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LINCOLN’S SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
FRIDAY, APRIL 22 | 7:30 PM
LINCOLNSYMPHONY.COM | (402) 476-2211
BEETHOVEN'S NINTH CLASSICAL
FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 2022, 7:30PM
LIED CENTER FOR PERFOMING ARTS
EDWARD POLOCHICK, CONDUCTOR
ICY SIMPSON-MONROE, SOPRANO
REBECCA SHANE, ALTO
ARIEL MERIVIL, TENOR
JEFF KEELE, BASS
ABENDMUSIK CHORUS, DOANE UNIVERSITY CHOIR,
DOANE COLLEGIATE CHORALE, AND
NEBRASKA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY CHOIR
(CHOIRS PREPARED BY TOM TRENNEY & KURT RUNESTAD)
JAKE RUNESTAD A Silence Haunts Me 10’
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9 in D minor, op. 125 (Choral) 65’
(1770-1827) I. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
II. Molto vivace
III. Adagio molto e cantabile
Artist and orchestra funding supported by the Anabeth Hormel Cox and MarySue Harris
Charitable Lead Trusts. LSO’s move to the Lied Center for Performing Arts made possible in part by
a gift from Rhonda Seacrest. Student tickets made possible by the Lienemann Charitable Foundation
Student Ticket Program. Accommodations provided by The Cornhusker – A Marriott Hotel.
All programs and artists are subject to change.
The Nebraska Arts Council, a state agency, has supported this program through its
matching grants program funded by the Nebraska Legislature, the National Endowment
for the Arts and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. Visit www.artscouncil.nebraska.
gov for information on how the Nebraska Arts Council can assist your organization, or
how you can support the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.
CLASSICAL BEETHOVEN’S NINTH
A Silence Haunts Me
Jake Runestad (b. 1986)
In 2017, Jake Runestad travelled to Leipzig,
Germany to be present at the premiere of Into the
Light, an extended work for chorus and orchestra
commissioned by Valparaiso University to
commemorate the 500th anniversary of Luther nailing
his Ninety-Seven Theses to a door in Wittenberg,
thereby kicking off the Reformation. While traveling
after the concert, Runestad found himself in the Haus
der Musik Museum in Vienna, where he encountered
a facsimile of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Heiligenstadt
It was the first time he had read the famous text,
which is almost equal parts medical history (including
Beethoven’s first admission to his brothers that he
was going deaf), last will and testament, suicide note,
letter of forgiveness, and prayer of hope. Runestad
was flabbergasted and found himself thinking about
Beethoven, about loss, and about the tragedy of one
of the greatest musicians of all time losing his hearing.
Beethoven put it this way, “Ah, how could I possibly
admit an infirmity in the one sense which ought to be
more perfect in me than others, a sense which I once
possessed in the highest perfection, a perfection such
as few in my profession enjoy or ever have enjoyed.”
When the American Choral Directors Association
offered the Raymond C. Brock Commission to
Runestad for the 2019 National Conference, he took
many months to settle on a topic, finally deciding on
setting Beethoven’s words. While researching
Beethoven’s output around the time of the letter,
Runestad discovered that Beethoven wrote a ballet,
Creatures of Prometheus, just a year before penning
his testament. “Beethoven must have put himself into
Prometheus’ mindset to embody the story,” Runestad
noted. “Just as Prometheus gifted humankind with fire
and was punished for eternity, so did Beethoven gift
the fire of his music while fighting his deafness, an
impending silence. What an absolutely devastating yet
inspiring account of the power of the human spirit. In
the moment of his loss —when he wrote the
“Heiligenstadt Testament” — he had no idea how
profound his legacy would be” (“legacy” being one of
the themes of this ACDA’s anniversary conference).
Because of the length of the letter, a verbatim setting
was impractical; Runestad once again turned to his
friend and frequent collaborator, Todd Boss, to help.
