The Georgia Symphony’s 67th season opening performance will feature three local vocalists in selections from Haydn’s epic The Creation. This celebrated oratorio represents the beginning of the world as depicted in the Book of Genesis. Angels guide the listener on the journey, and will performed by Soprano Arietha Lockhart, Tenor Nathan Munson, and Bass-baritone Shawn Keswani.
Ms. Lockhart has appeared as soloist with the multiple groups in the southeast including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Robert Shaw Chamber Singers and Festival singers, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Augusta Choral Society.
Mr. Munson recently appeared as Emperor Altoum in Atlanta Opera’s production of Turandot and has performed across the United States. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2011 performing as a soloist in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass.
Mr. Keswani has performed in events throughout the Southeast, including appearances with the Georgia Symphony Orchestra Chorus, the GSO Chamber Chorus, Coro Vocati, the Kennesaw State University Chamber Singers.
Complete soloist biographies are listed below.
Conducting The Creation will be GSO Chorus Director Bryan Black. On the first half of the season opening concert, the GSO will perform Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture and Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, featuring Pianist Stanislav Khristenko, and will be conducted by GSO Music Director, Timothy Verville.
From Darkness to Light October 21st, 2017
Guest Vocalist Biographies
Ms. Lockhart has appeared as soloist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chamber Chorus in Carnegie Hall, the “Christmas with Robert Shaw” concerts of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Robert Shaw Chamber Singers and Festival singers, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Bach Choir, the Augusta Choral Society, as well as performing in recital at Carnegie Hall, Spivey Hall, various churches and civic organizations throughout the southeast. Arietha Lockhart’s largest audience never saw her, but her voice was featured in the worldwide broadcast of the 1996 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
As an active recitalist and concert singer, she has performed Oratorio masterworks and new works by contemporary American Composers. She has been awarded many prizes and honors, including: a fellowship Aspen Music Festival Opera Theatre, 2nd place in the first Classical Singer Magazine Competition. The National Opera Association Competition’s Legacy Award in the professional division and 2nd place in The Center for Contemporary Opera International Competition.
Miss Lockhart is a member of the Georgia Council for the Arts Touring Roster. Her long-time vocal instructor is Classical Singer Magazine’s 2005 Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Elizabeth N. Colson. When she’s not singing, she volunteers with the Robert Shaw Film and Legacy Projects. She teaches vocal students, and is a training instructor with the Atlanta Young Singers.
“Munson was excellent in ‘Pagliacci’ but especially so in ‘Carmina,’ when he had his major solo… Munson’s murderously high “roasted swan” song was the most striking”
– Ruth Bingham, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, March 30, 2014
Nathan Munson is emerging as a talented young tenor with diverse capabilities. He has rapidly become in demand as a recitalist, concert, and operatic singer.
In 2009, Munson’s year began with a world premiere performance of Dr. Baglioni in a revised version of Daniel Catán’s La hija de Rappaccini under Maestro Eduardo Diazmuñoz at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (Urbana, Illinois), followed by receiving the first ever Jerry Hadley Memorial Award from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Mr. Munson also made his debut with Opera North as Le Dancaïre in Bizet’s Carmen, conducted by Maestro Louis Burkot.
A busy 2010 began with an appearance in the finals of the National Opera Association Competition (Artist Division), as tenor soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Opera North Orchestra and Dartmouth College Glee Club under Maestro Burkot, followed by staged performances as Valére in Mechem’s Tartuffe (“Nathan Munson… sang an appealing Valère, with an Italianate gleam in his tone.” – Pierre Ruhe, artscriticatl.com, September 14, 2010). Munson sang La bohème in October, covering the role of Rodolfo for the Atlanta Opera. This season also held performances of Bach’s Magnificat with the Cobb Symphony Orchestra, a Christmas concert with the Atlanta Opera, and tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Michael O’Neal Singers.
