Notes for Nourishment Series

Artistic Director and Producer: Donna Stoering

Venue | Event Room of the Pauline Bookstore
Address | 243 King Street
Admission | Free

The California-based nonprofit music-service organization ListenForLife.org is launching a series of its award-winning Notes For Nourishment concerts here at Piccolo Spoleto! Our hope is to attract and inspire locally based professional musicians of all cultures to join us in future concerts and continue this platform year-round, here in South Carolina and beyond.

In Notes For Nourishment concerts around the globe, renowned professional musicians (from the classical styles of all cultures and countries) donate their time and talents to nourish their audiences, while donations are collected to benefit local nonprofits that nourish the homeless, hungry or hurting of that community.

Listen For Life artists are extremely excited and honored to be a part of Piccolo Spoleto for the first time, and we are grateful to our host venue, the Pauline Bookstore on King Street, which is also new to the festival this year! N4NConcerts will offer 10 completely different cross-cultural programs, in 14 (Free!) performances over the first 7 days of the festival, including a sneak-preview event on opening day just before the Sunset Serenade (it’s the only time the wonderful ensemble Levoná could be here to join us, so don’t miss it out on this special opportunity to hear them!)

Levona!

Fri., May 24 3:00pm and 4:30pm

Three musicians from this award-winning ensemble perform “joyfully soulful” music from around the world, including Balkan, Turkish, Hebrew, Israeli, Sephardic, klezmer, flamenco, Greek, Armenian, Spanish, Ladino and Middle Eastern styles, all featuring renowned Israeli multi-instrumentalist and singer, Asaf Ophir (see Levona.org)  Their music weaves “a rich tapestry that is at once familiar yet a new creation all its own, [with] the kind of energy that only comes when distant cultures overlap and celebrate their differences(San Francisco)

Note: two performances only, on Friday May 24 at 3pm and at 4:30pm

Donna Stoering presents “The Piano Can Dance?!”

Sat., May 25, 11:00 am; Wed., May 29, 1:30 and 7:30 pm

This internationally acclaimed concert pianist and award-winning recording artist (see Donna Stoering.com) brings us on a fast-paced, around-the-world journey exploring the use of different dance rhythms in classical piano music across various centuries and cultures (think Brahms and Chopin waltzes, Grieg’s Norwegian dances, Brazilian and Spanish rhythms, and more….) A protégé of the late Sir Georg Solti, Donna has served as Artistic Ambassador for both UK and USA to countries worldwide, and as Artist in Residence to Oxford University. She has performed solo recitals and concerti with famed conductors and orchestras in the major halls of countless countries, while also adjudicating international competitions and teaching masterclasses in the principal music conservatories worldwide.

“Miss Stoering is a pianist among pianists” (Harrow Observer, London UK)

Latin America and Beyond…

Sat., May 25, 7:30pm

Star of film, television and award-winning recordings, famed Latin-American harp soloist Anna Maria Mendieta (see AnnaMariaMendieta.com) brings her exotic beauty and exquisite musicality to fiery tangos, sensuous lullabies and more! She has shared programs with opera singer Frederica von Stade, performed with Frank Sinatra Jr., Johnny Mathis, Olivia Newton John, Barry Manilow, and Josh Groban, to name a few….She was also featured in a television special with Welsh singer Charlotte Church. Anna Maria will be performing four completely different programs within the N4NConcerts of the Festival – this evening’s program includes some popular showpieces for the concert harp repertoire, as well as a show-stopping Ravel duo for harp and piano, with renowned pianist Donna Stoering.

You’re the only harpist who makes me turn around to watch and hear you play!” – singer Josh Groban

Sacred Reveries: Harp Music for a Special Sunday

Sun., May 26, 2:00 pm

In 2001, in response to the tragedy of September 11th, the National Geographic Society invited renowned Latin American harp soloist Anna Maria Mendieta to perform the music of Spain on their album “Serenity – Songs of Peace and Enlightenment”. She had already released several best-selling albums of Broadway tunes and Christmas music. But some of Anna Maria’s most popular recordings include performances of beloved sacred and classical melodies, whether performed as solos or in collaboration with famed vocalists (see AnnaMariaMendieta.com). She will share many of those sacred melodies in this special 50-minute program – perfect for a meditative Sunday musical interlude after brunch.

“Harp at its best! Extremely talented… flawless execution…outstanding!”- CD Review Magazine

Winnie Wong and The Story of the Guzheng

Sun., May 26, 3:15 pm

Come and be introduced to a new “friend” in your music listening life! The guzheng is an amazingly versatile and beautiful Chinese instrument with a long history of important use in the sharing of myths, traditions, and cultures among countless generations and regions of Chinese peoples. One of the world’s top guzheng advocates and performers of the younger generation, Winnie Wong (see WinnieGuzheng.com) is flying in to share her favorite instrument and its lore with us, in a variety of different programs within the Festival. This initial 45-minute program will demonstrate the tremendous versatility of the instrument and whet our appetites for her further programs that will use it in Western classical and world music collaborations!

