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Combined Choruses and Orchestra Give Free Concert

The Boston Conservatory Combined Choruses Perform Free Concert on December 12, 2013


The Boston Conservatory’s two choral ensembles and its orchestra are joining forces for their biggest performance this year. The Boston Conservatory Combined Choruses will hold a free concert on Thursday, December 12 at 8 p.m. at Northeastern University’s Fenway Center, where they will perform works by Austrian composer Joseph Haydn, Estonian composer Arvo Pärt and Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi.

The Boston Conservatory Chorale, accompanied by the Orchestra, will perform Haydn’s Harmoniemesse. The piece is the last of the six mass settings Haydn composed in Vienna in 1802, following his return from London. It is in B-flat Major and divided into six movements. The title, Harmoniemesse, was coined in response to the orchestral wind instruments’ unusually prominent parts, as “harmonie” is the standard German term for a group of wind instruments.

“This concert is a fantastic opportunity for our choral ensembles and Orchestra to work together,” says George Case, the new director of choral activities at the Conservatory, who will conduct the Chorale. “The works selected for this performance really showcase both the vocal and instrumental talent we have here at The Boston Conservatory and create a powerful overall experience.”

The Boston Conservatory Women’s Chorus, conducted by Beth Willer, will perform two pieces with the Orchestra. The first will be Pärt’s L’abbé Agathon, which was composed in 2004 for soprano and includes four violas and four celli. It is based on a fourth century legend in which a hermit, Agathon, must pass several tests by an angel sent by God, who disguises himself as a leper.

The second piece that the Women’s Chorus and Orchestra will perform is Vivaldi’s Gloria. Composed in the early 18th century, the piece was among several vocal and instrumental works Vivaldi created for the young women of the Ospedale della Pietà—a convent and orphanage known for its musical performances for nobility and foreign visitors. Under Willer’s direction, the Women’s Chorus will aim to perform the 12-movement piece just as it was performed in its premiere—with an entirely treble vocal ensemble.

“One of The Boston Conservatory’s many strengths is that our choral conductors are also both current performers,” says Abra Bush, Director of The Boston Conservatory Music Division.

“This helps them understand and relate more to their students both in and out of the classroom.” Willer founded Boston’s Lorelei Ensemble, for which she still acts as artistic director and frequently sings; Case frequently performs as a regular member of and soloist with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Atlanta Singers, Meridian Chorale, Skylark Ensemble, Marsh Chapel Choir and Carnegie Festival Chorus.

Case joined the Conservatory this past July. Prior to that, he served as the artistic director of the Arts Chorale at the University of Michigan. “We are looking forward to getting to know George better as a musician and a conductor, both with the Chorale and Orchestra,” says Bush. “His fresh approach to the study of choral music will help take Conservatory students to the next level.” Case is currently in the process of re-working the choral program. Among the changes is his creation of a new conductor’s choir. Although the choir will not perform, its members will receive a small scholarship to work with the Conservatory’s choral conducting students.

The Boston Conservatory Combined Choruses will perform with The Boston Conservatory Orchestra for free on Thursday, December 12 at 8 p.m. at The Fenway Center at Northeastern University, located at 77 St. Stephen Street.

 

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