Monday, April 15, 2024 at 8 p.m.
Squires Recital Salon

Michael Poll, guitar
Brian Thorsett, tenor

Not millennials, but a millennium of music on display, from the sublime chants of Hildegard von Bingen to the passionate modality of Priaulx Rainier. Internationally acclaimed guitarist Michael Poll teams up with faculty members Brian Thorsett to present a rhapsodic evening of serenade featuring little known gems works by Strozzi, Ambruys and Lambert, alongside masterpieces by Britten, Schubert and Palomo.

Conductor and Classical Guitarist Michael Poll has performed across North America, South America, and Europe, including in Barbican Hall, Wigmore Hall, and the National Theatre of Panama. His debut guitar recording, 7-String Bach, was called ‘masterful’ by Gramophone magazine, and Wholenote praised his ‘Warm, rich, and full tone’. Since its release by Orchid Classics in 2018, 7-String Bach has been streamed over 1 million times on Spotify and Apple Music, and was featured on the BBC and Classic FM.

In 2022 Poll conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Lancaster House in a programme of new works by Ian Venables, Odaline de la Martinez, Daniel Thomas Davis, and Shruthi Rajasekar. Upcoming conducting engagements include the Lancaster Arts Chamber Orchestra and the Cornell University Chorale, for which he will serve as music director for the current season. Upcoming guitar performances include solo recitals for the Exchange in London and the Hay Festival, duo performances with flautist Emi Ferguson, and Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez.

From 2014-2018 Poll was Music Director of the Goodensemble Orchestra in London, where he led a Gala in honour of The Queen, a cycle of Beethoven piano concerti, and premiers by David Conte, Joseph Stillwell, David Grahame Taylor, Igor Maia, and Raymond Yiu. He also conducted Bloomsbury Opera’s 2018 Le Nozze di Figaro and 2019 Cosi Fan Tutte, during which season he was an intern assistant conductor to Franz Welser-Möst at the Salzburg Festival.

A 2010 Fulbright and a 2012 Marshall Scholar, Poll holds a BA in music summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year, and was concurrently a visiting student at the Curtis Institute of Music in conducting with Virginia Allen and solfège with Eric Sessler.

In 2012 Poll received the Graduate Performance Diploma from the Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznan, Poland, in 2014 the MPerf degree from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where he was a Junior Fellow from 2015-2017, and was awarded a Doctorate in Music in 2022.

Poll’s teachers have included Frederic Hand, Lukasz Kuropaczewski, Emiliano Pardo-Tristán, Benjamin Verdery, Piotr Zaleski, Robert Brightmore, and Leonid Grin. Poll has been a member of the faculty of the Bryn Mawr Conservatory of Music and the Polish Guitar Academy, a fellow of the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and is currently a Klarman Fellow at Cornell University. He is the founder of SoundingLab, a charity that uses music to inspire young people to engage with mentorship and improve their educational outcomes, and serves on the Board of the Southwark Music Service in London.

Hailed as “a strikingly gifted tenor, with a deeply moving, unblemished voice” (, tenor Brian Thorsett excels in opera, oratorio and recital across the world. Since taking to the stage, he has been seen and heard in over 100 diverse operatic roles, ranging from Monteverdi to Britten, back to Rameau and ahead again to works composed specifically for his talents. As a concert singer, he fosters a stylistically diversified repertoire of over 250 works, which has taken him to concert halls across the US and Europe. 

An avid recitalist, Thorsett is closely associated with expanding the vocal-chamber genre, and has been involved in premieres and commissions of Ian Venables, Stacy Garrop, David Conte, Scott Gendel, Michael Scherperel, Peter Josheff, Shinji Eshima, Gordon Getty, Michel Bosc, Eric Choate and Noah Luna among many others. Recent  projects include the premiere of Ian Venables The Last Invocation and Christopher Stark’s Scream. 

Thorsett has also been heard in recordings, commercials and movies as the voice for SoundIron’s library Voice of Rapture: Tenor. His CD releases include song cycles of David Conte and Scott Gendel’s Barbara Allen. He is a graduate of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Glimmerglass Opera’s Young American Artist program, American Bach Soloists’ Academy, the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme at Aldeburgh, England and spent two summers at the Music Academy of the West. He is currently Associate Professor of Voice at Virginia Tech’s School of Performing Arts and served on the faculties as Lecturer at UC Berkeley and Santa Clara University.