennedy Center and elsewhere. His performances have been heard on NPR stations in many states, Colombian National Radio, and ABC-TV. Mr. Dickson has been music director for productions at Quinnipiac University, the Yale School of Drama, Opera Theater of Connecticut, and Connecticut Experimental Theater. He was music director and conductor for Yale Opera’s production of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, and he conducted a concert featuring Yale Opera with the Orchestra Verdi in Milan. He has served for fourteen years on the faculty of Quinnipiac University, and joined the Yale faculty in 1998. For Naxos he recorded 80 Charles Ives songs, and recently made his Carnegie debut in an all Ives concert at Weill Recital Hall.

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more Karl Wohlwend - Classical Guitar

Ian's headshot Karl Wohlwend performs throughout North America, appearing as a soloist as well as in chamber music collaborations.  The Washington, DC Guitar Society commended his “command of technique, beautiful tone, and sensitive musicianship,” and the Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts (Kitty Hawk, NC) praised his “extraordinary talent.”  He was  awarded high recognition in the prestigious Great Lakes International Classical Guitar Competition.  He accompanied “Three Songs” by Eric Ewazen, composer-in-residence at the Julliard School, and has been honored to perform in concert with Carlo Aonzo, the world’s leading classical mandolinist.  Wohlwend is also a successful and inspiring teacher.  He has been on the faculty at Otterbein College since 1996, and has also served on the faculties of Ohio Wesleyan University and Capital University.  Each year since 1996, he has been invited to teach and perform at the Classical Guitar Workshop at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.  His students have been awarded prizes in performance competitions, and many have gone on to rewarding graduate school, teaching and performing careers.  He has served on the judges’ panel for numerous events, including the American String Teachers' Association National Competition and the Music Teachers’ National Association National Competition. Mr. Wohlwend holds a Master of Music Degree from Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with John Holmquist, and a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of South Carolina where he studied with Christopher Berg.

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::Interactive demo::

Please enjoy this interactive web demo. Click the 'resources' links below to view various pages from the printed program. Page four corresponds to tracks two and three (set 1), page six corresponds to tracks four through seven (set 2), and the traditional program lists the recital's repertory in a traditional manner.

n.b. You may have to allow pop-up windows to open these resources.
Page four of program (set 1)
Page six of program (set 2)
Traditional program
New Haven Advocate preview
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