Concerto Nos. 7 & 23

Welltower Mozart in the Afternoon

Lourdes University

February 10, 2018

Concert Time: 2:30 pm

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Michelle Merrill, conductor
Michael Boyd, piano
Ryan Behan, piano

Haydn - Symphony No. 49 in F Minor "La Passione"
Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 7 in F Major
Michael Boyd and Ryan Behan, piano
Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major
Michael Boyd, piano   

In our Festival of 88, we highlight the 88 keys of Mozart’s instrument in a new afternoon concert format. Each of the four concerts features one of his most popular concerti, paired with a TSO premiere!

The soloists for this performance are made possible through generous support from James and Sanda Findley and the firm of Findley Davies, in memory of John Stockwell.


Program Notes


Steinway Artist Michael Boyd is active as a soloist, collaborative artist, lecturer, teacher, and adjudicator. After receiving his high school diploma from the North Carolina School of the Arts as a student of Bela Nagy, he earned an undergraduate degree from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. Dr. Boyd’s studies continued at the Banff Centre School of Fine Arts Winter Program in Canada as an invited student/performer. While at the Banff Centre he  participated in chamber music performances with visiting international artists. Dr. Boyd’s studies culminated in a Masters and Doctoral degree from the Eastman School of Music. At Eastman, he was teaching assistant to Rebecca Penneys and served as studio pianist for soprano Jan DeGaetani and violinist Donald Weilerstein. He won first prize as pianist in the the Kneisel Lieder Competition and played a radio broadcast recital from Carnegie Hall with Naumburg prize winning violinist Ian Swensen while still a student.  Dr. Boyd graduated from Eastman with that institution’s highest honor, the Performer’s Certificate.

As a concerto soloist, Dr. Boyd has performed with the Rochester Philharmonic, the Milwaukee Symphony, the Toledo Symphony, the Dearborn Symphony, and the Eastman Chamber Orchestra. Solo recitals have taken him across the country, performing frequently in California, New York, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio. In March of 2007, he performed on the opening concert of the American Liszt Society’ Festival at the San Francisco Conservatory performing the rarely heard original 1838 version of Liszt’s Paganini Etudes, still considered some of the most difficult pieces in the keyboard repertoire.  In Europe Dr. Boyd has performed recitals in Austria, Belgium, Greece and in the summer of 2007 was invited to give two lecture recitals in Spain. The first program focused on Andalusian influences in the keyboard sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti and Padre Antonio Soler and was given in the city where they both had royal appointments to the Spanish court, San Lorenzo de El Escorial. The second program in Granada focused on Manuel de Falla’s Andalusian keyboard compositions. It was presented at the concert hall of the Manuel de Falla Archive.

An active chamber musician, Dr. Boyd performs frequently with members of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and is the pianist for the Bezonian Piano Trio with violinist Merwin Siu and cellist Damon Coleman. His adjudication credits includes the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition and the Liszt Garrison  Competition at Ohio State University where he is also on the advisory board.

Dr. Boyd is Professor of Piano at the University of Toledo.  He was also a visiting professor at the Eastman School of Music. His ability to verbalize and demonstrate how to efficiently use the body at the piano and his extensive knowledge of keyboard repertoire has attracted students from all over the country. During the summer, he has been on the faculty of the Indiana University’s Summer Piano Academy and the Chautauqua Summer Institution. Dr. Boyd has recorded on the VAI label, and Fleur De Son Classics. His recording of the Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring for two pianos with pianist Joel Schoenhals was reviewed by the American Record Guide and Clavier magazine which said “The results are impressive and attest to the musicianship and technical skills of these artists”.


Ryan Behan has won acclaim from audiences throughout the United States, Europe and China as an exceptionally versatile pianist. Recent highlights include performances as concerto soloist with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and Vince Lee, conductor; solo recitals of selections from the three suites of Franz Liszt’s Années de Pèlerinage; duo concerts with Indianapolis Symphony Concertmaster Zachary DePue; duo performance with Juilliard faculty and former principal New York Philharmonic violist Paul Neubauer for the Artist Circle Concert Series in Columbus; regular guest artist appearances at the Salzburg Kammermusik Konzertreihe; and recitals with acclaimed tenor Wei-Long Tao throughout China’s Anhui Province. In past years Dr. Behan has presented bicentennial celebrations devoted to the solo, chamber music and vocal literature of Franz Liszt, Robert Schumann and Frederic Chopin. Dedicated to the advancement of new music, he has performed the works of many living composers including the subject of his doctoral document, Luxembourg composer Alexander Müllenbach, as well as those by Joseph Schwanter at the Contemporary Music Festival and Composers, Inc. in Columbus.

A winner in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, Dr. Behan is also a member of the collaborative faculty of the Mozarteum International Summer Academy in Salzburg, Austria where he has coached instrumentalists and singers alongside many of the great artists of our time, including cellist Umberto Clerici; violinists Zakhar Bron, Michael Frischenschlager, Igor Petrushevski; and opera singers Wolfgang Brendel, Hedwig Fassbender, Wolfgang Holzmair and Grace Bumbry. He also served as korrepetitor for the Vienna Hochschule für Musik cello studio of the late Heinrich Schiff, as well as for the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. With a strong profile throughout Ohio and the Midwest he has concertized with members of the Chicago Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic and Indianapolis Symphony; performed with mezzo-soprano Katherine Rohrer at Indiana University–Bloomington, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Ohio University; and given solo concerts and master classes at the University of Toledo, Wittenberg University, Mount Union University and Kenyon College. He has also served as an adjudicator for the Ohio MTNA Young Artist State Competition and the Columbus Youth Symphony Concerto Competition.

