Lyric Soprano Melanie Williams and guitarist Alan Goldspiel
On Thursday, January 18, from noon to 1:00 pm in the Auditorium, the series will present a free concert by lyric soprano Melanie Williams with guitarist Alan Goldspiel. The duo will present music by Matyas Seiber, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, John W. Duarte, Mordechai Gebirtig, George Gershwin, and Mark Warshawsky, in addition to compositions and arrangements by Dr. Goldspiel. Gifts from anonymous friends of the series have helped to make this performance possible.
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MELANIE WILLIAMS enjoys an active career performing solo, chamber, opera and choral repertoire. Melanie Williams’s “big, beautiful voice” and “captivating, dramatic, and sensitive performance” have been hailed by critics; she has received positive reviews of her stage and concert work, as well as her recordings with the LeBaron Trio. The lyric soprano earned the Masters of Music and the Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance at Louisiana State University, where she studied with Metropolitan Opera soprano Martino Arroyo and New York City Opera tenor Robert Grayson. A regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Auditions, and a finalist in the Birmingham Opera and Mobile Opera competitions, Williams’ most notable operatic roles include Papagena in Opera Birmingham’s Die Zauberflöte, Berta in the company’s production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Olympia in Baton Rouge Opera’s Le Contes d’Hoffman. She has also sung several leading roles in operas by Gian Carlo Menotti with Alabama OperaWorks, including Monica in The Medium, Lucy in The Telephone, and Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief. Other leading roles with the company include “The Girl” in the Jack Beeson opera Hello, Out There, Valerie in the American premiere of the Amy Cheney Beach opera The Cabildo and the title roles in Gustav Holst’s Savitri and the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta Iolanthe. She was honored to sing “Queen of the Night” with the University of Montevallo Opera Theatre in their 2015 production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.
Williams has twice traveled to England as soprano soloist for the International Cathedral Music Festival, performing in London, Canterbury and Salisbury. Concert appearances in the Southeast include engagements with the Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama and Kingsport Symphonies, as well as solo appearances with the Red Mountain Chamber Orchestra, Colla Voce choral ensemble, and soprano soloist in Carmina Burana with the Jacksonville State University combined choirs and orchestra. As a frequent collaborator with guitarist Alan Goldspiel and a founding member of the LeBaron Trio with clarinetist Lori Ardovino and pianist Laurie Middaugh, Williams enjoys performing solo and chamber music concerts throughout the United States, including concerts in Los Angeles; Flagstaff; Santa Fe; Boston; and Seaside, Florida. She is also a founding member of The Meàllo Trio, along with Lori Ardovino and Alan Goldspiel. Works by contemporary American composers is a particular focus of her solo recital repertoire, along with standard art song and operatic repertoire in Italian, German, French, English and Spanish.
Research interests include vocal pedagogy and voice science, particularly in two areas: exploring effective concurrent applications of the historical treatises and vocal methods with technological tools of the current age of voice science in developing both technical and artistic excellence, and, secondly, cultivating awareness and dialogue among voice teachers, speech language pathologists, vocal students, and physicians to promote vocal hygiene and awareness of appropriate medical protocols for vocally injured singers. Additional performance related research is primarily in the areas of contemporary American music, and particularly of Southern and women composers, and in the exploration of body awareness and movement, including The Alexander Technique, Pilates, yoga, aerobic exercise, and weight training, as a means of achieving optimum whole-body integration and support for singing.
Williams is Professor of Music at the University of Montevallo, where she teaches Applied Voice, Vocal Pedagogy, and English and French Diction courses. Having served as governor of the Alabama Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing from 2005 – 2008, she is a former Governor of the N.A.T.S Southeastern Region and former member of the N.A.T.S. National Executive Board. She and husband, Mark, reside in Birmingham, Alabama with their children, Anna and John Mark.
ALAN GOLDSPIEL has performed world premieres at New York’s Carnegie and CAMI Halls and has been featured on NPR radio stations from coast to coast. He continues to be an active international performer whose compositions are regularly commissioned.
He is the recipient of the Alabama State Council on the Arts 2016-2017 Artist Fellowship Award for artistic excellence as well as professional commitment and maturity – awarded to outstanding individual artists from Alabama who create important works of art and make valuable contributions to the entire state.
His music has been performed at national and international events including the conferences of the North American Saxophone Alliance, National Association of Composers, and International Clarinet Association. Dr. Goldspiel received the 2014 Alabama Music Teachers Association Composition Commission and he was a 2013 recipient of the Escape to Create Residency in Seaside, Florida.
He is the only guitarist to be honored with the Marshall Dodge Award of the Performing Artists Associates of New England and has been a soloist with the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, Monroe Symphony Orchestra, Vermont Philharmonic, Sinfonie-by-the-Sea, and served as an Artist-in-Residence for North Carolina’s prestigious Visiting Artists Program, presenting over eighty concerts throughout that state.
As the Music Director of the Magic Shtetl Klezmer Band, he has performed and arranged many pieces from the classic Klezmer repertoire. His composition project, a Klezmer Shabbat Service, keeps that tradition current.
He has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching, research, and service including the Louisiana State Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award for artistic excellence and the University Senate Chair Award from Louisiana Tech University.
He has taught at the International Guitar Festival held at the The Hartt School, where he remains the only guitarist to be designated University Scholar for his research on the music of Villa-lobos. He is Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music at the University of Montevallo. More information, including news, events, and catalog can be discovered at the website www.alangoldspiel.com.