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Bass-baritone Frank Ward Jr. performs Sept. 18 at Appalachian

BOONE—Bass-baritone Frank Ward Jr. will perform Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. in Appalachian State University’s Rosen Concert Hall in the Hayes School of Music. The recital is free and the public is invited.

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Ward will be accompanied by pianist Deborah Yasutake. He also will conduct masterclasses for students in the Hayes School of Music.

Included on the recital will be a performance of songs and spirituals by H.T. Burleigh, with the Hayes School of Music Faculty String Quartet.

Ward is an associate professor of music at The University of Akron School of Music.

A native of Richmond, Virginia, Ward holds degrees from Morehouse College and The University of Michigan. Critics have praised Ward’s “careful attention to diction,” and his ‘great vocal agility and treatment of ornamentation.” Critics have also reveled in how his stage presence “…married showmanship with vocal technique to a great advantage.”

A sought-after performer, Ward has appeared in productions as diverse as “La Bohème,” “The Marriage of Figaro,” “Showboat” and “Mikado.” He made his European debut singing the role of Don Bartolo in Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” in Rome, Italy with Opera Estate. In addition, Ward has sung multiple performances of the role of “Ned” in Scott Joplin’s opera “Treemonisha” with the Ragtime Orchestra.

In addition to standard repertoire, such as Purcell, Handel, Schubert, Copland and Barber, Ward enjoys singing arts songs and spirituals by African-American composers. He has had much success singing the works of Howard Swanson, Margaret Bonds, Leslie Adams, H.T. Burleigh, Hall Johnson and Wendell Whalum.

Deborah Yasutake is an active collaborative pianist in the Akron/Cleveland area. She is a staff accompanist at the University of Akron and has also collaborated at Northwestern University, the University of Michigan and Kent State University. She has accompanied recitals by members of the Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Akron Symphony Orchestra and Canton Symphony.

Yasutake holds a bachelor’s degree in trombone performance from Northwestern University.