Niobrara County News

Piatigorsky Foundation Focuses on Artistic Excellence and Public Outreach

Dr. Seymour Thickman underwrites two concert tours of Wyoming.

The Spring Wyoming tour will feature Piatigorsky Foundation artists Katherine Calcamuggio, mezzo-soprano and John Elam, piano. The concert will be on Friday, May 9 at 7 p.m. at the Congregational Church.

For over 23 years, The Piatigorsky Foundation’s commitment to artistic excellence and public outreach has fascinated many avid concert goers as well as curious first-timers. It is this combination of complimentary access, flamboyant performances, and human warmth that makes Piatigorsky Foundation concerts so appealing to diverse audiences. For the eleventh consecutive year, The Muriel & Seymour Thickman Family Charitable Trust is funding The Piatigorsky Foundation’s tour of Wyoming. In an effort to serve more communities, two tours will once again be presented in the state. The Spring tour, beginning in Buffalo on May 7th and concluding on May 13th in Rock River, will include public concerts and school outreach programs. The Wyoming Arts Council has served as the facilitator with each of the 16 communities throughout the state. The Niobrara County Library is the local sponsor of the May 9th performance in Lusk.

KATHERINE CALCAMUGGIO is an award-winning mezzo-soprano whose talent distinguishes her as one of the most promising young vocalists on the opera scene today. In the past four seasons, Calcamuggio has been featured in important role and company debuts across the United States, eliciting kudos for her “soaring, rich voice” (The Miami Herald), her “polished musical and dramatic characterizations” (Kurt Weill Newsletter) and her “fine coloratura technique” (Philadelphia Inquirer). Auspicious operatic and symphonic debuts from recent seasons include roles as Hansel in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel; Siebel in Gounod’s Faust; Stephano in Rom�o et Juliette (for which Calcamuggio was named “Artist of the Year” in 2009 with Syracuse Opera); Sesto in Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Un Musico in Manon Lescaut with Florida Grand Opera; the Young Nun in the world premiere of Stephen Hartke’s The Greater Good (available on the Naxos label) and Aglaonice in Philip Glass’ critically-acclaimed Orph�e with Glimmerglass Opera. Ms. Calcamuggio is currently working on her doctorate at University of Michigan and holds a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Music degree from Bowling Green State University.

A native of Cleburne, Texas, JOHN ELAM is a Master’s student at the University of Michigan studying collaborative piano, where he is a student of Martin Katz. He received his BM and MM degrees in Piano Performance from Baylor University, where he studied with Jane Abbott-Kirk, Jeffrey Peterson, and Vincent de Vries. Mr. Elam has served as music director for Fiddler on the Roof, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Urinetown, while also serving as rehearsal pianist for Igor Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress this past spring. In addition to his work in musical theater and opera productions, Mr. Elam has extensive experience as a choral pianist, having performed with the Texas All-State Choir. He made his solo debut with orchestra in 2004 with the Grieg Concerto in A minor and has performed at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas and Symphony Hall in Detroit.

About The Piatigorsky Foundation: Evan Drachman established The Piatigorsky Foundation in 1990 in honor of his grandfather Gregor Piatigorsky. Piatigorsky deeply believed in the healing and inspiration power of classical music. He once said, “Music makes life better. Music is a necessity. It is rich. It is imaginative. It is magnificent. And it is for everyone.” The Piatigorsky Foundation is committed to carrying on Piatigorsky’s mission by evoking cultural curiosity through educational and accessible live performances.