Dr. Behan holds degrees from Bowling Green State University, the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg and The Ohio State University; he was a student of Jerome Rose, Imre Rohmann, Vedrana Subotic and Caroline Hong; he further studied with Leslie Howard at the International Keyboard Institute in NYC and James Tocco in Cincinnati. Since his appointment at OSU in 2008 he has taught applied piano; collaborated with instrumental and voice faculty in concert; served as vocal coach for the opera productions, and guest lecturer for piano literature and graduate German diction courses. A tremendously devoted teacher with an artistic, practical and holistic approach to instruction, Dr. Behan’s students have successfully gained admittance into leading graduate music programs in the US and Europe with full scholarships and teaching assistantships in both piano and collaborative piano. He is a founding member and Treasurer of the The American Liszt Society Ohio Chapter, which will host the first annual Franz Liszt International Piano Competition in Columbus, Ohio in October 2017. Season 2017–18 highlights include performance of Mozart’s Concerto in F Major, No. 7, K.242 for two pianos with pianist Michael Boyd and the Toledo Symphony Orchestra; with Detroit Symphony Associate Conductor, Michelle Merrill; a recording project of works by Gustav Mahler, Louis Aubert and Joseph Marx with mezzo-soprano Katherine Rohrer; and centennial celebration recitals featuring the solo, chamber music and vocal works of Claude Debussy.


Rapidly rising conductor Michelle Merrill has just been appointed Music Director of the Coastal Symphony of Georgia, and is set to begin her tenure there with the 2018/19 concert season.  Merrill currently serves as the Associate Conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra where she also carries the title of Phillip and Lauren Fisher Community Ambassador.  A passionate and dynamic artist, Ms. Merrill was named as one of Hour Detroit Magazine’s “3 Cultural Organization Leaders to Watch” in 2015, and was profiled by the Ford Motor Co. for their website 

Recent and upcoming engagements include the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, West Virginia Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Orlando Philharmonic, Symphoria (Syracuse), Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera, Boise Philharmonic, New Music Detroit, and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, where she formerly served as Assistant Conductor before coming to Detroit.  As the Associate Conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, she helps plan and conduct over 30 concerts per season, including the renowned educational webcasts, which have reached over 100,000 students to date in classrooms throughout the nation.  Ms. Merrill also gives pre-concert lectures, leads adult music education seminars, engages with students in and around Metro Detroit, speaks on behalf of the DSO throughout the community, and participates in hosting Live from Orchestra Hall, the DSO’s free concert webcast that launched in 2011 and is now watched in more than 100 countries.  She made her classical subscription debut with the DSO in April 2016.

In March of 2014, Ms. Merrill stepped in on short notice with the Meadows Symphony Orchestra for their performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4, which music critic Scott Cantrell of the Dallas Morning News described as “stunning” and later named to his list of Top Ten Classical Performances of 2014.  She was awarded in 2013 the prestigious Ansbacher Conducting Fellowship by members of the Vienna Philharmonic and the American Austrian Foundation, which enabled her to be in residence at the world-renowned Salzburg Festival.  Recent praise came from her classical debut with the DSO conducting Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6: “from the off this was a heavenly ‘Pastoral’...Merrill (conducting from memory) certainly has an ear for focused inner parts, and her meaningful flexibility was welcome...There was something reassuringly old-world about this performance (reminding of but not emulating such views of the music as Böhm, Boult and Klemperer) yet with a New World bloom that trod freshly-mown grass and also looked skywards...”

A strong advocate of new music, Ms. Merrill recently conducted the world-premiere performance of Gabriela Lena Frank's "Walkabout: Concerto for Orchestra" with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.  She also worked with composer Gabriela Lena Frank and soprano Jessica Rivera in 2015 on Frank’s work "La Centinela y la Paloma" (The Keeper and the Dove), as a part of numerous community programs related to the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts.  This past fall, Ms. Merrill collaborated with New Music Detroit for their annual marathon Strange Beautiful Music 9, which featured David Lang's "are you experienced?" and the world-premiere of Andrew Harrison's "Hum" based on the poetry of Detroit native Jamal May. In June 2015, she made her debut at the St. Augustine Music Festival conducting the world-premiere performance of Piotr Szewcyzk’s “St. Augustine Suite” which was written in honor of that city’s 450th anniversary.  The highly praised performance was later featured nationwide on NPR’s “Performance Today”.  Additionally, her work in the 2011/12 season with Voices of Change, Dallas’s professional contemporary music ensemble, was part of a program later named as one of Dallas Morning News critic Scott Cantrell’s Top Ten Classical Performances of 2011.

Born in Dallas, TX, Ms. Merrill studied conducting with Dr. Paul C. Phillips at Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts, where she holds a Master of Music Degree in conducting and a Bachelor of Music in performance.  She is also a recipient of a 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award.  Apart from music, she loves cooking, running, hiking, and spending time with her husband, Steve Merrill, who serves as the principal percussionist of the Jacksonville Symphony, and their newborn son, Davis.

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