Continuing on with more about our Holiday Lights concerts programming:

We will present two pieces by Richard Stoehr – A Grace for Christmas, and Ave Maria.

If you have been following us for long, you will have seen that Solaris, through Dr. Willis and Dr. Summerfield has made a connection to the music of Stöhr. He was a well-respected composer and teacher in Vienna, Austria prior to WWII, but was forced to flee Europe by the Nazis. During the Anschluss in March 1938 Stöhr had been immediately identified by Nazi officials as a Jew and fired from his position at the Vienna Academy of Music.

In 1939, he emigrated to the United States, and took a position at Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia (here using the spelling Stoehr). When the war caused Curtis to downsize, Stoehr was out of a position, but quickly found another in Vermont at Saint Michael’s College, where he taught German and also music courses.

He continued at Saint Michael’s until his retirement in 1950 – he also continued to compose prolifically. However, none of his U.S. compositions were published. Saint Michael’s serves as the repository of those works, spanning all genres of music except opera.

During his 50 year career as a teacher his students numbered in the thousands and included Herbert von Karajan, Erich Leinsdorf, Rudolf Serkin, Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein and Marlene Dietrich. Richard Stoehr died in December, 1967 in Montpelier, Vermont and is buried in Merrill Cemetery in Colchester. More:

His charming A Grace for Christmas features soloist Brianne Keith, and his setting of Ave Maria features the entire men’s section with tenor soloist David Tetrault.