LSM Newswire

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Collegiate Chorale Announces 2009/2010 Season

Season Opens with THE LORD OF THE RINGS on October 9 & 10, 2009 at Radio City Music Hall
Gala Concert, A JUBILANT SONG, on December 1, 2009 at 7pm at Carnegie Hall
World Premiere Two Act Concert Version of THE GRAPES OF WRATH on March 22, 2010 at Carnegie Hall
Handel's ISRAEL IN EGYPT on May 12, 2010 at The Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, New York University

The Collegiate Chorale, led by new music director James Bagwell, announces its 68th season, including The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, a concert performed live to the film on October 9 and 10, 2009 at 7:30pm at Radio City Music Hall; a Gala Evening, A Jubilant Song, on December 1, 2009 at 7pm at Carnegie Hall; the World Premiere Two Act Concert Version of Ricky Ian Gordon and Michael Korie's rendering of The Grapes of Wrath on March 22, 2010 at 8pm at Carnegie Hall; and George Frideric Handel's Israel in Egypt, conducted by James Bagwell, on May 12, 2010 at 8pm at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, New York University.

"To be a part of one of the nation's leading arts groups is an honor. I am thrilled to begin to work with such a dynamic organization. This season is about journeys - of The Chorale, my own journey, and of the characters whose stories unfold in our programming. First, we will be part of a hobbit's journey as we perform the soundtrack to The Fellowship of the Ring, the first of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, while the film is shown in high definition at Radio City Music Hall. At our gala, I will begin my conducting journey with The Chorale as we celebrate this exceptional organization's journey from its beginning until now and as we move forward together. In December, we will present a world premiere rendering of the epic American journey, The Grapes of Wrath. We will conclude the season in May with the biblical journey of the Exodus, singing Handel's Israel in Egypt. This performance will take our Chorale journey to a beautiful new venue, the Skirball Center Theater. This season promises to be an exciting one and I look forward to leading The Chorale forward," said James Bagwell, music director of The Collegiate Chorale.

This fall, a once-in-a-lifetime experience comes to New York as Howard Shore's Grammy® and Academy Award®-winning score for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring comes to life at the world-famous Radio City Music Hall on Friday, October 9 and Saturday, October 10, 2009. Beneath an immense 60-foot screen, Mr. Shore's complete original score will be performed live to Peter Jackson's award-winning epic. The music of Middle-earth will be brought to life by more than 300 musicians: Switzerland's 21st Century Symphony Orchestra, the internationally-acclaimed The Collegiate Chorale, the Grammy Award®-winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus and renowned soprano Kaitlyn Lusk, all under the direction of celebrated Maestro Ludwig Wicki. Tickets are $54-$150 and are available by calling Ticketmaster at (212) 307-4111 or (800) 745-3000 or online at This event is presented by CAMI Music and New York Comic Con in association with The New York Renaissance Faire, The One Ring.Net and The Angel Orensanz Foundation. Swiss International Air Lines is the official sponsor.

On December 1, 2009 at 7 pm at Carnegie Hall, join James Bagwell, Roger Rees and many well-known friends as they lead A Jubilant Song, a celebration of The Collegiate Chorale's remarkable history of exceptional conductors, noteworthy commissions and premieres, and multi-faceted choral programming. As the new Music Director, Mr. Bagwell gives tribute to his predecessors and ushers in a new era of The Collegiate Chorale. Works to be performed include the Beethoven Choral Fantasy, Verdi arias, A Jubilant Song by Dello Joio, and excerpts from Bernstein's A White House Cantata. Featuring Salvatore Licitra, tenor; Emily Pulley, soprano; Anita Johnson, soprano; Robert Mack, tenor; Erin Morley, soprano; Jenny Lin, piano; and Roger Rees, emcee. A benefit dinner with Mr. Bagwell and guest artists at Carnegie Hall's Rohatyn Room will follow the concert. Tickets are $25-$125 and will be available at 646-202-9623 or

