In memory of Robert Stern, Sanford Sylvan, and Donald Wilkinson

Composers for Shofar_ In Memoriam.png

Coro Allegro dedicates this concert to the memory of three artists, beloved by Boston area audiences, in appreciation of their special contributions to Boston’s classical music scene.

Called “an American master” by the New York Times, the late Robert Stern has been praised as one of the most highly esteemed and important composers of Jewish music in this country. His award-winning works have been performed throughout the U.S. and Europe, China, South America, Japan, and Israel. An interest in the Holocaust weaves its way through much of his work, including Shofar, premiered and recorded by Coro Allegro under the direction of David Hodgkins —one of the many students Stern taught during his almost four decades at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Baritone Sanford Sylvan was a legendary figure in the Boston classical music scene. He established his career with Emmanuel Music and gained international renown for his performances of art song and opera, from Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte to John Adams’ Nixon in China. Mr. Sylvan was a frequent soloist with Coro Allegro, which presented him in 2008 with the inaugural Daniel Pinkham Award, in recognition of outstanding contributions to classical choral music and the LGBTQ+ community.

Baritone Donald Wilkinson, long beloved by Boston classical audiences, began his musical career with Emmanuel Music with whom he sang for the next 28 years. A frequent soloist with Coro Allegro, Mr. Wilkinson notably stepped in on short notice to sing Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs when Sanford Sylvan was forced to cancel due to illness. In an obituary in the Boston Musical Intelligencer, Joel Cohen lauded not only “his round, warm, tender singing voice, onstage and via recording” and “solid, confident musicianship,” but also mourned him as  “a man of almost angelic purity” who had “a nobility to his existence.”