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Conductor Elena Sharkova Leads Seraphic Fire in Diverse Program Celebrating Women in Music & Poetry



Coming up this January, Seraphic Fire will present a concert of music entirely by women composers, titled In Her Own Voice, led by conductor Elena Sharkova of Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale and Cantabile Youth Singers of Silicon Valley. Works will span the breadth of music history, starting with the 11th century with Hildegard von Bingen, stopping at 19th-century composers like Clara Schumann, and highlighting numerous contemporary composers like Caroline Shaw and Reena Esmail. The variety of the works presented depicts how women have always been active contributors to Western classical music, even if they have been left out of history books due to bias.


This will be Conductor Elena Sharkova’s third time leading the South Florida choral ensemble. She says of the opportunity, “I’ve worked with quite a few professional choirs all over the world and there’s nothing like Seraphic Fire. Hands down, the most exciting proposition I ever received as a conductor was when Patrick [Quigley] said I could put together any program that I wanted.”


When asked about the title of the concert, Sharkova replied, “We are so used to hearing stories of women, the history of women, expressed by men, whether they are composers or lyricists. Don’t speak for us; we have our own words. What if we spoke in our own voice of how we feel and how we think? We want to hear the woman talk about how she feels, how she prays, how she cries, and how she breaks the rules.”


In addition to the professional artists Seraphic Fire, undergraduate and graduate students from University of Miami’s Frost School of Music will perform in this concert as part of Seraphic Fire’s educational initiative, the Ensemble Artist Program. The program aims to offer experiential learning opportunities to emerging professional singers.



Tickets are available now for concerts January 18-21, 2024 in Naples, Coral Gables, Ft. Lauderdale, and Miami Beach. Audiences are invited to join a Pre-Concert Conversation with alto Amanda Crider 1-hour prior to the performance.


Program:


O virdissima virga – Hildegard von Bingen

Surge, propera amica mea – Raffaella Aleotti

"Lockung" from Gartenlieder, Op. 3 – Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel

"Abendfeier in Venedig" from Drei gemischte Chöre– Clara Schumann

"Through the house give glimmering light" and "Come Unto These Yellow Sands" from Three Shakespearean Choruses, op. 39 – Amy Beach

and the swallow – Caroline Shaw

My Guardian Angel – Judith Weir

Regina Caeli – Cecilia McDowall

Bogoróditse Dévo – Cheryl Frances-Hoad

Song of Songs – Jessica Ulusoy-Horsley

Grandmother Moon – Eleanor Daley

"I shall forget you presently, my dear" from Sonnets of Desire, Longing, and Whimsy – Stacy Garrop

“(Spell): for Victory” from A Book of Spells – Libby Larsen

"Pluck the Fruit and Taste the Pleasure" from Songs of Youth and Pleasure  – Libby Larsen

Be Like the Bird – Abby Betinis

"The Unexpected Early Hour" from A Winter Breviary – Reena Esmail

"The Rights of Woman” from Speeches – Anna-Karin Klockar

Light of Late November – Dale Trumbore

“La Estrella” from Rimas Tropicales – Tania León

Stand in That River – Moira Smiley

Storm Comin’ – Wailin’ Jennys


Performances:


Thu, Jan 18, 7:00 pm | Naples | Vanderbilt Presbyterian

Fri, Jan 19, 8:00 pm | Coral Gables |Church of the Little Flower

Sat, Jan 20, 7:30 pm | Ft. Lauderdale | All Saints Episcopal

Sun, Jan 21, 4:00 pm | Miami Beach | All Souls Episcopal


Tickets and subscriptions are on sale now at SeraphicFire.org and by phone at 305.285.9060.


More on Elena Sharkova, Conductor


Russian-American conductor Elena Sharkova was born in St. Petersburg and received rigorous music training from age six. Ms. Sharkova holds a Bachelor’s degree in piano and music education and a graduate degree in conducting from the Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory. She began her career as a professional ensemble singer, concertizing and recording extensively before moving to the U.S in 1993 to pursue a career in academic teaching and conducting. Today, Ms. Sharkova enjoys a diverse career and international acclaim as an inspirational and versatile conductor, master teacher, presenter, and jury member at music competitions. She has led professional, university, amateur, and youth choirs and orchestras and has taught masterclasses and summer courses in twenty-seven countries on four continents.


Ms. Sharkova’s most recent engagements have been with Britain’s foremost professional choir the BBC Singers in Glasgow and London, Miami-based GRAMMY-nominated Seraphic Fire, GRAMMY Award-winning men’s choir Chanticleer, Cincinnati Vocal Arts Ensemble, and the GRAMMY-nominated Houston Chamber Choir. She has conducted concerts on stages of Carnegie Hall, Davies Symphony Hall (San Francisco), Chicago Orchestra Hall, the Kennedy Center (Washington, DC), the Mormon Tabernacle, and in world cultural landmarks such as the Vatican, Notre Dame de Paris, Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral and La Sagada Familia in Barcelona, among others. In October 2022, Elena Sharkova made a conducting debut on the venerable stage of the Berliner Philharmonie with a program of choral-orchestral masterworks by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Johannes Brahms.


By ML Staff. Images courtesy of Seraphic Fire

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