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Materialia Lumina

February 9, 2023 | 6:00 PM EST

The Boston Festival Orchestra pairs new and old works with a selection of stunning artists' books in the Athenæum's current gallery exhibition Materialia Lumina/Luminous Books. Each book is coupled with a special selection of chamber music. Together, they encourage conversation about themes of identity, the nature of beauty, and the quest for meaning. Enjoy live presentations of the artists' books during the concert, as well as an in-depth discussion about their musical pairings.

Join BFO Artistic Director Alyssa Wang and BFO musicians in an intimate dialogue about what it means to experience art, and how it can help us to relate to the world around us. Enjoy a wine and cheese reception following the concert, including a chance to explore parts of the Athenæum. This concert is free, but registration is required!


Alan Hovhaness, selections from Saturn

J.S. Bach, selections from Sonata for Violin & Keyboard No. 3 in E Major

Jennifer Margaret Barker, The Enchanted Glen

Tom Cipullo, Crickets

Philip Glass, Violin Sonata (2nd mvt)

Rameau, "Lance tes Feux, naissante Aurore" from Acante et Céphise

Jennifer Higdon, Dash

Hannah Shanefield, soprano

Alyssa Wang, violin

Nicholas Brown, clarinet

Ruoting Li, piano


Meet the Musicians
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Boston-based soprano Hannah Shanefield earns enthusiastic acclaim on operatic, concert, and recital stages alike. Her extensive repertoire spans from Baroque to modern. Recent solo performance highlights include Diana in La Calisto, the titular role of Siri in the premiere of The Secret Life of Siri by Luisa Matthynssens, Francois Couperin's Trois Leçons de Ténèbres, BWV 150 and 196, and Mozart's Requiem.


Hannah is passionate about championing new music and the works of underrepresented composers. Most recently, in June 2022, she co-organized a charity chamber recital for pride month featuring the works of LGBTQ+ composers, including song cycles by Britten, Higdon, and the premieres of contemporary composers. 


In 2020, Hannah earned her Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the New England Conservatory under the tutelage of Karen Holvik. In 2018, she graduated from The Hartt School with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance with a minor in Music History, where she studied with Maureen O'Flynn and Joanna Levy.


Learn more about Hannah at


Alyssa Wang is a passionate and versatile conductor, violinist, and composer, and recent recipient of the St. Botolph Foundation Emerging Artist Award. She is the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Boston Festival Orchestra, as well as the Assistant Conductor for the Boston Ballet. Alyssa has served as Assistant Conductor for numerous institutions such as the New Hampshire Music Festival and the Colorado College Summer Music Festival. As a violinist, Alyssa has soloed with ensembles across the country and performs regularly with numerous Boston-based ensembles such as Boston Chamber Music Society and Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Recently, she was commissioned by the Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh to compose a Violin Concerto to be premiered in 2023. Alyssa earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Carnegie Mellon University as an Andrew Carnegie Scholar in 2016 under the tutelage of Andrés Cárdenes, and completed two Master’s Degrees in violin performance and conducting at the New England Conservatory. Learn more at

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Nicholas Brown is a Boston-based clarinetist, educator, and arts leader. He is a member of the Boston Lyric Opera Orchestra and New Bedford Symphony, and is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Boston Festival Orchestra. Additionally, Nicholas is a substitute with such groups as the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic, and more.

As a soloist, Nicholas has appeared with the Boston Pops, Boston Festival Orchestra, and Symphony Nova, and will be featured with the Concord Orchestra in Fall 2022. He has performed on programs presented by the Library of Congress, Celebrity Series of Boston, Newport Music Festival, Morgan Library, Williams Center for the Arts, and beyond. He has won numerous awards from organizations such as St. Botolph Club Foundation, Boston Woodwind Society, Bay Chamber Concerts of Maine, Rossini Club of Portland, and Boston University.

Committed to accessibility and education, Nicholas focuses on removing traditional barriers surrounding the arts in Boston. Through a network of community partnerships, the Boston Festival Orchestra aligns with local charities to provide programming to communities who have been historically excluded from classical music. Further, he serves as a clarinet instructor at the North End Music & Performing Arts Center, a community music school oering “Music for All,” and is a Neighborhood Artist with the Celebrity Series of Boston.

Originally from Portland, Maine, Nicholas earned degrees with honors from New England Conservatory of Music and Boston University. His mentors include Thomas Martin, David Martins, John Bruce Yeh, and Ethan Sloane.

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Chinese pianist Ruoting Li is an eclectic artist who is eager to explore a wide range of musical styles and repertoire, both as a solo pianist and chamber musician. Currently based in New York City, Ruoting has been involved in numerous activities, such as outreach concerts, music producing, and new music recording. She made her Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall debut in November of 2019, and her Stern Auditorium debut in March of 2020. Both were well received, with special mention of her artistry. Most recently, Ms. Li was featured in a concert for the Library of Congress. Her passion for chamber music has also resulted in a fruitful and ongoing collaboration with the Boston Festival Orchestra.

Born in China, she began piano at the age of 6 and was admitted to the Central Conservatory of Music Middle School in Beijing when she was 11. In 2014, Ms. Li came to the U.S. and was awarded a full scholarship to attend the Manhattan School of Music, where she earned both Bachelor and Master of Music degree in Piano Performance under the tutelage of Dr. Solomon Mikowsky. Aside from live performance, Ruoting is currently involved as artistic advisor and producer for several ongoing recording projects.

All Chamber Series concerts will take place at the

Boston Athenæum (Henry Long Room)

10 1/2 Beacon St. 

Boston, MA 02108

For Parking and Directions, click here

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