Russian Chamber Chorus features music of the Baltics
Posted 5/22/2016

Russian Chamber ChorusRecent seasons of the Russian Chamber Chorus, America’s preeminent Russian vocal ensemble, have witnessed the group branching outward, beyond its solid base in the choral music of Russia, to embrace music from other cultures in the Eastern part of Europe and further. The group’s concert offering for June 2016 continues this trend. Titled “Russia and Its Neighbors, Part Three,” it will feature contemporary choral works from the three Baltic countries, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, in addition to works from Russia.

There are marked differences between the music traditions of the three Baltic States. One unifying factor is the role music played in bringing independence to all three with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Seeking to recover their sophisticated, ancient, pre-Soviet folk-music traditions, asserting their distinct culture, was a catalyst for their separation from the Soviet Union, as illustrated so memorably in James & Maureen Tusty’s film The Singing Revolution. If we might over-generalize, one element that is common in Baltic music, as demonstrated by the music presented in this concert, is a subtlety to the expression that only hints at the great depth of the emotions being expressed. In Baltic music, waters (still and yet stiller) run deep. More...

Schola Cantorum on Hudson debuts commissioned Runestad work
Posted 5/13/2016

Schola Cantorum on Hudson 2015-2016 seasonThe immigrant experience in America as told through music is the theme of the Schola Cantorum on Hudson choral concert entitled "A Global Tapestry" that will take place on Saturday, May 21 at 8 PM at St. John’s in the Village Episcopal Church in New York City and on Sunday, May 22 at 5 PM at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Montclair, NJ. The concert will be performed by the Schola ensemble comprised of active New York/New Jersey singers and conducted by Deborah Simpkin King, Ph.D, the organization’s esteemed Artistic Director and Founder.

The program will feature the world premiere of a choral composition entitled One Flock by Jake Runestad. Considered “highly imaginative…with big ideas” (Baltimore Sun) and “stirring and uplifting” (Miami Herald), Runestad is one of the world’s most frequently performed and commissioned composers of choral music. He’s been dubbed a “choral rock star” by American Public Media and is noted for his versatility and expressive capabilities with music driven by soaring melodies, driving rhythms and lush textures. More...

Melodia Women's Choir premieres Hilary Purrington's Cassandra in an evening celebrating women's stories heard and unheard
Posted 5/9/2016

Melodia Women's ChoirMelodia Women's Choir, led by Artistic Director Cynthia Powell (also the director of the Stonewall Chorale), is excited to introduce composer Hilary Purrington's Cassandra to choral audiences this May when the choir performs the world premiere piece about the prophetess, princess and priestess Cassandra of Greek mythology. The contemporary choral work for women’s voices, percussion and piano is the fruit of a collaboration between the choir and Purrington, who was awarded Melodia’s 2015 Commission for Women Composers.

As the epic tale goes, Cassandra was gifted the power of prophecy by the god Apollo, but when she rebuffs the god’s unwanted advances, he curses her tongue, so that her truths are to forever fall on disbelieving ears. As historian and writer Rebecca Solnit (Men Explain Things to Me) says of the mythic seer Cassandra, "Generations of women have been told they are delusional, confused, manipulative, malicious, conspiratorial, congenitally dishonest, often all at once." Solnit stresses the importance of recognizing the impulse to dismiss the "real-life Cassandras among us" and invokes us to lift the princess's curse by actively "making up our own minds about who to believe and why." More...

