Limmie Pulliam, tenor & Mark Markham, piano
Thursday, March 16 7:30 pm
Riceland Hall, Fowler Center
Rising tenor Limmie Pulliam continues to thrill audiences with his captivating stage presence and his “stentorian, yet beautiful,” sound. Pulliam was recently praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for his "full-throated vocal power, and intimate lyricism,,' with his recent debut at Livermore Valley Opera in Verdi's Otello.
On December 17th, 2022, Pulliam made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Radamès in Aida, which also served as his role debut. He later performs Radamès with Tulsa Opera for their 75th anniversary gala concert. Elsewhere during the season, he returns to the Cleveland Orchestra for his first performances as Dick Johnson in Puccini's La Fanciulla del West, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst. In concert, he debuts with the San Diego Symphony singing Verdi’s Requiem and makes his Carnegie Hall debut performing “The Ordering of Moses” in collaboration with his alma mater, The Oberlin Conservatory. He also joins pianist Mark Markham for a series of recitals entitled "Make Them Hear You: A Spiritual Journey" and will also be featured on “operatic greatest hits” concerts with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra and Delta Symphony.
The 2021/22 season has been highlighted by his highly-anticipated L..A. Opera debut as Manrico in Verdi's Il Trovatore, where he was lauded by the Los Angeles Times for his "healthy, focused, ringing tenor." He followed that with a successful role debut as Turiddu in Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana with Vashon Opera. Upcoming performances include his company debut with Livermore Valley Opera in the title role of Verdi's Otello, his company debut in Fort Worth Opera's A Night of Black Excellence Concert, and his rescheduled appearance with The Memphis Symphony Orchestra as the tenor soloist in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. He is set to take the stage again as Verdi's Otello in his highly-anticipated debut with The Cleveland Orchestra.
In the 2020/21 COVID-affected season, Mr. Pulliam's original engagements included his role debut as Florestan in Fidelio with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra (canceled). During the shortened 2020/19 season, he appeared with the Springfield Regional Opera for their 40th Anniversary Gala (performed) and made his debut with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra (performed) for a gala concert. He was a featured performer for the 6th Annual Viennese Opera Ball in New York and appeared in a recital in Charlotte, NC, and at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, OH. Additionally, he was slated to join the Newport Music Festival during the summer for a concert of Verdi selections (canceled).
Counted among his appearances in the 2018-19 season were debuts with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra in his native Missouri in Verdi’s Messa da Requiem, the world premiere of Nicholas White’s Immortality with the Concord Chorale in celebration of their 50th season, and a company debut as Otello in Maryland Opera’s Verdi in the Valley Gala. Most recently, Mr. Pulliam joined the Canadian Opera Company covering the title role for their production of Verdi’s Otello.
The 2017-18 season included several debuts beginning with the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra in Verdi's Messa da Requiem and his company debut with Springfield Regional Opera as the title character in Verdi's Otello. He also made a return appearance with Vashon Opera, where he was featured in a sold-out Limmie Pulliam & Friends concert.
The 2016-17 season saw his debuts as a guest artist with Arkansas' Delta Symphony Orchestra and appearances as one of The 3 Holiday Tenors with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra. His season also included an acclaimed role and house debut as Canio in I Pagliacci with Vashon Opera. He appeared as a special guest at The National Opera Association’s 2016 convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, to honor Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and 2015 National Medal of Arts honoree and legendary tenor George Shirley. The highlight of his season was his festival debut with the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice in his first foray as the title character in Verdi’s masterpiece, Otello.
Mr. Pulliam's other recent engagements include performances with The Concord Chorale as tenor soloist in Mozart’s Requiem Mass and tenor soloist in Stainer’s Resurrection with New Covenant United Methodist Church in The Villages, Florida. Mr. Pulliam has been featured in numerous appearances with the internationally renowned chorale Gloriae Dei Cantores as the tenor soloist (Ahab/Obadiah) in an original German-language presentation of Mendelssohn’s Elijah as well as in concerts featuring Intimations of Immortality and Ode For St. Cecelia by Gerald Finzi. He has also presented concerts featuring Negro Spirituals with The Concord Chorale. He appeared as the tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Forum Sinfonia Orchestra of Finland and soloist in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the San Angelo Symphony. Mr. Pulliam was also a featured soloist on The American Spiritual Ensemble.
The Missouri native trained with the late renowned, pedagogue Richard Miller. He is also a former participant in the young artist programs of Cleveland Opera, Opera Delaware and Opera Memphis. He was the 2012 Artist Division Winner of the National Opera Association's Vocal Competition and, in 2013, was a winner in the 3rd Annual Concorso Internazionale di Canto della Fondazione Marcello Giordano in Catania, Sicily.
Born in Pensacola, Florida, Mr. Markham made his debut in 1980 as soloist with the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra and in the same year was invited by the renowned Boris Goldovsky to coach opera at the Oglebay Institute. His teachers at the time, Robert and Trudie Sherwood, were supportive of all his musical endeavors from solo repertoire, vocal accompanying, and chamber music to Broadway and jazz. During the next ten years as a student at the Peabody Conservatory, where he received the BM, MM and DMA degrees in piano performance, this same support for the diversity of his musical gifts came from Ann Schein, a pupil of Mieczyslaw Munz and the great Artur Rubinstein. While under her tutelage he won several competitions including the Munz Competition and the First Prize and the Contemporary Music Prize at the 1988 Frinna Awerbuch International Piano Competition in New York City. While still a student at the conservatory Mr. Markham toured with soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson, a collaboration that resulted in critically acclaimed recordings of works by Messiaen, Carter, Dallapiccola, Schuller, and Wuorinen. In addition, he has toured the US, Europe, and Asia with countertenor Derek Lee Ragin and also performed with Gordon Hawkins, Theodora Hanslowe, Christine Brewer, Isabel Leonard, Limmie Pulliam, Eric Owens, Lise Davidsen, Leah Crocetto, Elizabeth DeShong, J’Nai Bridges and Vinson Cole. In 2017 he created the non-profit foundation Singing in Sicily, an intensive summer training program for young talented singers from around the world.
Starting in 1995 for twenty seasons, Mr. Markham was the recital partner of Jessye Norman, giving nearly 300 performances in thirty countries, including recitals in Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Philharmonie in Berlin, La Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, London’s Royal Festival Hall, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Salzburg Festival, Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo, Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv, the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus in Greece, the Baalbek Festival at the Temple of Bacchus in Lebanon, and at the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize presentation to President Jimmy Carter in Oslo.
Much appreciated by the public for his improvisational skills, Mr. Markham performed at the Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany, where he collaborated with Sir Peter Ustinov for a live television broadcast throughout the country. His gift for jazz has been recognized in the Sacred Ellington, a program created by Ms. Norman in which he served as pianist and musical director, which toured Europe, the Middle East and finished in 2009 with a performance at the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York City. His recording with Jessye Norman of “Roots: My Life, My Song” was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Mr Markham is a former faculty member of the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, Morgan State University, the Norfolk Festival of Yale University and the Britten-Pears School of the Aldeburgh Festival in England. He has given master classes throughout the US, Europe and Asia and has been a guest lecturer for The Johns Hopkins University and the Metropolitan Opera Guild.