On February 18, Ensemble Radieuse, a flexible trio for flute, oboe, and piano, will give a free performance at 8 p.m. in Daniel Recital Hall on the campus of Converse College. Joining them onstage will be guest artists Miles Hoffman, viola, and Rebecca Turner, soprano, as they perform Loeffler’s Two Rhapsodies; a new arrangement of Mahler’s Songs of the Wayfarer; Phil Popham’s The Pharmacy; and the South Carolina premiere of Scott Robbins’ Radiance.
Fun is the key word in describing performances of Ensemble Radieuse, which is comprised of Petrie School of Music faculty members Christopher Vaneman (flute), Kelly McElrath Vaneman (oboe) and Melanie Foster Taylor (piano). In making a broad range of classics and new music accessible and enjoyable to a variety of audiences, the ensemble’s performances feature its members alternately solo, in duos and in trio, and are enlivened by spirited commentary from the stage. Their repertoire spans from the Baroque to the present-day and from the familiar to the surprising; it is chosen with an eye (or ear) to melodiousness and rhythmic vitality.
Hoffman is Dean of the Petrie School of Music and is known to most Americans through his music commentaries for National Public Radio’s flagship program "Morning Edition" on which he is regularly heard by an audience of 14 million people, and for Performance Today, on which he provided weekly commentary for 13 years. He is author of “The NPR Classical Music Companion: Terms and Concepts from A to Z,” now in its eighth printing from the Houghton Mifflin Company. He is also the founder and artistic director of The American Chamber Players.
Turner, Associate Professor of Voice and Director of Converse Opera Theatre, is a recent member of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, Germany. With over 500 performances to date, her repertoire is extensive, including the lead soprano roles in such operas as Der fliegende Holländer, Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Der Freischütz, Aida, Il Trovatore, La Forza del Destino, Simon Boccanegra, Turnadot, Madama Butterfly, La Boheme, La Gioconda, I Pagliacci, Cavalleria Rusticana, Eugene Onegin and Peter Grimes.
Ensemble Radieuse appears annually on the Faculty Recital series at Converse College and performs frequently throughout the Southeast. In recent years they have played to great acclaim in England, Panama, Michigan, Texas and Pennsylvania, as well as at New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Their performances have been featured on NPR affiliates in both Nashville and Atlanta. In 2006 they were awarded third prize in the National Flute Association’s International Chamber Music Competition. Ensemble Radieuse’s premiere CD, “Inbox,” was released in spring of 2003. A compendium of attractive new music for flute, oboe, and piano, Inbox contains several pieces commissioned by Ensemble Radieuse—Greg Wanamaker’s Triaria, and Tim Grundmann’s Junk Mail, both for flute, oboe, and piano, and Scott Robbins’ Sonata for flute and oboe. Also included is the premiere recording of Marc Satterwhite’s Seven Folksongs for oboe and piano, as well as Madeleine Dring’s popular Trio for flute, oboe, and piano and Robert Beaser’s The Old Men Admiring Themselves in the Water and Joseph Schwantner’s Black Anemones, both for flute and piano.