An all-star cast from opera and Broadway comes together to present the World Premiere Two Act Concert Version of Ricky Ian Gordon and Michael Korie's beautiful rendering of Nobel Prize-winner John Steinbeck's epic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Grapes of Wrath, on March 22, 2010 at Carnegie Hall, conducted by Ted Sperling. Called by Musical America "The great American opera," Gordon's opera incorporates American popular musical styles of the 20s and 30s: song-and-dance, sweet and rousing love songs, ballads with banjos, jazz choruses, and a barbershop quartet. Just like the novel itself, the work is both heart-wrenching and uplifting. Gordon (music) and Korie (libretto) have collaborated with The Chorale to shorten the length of the original opera, while composing new material for the chorus. And if that starry cast - Victoria Clark, Christine Ebersole, Jane Fonda, Elizabeth Futral, Anthony Dean Griffey, Nathan Gunn, Peter Halverson, Steven Pasquale, Stephen Powell, Andrew Wilkowske and Matthew Worth - isn't enough inspiration to see the show, the role of Tom Joad's young daughter, Ruthie, will be sung by Nathan Gunn's daughter, Madeline Gunn. Directed by Eric Simonson with lighting design by Frances Aronson. Tickets are $25-$160 and will be available at 646-202-9623 or

James Bagwell will conduct George F. Handel's Israel in Egypt, featuring Brian Asawa, alto; Sari Gruber, soprano; and Rufus Müller, tenor on May 12, 2010 at 8pm at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, New York University. Darkness over the earth, water turning to blood, plagues of jumping frogs, buzzing insects, and hailstones, an oncoming mighty storm, and the parting of the Red Sea while hordes of horsemen and chariots are engulfed - such imagery calls for the masterful hand of George F. Handel. In this choral tour de force, some of the most vivid images of the Exodus story are recounted during the first segment, which is then followed by the beautiful and exultant second part, The Song of Moses. At times tender, simple, stately, crashing, complex and colossal, Israel in Egypt is one of Handel's monumental achievements, featuring the chorus in an unprecedented way with lovely and descriptive solos and duets accentuating their story throughout. Tickets are $25-$85 and will be available online at, by phone at 212-352-3101, or in person at the Skirball Center Shagan Box Office 566 LaGuardia Place, Tuesday-Saturday 12-6pm.

Subscription packages are available by phone at 646-202-9623 or online at

The Collegiate Chorale, among New York's foremost vocal ensembles, has added to the richness of the city's cultural fabric for more than 65 years. Founded in 1941 by the legendary conductor Robert Shaw, The Chorale achieved national and international prominence under the leadership of Robert Bass. The Chorale has established a preeminent reputation for its interpretations of the traditional choral repertoire, vocal works by American composers, and rarely heard operas-in-concert, as well as commissions and premieres of new works by today's most exciting creative artists. In the Summer of 2009, The Chorale performed for the fourth season at Switzerland's Verbier Music Festival. In July 2008, The Chorale toured with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta in Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem.

The mission of The Collegiate Chorale is to enrich its audiences through innovative programming and exceptional performances of a broad range of vocal music featuring a premier choral ensemble. Inherent in its mission is The Chorale's belief that choral music is a compelling collaboration that creates a powerful, shared experience unifying listeners and musicians of all backgrounds, beliefs and ages.

James Bagwell maintains an active schedule throughout the United States as a conductor of choral, operatic, and orchestral music. He has recently been named Principal Guest Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra in New York. Since 2003 he has been Director of Choruses for the Bard Music Festival, conducting and preparing choral works during the summer festival at the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College. He has also prepared The Concert Chorale of New York for performances with the American Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Mostly Mozart Festival (broadcast nationally in 2006 on Live from Lincoln Center) all in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. In 2005 he was named Music Director of The Dessoff Choirs in New York, who under his leadership have made numerous appearances at Carnegie Hall in addition to their regular season. In 2009 the Dessoff Symphonic Choir appeared with the New York Philharmonic performing both Mahler's Eighth Symphony and Britten's War Requiem for Lorin Maazel's final concerts as Music Director.

James Bagwell has trained choruses for a number of major American and International orchestras, including the San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, NHK Symphony (Japan), St. Petersburg Symphony, The American Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with noted conductors such as Lorin Maazel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Tilson Thomas, Louis Langrée, Leon Botstein, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Raymond Leppard, James Conlon, Jesús López-Cobos, Erich Kunzel, Leon Fleischer, and Robert Shaw.

For eleven seasons, he has been Music Director for the May Festival Youth Choir in Cincinnati, which was recently featured on the radio program From the Top. He has conducted some 25 productions as Music Director of Light Opera Oklahoma, including Candide, Sweeney Todd, and The Merry Widow, among others. At Bard SummerScape he has lead numerous theatrical works, most notably The Tender Land, which received unanimous praise from The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Opera News. He frequently appears as guest conductor for orchestras around the country and abroad, including the Jerusalem Symphony, Tulsa Symphony, and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. For three seasons he was Artistic Director of The Indianapolis Symphonic Choir. He holds degrees from Birmingham-Southern College, Florida State University, and Indiana University. He has taught since 2000 at Bard College, where he is Director of the Music Program.

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