For one night only, Spoleto Festival USA’s Orchestra and Chorus have joined forces with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus to bring to us Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and here is what you should know:

Joined by tenor Eric Ferring alongside Omar’s very own mezzo-soprano Catherine Ann Daniel, the final symphony metaphorically takes us on a journey from “oppressive doom to redeeming light” (© Thomas May 2022) in four compositions:

  1. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
  2. Scherzo. Molto vivace – Presto
  3.  Adagio molto e cantabile
  4. Presto


A Little More…

Beethoven first performed the Ninth Symphony on a Friday night in Vienna, May 7, 1824, just a short seven years before Omar Ibn Said wrote his remarkable autobiography—the inspiration for the new opera Omar by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels. While both were worlds apart, Beethoven’s enthusiasm from his early years remained utopian abstractions for the countless enslaved people like Ibn Said. 

At this year’s Festival, Beethoven’s Ninth is conducted by Spoleto Festival USA’s Director of Choral Activities, Joe Miller.  

“The Ninth is one of the works choral conductors dread the most,” says Maestro Joe Miller, “because Beethoven pushes us to the limits of what the human voice will do.” 

From the vision it stemmed from to the actual musical performance itself, Beethoven’s final symphony will always represent “something aspirational more than something achieved.”  (© Thomas May 2022)

About the Creative Team

JOE MILLER (conductor)

Joe Miller has served as Spoleto Festival USA’s Director of Choral Activities since 2007. Miller is also the conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Symphonic Choir as well as the Professor of Conducting/Chair of Choral Studies at the College-Conservatory of Music at University of Cincinnati, where he has served since 2020. Miller has collaborated with some of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors. Recent seasons have included performances with the Philharmoniker Berliner and Sir Simon Rattle; The Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin; and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and Gustavo Dudamel. From 2006 to 2020, he served as the Director of Choral Activities at Westminster Choir College.

TROY COOK (baritone)

Troy Cook has been praised for his “technically flawless performance” by Opera News and heralded throughout his career for his vocal suaveness and vibrant stage presence. His many and varied performances include appearances with the Metropolitan Opera; Washington National Opera; Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Teatro San Carlo, Napoli; The Dallas Opera; and Opera Pacific, among others. An acclaimed interpreter of new works, he created the role of John Cree in Elizabeth Cree, as well as Father Palmer in Silent Night.

CATHERINE ANN DANIEL (mezzo-soprano)

Catherine Ann Daniel made her Opera Tampa debut in Carmen singing the title role in 2020. Ms. Daniel studied voice with Coloratura soprano Tracy Dahl at the University of Manitoba. She was a member of the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, and later became a member of the Opera Studio Nederlands in Amsterdam. Her career highlights include singing Emelda Griffiths in Grammy award-winner Terence Blanchard’s opera Champion with l’Opéra de Montréal, debuting Klytemnestra in Edmonton Opera’s production of Elektra, singing Elisabetta in Knoxville Opera’s production of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, and debuting at Carnegie Hall as a soloist in Haydyn’s Mass in Time of war.


Eric Ferring is an alumnus of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center and the Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist Program. Highlights of his 2021-2022 season include singing Beppe in a filmed production of Pagliacci with Lyric Opera of Chicago, and his Metropolitan Opera debut as Pong in Turandot, along with performances of Tamino in The Magic Flute, Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor, and a Royal Herald in Don Carlos. He will make his debut with Santa Fe Opera as Fenton in Falstaff. He is also a winner of the 2022 George London Foundation Competition.


Lauren Michelle is a native of Los Angeles. She is a graduate of UCLA and The Juilliard School. She was a prize winner of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition and is an internationally recognized opera star. Some of her notable international roles include Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Musetta in La bohème, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi. She has performed at Covent Garden as Jessica in The Merchant of Venice and completed a season as a house soprano with Vienna State Opera. She sang in concert under the baton of Plácido Domingo at LA Opera and made her debut with Washington National Opera to critical acclaim alongside Eric Owens. She was awarded First Place in both the Lotte Lenya Competition and the Marcello Giordani International Vocal Competition.

ROBERT TAYLOR (director, Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus)

Robert Taylor is the director of choral activities at the College of Charleston, the founding artistic director and president of the Taylor Festival Choir (TFC) and Taylor Music Group (TMG), and the director of the Charleston Symphony Chorus and Chamber Singers, Called a “rising star in the international choral scene” and a “true master of his craft” (Charleston City Paper), Taylor has also earned accolades for his ensembles, which have been described as sounding “more musical than would seem possible” (The Post and Courier) and have received numerous plaudits from critics for their technical proficiency, musicality, and beautiful sound production.


THE CHARLESTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA CHORUS is composed of auditioned, volunteer singers from the Charleston, South Carolina, area. Founded in 1978 by Miss Eimly Remington as the Charleston Singers Guild and now directed by Robert Taylor, the full Chorus performs a diverse choral repertoire to nurture and educate audiences and future singers.

THE SPOLETO FESTIVAL USA CHORUS is a new professional choir, led by Festival Director of Choral Activities Joe Miller, that builds upon the Festival’s longstanding tradition of exceptional choral music. The Festival Chorus consists of more than 50 vocal fellows with broad and versatile skillsets. Each season, vocal fellows perform major choral works; serve as the choir for Spoleto’s mainstage operas, with select singers covering both large and small roles; and take part in special projects or smaller ensemble works.

THE SPOLETO FESTIVAL USA ORCHESTRA serves as a backbone to the Festival’s programming, appearing in many different configurations as part of opera, symphonic, choral, chamber, and contemporary performances. Comprised of early career musicians, the Orchestra is formed anew each year through nationwide auditions. Alumni of the Orchestra can be found in orchestras throughout the world, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Concertgebouw Orchestra, LA Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, and many others.


Connect on Social

Find SFUSA conductor Joe Miller on Instagram. 

Find the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


Performance Details

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony will take the stage at the Charleston Gaillard Center on Thursday, June, 9 at 8:00pm.

Buy Tickets »