Boss’s poem, entitled A Silence Haunts Me – After
Beethoven’s Heiligenstadt Testament creates a scena
— a monologue in Beethoven’s voice for choir. The
poem is both familiar and intimate; Boss has taken the
fundamentals of Beethoven’s letter and spun it into a
libretto that places the reader/listener into the same
small, rented room as one of the most towering figures
of the Romantic Era.
To those words, Runestad has brought his full array
of dramatic understanding and compositional skill; A
Silence Haunts Me sounds more like a self-contained
monologue from an opera than a traditional choral
piece. Runestad, who has published three operas to
date, shows his flair for melding music with text even
more dramatically than in familiar settings like Let My
Love Be Heard and Please Stay. He sets the poetry
with an intense, emotional directness and uses some
of Beethoven’s own musical ideas to provide context.
Stitched into the work are hints at familiar themes from
the Moonlight Sonata, the 3rd, 6th, and 9th
Symphonies, and Creatures of Prometheus, but they
BEETHOVEN'S NINTH CLASSICAL
are, in Runestad’s words, “filtered through a hazy,
frustrated, and defeated state of being.”
In wrestling with Beethoven, with legacy, and with
loss, Runestad has done what he does best—written
a score where the poetry creates the form, where the
text drives the rhythm, where the melody supports
the emotional content, and where the natural sounding
vocal lines, arresting harmony, and idiomatic
accompaniment — in this case, piano in honor of
Beethoven — come together to offer the audience an
original, engaging, thoughtful, and passionate work
of choral art.
Program note by Dr. Jonathan Talberg
About the Text
This loose adaptation of Ludwig van Beethoven’s
famous “Heiligenstadt Testament” was unusually
difficult to write. Jake suggested the subject matter
in a phone call while I was traveling Europe, and it
literally haunted me for days afterward, waking me
in the middle of the night. I wrote the words “Hear
me” and “A silence comes for me” in London between
the hours of 2am and 4am. A few days later, I spent
the entire 7-hour span of a transatlantic flight writing
and rewriting, developing the poem’s unusual shape
and format. I finished it several weeks later while in
Vienna, and a visit to Heiligenstadt became part of
my journey with the piece. I was often in tears during
the process. I myself was traveling alone, and so the
process was uniquely intense. I was six years into the
loss of everything I held most dear, and so I swear I
inhabited Beethoven’s state of mind bodily, muscles
quaking, unsettled for hours after each of the poem’s
twelve major revisions.
I invented many things that don’t appear in
Beethoven’s letter. The plea “Take my feeling, take
my sight, etc.,” occurred to me as a way of declaiming
the terrible irony of Beethoven’s loss, a momentary
bargaining as happens as a stage of grief.
Comparisons of his plight to that of the accursed
Prometheus, Jake’s idea, are in reference to The
Creatures of Prometheus, the ballet Beethoven
finished a year prior to his sojourn at Heiligenstadt. “A
bell” tolls at the end of the letter, and it might be he
suddenly hears one, it might be his tinnitus, or it might
be a figurative acknowledgement of a newfound
The poem is set in italics to mimic handwriting and
arranged against ragged margins to look like a letter.
I’ve isolated the letter i wherever it appears, and
further isolated nouns that refer to people (I, You,
me, brothers, etc.) with nine spaces on either side to
isolate them, in recognition of Beethoven’s isolation
from himself and others, and in honor of his nine
completed symphonies. No punctuation is utilized.
All these odd typographical choices force the reader
to read the poem with a halting brokenness, just as
one might read very old handwriting, but they also
attempt to relay the halting and broken frame of mind
Beethoven must have been in when he wrote his very
sad letter to his brothers.
Note on the text by poet Todd Boss.
Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 25 “Choral”
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Ludwig van Beethoven’s final symphony needs little
introduction. As one of classical music’s most iconic
pieces, it has escaped the bounds of the concert hall
and permeates popular culture at large. Beethoven’s
Ninth is among the most frequently performed
symphonies worldwide and the melody set to
Friedrich Schiller’s poem Ode an die Freude (“Ode
to Joy”) in the final movement has all but embedded
itself within our collective human consciousness.
Moreover, the work holds a hallowed place in
symphonic history with its addition of vocal soloists
and a chorus, the first time a major composer not only
included human voices in a symphony but assigned
them the same importance as the instruments. Each
performance of this masterwork is a monumental
collaboration that speaks to the themes of ceaseless
striving and universal kinship its music seeks to relate.
After completing his Eighth Symphony in the summer
of 1812, Beethoven entered a prolonged period of
relatively stagnant output compared with the fevered
productivity of his earlier career. These years were
ones of continuous personal crises for the
composer, including a disappointed love affair,
various protracted illnesses, the death of his brother
Kaspar and a subsequent custody battle over
Kaspar’s young son, and, of course, the ever-present
specter of his worsening hearing loss and its
accompanying isolation. It wasn’t until 1820 that the
composer truly returned to cementing his musical
legacy, intent on completing the work he affirmed
was his destiny in the “Heiligenstadt Testament”
some eighteen years earlier. By 1822, though now
completely deaf and often in emotional upheaval,
Beethoven was once again writing at a frenzied pace
and developing what would ultimately become the
Ninth Symphony. He worked steadily through the
following year, setting his final marks upon the score
in February 1824.
The Ninth’s premiere performance was given in
Vienna on May 7, 1824 by the largest orchestra
Beethoven had yet assembled. The deaf composer
could not conduct but stood upon the stage flipping
through his score and beating time (the performers
having been instructed beforehand to disregard his
gesticulations and follow the official conductor). Upon
the work’s conclusion, Beethoven remained staring
down at his score with his back to the audience until
the mezzo-soprano soloist gently turned him around
to be met with the sight of the uproariously cheering
crowd he could no longer hear.
The Ninth Symphony’s basic arc is that of darkness
to light, chaos to clarity, conflict to joy. The first
movement begins in a state of quiet anticipation, the
strings playing a sequence of open fifths that gradual
builds in intensity before erupting into a potently
CLASSICAL BEETHOVEN’S NINTH
The movement is brimming with harmonic tension
and rhythmic energy that foreshadows the force of
the coming finale. Beethoven then subverts common
symphonic practice by placing his scherzo in the
second movement slot rather than the traditional
third. The continuous development of this movement’s
driving main theme is undeniably Beethovenian, its
concentrated agitation only heightened by the
contrast of the coyly flowing secondary subject. A
respite to the forceful intensity of the two opening
movements arrives in the form of a slow Adagio. Its
two themes, both simple yet rich, weave gracefully
together through increasingly decorative variations
toward a serene conclusion.
Chaos reigns once more as the finale begins, the
preceding movement’s peace shattered by a
harrowing opening fanfare. Cellos and basses sing
out in bold instrumental recitative, alternating with
– and rejecting – passages in which the orchestra
recalls the main themes of the symphony’s first three
movements. The stirring “Joy” melody soon emerges
to quietly assert itself in the low strings before
gloriously expanding into a sweeping orchestral
dance. The dramatic opening fanfare sounds once
more and then, at long last, the most striking
innovation of all: a single human voice cuts through
the instrumental maelstrom, pure and profound in its
expressive call for new and joyful tones. What follows
is thrilling at every turn, from the monumental choral
statements of the “Joy” theme to the famed Turkish
March interlude to the immense yet nimble double
fugue. All are inventively joined, developed, and
varied before culminating in a wildly exultant coda,
a fittingly grand conclusion to one of the highest
expressions of musical triumph and transcendence
Program note by Laney Boyd
O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!
Sondern laßt uns angenehmere
anstimmen und freudenvollere.
Freude, schöner Götterfunken,
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder,
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.
