Leon Fleisher Memorial Concert

Aug 2, 2022

Maryland Lyric Opera (MDLO) is proud to present A Memorial Concert for Leon Fleisher, a one-night-only tribute to the legendary pianist and conductor, on Tuesday, August 2, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland. Long a champion of MDLO’s efforts to bring music into the local community, Fleisher gave his last public performance on stage at Strathmore with the MDLO Orchestra in 2019. He died in Baltimore the following year at age 92.

To honor Fleisher’s memory and celebrate his legacy, MDLO has crafted an all-French program that marshals the company’s full musical forces under the baton of Music Director Louis Salemno. The concert begins with Jules Massenet’s solemn Méditation from Thaïs featuring MDLO Orchestra Concertmaster José Miguel Cueto as the featured violin soloist; then, pianist Cecile Licad plays Camille Saint-Saëns’s mesmerizing Piano Concerto No. 2. in her MDLO debut. In the second half, the MDLO Orchestra and Chorus come together for Gabriel Fauré’s haunting Requiem, featuring soprano Nayoung Ban and baritone SeungHyeon Baek, two alumni of MDLO’s artist-development program.

Running time is 90 minutes, including one intermission

The Music Center at Strathmore

Leon Fleisher Memorial Concert


Piano Cecile Licad
Violin Jose Miguel Cueto
Soprano Nayoung Ban
Baritone SeungHyeon Baek
Conductor Louis Salemno
MDLO Orchestra
MDLO Chorus


Massenet: Meditation from Thaïs

Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22


Fauré: Requiem

Meet the Artists

Cecile Licad

Cecile Licad


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Called "a pianist's pianist" by The New Yorker, Cecile Licad's artistry is a blend of daring musical instinct and superb training. Her natural talent was honed at the Curtis Institute of Music by three of the greatest performer/pedagogues of our time: Rudolf Serkin, Seymour Lipkin and Mieczyslaw Horszowski. Licad's large repertoire as an orchestral soloist spans the Classical works of Mozart and Beethoven, the Romantic literature of Brahms, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Schumann and Rachmaninoff, and on to the 20th century compositions of Debussy, Ravel, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Bartók.

Ms. Licad’s 2019-20 engagements include Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2 with Fresno Philharmonic, a recital with Danbury Concert Association, a joint recital with cellist Alban Gerhardt with Shriver Hall Concert Series in Baltimore, Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 with Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 1 with Maryland Lyric Opera Orchestra. She is also recording the complete Gershwin works for piano and orchestra under the baton of Gerard Salonga.

Ms. Licad can be heard in the recently released album titled American Landscapes (Danacord), which was named “Classical New Release Of The Month” for March 2019 by 90.5FM WKAR Classical of Michigan State University. The album is the third volume of her critically acclaimed Anthology of American Piano Music, which explores lesser played music of American composers. Of the Anthology, Pianist Magazine wrote, “To hear a master pianist like Cecile Licad tackle these works is a luxury not often granted when unknown piano music is concerned. It’s usually left to the second-division pianists to be dragged into the studio to record the ‘outsiders’. Not so here.”

Ms. Licad’s recent engagements include Nashville Symphony’s summer season playing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 at the opening concert; Liszt’s Piano Concerto No.1 and Totentanz in the Cultural Center of the Philippines with the ABS-CBN Symphony; a recital at the Husum Rare Music Festival in Germany, as well as at Festival Miami; Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with San Antonio Symphony under Sebastian Lang-Lessing; Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Spokane Symphony; Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall; Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2 with Stamford Symphony; Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2 with Vallejo Symphony; Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganiniwith Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, under Lawrence Rachleff; returns to Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Adrian (MI) Symphony Orchestra; performing with Northwest Sinfonietta in Seattle and Tacoma, as well as North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra; and recitals in Boston’s Isabella Gardner Museum and at the Harvard Musical Association, also in San Jose, California and in Bogota, Colombia.

A memorable highlight was her collaboration with the Wynton Marsalis Septet performing the music of Louis Moreau Gottschalk to accompany the feature film Louis, a silent film homage to Louis Armstrong which premiered in Chicago’s Symphony Center and was also seen at the Apollo Theater in New York City as well as in Detroit, Bethesda and Philadelphia. The project was repeated in London with two performances in Barbican Hall followed by a recording of the live music at Abbey Road studios.

