Published on February 23, 2016

Hospice Benefit Concert Planned for Feb 29

PELLA, Iowa –On Monday, February 29, The Mary Brillhart Memorial Concert benefiting Hospice of Pella and the Comfort House will be held at 7 pm at First Reformed Church, 605 Broadway Street in Pella. The concert will feature duo-pianists Laura Ward and Jeffrey Brillhart along with local Pella performers. Financial gifts will be received at the conclusion of the concert for Hospice of Pella.

Originally from Pella, Jeffrey Brillhart is now Director of Music and Fine Arts at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Bryn Mawr, Penn., and on the music faculty at Yale University, where he teaches organ improvisation. He is also Artistic Director of Philadelphia's famed Singing City Choir.

His organ, teaching, and conducting engagements have taken him throughout America, Europe and South America, with engagements in Paris, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle, Birmingham, Waco, Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York City, Iowa City, Des Moines, Walla Walla, and Worcester. He has presented master classes at the Eastman School of Music, the Curtis Institute of Music, the University of Alabama, Furman University, and Westminster Choir College. His improvisation textbook, Breaking Free: Finding a Personal Voice for Improvisation through 20th Century French Improvisation Techniques, was published by Wayne Leupold Editions in November 2011 and is in wide use in American Conservatories and Europe.

Pianist and Co-founding Artistic Director of Lyric Fest, Laura Ward has been gracing Philadelphia audiences with her powerful, sensitive accompanying since arriving there in 1998. As a distinguished collaborative pianist she is known for both her technical ability and vast knowledge of repertoire and styles. Recent and upcoming engagements include performing in recital with Denyce Graves, and premiering new works for piano, guitar and trombone by Allen Krantz with the New York Philharmonic’s Joseph Alessi.

Concert engagements have taken her to Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Spoleto Festival (Italy) and the Colmar International Music Festival and Saint Denis Festival in France. She has served as a vocal coach at The Academy of Vocal Arts, Westminster Choir College, Temple University, Ravinia Festival Stean’s Institute, Washington Opera, University of Maryland, Music Academy of the West and at Cleveland’s Blossom Festival and as the official pianist for the Washington International Competition, the Astral Artists Auditions and for the Marian Anderson Award.

Laura is a recording artist and editor of song accompaniments for publisher Hal Leonard having also co-edited: Richard Strauss: 40 Songs, Gabriel Fauré: 50 Songs, and Johannes Brahms: 75 Songs and has recorded over 2000 song accompaniments for Hal Leonard Publishing. These volumes help countless singers and pianists experience, learn and enjoy the art song repertory and also help introduce a world of art song to many who have had little exposure to it. A native of Texas, Laura received her Bachelor’s from Baylor University, holds a Masters in Piano Accompanying at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and a Doctorate in Accompanying from the University of Michigan as a student of Martin Katz. While at the University of Michigan, Laura was pianist for the Contemporary Directions ensemble and performed with the Ann Arbor Symphony.