The second annual Engelbach-Hart Music Festival is planned for late June at Illinois College, thanks to the generosity of the Engelbach-Hart family. The festival will celebrate the rich heritage of music in our community with two concerts and a masterclass on the hilltop campus.
Slated for Thursday, June 28, through Saturday, June 30, the Festival will feature the internationally renowned soprano, Karen Fergurson, who travels from her home in Germany to sing at the festival. Originally from Greenfield, Fergurson has made her career singing opera and lieder in Europe.
Fergurson’s Friday evening solo recital on June 29 simply titled “Liederabend” will feature beautiful songs by Bellini, Brahms, Mahler and Strauss. Other highlights include the set of Hermit Songs by the American composer, Samuel Barber, and works by Lehar and Rachmaninov. She will be accompanied by Illinois College professor and collaborative pianist Garrett Allman. The free concert starts at 7:30 p.m. in Rammelkamp Chapel.
The talented soprano will also give a masterclass on Thursday, June 28, at 7:30 p.m. Students from the voice studios of Terri Benz, Diane Dietz and Addie Gramelspacher, along with students from Illinois College, will sing for Fergurson and receive her comments in a public forum. The masterclass is free and open to the public.
The final concert of the festival on Saturday, June 30, will be a chamber music concert featuring Fergurson accompanied by Illinois College faculty. Pianist Garrett Allman, violinist Kamen Petkov, cellist Susan Phillips, organist Rudolf Zuiderveld, along with sopranos Addie Gramelspacher, Abby Musgrove and Nichol DelGiorno will join Fergurson on stage. The program will present works by Mozart, Bach, Arensky and Strauss. This final concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. All performances are in Rammelkamp Chapel.
American-born soprano Fergurson began her musical training at the age of six, studying piano. After earning a master of music degree in vocal performance, she made her professional debut with the prestigious Wolf Trap Opera Company as a Filene Young Artist, was a participant in the Merola Opera Program, and continued on as an Adler Fellow with San Francisco Opera. Fergurson also sang the role of Micaela in “Carmen” with Opera Festival of New Jersey before beginning her European career.
Fergurson has won many competitions including the Eleanor McCollum Competition associated with Houston Grand Opera, was a National Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and placed twice in the Hariclea Darclee Competition in Braila, Romania. Fergurson is equally at home in art song and lieder having been named a winner in the D'Angelo Competition and a finalist in the Naumburg Competition.