Holiday Candlelight Concert

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Chorus Director - Dr. Daniel R. Afonso, Jr.

Daniel R. Afonso, Jr. has served as conductor of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra Chorus since its foundation in 2001 and has prepared several choral works with the ensemble. He is also Coordinator of Vocal and Choral Studies at California State University, Stanislaus. Afonso received a B.M.E. degree from the Universidade do Rio de Janeiro (UNI -Rio), a M.M. degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a D.M.A. degree in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa. Dr. Afonso is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has studied conducting with Carlos Alberto Figueiredo, Cees Rotteveel, Eph Ehly, and William Hatcher.

Dr. Afonso has performed with choral groups in Brazil, U.S., and Europe, and has previously taught music at the Conservatório Brasileiro de Música, Universidade do Rio de Janeiro (UNI-Rio), and Doane College, Nebraska. In 1988, he won the first prize and the best performance of Villa-Lobos work award at the Concurso Villa-Lobos de Canto Coral, a national choral competition sponsored by the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro. Dr. Afonso is strongly committed to the performance of new music and has commissioned and premiered many new choral works in the last few years, including several of his own works as well as works by young composition students.  He had his New York debut in 2012, conducting Mozart’s Requiem with members of the MSO Chorus and students from CSU Stanislaus at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

He is also a composer, arranger, and editor of choral music and has choral works published by earthsongs, Colla Voce, and Alliance Music Publications. He served as composer-in-residence with the San Francisco Choral Artists during their 2014-2015 season and has also written works for the Los Angeles Children’s Choir, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, and other ensembles in the US and abroad. He has written innumerous arrangements for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, including a new version of The Star-Spangled Banner for chorus and orchestra, recently premiered at the opening concert for the 2015-16 concert season. Dr. Afonso is widely recognized for his research and performance of Brazilian choral music and continues to frequently present workshops and lectures about the Latin American choral repertoire.

Holiday Pops! with James Tormé

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Guest Artist - James Tormé, vocalist

According to Jazz FMTM, "If you get a chance to see James Tormé you should beg, borrow, even steal a ticket". With just a single visit to one of James' shows it's easy to see why the multi-award winning singer is quickly becoming one of the most talked about artists on the planet.
 
James Tormé (who is the son of 3-time Grammy Award Winning jazz legend Mel Tormé) is taking the legacy he was born into even further - and causing a serious buzz in the process. Often appearing with outfits like the BBC Concert Orchestra, Ronnie Scott's Orchestra and Les Paul Trio, the charismatic young star's debut album has topped both the iTunes and Amazon Jazz Charts*.
 
Tormé is "the best male jazz singer to come along in 20 years" according to long time Verve Records president, Chuck Mitchell, the man who first discovered him. Having grown up spending time with a myriad of jazz legends (Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee, Duke Ellington, George Shearing, Buddy Rich & more), one begins to understand why. Tormé himself attributes as much of his ability as a performer to the "process of osmosis” as he does to his own show-business background. Explains Tormé, “There's no question, I absorbed a lot from my dad, and his peers.” This is clear as soon as one hears his singing style, which draws from the “old school”, but with modern styling that makes it very current in today's market.
 
James Tormé is being praised from all corners of the globe by everyone from BillboardTM and CBS News, to BBC Radio 2 and Jamie Cullum. Possessing the look (and swagger) of a Hollywood star, he seems to know just how to handle all the press attention he's getting. It's no mystery that Tormé is now consistently appearing to standing room only crowds at the world's top venues as well as being featured as the centerpiece of prestigious jazz festivals across the globe. Says Tormé, "Every show, every appearance is important to me, whether it's the Greek Theater or a small jazz club. I remember every audience. If they're going to pay money to see me, I want to give them a night they'll never forget."


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Conductor - Ryan Murray

Ryan Murray is the Associate Conductor of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra. Since his appointment in 2013, Ryan has consistently worked to improve the quality, skill and prominence of the youth orchestra, and now leads an ensemble that features over 100 students from the greater Modesto area.

As the newly appointed Music Director of Fresno Grand Opera, Ryan has already garnered national recognition for his work with the company. He also currently holds the positions of Music Director of Townsend Opera and Resident Conductor of the Music in the Mountains Summer Festival in Nevada County, California. He previously served as a Staff Conductor for the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute (BASOTI), and the Opera Academy of California. 

A 2016 semi-finalist for the American Prize: Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music; Ryan’s performance of Dead Man Walking with Fresno Grand Opera was selected from professional performances of American music from around the world. In 2014, Ryan was a winner of the Vienna Philharmonic’s prestigious Ansbacher Fellowship for Young Conductors. He spent the summer of 2014 in residence at the Salzburg Festival alongside the Vienna Philharmonic where he was able to engage with renowned conductors Ricardo Muti, Gustavo Dudamel, Daniele Gatti and Mariss Jansons. 

Ryan has attended masterclasses and seminars around the world, including the Aurora Chamber Festival in Sweden, where he studied under Maestro Kurt Masur, as well as the Lucerne Festival Academy’s Conducting Masterclass in Switzerland. In 2015, Ryan attended the Eastman School of Music’s Summer Conducting Institute featuring the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Widely praised for his tireless work ethic, natural poise, and impassioned, inspired performances, Ryan continues to connect deeply with orchestras and audiences alike, and has proven to be an emerging dynamo on the podium.


Click on the image above to download photo.

Chorus Director - Dr. Daniel R. Afonso, Jr.

Daniel R. Afonso, Jr. has served as conductor of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra Chorus since its foundation in 2001 and has prepared several choral works with the ensemble. He is also Coordinator of Vocal and Choral Studies at California State University, Stanislaus. Afonso received a B.M.E. degree from the Universidade do Rio de Janeiro (UNI -Rio), a M.M. degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a D.M.A. degree in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa. Dr. Afonso is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has studied conducting with Carlos Alberto Figueiredo, Cees Rotteveel, Eph Ehly, and William Hatcher.

Dr. Afonso has performed with choral groups in Brazil, U.S., and Europe, and has previously taught music at the Conservatório Brasileiro de Música, Universidade do Rio de Janeiro (UNI-Rio), and Doane College, Nebraska. In 1988, he won the first prize and the best performance of Villa-Lobos work award at the Concurso Villa-Lobos de Canto Coral, a national choral competition sponsored by the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro. Dr. Afonso is strongly committed to the performance of new music and has commissioned and premiered many new choral works in the last few years, including several of his own works as well as works by young composition students.  He had his New York debut in 2012, conducting Mozart’s Requiem with members of the MSO Chorus and students from CSU Stanislaus at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

He is also a composer, arranger, and editor of choral music and has choral works published by earthsongs, Colla Voce, and Alliance Music Publications. He served as composer-in-residence with the San Francisco Choral Artists during their 2014-2015 season and has also written works for the Los Angeles Children’s Choir, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, and other ensembles in the US and abroad. He has written innumerous arrangements for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, including a new version of The Star-Spangled Banner for chorus and orchestra, recently premiered at the opening concert for the 2015-16 concert season. Dr. Afonso is widely recognized for his research and performance of Brazilian choral music and continues to frequently present workshops and lectures about the Latin American choral repertoire.