Intermission feature: Ross Duffin and Beverly Simmons
We kicked off 2016 with a recent program by Quire Cleveland. "Carols for Quire VII" explores exquisite choral music for Christmas from many lands and centuries.
Christmas themes — shepherds, joy, Twelfth Night — are represented in carols dating from the early 15th century to the late 20th, sung in English, French, German, Spanish, Finnish, Latvian & Latin.
At intermission, Angela Mitchell spoke with Artistic Director Ross Duffin and Executive Director Beverly Simmons, the pair behind Quire Cleveland.
John Simna hosted the broadcast, which you can listen to here.
Artistic Director Ross W. Duffin was born in London, Ontario, and attended the University of Western Ontario there. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees from Stanford University where he specialized in the performance practice of early music. He came to Case Western Reserve in 1978 to direct the nationally recognized historical performance program there. Duffin has made a name for himself as a scholar in a wide range of repertoires, publishing articles on music from the 13th to the 18th centuries. His edition of DuFay chansons won the Noah Greenberg Award from the American Musicological Society for work of benefit to both scholars and performers, and his edition of Josquin motets was published in 1998 by Oxford University Press. Other “vocal” publications include the award winning Shakespeare’s Songbook (WW Norton, 2004), a study of all the songs from Shakespeare’s plays, and an edition of motets from the Jacobean period from A-R Editions. Duffin’s love of vocal ensemble singing has a familial background, since his grandfather, William Nelson, was a professional countertenor in London, England, and was soloist for Harold Darke and later Herbert Murrill, and his mother conducted her church choir, making him a third-generation choral conductor. Duffin has sung with Apollo’s Fire since its inception in 1992. He also directs the Early Music Singers at Case.
Mezzo-soprano Beverly Simmons is a singer, arts administrator, and graphic designer. Born in Denver, she earned a doctorate in early music at Stanford University, and moved to Cleveland in 1978. Her career includes stints as a Case Western Reserve University music professor, WCLV radio announcer, international artist manager, executive director, and mother of two. She has sung with Apollo’s Fire since its inception; founded the CWRU Early Music Singers, which she directed for 21 years; sang with the Cleveland Opera Chorus and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Senior Choir; and also sings at Temple Tifereth-Israel. Dr. Simmons was founder/manager of the concert series Chapel, Court & Countryside: Early Music at Harkness and serves as executive director for Quire Cleveland. She is also half of the cabaret duo, Rent-a-Yenta, about which an admirer said, “I’ve seen worse on Broadway!”