LSM Newswire

Friday, March 13, 2009

Local Composer and Professor to Present Pre-Concert Lecture at Elijah, March 31

Composer and Bowdoin Music Professor Elliott Schwartz to Present Pre-Concert Lecture on Mendelssohn's Elijah, March 31

PORTLAND, Maine In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Felix Mendelssohn's birth, Portland's Choral Art Society will perform Mendelssohn's oratorio Elijah in its full splendor on Tuesday, March 31, at Merrill Auditorium. Local composer and Bowdoin Professor of Music Elliott Schwartz will present a lecture in the auditorium before the concert, at 6:30 p.m.

Born and raised in New York City, Elliott Schwartz studied composition at Columbia University. In 1964 he began teaching at Bowdoin College, where he chaired the Music department for twelve 12 years, and is now the Robert K. Beckwith Professor of Music. A prolific composer, lecturer and author, Schwartz's works have been performed by orchestras around the world.

A hallmark among 19th century oratorios, Elijah depicts the dramatic story of the Old Testament prophet Elijah, who, according to the Book of Kings, raised the dead, brought fire down from the sky, and ascended to Heaven in a whirlwind. Mendelssohn evokes the full power of this dramatic story in his setting for orchestra and chorus.

The Choral Art Society will perform Elijah under the baton of music director Robert Russell, with the 120 voice Masterworks Chorus, members of the Portland Symphony Orchestra, and guest soloists Lisa Saffer (soprano), Jennifer DeDominici (mezzo-soprano), John McVeigh (tenor) and Philip Cutlip (bass). Cutlip returns to Portland following his memorable performance in Brahms's Requiem in 2008. Portland resident Lisa Saffer is well known for her performances in the operas of Handel, many of which have been released on the Harmonia Mundi label.

Elijah will be performed at Portland's Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle Street, Tuesday, March 31 at 7:30 p.m., with the lecture starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets range from $15-$47 and are sold through PortTix at (207) 842-0800 or Tickets may also be purchased in person at the box office at 20 Myrtle Street, Monday through Saturday, from noon to 6 p.m.

About The Choral Art Society:
The Choral Art Society is comprised of more than 150 members who perform in three distinct ensembles: the symphonic Masterworks Chorus; the mid-sized Choral Art Singers; and the intimate a cappella Camerata. All singers are skilled amateurs, selected by audition. The Society offers an annual concert series and appears regularly as guests of the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Robert Russell, professor of music at the University of Southern Maine, is the conductor and artistic director of The Choral Art Society.

For more information about The Choral Art Society and the 2008-09 performances visit or call (207) 828-0043.

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