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About the Guest Artists

Robert Mack Headshot 2015 .1_w.jpg

Remembering George Walker: Wednesday, February 12, 2020  8pm

Marcus Parris, conductor/composer

Marcus Jose Parris, possesses an inspiring presence on the podium and a passion for and profound understanding of music. He has appeared with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Sinaloa Symphony Orchestra of the Arts in Sinaloa, Mexico, the National Symphony Orchestra of Panama, the Newburgh Symphony Orchestra, in Newburgh, NY, and the Da Capo Chamber Players. During the 2007/2008 season, he was assistant conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra in New York City, guest assistant professor at the Conductors Institute at Bard College, and finalist in the competition for the position of musical director of the YMF Debut Orchestra in Los Angeles. In addition, he shared the podium with Maestro Kurt Masur in a 2006 concert with the Manhattan School of Music Symphony Orchestra in conjunction with a series of master classes. That same year he was appointed Musical Director and Principal Conductor of the Opera Company of the Highlands where his performances of Madama Butterfly , La Boheme , Cavalleria Rusticana / I Pagliacci and Hansel and Gretel by Humperdinck have been described as "agitation", "fluid", "precise" and "expert ... " by the Times Herald-Record of Newburgh, NY.  He also conducted the U.S. premiers of Feast in the Time of the Plague by C. Cui, and the rarely produced Mozart and Salieri by Rimsky-Korsakov, both based on novels by A. Pushkin, with the Little Opera Theater in New York.


Mr. Parris has participated as director and assistant director in several recording projects. Among them is the recording of Mountain of the Blue Wind by Lydia Ayers, composed for 16 flutes and recorded sounds for the Hudson Valley Records label, as well as a recording of classic masterpieces arranged by conductor/composer Harold Farberman for the String Quartet from Colorado and members of the percussion section of the American Symphony Orchestra for the First Impression Music label.


During his time as a resident in Okinawa, Japan, 2012-2015, Mr. Parris was invited to conduct the Okinawa Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he was invited several times to teach master classes in band conducting and rehearse with the Yonabaru Chugaku Wind Ensemble. During his time in Panama, Mr. Parris was invited to conduct an orchestral reading of the opera Dido and Aeneas with the orchestra of the University of Panama in 2016, and made a return appearance with the National Symphony Orchestra of Panama in August of the same

year. A little more than 9 years after his debut with the orchestra. He returned a third time in July of 2019. In February of 2018, he launched as CEO and artistic director Operation Liszt—a ceremonial montage of the Orquesta Filarmónica de la Comunidad de Conciertos Phil, the genesis of the projected Conciertos Phil, an orchestral arts organization. He also served as the director of the Banda de Conciertos de UDELAS (specialized university of the americas) in Panama during the 2018-2019 academic years.


As choral director Mr. Parris has served as assistant director of the Chamber Singers of Bard College with Dr. James Bagwell, and as musical director of Charles St. AME Sacred Music Ensemble in Roxbury, Massachusetts. The ensemble's performances for the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons include a variety of styles and genres, ranging from the monumental and transcendental Handel's Messiah, to the mysterious and inspired black spirituals of Moses Hogan. In December 2015, he appeared as a guest director with the Sacred Music Chorale (now Cantemus) in Panama, performing two performances of a double bill of Gloria by Vivaldi and The Messiah by Handel.


As a composer, his work Impala was premiered by the American Symphony Orchestra, directed by Maestro Leon Botstein, and Sunday for piano solo, was premiered by Blair McMillen former pianist of the Da Capo Chamber Players, and performed live for National Public Radio (WAMC), Albany, NY.


Maestro Parris began trumpet lessons at the age of six. From 2001 to 2005, he studied orchestral conducting with Maestro Harold Farberman, first in the summer course at the Conductors Institute at Bard College and as a private student, then as a scholarship student in the conducting program at Bard College. At that time he also studied composition with Joan Tower, trumpet with Steven Banzaert, and voice and language diction with Joan Fuerstman. Other teachers, mentors, and influences are Maestri Apo Hsu, Karen Lynne Deal, Claudia Cummings, Gustav Meier, Kenneth Kiesler, Guillermo Figueroa, Abdiel Almodóvar, Raymond Harvey and Leon Botstein.

Robert Mack, tenor

Robert Mack, recently performed the role of Bartell D’Arcy in The Irish Repertory Theatre’s production of The Dead, 1904. He has received glorious reviews for his powerful but sweet lyric tenor voice, throughout the US and Europe.  He has performed principal roles with noted opera companies, such as Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Budapest Opera, Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, The Royal Danish Opera, Opéra Française de New York, Toledo Opera, Nashville Opera, Opera Carolina, Opera Company of Philadelphia, The Springfield Symphony, The Paris Bastille, The Teatro Real in Spain,  and has spent several seasons on the roster of The Metropolitan Opera. He performs tenor solos with The Alvin Ailey American Dance Company in Revelations and has performed in Spoleto Festival’s premier of Amistad where the critics made mention of his very solid performance. Mr. Mack has performed on Broadway in Smokey Joe’s Café and 3 Mo’ Tenors. He has been the tenor soloist in Verdi’s Requiem, Mozart's Requiem, Elijah, The Seven Last Words, and other notable oratorios. He recently performed the role of Frederick Douglass in the new musical Common Ground and the title role of Emmett Till. Mr Mack is very proud to be the General Director/Co-Founder of Opera Noire of New York and Professor of Voice at North Carolina Central University.

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