In early 2011, Mr. Munson toured an abridged, English version of La bohème with the Atlanta Opera in January, was soloist in Bach’s B-minor Mass with the Atlanta Sacred Chorale in February, and Mozart’s Requiem in March with the Peachtree Presbyterian Church. He performed the role of Normanno in the Atlanta Opera’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor, sang for the company’s Opera Ball, its season preview concert, “Opera with an Edge”, and a Holiday Concert with the same in December. In March of 2012, Munson returned to the Atlanta Opera as the Camera Man in Peter Ash’s The Golden Ticket. In April, he sang Uriel in Haydn’s The Creation and a recital at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. Most recently, Mr. Munson was the tenor soloist for the 50th Anniversary Opening Concert of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Bryan Symphony Orchestra in Cookeville, Tennessee, and Bruckner’s Te Deum with the Augusta Choral Society. Other recent engagements included a reprise performance of the Holiday Concert with the Atlanta Opera, Handel’s Messiah in Southern Pines, North Carolina, a recital and master class as a guest artist for the 100th anniversary of Western Michigan University in March of 2013, and a recital of works at the Cumming FUMC Arts Festival, in Cumming, Georgia. Last December, Mr Munson sang Handel’s Messiah and appeared as a featured soloist along with Sylvia McNair in the gala concert “Nicholas Bowden and Friends”. In 2014, he has performed Bastien in Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne and Alberto in Rodriguez’s La Curandera in a double bill of one-act operas for Opera Piccola San Antonio, as well as Beppe (I pagliacci) and the Roasting Swan (Carmina Burana) for Hawaii Opera Theatre. This season, the tenor made his debut with Sarasota Opera as Beppe (Pagliacci) and with the Helena Symphony Orchestra (Soloist, Handel’s Messiah). Mr Munson returned to the Hawaii Opera Theatre in January to sing Der Steuermann in Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer. In April of 2015, he made his Carnegie Hall debut as the tenor soloist in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with Manhattan Concert Productions, under the baton of Maestro Thomas Bookhout. In 2016, he sang the role of Tom Snout in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Hawaii Opera Theatre, Pedrillo in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail with the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, and will reprise his solo in Orff’s Carmina Burana with the New Jersey and Connecticut Choral Societies under Maestro Eric Dale Knapp.
Other operatic appearances include the roles of Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail (2006) and Laurie in Little Women (2007) with the dell’Arte Opera Ensemble. Mr. Munson sang Cassio in two concerts of Verdi’s Otello with the Kentucky Symphonic Orchestra (2004), fully staged performances of Ferrando (2007), Roméo (2008), Don Basilio (2005), the Snake (The Little Prince, 2004), Tobias (Sweeney Todd, 1999), Little Bat (Susannah, 1998), and Albert Herring (1996, at age 19). On the concert stage, he has been a featured soloist in concerts with the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra and University of Kentucky in the Stars of Tomorrow Opera Gala, and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra under Yoshimi Takeda. With the Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbana, he performed Bach’s Johannes Passion, G-minor Mass, and Magnificat, Handel’s Messiah and Alexander’s Feast, for which he was praised by the News-Gazette for having sung “with extraordinary clarity; every word rang clear.” (Champaign, Illinois, March 25, 2009)
Mr. Munson’s training includes a season as Young Artist with Opera North (Lebanon, New Hampshire, 2009), Il Corso Estivo per Giovani Cantanti Lirici (Urbania, Italy, 2006), a Master’s degree in Voice Performance from the University of Kentucky (2003), a Bachelor’s degree in Opera and Musical Theater Performance from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (1999), the University of Miami in Salzburg summer vocal program (1999), and the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS), in Graz, Austria (1996). Additionally, he has completed his coursework towards a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Voice Performance and Literature at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he was awarded two University Fellowships, the Joseph Schlanger Award for Excellence in Opera, two Illinois Opera Theater Enthusiast Excellence Awards, and was the first ever recipient of the Jerry Hadley Memorial Award.
Bass-baritone, Shawn Keswani, studied voice with Dr. Oral Moses at Kennesaw State University, graduating cum laude and being named a University Scholar in music. At Kennesaw, his capstone lecture-recital was on American analogues to European Romanticism; and his paper on Handel as a bridge between the Baroque and Classical periods has been used for a number of years as a model for the Form & Analysis course.
Mr. Keswani has appeared as chorister, cantor, soloist, vocal technician, or conductor for events throughout the Southeast, including appearances with the Georgia Symphony Orchestra Chorus, the GSO Chamber Chorus, Coro Vocati, the Kennesaw State University Chamber Singers, the KSU Men’s Ensemble, and other organizations.
In 2016, he was a soloist for the GSO Chorus’ performance of Chandos Anthem No. 11, Let God Arise, and he also sang in a recital celebrating the 150th birthday of American composer, Harry T. Burleigh. The same year, he offered classes in vocal technique for a selection of men from the GSO Chorus and for a youth choir summer camp. In 2017, he has played the role of Bill Bobstay in Marietta Jubilation Theater’s production of H.M.S. Pinafore and has also premiered a new song cycle for bass-baritone by composer, Jakari Rush.
Presently, he is Director of Sacred Music for a church in Metro-Atlanta and also teaches music at a private arts school in the area. He is studying organ with Mr. Ralph Lyda. This year, he has plans to compose additional choral works and to give a solo voice recital of music from the Baroque era.