Wem der große Wurf gelungen,
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein;
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen,
Mische seinen Jubel ein!
Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!
Und wer's nie gekonnt, der stehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund.
Freude trinken alle Wesen
An den Brüsten der Natur;
Alle Guten, alle Bösen
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur.
Küsse gab sie uns und Reben,
Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod;
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben,
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott!
Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen
Durch des Himmels prächt'gen Plan,
Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,
Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen.
Seid umschlungen, Millionen.
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Brüder, über'm Sternenzelt
Muß ein lieber Vater wohnen.
Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such' ihn über'm Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muß er wohnen.
Oh friends, no more of these sounds!
Let us sing more cheerful songs,
More full of joy!
Joy, bright spark of divinity,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire-inspired we tread
Thy magic power reunites
All that custom has divided;
All men become brothers
Under the sway of thy gentle wings.
Whoever has created
An abiding friendship,
Or has won
A true and loving wife,
All who can call at least one soul theirs,
Join in our song of praise!
But any who cannot must creep tearfully
Away from our circle.
All creatures drink of joy
At nature’s breast.
Just and unjust
Alike taste of her gift;
She gave us kisses and the fruit of the vine,
A tried friend to the end.
Even the worm can feel contentment,
And the cherub stands before God!
Gladly, like the heavenly bodies
Which He set on their courses through the
splendor of the firmament;
Thus, brothers, you should run your race,
As a hero going to conquest.
You millions, I embrace you.
This kiss is for all the world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
There must dwell a loving Father.
Do you fall in worship, you millions?
World, do you know your Creator?
Seek Him in the heavens!
Above the stars must he dwell.
BEETHOVEN'S NINTH CLASSICAL
Icy Simpson-Monroe, Soprano
Icy Simpson-Monroe is a passionate singer who has appeared as
Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Despina (Così fan Tutte), and Catherine (A
View from the Bridge). She made her professional solo debut with the
Marshall Symphony Orchestra in 2011, and has sung with the South
Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, the Shreveport Summer Music
Festival, the Colour of Music Festival in South Carolina, and the
Alleluia Conference at Baylor University.
Icy has won multiple awards, including the State and Regional
National Association of Teachers of Singing Competitions (NATs),
District Metropolitan Opera Auditions, and the People’s Choice Award
in the Dallas Opera Guild Competition. Icy is featured on the Naxos
label with her CD, I,too, and in the award winning documentary When I Rise, the story of Barbara
Icy holds a Bachelors in Vocal Performance, a Masters in Opera, and an Artist Diploma from the
University of Texas-Austin. She continues to perform extensively, and has expanded her work to
include her business, The Voice Clinic, specializing in voice rehabilitation/preventative technique.
Her website is www.thevoiceclinicaustin.com.
Rebecca Shane, Alto
Rebecca Shane is an active mezzo-soprano soloist locally and
regionally. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
where she studied with Donna Harler-Smith and performed the roles
of La Principessa (Suor Angelica), Zita (Gianni Schicchi), Florence Pike
(Albert Herring), Charlotte Bartlett (A Room With A View), Madam
Flora (The Medium), Ma Moss (The Tender Land), and the Mother in
the Sacred Arts Council’s production of Amahl and the Night Visitors.
She has performed with the Omaha, Lincoln, and Sioux City
Symphony Orchestras, and on the Abendmusik concert series.
Rebecca is a member of First-Plymouth Church’s many choirs, the
Abendmusik Chorus, and Tom Trenney’s professional choir, Sounding
Light, an ensemble based in both the Detroit area and in Lincoln, which assembles singers from
across the nation for choral projects and recordings. She has a passion for teaching young voices
and, for the past 25 years, has dedicated much of her time to teaching voice performance and
encouraging artistic confidence and healthy expression to hundreds of students.
