Iraq. Dafur. The Middle East... Our neighborhoods. Our own hearts, arguably the cradle of the peace or war we find around us. Sweet Peace is a moving collection of international classical songs that celebrate peace or express the tragedy of war. The texts of this album span five previous centuries, yet the emotions expressed are entirely of our time: the joy of those reunited with loved ones at war's end, the anguish of a soldier's widow; an individual's desperate yearning for inner peace and the relief of one whom it has visited. '....sweet peace and consoling peace, that places a cool kiss upon all scars..., that descends upon the weary...' Georges Boutelleau Will our human nature ever evolve to keep pace with our technical ability to destroy one another? Perhaps if it is our priority. Think peace. Speak peace. Act peace. Pray for peace. And sing peace. Claire Stadtmueller made her Carnegie Hall debut in Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with David Randolph and the St. Cecilia Chorus and Orchestra. Egon Stadelman wrote for the New Yorker Staats-Zeitung, 'Of the solo quartet, soprano Claire Stadtmueller was by far the most outstanding. She enjoyed a star moment and took advantage of it to the loudly exclaimed enthusiasm of the audience.' She has since performed at Carnegie Hall in Handel's Israel in Egypt, Mozart's Requiem and Mass in C Minor, Mendelssohn's Second Symphony, and Bach's Christmas Oratorio and St. Matthew Passion. She has also appeared at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, and on National Public Radio's A Prairie Home Companion and WGBH Boston's Classics in the Morning with host Ron della Chiesa. Opera roles she has performed include the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor, Pamina (The Magic Flute), Miss Silverpeal (The Impresario), Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte), Rosario (Granados' Goyescas), Dew Fairy (Hansel and Gretel) and the Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors). As a recitalist, Ms. Stadtmueller has performed at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, at New York City's Trinity Church, and on numerous series in New Jersey and Rhode Island. *************** Michael Strauss studied at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and began his teaching career at the University of the Witswatersrand in Johannesburg, where he taught piano, chamber-music and was head vocal coach of the Opera Department. As a performer, Mr. Strauss has been associated with the South African Broadcasting Company, appearing frequently as a soloist and accompanist on radio and television. He has also been the featured concerto soloist with the main orchestras of the country. For the past ten years Mr. Strauss has been active in and around the Boston area as a performer, accompanist, conductor and vocal coach. He has recorded with various chamber music ensembles for WGBH radio. His conducting credits include the New England premiere of Bizet's The Pearlfishers. He has also toured with The Boston Music Theater featuring American music in Brussels in 1999 for the 50th anniversary of NATO and more recently in 2001 in Paris and Brussels. In July 2002 he performed with the same group in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Mr. Strauss is currently an opera coach for the department of opera studies at New England Conservatory. He is also on the faculty of the Boston Conservatory.