Spotlight Series Musical Journeys: Tell Chapel

MacPhail Center for Music presents a SPOTLIGHT VIRTUAL CONCERT SERIES performance William Tell Chapel, a musical travelogue.




MISCHA SANTORA, concept & director of photography

FRANZ LISZT, music. RICHARD TOSTENSON, piano. MISCHA SANTORA, director of photography.

About William Tell Chapel & Franz Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage

Franz Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage are a collection of pieces for solo piano that are intimately autobiographical.

The pieces document the composer’s travels across Europe alongside his significant other, Countess Marie D’Agoult, married then to Count D’Agoult. The two lovers were escaping the Parisian art scene with its propensity for scandalous gossip. After separating from her husband in 1835, the Countess moved to Geneva, Switzerland, joining Liszt, who had a teaching position at the newly founded Geneva Conservatory. Subsequently, the two started to travel throughout Switzerland and Italy alongside their children. The Années de pèlerinage is a unique musical chronicle of this journey, marked by daring harmonic innovation and novel textures. It is Liszt’s unceasing quest for sounds that match his myriad impressions and emotions.

The William Tell Chapel, a small building on the shore of Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee) in Central Switzerland, is dedicated to the eponymous Swiss folk hero.

The Legend of William Tell

According to the 14th-century legend, William Tell, a master shot with the crossbow, was forced by the Habsburg governor Albrecht Gessler (known for his brutal suppression of the local population) to shoot an apple placed on the head of Tell’s son Walter. This was in retaliation for Tell’s public insubordination. The arrow hit the apple perfectly, thus saving Tell from further recrimination.

A massive storm broke out on Lake Lucerne during the transfer to prison on Gessler’s boat. Navigation was difficult, and Gessler’s guards asked Tell for help, as he was known for his excellent knowledge of the local terrain. Once unshackled, Tell steered the boat close to a large rock and escaped through a daring jump onto the shore. That location is called the “Tellsplatte” (Tell’s Rock). Some versions of the legend have Tell assassinate Gessler a few weeks later.

The dates of the legend coincide with some of the most important events during the founding days of Switzerland around 1300. As such, the Tell legend has become inextricably interwoven with the history of Switzerland and its long-standing independence and neutrality.


Mischa's headshot
Concept & Director of Photography

Mischa Santora

Mischa Santora is one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial conductors of his generation. Appointed music director of the Boston Ballet in 2018, he conducts the majority of their performances with the Boston Ballet Orchestra at the Boston Opera House. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Mr. Santora produced a number of creative audio and video projects, including compositions for soundtracks, editing and mixing of soundscapes, as well as producing, filming, and editing of musical film projects. In addition to his busy conducting schedule, Mr. Santora is the artistic director of the Minnesota Bach Ensemble, with performances at Antonello Hall. Mr. Santora’s recent composition activities include music for theatrical productions, orchestral works, and soundtracks for film, TV/radio, and podcasts. He is the founder of a promising audio start-up company SONICITY, offering customizable high-fidelity soundtracks for creative professionals.

Man playing piano

Richard Tostenson

Richard Tostenson graduated with a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Tostenson is a teacher and active performer including recent solo piano performances at The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Basilica of Saint Mary, Thursday Musical, and MacPhail Spotlight Concerts. He regularly serves as a judge for competitions including Schubert Club, Thursday Musical, and Saint Paul Piano Teachers Concerto Competition. Richard maintains a studio of more than 50 students at MacPhail Center for Music where he is the MacPhail Keyboard Department Specialist, coordinator for the MacPhail Advanced Piano Camp, and a participating faculty member of the MacPhail Young Artist for Piano Program. Richard’s students have won numerous prizes including the MacPhail Concerto and Aria competition, MMTF Mozart Piano Concerto, Saint Paul Conservatory of Music Competitions, Chicago International Piano Competition, and the opportunity to participate in the International Junior e-piano competition. Richard’s students have been accepted into top music schools including Oberlin, Northwestern University (IL), University of Michigan and Eastman School of Music.

Published on Date: Sep 18, 2023
To Top