Grammy Award winning pianist and arranger Craig Terry will return home to perform at South Jackson Civic Center on Saturday, Sept. 25.
Terry will be accompanied by fellow performers Lauren Decker, Whitney Morrison and Hugh Russell. Showtime starts at 7 p.m. and tickets can be purchased for $20 at the box office, calling 455-5321 or visiting southjackson.org/reservationstickets.
South Jackson Civic Center is located on 404 S. Jackson St. and business hours are Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and closed on Saturday through Monday.
Terry grew up in Tullahoma and debuted on the SJCC stage when he was 12-years old. He received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Tennessee Tech University and received his masters of music in collaborative piano performance from the Manhattan School of Music, where he was a student of renowned pianist Warren Jones. Currently, Terry serves as the Music Director of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago after having served for 11 seasons at Lyric as assistant conductor. He previously served as the assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera after joining its Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.
Throughout his career, Terry has performed with a variety of esteemed vocalists, like Christine Brewer, Janai Brugger and Elza van den Heever, and has performed in some of the famous concert halls, festivals and venues like Carnegie Hall and Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Tokyo City Opera House in Tokyo and Zaryadye Hall in Moscow. He has appeared on numerous television, radio and streaming programs, including multiple appearances on both “Live from Lincoln Center” and “Great Performances” for PBS, as well as on many programs broadcast on NBC, ABC, and CBS. In May he was the pianist for the Metropolitan Opera’s “Wagnerian Stars Live in Concert,” transmitted from the Hessisches Staatstheater in Wiesbaden, Germany.
Terry’s latest recording project with Joyce DiDonato, “Songplay,” received the 2020 Grammy award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album.
One of the performers that will be joining Terry is Lauren Decker. Decker is a contralto and is described as “pouring out a dark, chocolatey sound with a plushness of tone and amplitude of voice rarely heard in a young singer.”
She recently spent the summer as a Renée Fleming Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival, was featured as the mezzo soloist in the season opening performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony under the baton of Mo. Robert Spano and was also seen as both Third Lady in “Die Zauberflöte” and Eduige in “Rodelinda.” She will make her Opera Philadelphia debut as Giovanna in “Rigoletto.” In 2019, Decker made her debut with the San Francisco Symphony in Elgar’s Sea Pictures. She has also performed in concert with the South Dakota Symphony in Mahler 8, the Apollo Chorus/Elmhurst Symphony in the Verdi Requiem, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the Harare International Festival of the Arts in Zimbabwe.
Some of Decker’s other accomplishments include being a quarterfinalist in the 2019 Operalia competition in Prague, receiving the Richard F. Gold career grant, being a national semifinalist in the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, winning 2019 Edith Newfield Scholarship from the Musician’s Club of Women of Chicago and the 2018 Lola Fletcher scholarship in voice with the American Opera Society of Chicago.
Hugh Russell is a baritone who has performed with the several symphonies like Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Danish Radio Symphony, Toronto Symphony and Orchestre Métropolitain, among many others. Russell has been featured in many opera production and concert halls from around the world as well as being featured as a pianist in performances like with Stephanie Blythe at a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Seattle Opera and Christine Brewer for Illinois Humanities.
Along with being featured in performances with Terry, Russell will return to North Carolina Opera to perform “Papageno in Die Zauberflöte.” He will also return to the New Mexico Philharmonic to perform his signature work, “Orff’s Carmina Burana.”
Whitney Morrison is a soprano who has received praise from publications like the Chicago Tribune and The Wall Street Journal for her performances. A Chicago native and an alum of the Ryan Opera Center, Morrison embraces a style of performance that blends classical singing technique with elements of the gospel singing tradition while championing the African American aesthetic in classical music.
Some of her roles include Sister Rose in “Dead Man Walking” at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Liù in “Turandot,” Marguerite in “Faust,” and performed as Countess Ceprano in “Rigoletto,” Gerhilde “Die Walküre,” and the Confidante in “Elektra.” Other recent credits include the role of Donna Anna in “Don Giovanni” with Chicago’s Floating Opera Company and appearances at the 2018 Grant Park Music Festival and the Rochester Institute of Technology’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, “MLK Expressions.”
Morrison’s musical career started an early age where she would perform at her church. She attended Oakwood University and earned her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance and pedagogy. While attending university she performed her first operatic roles as Miss Pinkerton in “Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief” and as the Countess in scenes from “Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.” She continued her studies to earn her master’s degree in music from Eastman School of Music.
Morrison’s other accomplishments includes being a national semifinalist in the 2020 in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, taking first place in the National Classical Singer University Competition, top honors in the Musicians Club of Women Competition, selection as a finalist in the Luminarts Classical Music Competition and recipient of a She Shines Award from Girls Inc. of Chicago. Morrison is a two-time recipient of the UNCF John Lennon Endowed Scholarship and has trained at the Georg Solti Accademia di Bel Canto in Italy and the Neil Semer Vocal Institute in Germany.