The Winston-Salem Symphony Will Present Handel’s Messiah December 17

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 12, 2019

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WINSTON-SALEM — The Winston-Salem Symphony’s annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah” will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 17. This year marks the symphony’s 13th year performing what has become a Triad holiday favorite and is widely regarded as music’s most powerful message of faith. Conducted by Dr. Christopher Gilliam, Winston-Salem Symphony chorus director, the Messiah is a spiritual experience perfect for the holiday season.

The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Centenary United Methodist Church (646 W. Fifth St., Winston-Salem). Tickets are $20 to $52 and can be purchased online at or by phone 336-464-0145.

The Winston-Salem Symphony’s performance of the Messiah will feature guest singers Estelí Gomez, soprano; Dianna Grabowski, mezzo-soprano; Steven Soph, tenor; and Charles Wesley Evans, baritone as well as members of the Winston-Salem Symphony Chorus, under the direction of Dr. Gilliam.

Handel’s Messiah is one of the most celebrated oratorios of all time — beloved for its beauty, drama, and its famous “Hallelujah” chorus. Centenary United Methodist Church provides a beautiful, spiritual setting for the music with seasonal decorations including greenery, poinsettias, and a large illuminated Moravian star. The musicians, the voices, and the location create a unique and magical experience.

Praised for her “clear, bright voice” (New York Times) and “artistry that belies her young years” (Kansas City Metropolis), soprano Estelí Gomez received her BA with honors in music from Yale University and master’s of music from McGill University. In 2014, she won a Grammy with contemporary octet Roomful of Teeth for best chamber music/small ensemble performance; in 2011, she received first prize in the Canticum Gaudium International Early Music Vocal Competition in Poland. Highlights of the 2019–20 season include: performances of Vivier’s “Kopernikus” directed by Peter Sellars in Bilbao, Spain; recordings of Nico Muhly’s “How Little You Are” as soprano soloist with Conspirare; the world premiere of song cycle “Dreams Have No Borders” in Ashland, Oregon; solo appearances with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, Kingsbury Ensemble, Yarn/Wire, and A Far Cry; teaching residencies at Bucknell, University of Oregon, and Oregon Bach Festival; and concerts at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and the Guggenheim, with tours throughout Europe, New Zealand, and Australia with Roomful of Teeth. For more information visit

Mezzo-soprano Dianna Grabowski, described as “glamorous” and “glowing-toned” by the Dallas Morning News, is an active performer of music spanning the Renaissance through the 21st century. As a concert soloist, she has performed with le Violon d’Ingres (Paris), Santa Fe Pro Musica, Dallas Bach Society, Bourbon Baroque, and the Tulsa Oratorio Chorus. In 2018, she had her solo debut with Tenet and Acronym in a performance and recording of Johann Schmelzer’s “Le Memorie Dolorose.” Recent memorable performances include singing with the New York Philharmonic and Grammy award-winning vocal ensemble, The Crossing, in the world premiere of “Fire in My Mouth” by Julia Wolfe. Grabowski sings frequently with other professional choruses such as the Santa Fe Desert Chorale and the Grammy-nominated ensemble, Seraphic Fire. Grabowski is a founding member of Armonia Celeste, an ensemble specializing in the expressive vocal music of the Italian Renaissance and Baroque. She received her master’s of music from the University of North Texas in voice performance with a related field in early music performance. For more information visit

A “superb vocal soloist” (The Washington Post) with “impressive clarity and color” (The New York Times), tenor Steven Soph performs concert repertoire spanning the Renaissance to modern day. Last season, Soph made his Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra debut in a program of Bach, Monteverdi, Purcell, and Vivaldi, led by Patrick Dupré Quigley and his New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Variant 6, and Bourbon Baroque debuts in Handel’s Messiah followed by his Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra debut in Stacy Garrop’s “Terra Nostra,” his Arkansas Choral Society debut as the Evangelist in Bach’s “St. John Passion,” and his Charlotte Bach Festival debut as the Evangelist in Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion.” Soph performs with top American vocal ensembles including Seraphic Fire, True Concord Voices & Orchestra, Roomful of Teeth, Conspirare; Cut Circle, Trident, Yale Choral Artists, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Oregon Bach Festival Berwick Chorus, Colorado Bach Ensemble, Sounding Light, Ensemble Origo, and Spire Chamber Ensemble. Soph holds degrees from the University of North Texas and Yale School of Music. For more information visit

“An elegant, mellifluous and expressive baritone” (New York Times), Charles Wesley Evans has been applauded by The Miami Herald as “the peak of the night’s solo work” and “a warm, strong baritone” by the Washington Post. Born in Georgia, he began singing professionally at the age of 11 as a chorister at the American Boychoir School in Princeton, New Jersey, where he performed nationally and internationally under the baton of notable conductors Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, James Levine, John Williams, and Vladimir Spivakov. With a versatility that ranges from the Baroque to gospel and African-American spirituals, he has engaged a myriad of audiences with performances of song. His solo work has offered opportunities across the U.S. He is a member of the Carmel Bach Festival Chorale, Seraphic Fire, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and Conspirare. He has served on the voice faculties of the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa and is currently Coaching Artist Faculty for Seraphic Fire’s Professional Choral Institute in association with UCLA and the Aspen Music Festival. He earned a B.A. in music from Brewton-Parker College and is a doctor of musical arts candidate at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa.

The concert is sponsored by Season Presenting Sponsors Bell, Davis & Pitt and BB&T as well as the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County and the North Carolina Arts Council.