Ms. Licad has toured in Germany in past seasons with Wurtemburg Philharmonic and appeared with Freiburg Orchestra performing the Shostakovich Concerto for Piano and Trumpet. She has appeared in North America with orchestras such as Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and many others. In Europe she has played with London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bayerisches Rundfunk Orchester, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and Moscow State Academy Symphony. In Asia, she has performed with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, Tokyo’s NHK Symphony Orchestra, and her native Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra. Among the conductors with whom she has collaborated are Andrew Davis, Charles Dutoit, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Gerard Schwarz, Michael Tilson-Thomas, David Zinman, Pinchas Zukerman, as well as the late Kurt Masur, Claudio Abbado, Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Georg Solti, Eugene Ormandy, and Mstislav Rostropovich.

Cecile Licad has performed in recital with Murray Perahia, Peter Serkin and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, with whom she has appeared at Lincoln Center, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, and the Kennedy Center, respectively. She also performs with cellist Alban Gerhardt in Germany and in the US. She appeared as soloist in the Steinway Piano Sesquicentennial Celebration at Carnegie Hall, performing six Rachmaninoff songs with tenor Ben Heppner, and has made television appearances with Mstislav Rostropovich. 

As a highly regarded chamber musician, she has performed regularly with ensembles such as the New York Chamber Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Guarneri Quartet, Takacs Quartet, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Music from Marlboro. She also appeared as guest soloist on tour with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in Leipzig, Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Köln, among other European cities.

Her summer festival appearances have included Caramoor, Tanglewood, the International Music Festival of Seattle, Mostly Mozart Festival (in both New York and Tokyo) as well as the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Chamber Music  and Eastern Music Festival.  She has also performed at the Great Mountains Music Festival in Korea.

On the Music Masters label, Licad released a recording of three works by Ravel: Le tombeau de Couperin, Gaspard de la Nuit, and Sonatine. She has an all-Gottschalk recording on the Naxos label. And on Sony Classical, she has recorded Schumann’s Carnaval, Papillions and Toccata in C Major; and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Claudio Abbado. Her CBS Masterworks release of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Saint-Saens’ Piano Concerto No. 2, with André Previn conducting the London Philharmonic, was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque Frédéric Chopin. Angel/EMI produced her solo all-Chopin recordings, which include Études, op. 10. Also for Angel/EMI, she recorded, with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, the Franck Sonata in A Major, the Brahms Sonata No. 2 in A Major, and Sonatensatz in C Major.

Cecile Licad began her piano studies at the age of three with her mother, Rosario Licad, in her native Philippines, and later studied with the highly regarded Rosario Picazo. At seven, she made her debut as soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Philippines. As one of the youngest musicians to receive the prestigious Leventritt Gold Medal, Ms. Licad won immediate international recognition, and her career was launched. 

Jose Miguel Cueto

Jose Miguel Cueto


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Violinist José Miguel Cueto has over 40 years of experience leading orchestras in the USA and abroad. His multitalented skills as concertmaster, soloist and chamber musician make him a much sought-after artist. After completing his studies at the Conservatory of Music in his native Puerto Rico, Cueto was awarded a scholarship to further his violin studies under the tutelage of laureate violinist Berl Senofsky at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. Recognized for his “bravura playing and full-blooded music making” José Cueto has performed worldwide in North, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe and China. Among others, his festival appearances include performances on the Casals, Aspen, Alba, Usa/China, Autunno Musicale Veronese, and for the American Liszt Society. His four-decade partnership with pianist Nancy Roldán encompasses recordings and worldwide performances hailed by critics as … “superb, powerful, well balanced and exciting.” Mr. Cueto has recorded for Centaur, Sonora, Marquis, Crystal, and Educo labels, performing in chamber ensembles and as soloist with orchestras. Mr. Cueto has previously served as Concertmaster of Concert Artists of Baltimore and the Baltimore Opera Orchestra. He teaches at Catholic University of America and St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where he’s also been Artist in Residence and Head of Strings. Cueto shares his expertise as violin teacher, chamber ensemble, orchestra coach and lecturer in studio and master class settings. He plays a 1920 Stefano Scarampella and a 2005 violin made specially for him by Luiz Bellini.

Nayoung Ban

Nayoung Ban


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South Korean Soprano Nayoung Ban is a young and dedicated operatic soprano with a sizeable and remarkably warm Bel Canto voice. She has been praised for vocal color, stage personality, and musicality beyond her years. Ms.Ban’s upcoming performances include Susanna(Le Nozze di Figaro) with Opera Ithaca and A Voice from Heaven(Don Carlo) with Maryland Lyric Opera. Recently Ms.Ban made her début with Maryland Lyric Opera debut performing the Title role of Lucia di Lammermoor where she also appeared as Gilda(Rigoletto), Musetta(La bohème), Pamina(Die Zauberflöte) and Blonde(Die Entführung) in their Concerts. Additionally, she performed Musetta(La Bohème) with Opera Ithaca and and Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi) with Mannes Opera where she also appeared as Euridice (Orfeo di Euridice), Vixen (The Cunning Little Vixen), Giulietta in (I Capuleti e Montecchi) and Juliette (Roméo et Juliette) with Mannes Opera Opera Scene Performance. Ms. Ban also has performed as a Soprano Soloist in ‘Hear my prayer’ by F.Mendelssohn with Peniel Women’s Choir, T.Dubois’s The Seven Last Words of Christ with Christian Broadcasting System of New York, Soprano Soloist in Gounod’s St.Cecilia Mass with GNC Orchestra and Soloist in Handel’s Messiah with New Hope Reformed Church of New York.