Tuxedo Rental Provided By:
Ariel Merivil, Tenor
CLASSICAL BEETHOVEN’S NINTH
Ariel Merivil has sung as a soloist and choral singer in many settings and
ensembles, including Exigence, Sounding Light, Cantorei at
First-Plymouth Church, Plymouth Choir, Atlanta Symphony
Orchestra Chorus, Atlanta’s Chorale—New Creation, and others. He
is also a collaborative keyboardist and has worked with the Nebraska
Wesleyan University Choirs, University of Nebraska Choirs, Wartburg
College, and many other ensembles and vocal and instrumental soloists.
Ariel serves as the Associate Minister of Music to First-Plymouth Church
in Lincoln, where he leads in worship as a conductor, organist, pianist,
and vocalist. He currently leads the Te Deum, Youth Singers, and
Plymouth Ringers choirs in addition to the Youth Orchestra. At
First-Plymouth, Ariel has helped to lead and foster diverse styles of music in worship, including the
Negro-spiritual, gospel, global, and other contemporary music.
A graduate of the Georgia State University School of Music, Ariel earned a dual-concentration
Master of Music degree in choral conducting and organ performance and received the Bachelor of
Architecture degree from Southern Polytechnic State University (now Kennesaw State University).
Jeff Keele, Bass
Bass-baritone Jeff Keele has most recently performed as Betto (Gianni
Schicchi) with Opera Southwest, where he has also performed
Dr. Grenvil (La Traviata), the Sacristan (Tosca), and Dr. Bartolo (Le Nozze
Di Figaro). He made his professional opera debut with Opera Omaha,
singing the role of the Jailor in Tosca, and has sung with the Southern
Illinois and Pine Mountain Music Festivals and the Fargo-Moorhead
Jeff has performed as soloist with the Lincoln Lutheran Choir,
Abendmusik, Sioux City Orchestra, Doane College, Arts for the Soul,
Bethany College, Opera Omaha, the National Liszt Society, York College,
and Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra.A native of Lincoln, he earned his
Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he studied with
Donna Harler-Smith and performed in numerous productions with the UNL Opera. He sang leading
roles in two world premiere operas: the Bass in Randall Snyder’s The Divine Madness and Frank in
Tyler White’s O Pioneers! He placed second in the Metropolitan Opera’s Upper Midwest regional
auditions and was the Nebraska District Metropolitan Auditions winner from 2005-2007.
Choral Warm-Up Space Provided By:
Anton Miller, Concertmaster
Emanuel Wishnow Chair
Kim Osborne Salistean
Erin Birkestrand Aguirre
Assistant Principal Second
Clark Potter, Principal
Marjorie Mengshol Chair
Michael R. Frey
Karen Becker, Principal
Margaret Griesen Chair
Tracy Hanson Sands
Leslie Williams Tien
Michael Swartz, Principal
Barbara & Howard Dinsdale Chair
Mark F. Haar
John Bailey, Principal
Louis H. Babst Chair
Rebecca Van de Bogart
William McMullen, Principal
William & Mary Nye Chair
Diane Cawein Barger, Principal
Wesley J. &
Joan M. Reist Chair
M. Eugene Williams
Jeffrey McCray, Principal
Gregory Helseth, Principal
W. Harold Oliver
Thomas Kelly, Principal
Ruth Marie Amen Chair
Deborah T. Bouffard
Scott Anderson, Principal
Vernon A. Forbes Chair
Terry R. Rush
Bob Snider, Principal
Jeffrey Nelson, Principal
Richard K. Jones
CLASSICAL BEETHOVEN’S NINTH
Tom Trenney, director
Deanne Hyde Boilesen
Anne Elizabeth Gray
Michelle A. Lisec-Talarico
Ina Sivits Luhring
Cynthia Stadler Mohr
Christina Emra Buchholz
Ayndrea Bonnett Cannon
Jessica Brauer Echtenkamp
Alison F. Knudsen
Carolyn Brown Kramer
John W. Reinert
Stephen V. Talarico
Foster Collins, Jr.
