Benjamin Boone

Helene Joseph-Weil
Librettist and Mezzo-Soprano

Hatem Nadim

Dr. Anna Hamre
Director of Choirs
Helene Joseph-Weil is Professor of Music (Voice & Opera) at California State University Fresno, where she coordinates the solo vocal performance majors. Before coming to Fresno State University in 1987, she was Visiting Professor of Voice at the Hochschule für Musik “Mozarteum” in Salzburg, Austria. Other academic appointments included Stanford University and the International Institute for Chamber Music in Munich, Germany, where she taught German lyric diction and vocal techniques in support of master classes with Elly Ameling and K.S.Walter Berry. The Fresno-based mezzo-soprano has collaborated with composer Dr. Benjamin Boone on creating Ascención: A Dramatic Ethno-historical Cantata for Mezzo-Soprano, Piano, Chorus and the bells of Mission San Juan Bautista, for which she has written the book and lyrics based on 20 years of research. The cantata is having its world premiere today, February 24, 2008, 3:00 p.m. in the Fresno State Music Department Concert hall. Joseph Weil is also preparing a series of voice/piano recitals with pianist Hatem Nadim, who is the collaborative pianist for the Ascención cantata. An honors graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Helene Joseph-Weil earned her master’s degree at San Jose State University and is a magna cum laude graduate of the Franz Schubert Institute in Baden-bei-Wien, Austria. She received grants for her musical studies from The Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music, The Metropolitan Opera Studio, The Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship, Oberlin Alumni Foundation, and the Fromm Foundation. Her teachers include Phyllis Curtin, Thelma Votipka, Louise Toth, Lislotte Egger-Poetschke, Ellen Repp, Donald Stenburg, and Dietrich Erbelding. Additional studies on the German Lied and opera included extended studies with Viorica Ursuleac, Elly Ameling, Hans Hotter, Walter Berry, Jorge Demus, Erik Werba, Ernst Haefliger, and Rudolf Jansen. The Metropolitan Opera Auditions winner has had a long, extensive, and diverse solo performing career in opera, oratorio, concert and recital that includes performances with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood Festival, Opera Society of Washington D. C, the Metropolitan Opera Studio, UC-Berkeley Contemporary Music Players, Scholar Opera, Cabrillo Festival, Chautauqua Opera, the Salzburg Landestheater, Ascoli Piceno Festival (Italy), and solo concerts at the Munich Gasteig. Joseph-Weil has soloed under the batons of Erich Leinsdorf, Julius Rudel, and Leonard Bernstein and has premiered new vocal works throughout Europe and the United States, including When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed by Roger Sessions and the West Coast premieres of Berio’s Circles and Babbitt’s Philomel. Joseph-Weil has been Artist/Teacher-in-Residence at the Ascoli Piceno Music Festival in Italy and was the Founding Co-Director of the Mozart Opera Studies Institute (MOSI) in Austria and San Francisco. Her teaching awards include Fresno State University Provost’s Award for Academic Excellence in Teaching (2000), the Phi Kappa Phi University Artist Award (2003) and the 1999 Heart of the City Award from the Fresno First Baptist Church for her contributions to Fresno’s cultural arts.

Benjamin Boone is an Associate Professor at California State University Fresno where he teaches music theory and composition. A Fulbright Senior Specialist Fellow to the Republic of Moldova, his compositions have been performed in over seventeen countries from Carnegie Hall to China, Japan, Australia, Africa and Europe. Boone’s compositions appear on over sixteen CDs, garnering awards and honors from the International Society of Contemporary Music, the Olympia International Prize, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the American Composers’ Forum, Billboard Magazine, the National Association of Composers/USA, The American Music Center, the Fundación Valparaíso (Spain), Bayerischer Rundfunk Studio Franken - Bavarian National Radio, Meet the Composer/Southeastern Arts Federation, the Southeastern Composers' League, the Delius Foundation, the North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship, the Tennessee Arts Commission Fellowship, and the A*deVantgarde Festival für Nueue Musik, Munich. Boone’s compositions are published by Latham Music, Alry Publications, Eighth Note Publications and Sentinel Dome. His research on the musical aspects of speech is mentioned in the leading encyclopedia of music, Grove’s. With a wide variety of interests, Boone has also assisted a biologist with the infrasonic recording of rhinoceros vocalizations in Zimbabwe, served as a music business manager in New York City, and performed as a saxophonist throughout the United States and Europe. Most recently, Benjamin Boone has received significant funding in support of his work on the Ascención cantata: the American Music Center Composer's Assistance Program and the American Composers Forum Subito Grant program. For more information, visit www.BenjaminBoone.net