Soprano Nayoung Ban has her Professional Studies in Mannes College of Music, holds her Master’s degree at Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree at ChungAng University in Korea where she also has her Bachelor's Degree.

SeungHyeon Baek

SeungHyeon Baek


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Baritone SeungHyeon Baek is quickly gaining recognition, throughout the American Opera circuit, as a young artist of significant talents and versatility. Specifically, he has been applauded and recognized for recent performances, over the past few seasons, for his “full, generous baritone voice” and his considerable “histrionic abilities combined with his rich artistry.” Last season, he performed the role of Marcello in La boheme with Opera Ithaca and Symphony of the Mountains and Count di Luna in Il trovatore with Opera San Jose.

Mr. Baek’s upcoming performances include Yamordi/Grand Inquisitor in Madama Butterfly with Canadian Opera Company, Frate/(Rodrigo) in Don Carlo with Maryland Lyric Opera, and the title role of Rigoletto with Opera Orlando.

Mr. Baek made several débuts including his début with Opera Tampa performing the role of Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro where The Tampa Bay Times praised his “commanding baritone.” He also made a role début as Tonio in Pagliacci, and house débuts with Opera North as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly and New York City Opera as Billy Jackrabbit in La fanciulla del West. Additionally, he performed the title role in Gianni Schicchi with St. Petersburg Opera, and Lord Enrico Ashton in Lucia di Lammermoor, Sonora in La fanciulla del West as well as a soloist in An Evening of Puccini concert all with Maryland Lyric Opera, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with MidAtlantic Opera, Tonio in Pagliacci with Opera Ithaca and Dandini in La Cenerentola with Opera Ithaca and New York City Opera for their Park Concert Series.

As a Concert artist, Mr. Baek made his début at Carnegie Hall as a soloist in Fauré’s Requiem with MidAmerica Productions and as a soloist in Dvorak’s Te Deum. He also performed as a soloist in Dubois’s The Seven Last Words of Christ with Christian Broadcasting System of New York, Dvořák’s Te Deum with Adelphi Chamber Orchestra and made his Lincoln Center Concert début with InterSchool Orchestras of New York as a soloist in Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

A native of South Korea, SeungHyeon Baek received a Professional Studies Degree in Mannes College of Music. During his professional studies, he performed the title role of Gianni Schicchi, Don Alvaro in Il viaggio a Reims and Di Cosimo in the New York Premiere of Daniel Catán’s Il Postino with Mannes Opera. He also holds his master’s degree at Manhattan School of Music where he appeared as Pandolfe in Cendrillon and Peter in Hansel and Gretel as well as Valentin in Faust with the Manhattan School of Music Opera Repertory Ensemble. Additionally, Mr. Baek holds a Bachelor of Music degree at ChungAng University in Korea. He has won NJ State Opera’s Alfredo Silipigni Competition in 2017 and Career Bridges Competition in 2015.

Louis Salemno

Louis Salemno

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Louis Salemno is the Music Director of Maryland Lyric Opera and is the principal conductor for all its performances, including the recent Thaïs, La fanciulla del West, and the MDLO Orchestra concert featuring pianist Leon Fleisher. He oversees the recruitment and training of the emerging artists of the MDLO Institute and leads the team responsible for auditioning, hiring, and managing the MDLO Orchestra and Chorus.

Maestro’s long and storied international conducting career includes posts at some of the world’s leading opera houses, including Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and New York City Opera, among many others. He studied with Nadia Boulanger in France and was mentored by the legendary Kurt Herbert Adler, Krzysztof Penderecki, Gianandrea Gavazzeni and Bruno Bartoletti.  As a pianist, he has appeared in recital with Montserrat Caballe and Denyce Graves.

As a mentor, he held the post of Resident Coach for Washington National Opera’s acclaimed Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program for nearly a decade, where he also trained conducting students as well as visiting conductors in preparation for performances. He has also mentored singers at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. He studied piano with Mieczyslaw Horszowski and conducting with Max Rudolf at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

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