PR: The Thurston Consort will be in concert Saturday, June 22, 2024

The Thurston Consort will be in concert Saturday, June 22nd, 2pm at the Dillon Room of the First Parish Church, 623 Main Street, Upper Common, Fitchburg, MA.  The consort will be presenting a program entitled, “An Afternoon with C#.”  Traditional English music collected and arranged by Cecil Sharp.  The program will also include English Country Dance Music from the collection of  John Playforth.  Featured in this concert will be the Thurston Consort’s Guest Artist, vocalist Leo Balkovetz, renown tenor from the metro-Boston area.

In the early twentieth century many English composers were researching and arranging traditional English music and incorporating those tunes into their musical compositions; Percy Grainger for concert band and Ralph Vaughan Williams for string orchestra. Cecil Sharp differed from his musical contemporaries  in that he went out into the country side on bicycle to conduct field work in researching his music.  With a powerful sense of mission, Sharp peddled all over the region of Somerset, determined to save what he believed was a disappearing national heritage.  Sharp published his arrangements of  these folk songs for piano. The Thurston Consort arranged those piano and vocal selections for our ensemble as musical accompaniment for our Guest Artist, tenor vocalist, Leo Balkovetz.

Leo Balkovetz

Leo is a performer and librettist from the metro-Boston area and has performed throughout New England appearing in programs that range from Renaissance sacred motets to modern opera. He has performed in the world premieres of Reap What You Soul and The Bedbug with Promenade Opera Project, the world premiere of NIGHTTOWN with Lowell House Opera, and a touring production of Mr. Twister, an opera for children. As an oratorio soloist, Leo has performed across the Commonwealth in Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass, and Beethoven’s Mass  in C.

As a librettist, Leo wrote the libretto for Quinn Gutman’s Violetta, an LGBTQ re-telling of Verdi’s La traviata, and a modern treatment of Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito for Opera del West’s 2023 season. Leo received his Bachelor’s in Vocal Performance from Georgia State University and later came to Boston and studied at the Longy School of Music at Bard College and graduated with his Master’s. in Historical Performance.

The Thurston Consort performs free concerts of chamber music in Downtown Fitchburg, MA and is named for long admired 19th century Fitchburg musician, teacher and singing master, Cyrus Thurston.  The Thurston Consort presents concerts that captivate and enlighten audiences. Exploring our long regional musical heritage, consort members research, arrange and perform musical compositions from our by-gone New England composers and showcase the music of New England’s diverse culture.

This year the Thurston Consort celebrates our our fifth Concert Season.


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