Hatem Nadim was born in Cairo (Egypt) and, at the age of ten, started his formal music studies at the Cairo Conservatoire, where he completed his studies in solo piano with R. Yassa, V. Fedorovtzew and V. Samaliotow, and graduated with honors. Continuing his studies in Germany, Nadim was a scholarship holder at the Frankfurt Hochschule für Musik (University for Music.) He continued his post- graduate studies there with Professor Joachim Volkmann and Professor Rainer Hoffmann in chamber music and vocal accompaniment. From 1989 to 1996 Nadim was a faculty member of the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz teaching solo piano. In 1989, Nadim became a faculty member of the Hochschule für Musik in Mannheim, Germany, as a collaborative pianist, chamber music coach and teacher of piano accompaniment. He has performed with many chamber music partners in concerts throughout Europe, the United States, Korea, and the Middle East. These partners include Leslie Parnas, Arto Noras, Michael Flaksman, Susanne Rabenschlag, Jean-Michel Tanguy, Michael Hasel, the Verdi Quartet, Hermann Voss, and Helene Joseph-Weil. He as also several recordings, his latest being The Complete Mozart Violin Sonatas with Susanne Rabenschlag, which was featured on a recent radio broadcast, as well as an interview with the two artists, in Germany. He is currently the staff collaborative pianist for Music Department at California State University Fresno.

As Director of Choral Activities at California State University, Fresno, Anna Hamre is in demand as a conductor, clinician, and adjudicator. She has worked with university, church, community choirs and school ensembles of all ages. She has been a guest conductor of a number of honor choirs, and several ensembles under her direction have been invited to perform at music conventions. Her various positions have given her the opportunity to premiere numerous works, including conducting the American premiere of Philip Wilby’s 2004 reconstruction of Mozart’s Mass in C (Novello). She conducted the Fauré Requiem for MidAmerica Productions in Carnegie Hall February 2006. Her spring 2008 projects include serving on the adjudication staff for World Project’s Pacific Rim Festival in Hawaii and conducting a California massed-choir concert in the Forbidden City Concert Hall in a Kingsway International choral tribute to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. At Fresno State she is responsible for the management of the choral program, and she conducts the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and Community Chorus. She also teaches undergraduate conducting and graduate conducting and literature. Her honors include the Fresno Arts Council Horizon Artist Award (2007), the California Association for Music Education (CMEA) Choral Conductor Award (2006), the CMEA Central Section College/University Music Educator Award (2006), the Fresno-State College of Arts and Humanities Outstanding Teacher Award (2003). Dr. Hamre holds a BA degree in vocal and instrumental music education from Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD; an MM degree in choral music from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley; and a DMA in choral literature and performance from the University of Colorado in Boulder. She has written articles for state music magazines, the International Choral Bulletin, the Choral Journal, and Spotlight on Teaching Chorus. She has presented sessions for various choral-conducting and music-education organizations, and in March she will travel to Denver to lead a conducting workshop at the national convention of the Organization of American Kodály Educators. Masterworks Press of Olympia, WA publishes her music-literacy method, The High School/University Sight-Singer. She has served on the California state boards of both ACDA and CMEA, and she also holds membership in the College Music Society, National Collegiate Choral Organization, Chorus America, Southern California Vocal Association, Organization of American Kodály Educators, and the Fresno-Madera County Music Educators’ Association.