Are you intrigued by those names? Well, wait until you hear those two internationally celebrated musicians on May 15, when they conclude the 37th season of music on Fripp Island, another wonderful season the highlight of which might very will be this concert by John Sawoski, multi-genre pianist, and Michele Patzakis, multi-genre vocal artist, two performers who are meant for each other—musically speaking.
John, who plays a variety of keyboards, is an orchestrator, arranger, musical director and composer. He began composing for the piano at the age of… no, not 16 or 25, he began composing at the age of 10! Mozart beat him to that art of composition by five years. From then on, John’s musical accomplishments continue to be astounding. As a sophomore at Stanford University, he wrote, arranged and conducted a musical called How to Become a Legend in Your Own Mind. Clearly, his professors and his audiences were impressed by his work, because he was commissioned to compose songs for Stanford University’s annual musical shows. He has since created, arranged and recorded music for films like Day of Atonement and for world-famous theatrical productions. Who has ever played for three American presidents? John, needless to say. He also provided hundreds of orchestrations and arrangements for international celebrities like Placido Domingo, Jim Carrey, Michael Feinstein, Judy Whitmore, and others, many of whom he accompanied in concerts and recordings. Recently, John conducted, arranged and produced two albums by new vocal artists featuring sixty musicians, and he released a solo-piano album called “Cinema Amore: Movie Love Themes and Other Classics.” His own compositions have been played by famous orchestras all over the country from California to Colorado to Philadelphia. He might just play some pieces for us. Ask him if he should be too modest. His style of playing is mesmerizing. Just listen to his rendition of Chopin’s Fantaisie Impromptu. You will be on your feet and applauding in your very own home. You will be on your feet and applauding during and after his performance here on Fripp, I bet you…
I have to continue with adulations when I describe Michele Patzakis’s résumé.
She is not only a fabulous soprano, her operatic voice is at home in the highest and lowest registers and has been celebrated in concert halls and opera houses all over Europe and the US. She has been the leading soprano in more than thirty operatic productions at the Zurich Opera, the New York City Opera, the Spoleto Festival, the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, to name just a few. Her talents extend way beyond her voice. She is a director, educator, arts administrator, producer and teaching artist at the Los Angeles Opera. She received her Master Degree in vocal performance from the New England Conservatory, with distinction in performance, and she earned a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. Currently a professor of voice at the University of Southern California, she is loved by her students especially for her dedication to bring out the best in them, as singers and performers. Patzakis presents her work not only on world stages, but also at conferences and symposia such as the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and she is currently the Director of the San Francisco District of Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
I am breathless after enumerating just some of Mr. Sawoski’s and Ms. Patzakis’s accomplishments. No doubt, their collaboration here on Fripp will leave all of you breathless with admiration, too. They will mark the conclusion and be the highlight our 37th concert series. Did I repeat myself? It’s because I want you to understand how special this concert is going to be.
Come and hear the duo on Sunday, May 15, 5:00 pm in the Fripp Island Community Centre, 205 Tarpon Blvd. Admission at the door is $30 for adults (credit cards accepted), students free thanks to the Peg Gorham Memorial Fund. You are invited to a meet-the-artist reception after the performance, catered, deliciously, by Harold’s Chef Services. This concert is presented by the Fripp Island Friends of Music and supported by the SC Arts Commission. It helps fund FIFOM’s Music-in-the-Schools program. See our website frippfriendsofmusic.com for more information, and call Vanessa Peñaherrera at (704) 807-0255 for reservations.