American Visions, American Voices

» INTERPLAY 2016: American Visions, American Voices

Join us as Chapman University and Pacific Symphony collaborate to present INTERPLAY – a festival of music, culture and ideas – featuring performances, lectures, master classes and more on the Chapman campus as well as concerts by Pacific Symphony at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. This year’s festival focuses on two legendary American composers: Charles Ives (1874-1954) and George Gershwin (1898-1937).  

The festival will explore how they and their contemporaries created a uniquely “American voice” by drawing on the sights and sounds around them during a fascinating period of our country’s history. Guest artists and lecturers include baritone William Sharp, pianist Steven Mayer, actor David Prather, and historian Joseph Horowitz along with Chapman faculty and students.

Click on the calendar links below to see a full listing of events.

+ - FEBRUARY 2016

Under the Concord Sky

February 10
6:30 pm
Salmon Recital Hall
Free and open to the pubic

Charles Ives

Experience Charles Ives, the irascible and completely original American composer, brought to life by actor David Prather in an original drama, "Under the Concord Sky".  Transcendental excerpts from Ives' groundbreaking Concord Sonata, played by Chapman's own Louise Thomas, accompany memories and musings of the iconoclast who changed the musical landscape forever. 


+ - MARCH 2016

Ives in Song

March 31
11:30 am
Salmon Recital Hall

Free and open to the publicWilliam Sharp photo

11:30-12:00 "Charles Ives: A Life in Music" featuring acclaimed baritone William Sharp and Pacific Symphony Artistic Advisor Joseph Horowitz.

12:00-1:30 William Sharp works with Chapman students to refine their own interpretations of songs they have prepared for performance at the Musco Center for the Arts.

+ - APRIL 2016

Musco Center for the Arts Open House and Community Arts Day

April 2
4:30 pm
Musco Center for the Arts
Free and open to the public TCO outside

A multi-media showcase featuring the music of American maverick Charles Ives and the ever-popular George Gershwin. Come experience the largest collaboration in the history of the College of Performing Arts including The Chapman Orchestra, Chapman Wind Symphony, Faculty Brass Quartet, the Chapman String Quartet as well as dancers and actors from the departments of Dance and Theatre, with script by Joseph Horowitz and visuals by Peter Bogdanoff. Presented in conjunction with Pacific Symphony’s Music Unwound series.

Support for this program was furnished by the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the "Music Unwound" orchestral consortium. 
NEH logo


A Transcendental MasterpieceStephen Mayer photo

April 3
2:00 pm
Musco Center for the Arts
$20 General Admission; $15 Senior 65+; $10 Students (limit 2 per ID)
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Steven Mayer, Piano     William Sharp, Baritone  
Charles Ives: Piano Sonata No. 2 (Concord Sonata)
University Singers
Psalm 67

Ives’ magisterial Concord Sonata (1919) was acclaimed at its 1939 premiere “the greatest music  composed by an American” – and ever since has mapped the summit of the American keyboard literature. Steven Mayer (“piano playing at its most awesome “ – The New York Times) has performed this monumental work more than any other present-day pianist.  Ives’s sonata is accompanied by readings from two writers who crucially influenced this work: Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.  William Sharp (“a sensitive and subtle singer who evokes the special character of every song that he sings”-- The New York Times) joins Mayer as actor and singer in this unique concert curated by the Pacific Symphony, introduced by a choral setting of Psalm 67.

Huck Finn Meets Charles IvesJoe Horowitz photo

April 7
11:30 am
Salmon Recital Hall
Free and open to the public

A lecture by Pacific Symphony Artistic Advisor Joseph Horowitz explores the connections between Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Charles Ives's Second Symphony. 


Pacific Symphony: Ives and Gershwin

Pacific Symphony

April 7, 8, 9
8:00 pm
Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall
600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

Carl St.Clair, conductor
Joseph Horowitz, artistic adviser
William Sharp, baritone
Simone Dinnerstein, piano

Ives:  Symphony No. 2
Ravel:  Piano Concerto in G Major
Gershwin:  Rhapsody in Blue

Tickets are $25-$99; visit or call (714) 755-5799.

This concert is preceded by a special preconcert presentation featuring Alan Chapman, David Prather, William Sharp, and Chapman University students.

Pacific Symphony: Rhapsody!

April 10
3:00 pm
Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall
600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

Carl St.Clair, conductor
Joseph Horowitz, artistic adviser
Simone Dinnerstein, piano

Ravel:  Piano Concerto in G Major
Gershwin:  Rhapsody in Blue

For tickets visit or call (714) 755-5799.

This concert is preceded by a special preconcert presentation at 1:30 featuring Chapman University's Prof. Wendy Salmond and Joseph Horowitz discussing Gershwin's relationship with his contemporaries in both visual arts and music.

Rhythmic Visions, Rhythmic Voices: An Evening of American Percussive Dance
The 2016 "Happy Chappy Tappy" presentation

April 16
6:00 pm

Memorial Hall, Chapman University

A narrated performance to live music exploring the history and significance of this quintessentially American art form.

+ - Biographies of special guests

Mayer photo Steven Mayer has performed the fiendishly difficult solos of Art Tatum alongside Mozart, Liszt and Ives worldwide. Winner of the Grand Prix du Disque, Mayer has appeared with the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Prague Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Boston Pops. His Art Tatum album for Naxos won wide praise, as have Ives’ Concord Sonata, The Liszt-Thalberg Duel, and Reger’s Piano Concerto. Mayer has been Professor at the Manhattan School of Music and the International Keyboard Institute and Festival at Mannes in New York and the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music.
Sharp photo

Baritone William Sharp is a consummate artist possessing the rare combination of vocal beauty, sensitivity and charisma. Praised by the New York Times as a "sensitive and subtle singer" who is able to evoke "the special character of every song that he sings," Mr. Sharp has earned a reputation as a singer of great versatility and continues to garner critical acclaim for his work in concerts, recitals, operas and recordings.

Prather photo Actor-writer David Prather has worked extensively with musicians and dancers as host of "Summer Sounds" at the Hollywood Bowl and concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Pacific Symphony. His play "When Harlem was in Vogue" was commissioned and presented by the Alley Theatre in Texas. Recent shows include “Star Spangled Poetry,” “The Bully Dudes” and “Under the Concord Sky.” As an educator and performer he has worked many years with the Music Center of Los Angeles, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Orange County Performing Arts Center.  Mr. Prather is a graduate of Princeton University and American Conservatory Theatre.
Horowitz photo Pacific Symphony Artistic Advisor Joseph Horowitz has long been a pioneer in thematic, interdisciplinary classical music programming, beginning with his tenure as artistic advisor for the annual Schubertiade at New York’s 92nd Street Y. Now an artistic advisor to various American orchestras, he has created more than three dozen interdisciplinary music festivals since 1985. He is also the founding artistic director of Washington, D.C.’s path-breaking chamber orchestra, Post Classical Ensemble, in which capacity he has produced two DVDs for Naxos that feature classical documentary films with newly recorded soundtracks. He is also the award-winning author of eight books that address the institutional history of classical music in the United States. 
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