LSM Newswire

Monday, March 30, 2009

Juno Award-Winning Composer John Burge at Avery Fisher Hall


Music of 2009 Juno Award-Winning Canadian Composer John Burge to be Performed at Lincoln Center

ĺ─˙In attempting to communicate the suffering of political prisoners, to pay tribute to Amnesty Internationalĺ─˘s role in ending it and to write a large piece, the young composer set himself a challenging taskĺ─ÂJohn Burgeĺ─˘s Mass for Prisoners of Conscience is a triumph.ĺ─¨-- Kingston Whig Standard

A classical and a modern Mass

It has just been announced that a recording of the music of John Burge, Flanders Fields Reflections, by the Sinfonia Toronto, conducted by Nurhan Arman, is the winner of a 2009 Juno Award, the Canadian equivalent of the Grammys, in the category of Best Canadian Classical Music Composition. The US premiere of the Burge Mass for Prisoners of Conscience will be presented in a performance dedicated to human rights organization Amnesty International, at Lincoln Centerĺ─˘s Avery Fisher Hall, Sunday, April 5, at 2:00 PM. Conductor Laureate Doreen Rao will conduct musicians and singers from the University of Toronto, where she is Director of Choral Programs, and Queenĺ─˘s University in Ontario, where Dr. Burge is Director of the School of Music.

As a counterpoint to the Burge Mass, the evening will also feature the Mass No. 12 in B minor ("Theresienmesse") of Franz Josef Haydn, under the baton of Guest Conductor Eric Johnson. This work features the Distinguished Concerts Orchestra International and the Distinguished Concerts Singers International, which consists of vocalists from all corners of the United States and abroad. Guest soloists for this section of the program will be Orna Ariana, Soprano, Shannon Magee, Mezzo, John Tiranno, Tenor, and Samuel Smith, Baritone.

Previous recognition; First musical setting for world-famous poem

John Burge has written a large body of vocal, chamber, and orchestral compositions. His piece, Angelsĺ─˘ Voices, for choir and orchestra, received the 2006 Outstanding New Choral Composition Award from the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors and was performed in New York Cityĺ─˘s Carnegie Hall in 2005. As a long-serving past-President of the Canadian League of Composers, Burge has been a passionate advocate for contemporary music and Canadian music in particular. His oeuvre contains many works that are inspired by Canadian poetry and landscape, such as One Sail, based upon a poem by Canadian poet Margaret Avison. Regarding the Juno-nominated Flanders Fields Reflections, based on the iconic poem by Canadian military officer John McCrae, conductor Nurhan Arman said, ĺ─˙Recording these works was a real labour of love for us, and we are delighted that now peopleĺ─Âwill be able to listen to these remarkable compositionsĺ─Âitĺ─˘s a great privilege to help pieces as beautiful as these become better known.ĺ─¨

The Program

Mass for Prisoners of Conscience, commissioned in 1987 by Vancouverĺ─˘s Christ Church Cathedral Choir, is scored for baritone, mezzo-soprano and child soloists, accompanied by choir and a small instrumental ensemble of four solo woodwind instruments, two pianos and percussion. The text material for the soloists consists entirely of settings of first-hand accounts of political prisoners and their families sung in English. These accounts or testimonials are drawn from material provided by Amnesty International. The choir sings sections from the liturgical Mass in Latin, and comments on the emotions and situations expressed in the solo movements. Musically, the work is highly dramatic in the way that it combines percussively angular passages with lyrical vocal writing. The work was premiered by the University of Toronto Symphony Chorus, Dr. Doreen Rao, conductor, on November 9th, 1990.

The Theresienmesse was composed following Haydnĺ─˘s tenure in England, where he had secured his reputation as the greatest living composer of his day. He would write no more symphonies, but did accept a commission from Nicholas II, the fourth of the Esterhł░zy princes whom he had served, to write a Mass each year celebrating the name day of Nicholasĺ─˘s wife. The Theresa Mass is written for four vocal soloists, chorus, and a somewhat unusual orchestra consisting of two clarinets, bassoon, two trumpets, timpani and strings.

Tickets

To obtain tickets or further information regarding this event, please visit the Distinguished Concerts web site, www.DCINY.org. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the DCINY box office, 212.707.8566, x 307 or directly from the concert venue.

Premiere works

In just two short years, DCINY has joined the ranks of major classical music production companies in America, nearly doubling its roster of participating ensembles and attracting talent from all over the globe. Among the events DCINY is honored to present this season are: one world and two US premiere performances of major new works by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins, which took place on January 19, the US Premiere of Mass for Prisoners of Conscience by Canadian composer John Burge, and the world premiere of two new choral pieces by American composer Eric Whitacre, one this past March 15 and the other on June 28. Please visit www.DCINY.org for details regarding other highlights of DCINYĺ─˘s 2009/2010 Season.

