Kirsch performs Wolf, Poulenc, Larsen and Kaprálová in Pro Series concert

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BRANDON – Award-winning soprano Sarah Kirsch will return to the Lorne Watson Recital Hall at Brandon University (BU) as the Pro Series continues on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

A colour headshot of Kirsch beside a black-and-white headshot of Kayler.
Sarah Kirsch, left, will be joined by Chris Kayler for a Pro Series performance on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at the Lorne Watson Recital Hall.

A busy Winnipeg-based teacher and performer, Kirsch won the 2014 Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition and undertook an extensive cross-Canada tour following the event. She has an undergraduate degree in voice from the University of Colorado and a master’s from the University of Manitoba.

“It is so nice to come back to the Lorne Watson Recital Hall; I’ve always been so fond of the venue – it’s so comfortable, intimate, and filled with challenging and rewarding memories,” she said. “My adventures in Brandon have always been associated with self-discovery and creative enrichment. I’m excited for another adventure! It’s an honour be invited to the ranks of the BU Pro Series featured artists.”

Kirsch will be joined on stage by a longtime colleague – collaborative pianist Chris Kayler. They will interpret a programme that includes songs by Hugo Wolf, Francis Poulenc, Libby Larsen and Vítězslava Kaprálová.

“We will present selected songs by Vítězslava Kaprálová, an unjustly neglected Czech composer of the mid-20th century,” Kayler said. “Her music is somewhat impressionistic in style, yet her command of harmony and texture is arresting and unique. Her life was tragically cut short by sickness, and her writing was suppressed in the wake of Nazi Germany’s stranglehold on continental culture. We are delighted that we can champion her works, and introduce her music to as many people as we can!”

The Kaprálová compositions on the programme are Ruce, op. 13/III (1936), Zpivano do dalky, op. 22 (1939), and Dopis (1940). As well, the duo will present five selections from Wolf’s Mörike Songbook (1888), six songs from Poulenc’s Fiançailles pour rire (1939), and Larsen’s 2001 work Try Me, Good King: Last Words of the Wives of Henry VIII.

“Each of these sets or songs presents a woman in a momentous event: the thrill of first love, the joy of giving birth, the realization that they have loved someone better than they were loved themselves, the despair at being betrayed by a lover, and even the terror of being moments before their death at the hands of their tyrant husband,” continued Kayler.

“This program portrays a massive gamut of human experiences in vivid and arresting colours, and we hope that our audience will be as swept away and compelled by these characters as we are.”

An assistant professor of music at Briercrest College in Saskatchewan, Kayler obtained a Doctor of Musical Arts at the Eastman School of Music after studies at the University of Manitoba. Last year, he won first prize as well as the Ann C. Fehn Memorial Award at the Jessie Kneisel Lieder Competition at the University of Rochester. He has graced the Lorne Watson Recital Hall stage in the past as he was the pianist who accompanied Kirsch when she won the 37th Eckhardt-Grammaté National Music Competition.

“We were honored to perform alongside the other excellent Canadian musicians competing in that event,” said Kayler, “and we are so excited to return to the Lorne Watson Recital Hall for this prestigious concert series to share a program we enjoy immensely.”

The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m., on Tuesday, February 13, in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall, in the Queen Elizabeth II Music Building. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, seniors and alumni, and are available at the door or in advance in the Main Office in the School of Music. An additional next Pro Series concert has been added for Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 7:30 p.m., featuring the Utah-based Lu Piano Duo.

The School of Music gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of Manitoba, through a Consolidated Arts Programming Grant from Culture, Heritage and Tourism.

Please note that seating in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall is limited and that programmes are subject to change. For up-to-date listing of pro series and student performances, please visit


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