Feiner Musicke -is a husband and wife duo committed to the performance, publication and recording of music for voice and harp. Because the repertoire is limited, they have taken it upon themselves to transcribe many pieces originally written for piano and voice. Several of these transcriptions can be heard on their first recording, Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal. They have also published transcriptions of three songs by Claude Debussy.
The Duo has performed throughout America for festivals and conferences and on numerous Recital Series. This includes performances at the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, the Summer French Institute at the University of California Santa Barbara, the Madeleine Festival at the Madeleine Cathedral in Salt Lake City, the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, the Tallahassee Music Club, the Music House in Greenville, NC, the Pro-Mozart Society of Atlanta and the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at Morehouse College.
Feiner Musicke blends their power, grace and passion to create a unique and unforgettable musical experience.
Tenor Mel Foster is an Associate Professor of Voice and Chair of the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences at Morehouse College. Dr. Foster has a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music where he was a student of John Maloy and his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara where he was under the tutelage of Elizabeth Mannion. Most recently, he has greatly benefited from the mentoring of Victor Roman.
A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Dr. Foster believes his experience at the Brevard Music Festival as a teenager heavily influenced his decision to commit his life to singing. Since then, he has had the opportunity to be engaged in opera, oratorio, and recital performances in the United States and Europe. In the 19 years that Dr. Foster has taught at Morehouse, he has enjoyed rewarding performance and teaching experiences. Endeavoring to create more roles for African-American operatic tenors, he has premiered more than ten roles and solos for the Americolor Opera Alliance, a performing arts organization for which he is now the Artistic Director. Along with being interested in the lost art of intimate operatic singing, most recently, Dr. Foster has become interested in the vital role that the Arts play in sustaining culture.
Highlights of his performances have been with the Americolor Opera Alliance in the role of Ellington Dupont in The Bridge(premiere), Johnnie Washington in Carmen J(premiere), as Alonzo Herndon in The Herndons, as Missouri in The Great Divide(premiere),as Melchior in 3Kings and a Prince, as Ransom in Madame CJ(premiere), as Ray Grayson in The Pink Lady(premiere), as Aleph in The Candlers(premiere), and role Sam in The Opera Singer(premiere). With the Atlanta Opera, he performed the role of Nelson in their historic 2008 european tour of George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. Other performances have been in Salt Lake City in The Life of Roland Hayes and the Moor Tenors' Project; tenor soloist in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with Fairbanks Symphony and the Macon Symphony: the Rome Festival as Ferrando in Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte in Rome ,Italy; twice performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in a nationally broadcasted event entitled A King Celebration in memory of the Reverend, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; as a featured soloist with the Atlanta Chamber Players; Mozart's Requiem with the Augusta Choral Society; tenor soloist in Bach's St. John's Passion with the St. Paul's Bach Society; and tenor soloist in the Verdi's Requiem with the Interlochen Arts Festival Philharmonic.
As Associate Professor of Voice at Morehouse College, Dr. Foster gives a number of performances and masterclasses annually.
Photographer: Dot Paul
Harpist Ellen Heinicke Foster, a native of Wenatchee, WA, has performed with many symphonies, chamber groups, opera and ballet orchestras in the United States, Canada and Europe.
She earned the Bachelor of Music, Cum Laude, in Harp Performance and Music Education from the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Eileen Malone, a Master of Music degree from the University of British Columbia, where she studied with Rita Costanzi and an Artist’s Diploma from Yale University where she studied with Nancy Allen.
Currently, she plays second harp with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and she fills in as Acting Principal Harpist when needed. While living in Atlanta, Ellen has performed with the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra, the Gwinnett Ballet Orchestra, the Cobb Symphony Orchestra, the Macon Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Georgia Boy Choir and the Atlanta Boy Choir with which she has made a number of recordings.
Ellen is a dedicated teacher of the harp. She was on the faculty of the Interlochen Arts Camp for several summers, taught harp for the Urban Youth Harp Ensemble for many years and was instructor of the Harp Program at Carver High School. She served two terms as president of the Georgia chapter of the American Harp Society. Ellen maintains a private harp studio, teaching children and adults.
She directs two harp ensembles. The North Atlanta Harp Ensemble is a group made up entirely of adult students from the Atlanta Metropolitan area. The Student Harp Ensemble (SHE) is comprised of middle and high school students who currently study with Mrs. Foster.
For Feiner Musicke, Mrs. Foster transcribes all accompaniments not originally written for harp.