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Concert Features Work of Catalán Composers

  • Published:
Isai Jess Muñoz and Tyler Wottrich

Visca Catalunya! A Celebration of songs by Catalán Composers of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries will be presented in the Butz Carruth Recital Hall on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, at 12 pm. 

Featured performers will be guest artist Isai Jess Muñoz, tenor, and Tyler Wottrich, pianist. 

There is no charge for admission; the public is invited. Visca Catalunya! is presented by the Taylor University Department of Music, Theatre and Dance.

When compared to the vast amount of reference materials devoted to the history and analyses of North American and other Central European classical song literature, very little scholarly attention has been placed on the classical songs of Catalunya—the autonomous community in Spain. The repressive and still resonating effects of Francisco Franco’s dictatorial ban on Catalán, this community’s native language, contributed to lack of published editions and scarce diffusion of its endangered classical song literature abroad. Although several local publishers have begun to recover the musical works by neglected Catalán composers of the past century, the broader dissemination of their products can only truly flourish when performing artists outside Catalunya acquire this music and choose to interpret them by way of live performance and recording. Consequently, much work remains to be done to dismantle the barricades that have stood in the way of a deeper understanding of this body of music outside Catalunya.

This recital program features rare masterpieces that shed light on this nationalistic musical practice of the 20th and 21st Centuries—its history and its style—and provide a context for an understanding of the practice so that the genre of Catalán classical song may continue to gain recognition.

Praised by the New York Times for "Crucially, deftly navigating the border of genuine emotion through his singing," tenor Isai Jess Muñoz has appeared in opera, musical theatre, and the concert stage with the Israel Philharmonic, The New York City Opera, The American Symphony Orchestra, The American Composers Symphony at Carnegie Hall, The Utah Festival Opera, The Cincinnati Opera, The Verbier Music Festival of Swtizerland, The Bard Music Festival, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater on Broadway, The Grammy-Winning Voices of Ascension, and in churches and performance spaces across New York City.

Muñoz holds advanced degrees from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, The Manhattan School of Music, and the Doctorate in Musical Arts from SUNY Stony Brook where he studied with W. Stephen Smith of the Juilliard School. As an educator, he has served on the voice faculty of Musiktheatre Bavaria in Germany, The Rollins College Summer Music Academy, and The University of Central Florida Summer Opera Institute. From 2012-2016, Muñoz served as Associate Professor of Voice and Opera at Indiana Wesleyan University. He now serves as Assistant Professor of Voice and Opera at the University of Delaware and as the Chair of the Sacred in Opera Initiative of the National Opera Association. 

Pianist Tyler Wottrich has developed a career spanning a broad spectrum of musical genres including solo piano, chamber music, ballet, opera, and gospel. An alumnus of Ensemble Connect (formerly Ensemble ACJW; a program of Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School, the Weill Music Institute, and the New York City Department of Education), Wottrich performs frequently in such venues as Carnegie’s Zankel and Weill Halls and the Juilliard School. Wottrich is currently an Assistant Professor of Piano at North Dakota State University, and is founder and artistic director of the NDSU Chamber Music Festival. Wottrich has served on the collaborative piano faculty of the Banff Centre (2015-2016), and at Stony Brook University between 2009 and 2013, Wottrich maintained a successful studio of undergraduate and graduate students. Committed to his collaborations with singers, Wottrich has has appeared at Marilyn Horne’s “The Song Continues” at Carnegie Hall after garnering an honorable mention in the 2011 Marilyn Horne Song Competition. Wottrich has been a vocal coach at Stony Brook University, Opera North, the Music Academy of the West, and the Cleveland Art Song Festival.