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Eric Whitacre to Conduct World Premiere of His Latest Commissioned Work, 3/15,2009, 2 PM, Avery Fisher Hall

Eric Whitacre to Conduct World Premiere of His Latest Commissioned Work, and Others of His Works, Avery Fisher Hall, March 15, 2009

Concert Features Whitacreĺ─˘s New Choral Piece, Animal Crackers II, A DCINY Premiere Projects Commission, Based on Poetry of Ogden Nash

Olathe East Symphonic Winds, Eric Griffin, Director, Guest Ensemble

Personal appearance by the composer

Distinguished Concerts International will present an evening of music largely by classical-music phenomenon Eric Whitacre, conducted by the composer, at Lincoln Centerĺ─˘s Avery Fisher Hall, March 15, 2009, at 2:00 PM. Mr. Whitacre will be leading the Distinguished Singers International, consisting of ensembles from all over the United States. The repertoire will include: Animal Crackers I, Animal Crackers II (world premiere), Five Hebrew Love Songs, Leonardo, Lux Arumque, Three Flower Songs, Seal Lullaby, and Sleep. Mr. Whitacre will also conduct his composition Cloudburst, from his Grammy Award-nominated release of the same name, with the Olathe East Symphonic Winds (KS), the eveningĺ─˘s guest ensemble.

Popular appeal, critical acclaim, numerous awards

An accomplished composer, conductor and lecturer, Eric Whitacre has quickly become one of the most popular and performed composers of his generation. The Los Angeles Times has praised his compositions as "works of unearthly beauty and imagination, (with) electric, chilling harmonies"; while the BBC raves that "what hits you straight between the eyes is the honesty, optimism and sheer belief that passes any pretension.ĺ─¨

Though he had received no formal training before the age of 18, he completed his first concert work, Go, Lovely, Rose, at the age of 21. Mr. Whitacre earned his Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Pulitzer- and Oscar-winning composer John Corigliano.

He has received composition awards from the Barlow International Composition Competition, the American Choral Directors Association and the American Composers Forum. In 2001, Whitacre became the youngest recipient ever awarded the coveted Raymond C. Brock commission by the American Choral Directors Association.


Most recently, Whitacre has received acclaim for Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings, a cutting
-edge musical combining trance, ambient and techno electronica with choral, cinematic, and operatic traditions. Winner of the ASCAP Harold Arlen award, this musical also gained Whitacre the prestigious Richard Rodgers Award for Most Promising Musical Theater Composer. Following its sold-out run, the most recent production earned 10 nominations at the 2007 Los Angeles Stage Alliance Ovation Awards, including one for Best World Premiere Musical.

Guest ensemble

Eric Griffin holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in Music Education from Missouri State University and the University of Kansas. Under his direction, the bands at Olathe East have toured Florida twice, and in 2006, were the first performing group from the Olathe District Schools to perform in the Hawaiian islands. The Olathe East Bands have also performed at the prestigious Kansas Music Educators Association Convention four times since 2003. In 2007, Mr. Griffin was honored to be the Olathe District Schoolsĺ─˘ nominee for Kansas Teacher of the Year. The symphonic winds will perform music by Beethoven, Ralph Vaughan Williams, John Mackey, and Dr. Andrew Boysen, Jr.

Distinguished Singers International

Distinguished Singers International is comprised of the Sprague High School Concert Choir (OR, Director Russell Christensen), the Capital High School Chamber Singers (MT, Director Darcy Schulz), the Cedar Hill High School Choir (TX, Director Christopher Rhodes), and young womenĺ─˘s vocal group Canta Filia (MO, affiliated with the University of Missouri Kansas City, Director Jennifer Benjamin).

Tickets

To obtain tickets or further information regarding this event, please visit the Distinguished Concerts web site, www.DCINY.org. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the DCINY box office, 212.707.8566, x 307 or directly from the concert venue.

Premiere works; four-time Grammy Award nominees

In just two short years, DCINY has joined the ranks of major classical music production companies in America, nearly doubling its roster of participating ensembles and attracting talent from all over the globe. Among the events DCINY is honored to present this season are: one world and two US premiere performances of major new works by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins, which was presented this past January 19, and Charles Bruffy, conducting the four-time Grammy Award-nominated Phoenix Chorale and Kansas City Chorale. Please visit www.DCINY.org for details regarding other highlights of DCINYĺ─˘s 2009/2010 Season.

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