Archive of old VAN Features

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  • The Dessoff Choirs has annnounced its appointment of Malcolm J. Merriweather as its ninth music director. (2016-5-24)
  • Libero Canto, a unique way of teaching singing that originated in Europe and has in recent years established a beachhead in New York, will be holding a series of demonstration lessons in June and July to introduce the approach. See the ad in the Info Exchange for details. (2016-5-5)
  • New York City conductor Harold Rosenbaum is working on a number of ambitious new projects, including an upcoming concert celebrating the music of acclaimed Puerto Rican-born composer Roberto Sierra. On May 15, Rosenbaum will conduct the premiere of a new arrangement of Sierra's celebrated work, Missa Latina, a boisterous Mass setting infused with Latin rhythms, newly scored by the composer for two pianos and 24 percussion instruments. The premiere will take place at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College under the auspices of El Centro, the College's institute for Puerto Rican studies. On Saturday, June 4, Rosenbaum will lead several choirs at Choral Fest USA at Symphony Space, a free marathon event he established to showcase diverse American choirs. He has been actively recording with his professional choir, The New York Virtuoso Singers, and recently started his own recording company, Virtuoso Choral Recordings (virtuosochoralrecordings.com). Its first CD, Choral Music in the 21st Century – Volume 1: Katherine Hoover, David Lipten and Paul Davies, will be released in early summer by 4Tay Records. (2016-4-30)
  • Make Music New York Winter takes place on December 21. For details, visit makemusicny.org/winter-2015/. And this year, there are three opportunities that require singers. For details, visit the Info Exchange. (2015-12-2)
  • The Washington Heights Choir School (WHCS), an outreach ministry of Holyrood Episcopal Church in the upper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights, has announced the hiring of its new music director, Ellen Wright. Currently the Dean of the Brooklyn Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, Ms. Wright has served as organist and director of music in several churches in the greater New York area as well as creator/teacher of music programs for elementary and secondary school students in New York and Long Island. The Washington Heights Choir School trains children from Kindergarten to 5th grade to achieve early excellence and growth through music and arts education. For more information, visit holyroodchurch.com/ministries/choir-school/. (2015-9-12)

Archive of old "News" items

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The latest additions to the site's content and features.
  • May 19, 2016: New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for the Jackson Heights Community Chorus.
  • May 13, 2016: New link for Amherst Early Music, the largest presenter of Early Music workshops in North America.
  • May 11, 2016: You can now filter the listings in the Concert Calendar by locale. Enjoy!
  • April 30, 2016: New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for the New Jersey State Children's Chorus, an initiative of the Ars Musica Chorale. New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for Mezzo, a contemporary women's a cappella ensemble based in Midtown Manhattan.
  • April 28, 2016: New link for Composers Work, a site for new and innovative choral compositions.
  • February 27, 2016: New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for Brooklyn Schiller Institute Community Chorus.
  • January 15, 2016: New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for Long Island Consort, a Chinese-American choir based in Little Neck.
  • October 27, 2015: New Choir Directory listing for Grassroots Harmony, an activist community choir based in Crown Heights.
  • October 22, 2015: In the interest of keeping the Info Exchange as fresh as possible, the default duration for ads has been reduced from three months to two months. Longer or shorter durations remain available upon request.
  • October 15, 2015: New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for Fieldston Choral Society, an SATB choir on the Upper West Side.

Archive of old "New on VAN" items

See also the Info Exchange.
  • Need some exquisite beaded jewelry to complement your concert attire? Or perhaps a distinctive gift for that special singer in your life? Or maybe you'd like to host a jewelry show to benefit your favorite non-profit organization? Try Carnelian Knoll, where you'll find necklaces, bracelets and earrings of vintage beads and silver handcrafted by Julie Siegmund.
  • Looking for rehearsal space or performance venues? Try NYC Music Spaces, part of Fractured Atlas's SpaceFinder NYC database of available rehearsal and performance spaces for instrumental and vocal musicians. You'll find places to rent, from studios to large venues, for classical, jazz, rock--whatever you need to rehearse or perform in NYC.
  • Looking for an outstanding vocal ensemble coach? Mark Johnson, possessor of an amazing ear and terrific interpretive insights in a variety of styles, is available to coach your group. To arrange for Mark's services, e-mail Colette Thompson.
  • Liz Fleischer's Sight-Singing Program is offered each season at the Kaufman Center (129 West 67th Street). Classes include ear-training, rhythm and pitch reading, music theory, basic notation and terminology, with emphasis on learning to hold a part with confidence. For more info, visit www.kaufman-center.org/lucyadults_mus_sight.htm, e-mail fleischerliz@aol.com or adultdivision@kaufman-center.org or call (212) 501-3362. The sight-singing program is just one of the classes offered by the Kaufman Center's Lucy Moses School.

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