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November 2004 Concert

The Pro-Mozart Society of Atlanta's November 2004 concert featured Arisa Kusumi, Soprano, accompanied by Shirley Irek, Piano.


Arisa Kusumi and Shirley Irek presented the a probram of songs and arias by Mozart, Haydn, and Schubert. Opera arias were featured from Mozart's Zaida, Cosi fan Tutte, and The Marriage of Figaro.


Artist' Biographies

Arisa Kusumi, Soprano

The accolades are voluminous: “… soprano Arisa Kusumi sang with elegant tone and beautiful phrasing.” Another critic praised her for her “beauty, charming voice, and vivacious spirit.” Arisa Kusumi’s American debut occurred with the South Carolina Opera, and in 2002, she debuted as Norina in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. Arisa made her European opera debut in Sweden at the Vadstena Akademien Opera Festival, which was followed by her German debut at the Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg Opera Festival. Miss Kusumi was immediately offered a contract at the Chemnitz Opera in Germany, where she performed fifteen opera and operetta roles, including Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel.

Miss Kusumi has substantial training in song literature at the Ravinia Festival Steans Institute, and also at the Marlboro Music Festival. She has worked with among the finest singers of song, including Elly Ameling, Ernst Haefliger, Thomas Quasthoff, and with one of the world’s most outstanding piano accompanists, Dalton Baldwin. Additionally, she has appeared in concert with orchestra in such works as Bach’s Magnificat, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass. Miss Kusumi graduated from the Eastman School of Music and is currently coaching with the celebrated soprano, Benita Valente. Miss Kusumi resides in New York and Florida.

Shirley Irek, Pianist

Miss Irek was born in Croatia, and is currently a resident of Atlanta. She was a scholarship student at the Juilliard School where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Performance. There she studied with Irwin Freundlich, Martin Canin, and Samuel Sanders. She has firmly established a reputation as a leading collaborative pianist. Ms. Irek was a member of a two-piano team for over 15 years. During that time she toured Japan, Africa, France, Portugal, and the United States. Highlighting these engagements were the performances of a two-piano concerto by Michael Colgrass with the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Leonard Slatkin. Other orchestral appearances include the North Carolina Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Orchestgre de Provence in Cannes, France.

As a member of the Broyhill Chamber Ensemble, Ms. Irek performed two critically acclaimed recitals at Carnegie Hall sponsored by the Carnegie Hall Corporation. She performed the Mozart Concerto K-488 with the Toronto Chamber Orchestra under Jacob Groob. Shirley was also soloist with the Redlands Bowl Orchestra and the California Chamber Orchestra under Henri Tamianka. While a student at Juilliard she won the Concerto Prize and performed with the Juilliard Orchestra under Sixten Ehrling at Lincoln Center. She was also the first recipient of the Van Cliburn Award in memory of Rosina Lhevinne, a prize awarded once each year for outstanding achievement in piano.


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Artist's Biographies