Marques L.A. Garrett
Jason J. Hellmuth
Jason J. Seger
BEETHOVEN'S NINTH CLASSICAL
The Doane University Choirs
Dr. Kurt Runestad and Jason Horner, conductors
CLASSICAL BEETHOVEN’S NINTH
Nebraska Wesleyan University Choir
Tom Trenney, director
PAIGE MICHAUD, FLUTE
A poised and dynamic flutist, Paige Michaud has
performed in masterclasses with prestigious flutists
around the world including Daniel Carlo, Sergio
Pallottelli, and Matthieu Gauci-Ancelin of the Berlin
Philharmonic. In addition to regular local performances
in and around Omaha, Paige performed at the 2019
Chicago Flute Festival, the 2020 Longy School of Music
Flute Festival in Boston, and the 2021 Flauti al Castello
festival in Anghiari, Tuscany, Italy. The youngest
competitors in the field, Michaud and her piano partner,
Yimeng Xu, won first place at the 2021 Puerto Rico
International Collaborative Piano Competition with
their polished performance of music by Samuel Zyman
and Amy Beach. Michaud is a student of Dr. Christine
Beard at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO)
where she is currently a junior pursuing a Bachelor of
Music Performance degree. She is the current Rotating
Principal of the Heartland Philharmonic Orchestra,
former principal flute in UNO’s Symphonic Wind
Ensemble, and is a core member of the Heartland
Community Flute Choir, the latter of which has been
selected to perform a new commission by Julia Wolfe
at the 2022 National Flute Association Convention. In
addition to her many successes as a performer and a
passionate proponent of women’s issues, diversity,
equity, and inclusion, Paige’s article, “Misogyny in
Mozart: Is Le Nozze di Figaro Truly About Figaro?” was
published in the Summer 2021 edition of the Nebraska
Music Teacher Association newsletter.
EDWARD POLOCHICK, CONDUCTOR
Edward Polochick, Music Director of Lincoln’s
Symphony Orchestra since 1998, has expanded
LSO’s music series through innovative classical
music programs, family concerts, pops concerts,
and July 4th events like the Uncle Sam Jam. For 31
years, he served as Artistic Director of Concert
Artists of Baltimore, an all-professional chamber
orchestra and vocal ensemble of eighty musicians
which he founded in 1987. Maestro Polochick served
on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music
in Baltimore from 1979 until 2020 in a multitude of
conducting positions including Associate Conductor
of Orchestras, Director of Choral Ensembles, and
Opera Conductor. Not only is he widely recognized
as a conductor, but is an award-winning pianist
and harpsichordist and regularly conducts from
the keyboard with Concert Artists, the Baltimore
Symphony Orchestra, and Lincoln’s Symphony
Orchestra. He has also appeared as piano soloist
with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Los Angeles
Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Sir Neville
Since winning the first Leopold Stokowski Conducting
Award in 1978 and, as a result, conducting the
Philadelphia Orchestra, he continues to attract
world-wide attention as an orchestral, choral, and
operatic conductor. In addition to conducting the
Philadelphia and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras,
his guest appearances include the Houston
Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony, the Opera
Company of Philadelphia, Omaha Symphony,
Jacksonville Symphony, Charleston (SC) Symphony
Orchestra, Aalborg Symphony (Denmark), Daejeon
Philharmonic (South Korea), St. Petersburg
Symphony (Russia), and the State of Mexico
Symphony Orchestra (Mexico).
From 1979-1999 Mr. Polochick was on the conducting
staff of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as
Director of the Symphony Chorus, founder and
director of the Baltimore Symphony Chorus Chamber
Singers, and frequent guest conductor. During his
tenure with the BSO, he established annual Holiday
Pops and Messiah performances which have
remained Baltimore holiday traditions for nearly
three decades. In the summer of 1987, Mr. Polochick