I was recently commissioned by the Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries to write a piece for one of their Classical Connections concerts, and I decided to write the piece for tenor and piano. My voice professor, Steven Tharp, is a phenomenal tenor that has performed with many of the leading symphony orchestras and opera companies in the world. if he would be interested in performing a brand new work of mine with me at the piano. To my childlike excitement, he heartily agreed, and I began crafting a piece of music fit specifically for his gorgeous tenor voice! My composition, Fractals of a Dream, for tenor and piano explores the world inside one’s mind once one falls asleep. Dreaming is such a wonderful thing, and I wanted to express the experience in such a way that the listener felt included in the world of my composition. I felt the best way to do this was to write a poem and set it to music – a vocalist, myself, I am quite fond of connecting with people through text! The piece begins softly as the narrator drifts off to sleep, contemplating the world around him. Lush harmonies and thick textures invoke memories of the warmth and comfort of one’s own bed. The narrator then begins his adventure within his dreams, where soaring vocal lines paired with a thrilling piano accompaniment carry the music to an apex. I had a truly magical experience writing this piece and working closely with a musician that I so greatly admire, and I can't wait for the premiere!
Missouri-born tenor Steven Tharp’s operatic credits include performances with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Netherlands Opera, Badisches Staatsoper, Teatro Massimo, Netherlands Reisopera, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Pacific, Minnesota Opera and the companies of Dallas, Houston, Seattle, Memphis, Omaha, Salt Lake City and Miami. Handel and Mozart are well represented in Mr. Tharp’s repertoire of more than 60 operatic parts, and his keen interest in 18th and early 19th Century opera has led to roles in Gluck’s Les Pèlerins de la Mecque, Haydn’s L’Isola Disabitata and L’Infedeltà Delusa, Scarlatti’s Gli Equivoci nel Sembiante, Conti’s Don Quixote in Sierra Morena, Gassmann’s L’Opera Seria, Grétry’s Zémire et Azor and Schubert’s Alfonso und Estrella.
In concert, Mr. Tharp has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, Houston Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional (Mexico), St. Louis Symphony, Chicago Music of the Baroque and American Bach Soloists, under conductors including Sir Georg Solti, Daniel Barenboim, Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, Valery Gergiev, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, James Conlon, Marin Alsop, JoAnn Falletta, Alan Gilbert and Jane Glover. His concert repertoire includes the masterpieces of the 18th and 19th century — the Bach passions, the masses of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, the oratorios of Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn — and extends to Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Schönberg’s Gurre-Lieder, the Verdi Requiem and Britten’s War Requiem.
A dedicated song recitalist, Mr. Tharp has appeared at the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he collaborated with Will Crutchfield in two series, The World of Schubert’s Songs and The World of Heinrich Heine. He has also appeared in recital at the 92nd Street Y, Carnegie’s Weill Hall, the Bard Festival, Caramoor, Newport Chamber Music Festival, Carmel Bach Festival, the New York Festival of Song and venues in Europe, Japan and South America. His interest in musical theater and cabaret led to his appearance in 3 Tenors in Search of an Act, which won the Back Stage Bistro Award for Outstanding Musical Comedy after a sold-out run at Don’t Tell Mama in New York.
Mr. Tharp has recorded for Decca, Delos, Newport, Albany and Naxos. His world-premiere recording of the complete songs of Edward MacDowell, accompanied by the late James Barbagallo, earned a Grammy Award nomination, and his recording of Frank Martin’s Le Vin Herbé was an “Editor’s Choice” in Opera News. Other recordings include Vaughan-Williams’ On Wenlock Edge with the Ciompi Quartet, Handel’s Messiah with the American Bach Soloists. Schubert’s Schwanengesang with Jan-Paul Grijpink and a forthcoming CD of Fauré songs with Rachelle Jonck. Mr. Tharp has also served as stage director for the Manhattan School of Music’s Handel Project (Alcina, Ariodante) and for Caramoor (Così fan Tutte, H.M.S. Pinafore, Pauline Viardot’s Cindrillon and Donizetti’s Linda di Chamounix).
ABOUT THE COMPOSER
Hans Bridger Heruth is an award winning composer pursuing a degree in musical composition and vocal performance at the University of Missouri, Columbia. His works have been performed by various ensembles, both educational and professional. In addition to composing, Heruth is an accomplished pianist, violinist, singer, and conductor.