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portrait of Patricia Hampl

Virtual Concert: Spotlight On: Patricia Hampl – “Writing My Way into Music”

Thursday, June 22, 7:30PM
Thursday, June 29, 7:30PM


This performance is part of our Digital Concert Series, and will be available to purchase individually and as part of an 8-Concert package. For more information on pricing and how to purchase, visit schubert.org/virtual.

Ticket holders will be emailed a password on the day of the performance, and will be able to log in and view the performance at its scheduled premiere time.

Recorded May 16, 2022 at Summit Ratskeller


About the Artists

An evening of memoir and music comes together in this concert curated and narrated by Patricia Hampl.  She revisits her lifelong passion for Czech music with works  by Dvorak, Janacek, and others, performed by pianist and accordianist Dan Chouinard and Prague-based soprano Ema Katrovas, for an event in the West 7th neighborhood where Patricia was born.


Patricia Hampl’s most recent book is The Art of the Wasted Day.  Her other books include The Florist’s Daughter, Virgin Time, A Romantic Education, Blue Arabesque, and Spillville (with artist Steven Sorman) about Dvorák in Iowa and two collections of poems. Four of her books have been in the New York Times “100 Notable Books of the Year.”  Her work has appeared widely, currently (Spring 2023) in The American Scholar.  She has written librettos for Libby Larsen and Alvin Singleton. She is a member of the permanent faculty of the Prague Summer Program, and lives in St Paul,
her hometown.


Czech-American classical singer Ema Katrovas’  most recent projects involve the Prague City Gallery, for which she sang in the Light Underground Festival (2020) – where she was praised for her “provocative voice” in OperaPlus magazine- and an installation piece for the Monument of National Literature for which she also created compositions. She is working on a short musical film called SENTIMENT, built around a monodrama by composer Juliana Hall. She regularly performs with DUO KAM, which she founded in 2017 and which seeks to bring unusual art song programs to the general public. 

Ema started out singing in Czech theaters and concerts halls while she was still a student, performing Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro (W.A. Mozart) with the Kammer Oper Prague (since 2014) and touring Germany and Austria as the First Lady in Die Zauberflöte with the F.X. Šalda Theater in Liberec (2015), with which she subsequently sang La Charmeuse in Massenet’s Thaïs (2016). In 2017, she debuted at the Silesian Theater in Opava as the First Nymph in Rusalka (A. Dvořák.) She regularly collaborates with various non-classical ensembles like the theatrical group Indigo Company (since 2016) or the Okamžitý Filmový Orchestr (OFO) conducted by Varhan Orchestrovič Bauer (2018 and 2019).

In 2020, she was selected as one of six participants by Thomas Quasthoff for his masterclass at the Bach Archiv in Leipzig. In 2020 and 2021, she studied contemporary vocal repertoire with Sarah Maria Sun and improvisation with Christoph Ogiermann at the John Cage Institute in Halberstadt, where she placed second in the John Cage New Music Competition 2020. She has collaborated with composers and premiered their work since the beginning of her academic training.

She received her Master’s from the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague in 2017.

Ema is also interested in documenting the creative process and the lives of artists, including through her interview podcast series Artists on the Verge. To that end, in the summer of 2021, she had the opportunity to attend the academy of the Aix-en-Provence Festival as a cultural journalist.


For three decades Dan Chouinard has been pianist and accordionist of choice for a who’s who of Twin Cities performers, an enabler of community singalongs and a writer of hit shows for public radio, concert hall and theatrical stage.

The list of regular Twin Cities colleagues includes Maria Jette, Prudence Johnson, Kevin Kling, Ann Reed, the Rose Ensemble and his bandmates in Lush Country. He’s appeared all across the upper Midwest and turned up often on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.

As a writer and host he’s often asked to create special live programs for Minnesota Public Radio, the MN Historical Society, the Rose Ensemble and others. His show Civil War Homecoming played at the Fitzgerald Theater in April 2015, was broadcast statewide on MPR and continues to be shown on Twin Cities Public Television. His stage musical Steerage Song toured throughout Minnesota in 2013, a show co-authored with Peter Rothstein about the Ellis Island era of immigration to the US, as portrayed in folk songs, newspaper clippings and Tin Pan Alley tunes. In 2014 his show Cafe Europa, about bicycling with an accordion from Naples to Normandy in search of Minnesota WWII stories, was broadcast and televised statewide.

In 1994 he created an acclaimed radio series The Singer’s Voice, broadcast live Sunday nights from the Dakota Jazz Club, then in St. Paul, hosting song-spiked conversation from the piano with a different singer each week, over 200 in the six years of the show’s tenure.

His essays have been published in Minnesota Monthly, Saint John’s Magazine, the Minnesota Orchestra’s Showcase magazine and in the Minneapolis StarTribune.

He’s traveled extensively in France and Italy, with bicycle and without, and has presented French and Italian sing-alongs at the Alliance Française in Minneapolis. He spent the last months of summer 2015 working in Italy on an independent Hollywood film, Smitten!, to be released early next year.

He’s a musical consultant and concert organizer at the progressive St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community in South Minneapolis, and leads monthly community sing-alongs in downtown Minneapolis and St. Anthony Park.

He grew up in a big musical family near Lindstrom MN, attended St. John’s University in Collegeville MN and spent four years as a teacher of French and Italian as a graduate student at the University of Minnesota.