“Winnie Wong’s playing was truly impassioned on “Lament of Rainbow Cloud”. Filled with emotion, she made the guzheng truly weep.” – Johnathon Bakan, SF Asian Music Examiner

East meets West

Sun., May 26, 7:30 pm

Chinese guzheng master Winnie Wong will combine forces (and instruments) with European classical pianist Donna Stoering in a “tale of two tunings”. Ms Wong will perform a few short contrasting solos as well, but the two principal works on the program will both be technically dazzling piano-guzheng duet arrangements that share the emotions of epic legends in Chinese history. Winnie (see WinnieGuzheng.com) and Donna (DonnaStoering.com) have performed these works together many times, in cross-cultural music festivals for U.N.International Peace Day, in the World Cup Soccer Stadium, Ramona Bowl in the desert, and prestigious Ford Amphitheater of Los Angeles…but also in Chinese New Year celebrations of San Francisco and in many other cities.  Come hear their Charleston debut performance together! They are working on a fun new improvisatory piece just for this concert!

‘Oh la la’ – French Melody in the Morning

Mon., May 27, 11:00 am

Internationally renowned harp soloist Anna Maria Mendieta’s playing will wake you up even better than that good strong cup of coffee! Anna Maria has been honored to perform for Pope Benedict XVI, the King and Queen of Spain, President Bill Clinton, President Gorbachev, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and in special command performances at the Vatican and in Madrid, Spain. Ms. Mendieta, who has appeared as soloist for television, motion pictures, National Public Radio, and the Emmy Awards, has flown in to share four completely different programs with our Festival audiences, so come sample them all!  This one will be a “morning surprise” but will focus on the luxurious sounds of French Impressionist composer Debussy. Anna Maria’s national touring concert-show, “Tango del Cielo” is now the focus of a documentary film!

Strings of Three Worlds

Mon., May 27, 7:30 pm

Three different types of stringed instruments, three different tuning systems, three unique, internationally renowned performers of three very contrasting cultures and backgrounds: we asked ourselves, what could happen if we did a program contrasting (and maybe even combining!) the Chinese guzheng, Latin American harp and European classical grand piano? Come and find out, along with us! Solos on each instrument, then some duets and maybe a fun trio arrangement or two, featuring Listen for Life artists Donna Stoering (donnastoering.com) on piano, Anna Maria Mendieta (annamariamendieta.com) on harp, and Winnie Wong (winnieguzheng.com) on Chinese guzheng.

A Siesta with Sizzle

Tue., May 28, 2:00 pm

Time for a rest after lunch? Come sample the Spanish flair of internationally renowned Latin American harp soloist Anna Maria Mendieta in her fourth and final program of the 2019 Festival. Expect some sultry afternoon fireworks in this one! In recognition of her Spanish heritage, Anna Maria was invited by the Director of the CIA to perform solo concerts for National Hispanic Week in Washington D.C. And her national touring concert-show, “Tango del Cielo”(which she created and produced) is now the focus of a documentary film! This concert is your last chance to not only hear some sizzling tangos and flamenco.

“an exceptional soloist and a charismatic player”– Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News

From “the Old Country” to Broadway

Thurs., May 30, 7:30 pm and Fri., May 31, 2:00 pm

Renowned tenor Stephen Guggenheim began his musical life as a Hebrew Cantor, and continues that activity to this day while singing critically acclaimed starring roles in opera (USA and Europe) and in musical theater. You may have most recently seen him in the box office film “The MeshugaNutracker!” based on an original musical that he co-wrote and co-produced. A former Adler Fellow of the Merola Opera Program, Stephen has sung in the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall and in the world’s greatest opera houses. But he was also named “Best Leading Actor in a Musical” by the industry magazine BroadwayWorld.com for his performance as Bill Todson in Thanks for Playing….the Game Show Show! at the Retrodome. Just before this year’s Piccolo Spoleto begins, he will be completing a 20-performance run starring in “A Spoonful of Sherman” in California. Stephen is flying in to Charleston to join N4NConcerts artistic director, pianist Donna Stoering, in this special program offering a fabulous collection of heartfelt, spiritual, uplifting music, journeying from the past to the present through folksong, classical song and Musical Theater – singing in Yiddish, Aramaic, Hebrew and English! Not to be missed, this will be the final concert of LFL’s Notes for Nourishment series in this year’s festival.

“…a commanding stage presence..”  Richmond Times Dispatch                                                                                     

“His voice is a magnificent instrument, capable of great variety”  The Herald

All Notes For Nourishment concerts take place at a new festival venue, Pauline Books & Media, 243 King St. inside their Events Room adjacent to the bookstore.

Listen for Life would like to give special thanks to Sr. Margaret Kerry (Manager of Pauline Books and Media), and to Jennifer Metts, Marty Perlmutter, Hannah Wathen and especially Frank Dirks, for their long-distance help, advice, encouragement, and important support here in Charleston.