MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

iSing Silicon Valley

An impressive debut album from iSing Silicon Valley: titled Here I Stand (and released by Innova Recordings), this collection celebrates “the power of girls to change the world as they raise their voices in remembrance, in strength, and in the pure, shared delight of coming together to sing.”

The ISing ensemble, founded in 2013 and consisting of more than 300 singers from grades 1 through 12 in Silicon Valley, has collaborated with the likes of Meredith Monk as well as Voces8 and Cappella SF.

Here I Stand highlights iSing’s commitment to presenting newly commissioned works and premieres. iSing Artistic Directors Jennah Delp-Somers and Shane Troll conduct, with accompanists Anny Cheng and Anna Khaydarova and guest artists Emily Botel (violin), Ron Ho (violin), Lesley Robertson (viola), Warren Wu (cello), Kent Reed (percussion), and Meredith Clark (harp).

TRACK LISTING

1. Only in Sleep, Ēriks Ešenvalds

2. Ave Generosa, Ola Gjeilo, Ave Generosa

3. In Your Light, Daniel Elder (arr. iSing commission, 2019)*

4. 365, Daniel Elder (arr. iSing commission, 2019)*

5. Never Shall I Forget (Nos. 1-3), Adam Schoenberg (iSing commission, 2019)*

6. Like a Singing Bird, Bob Chilcott

7. Birds’ Lullaby, Sarah Quartel

8. Salut Printemps, Claude Debussy

9. Here I Stand, Karen Linford (iSing commission, 2016)*

10. Sing, PinkZebra (iSing commission, 2018)*

11. Grow Little Tree, Andrea Ramsey

* World premiere recording

Filed under: choral music, music news

Damien Geter’s African American Requiem

Learn more about composer (and bass-baritone and actor) Damien Geter‘s remarkable new work, An African American Requiem, in my cover story for the current issue of Chorus America’s The Voice, which explores this and other examples of “secular requiems” by contemporary composers (starts on p. 26).

The world premiere by Portland’s Resonance Ensemble, which commissioned the work, was originally scheduled for May but had to be postponed because of the pandemic. Resonance now plans to give the premiere on 22 January 2021.

Filed under: African-American musicians, American music, choral music, new music

Bruckner and Golijov: LA Master Chorale’s Opening Weekend


The Los Angeles Master Chorale opens its new season with a pairing of Bruckner and Osvaldo Golijov. Here’s my essay for the program:

It may seem hard to believe that the Los Angeles Master Chorale
is performing the two works on this program for the very
first time in its 55-year history. Though vastly different in
outlook and in the very sounds they demand from the chorus,
Anton Bruckner’s Mass No. 3 in F Minor and Oceana by Osvaldo
Golijov, might have been tailor-made for the
Master Chorale’s signature aesthetic…

continue

Filed under: Anton Bruckner, choral music, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Osvaldo Golijov

Morten Lauridsen’s Homecoming

Here’s a profile of the composer Morten Lauridsen I wrote for this weekend’s Seattle Sings Festival. The choral festival pays homage to Lauridsen on its Friday evening program:

As a musical ecosystem, the Pacific Northwest is acclaimed for the range and diversity of the choral ensembles that flourish here. Not nearly as well known is the fact that one of the most significant and popular living choral composers, Morten Lauridsen, makes his home in the region as well — and has transformed his love of its natural beauty into compositions that are sung around the world…

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Filed under: choral music, Morten Lauridsen, profile

Singing a New Song: The Power of Commission Consortiums

As part of its five-city tour to South Africa with Classical Movements, the Minnesota Orchestra performed the world premiere of Harmonia Ubuntu, commissioned by Classical Movement’s Eric Daniel Helms Program. © Travis Anderson.

Here’s an article I wrote for the spring issue of  The Voice, published by Chorus America. The organization’s annual conference takes place next week in Philadelphia.

When major music institutions announce a season, increasing scrutiny is being paid to the commitment shown to new work. There is more widespread recognition that merely trotting out the familiar repertoire no longer suffices to sustain the art—and that fear of the new should be the exception, not the default setting….

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Filed under: choral music, commissions

Reena Esmail’s This Love Between Us

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Tonight the Los Angeles Master Chorale gives the West Coast premiere of Reena Esmail’s moving This Love Between Us: Prayers for Unity.

Here’s my program essay for tonight’s concert, which pairs her oratorio with Bach’s Magnificat.

I also had the privilege of writing this profile of Reena Esmail for Musical America.

Filed under: American music, Bach, choral music, Los Angeles Master Chorale, new music, Reena Esmail

LA Master Chorale in Big Sing California

Billed as “the biggest choral event in California history,” Big Sing California will link up  10,000 singers from around the world with the LA Master Chorale this afternoon at 2pm PST. The program will include music by Morten Lauridsen, Moira Smiley, Eric Whitacre, Rollo Dilworth, Shawn Kirchner, and other favorites. Complete program, artist bios, list of those participating, videos, and more here.

And it’s being livestreamed, but there will be no repeat screenings.

Tune in to Big Sing California 

 

Filed under: choral music, Los Angeles Master Chorale

The Esoterics: Concert Review

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Photo by Bruce Weber

Review of The Esoterics for the Seattle Times:

The Esoterics Sing Radically Secular Rewrites of Texts from the Christian Mass

The Esoterics have a reputation for giving voice to new ideas. But this past weekend’s program explored a concept that was unusual even for them.

continue reading

Filed under: choral music, review, Seattle Times

Morten Lauridsen at 75

Today marks the 75th birthday of Morten Lauridsen, a master of contemporary choral music. Here’s an essay I wrote last year for Chorus America about
Lauridsen’s impact:

On April 13, 1997, a Los Angeles audience experienced the world premiere of a piece that has since established itself internationally as one of the defining choral compositions of our time.

continue reading

Filed under: choral music, Morten Lauridsen

Morten Lauridsen and Lux Aeterna

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Today begins the 2017 Chorus America Conference, hosted by the Los Angeles Master Chorale. There will be a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna, which the Master Chorale commissioned when he was composer-in-residence.

My essay for Chorus America on the enormous impact Lauridsen has had on the contemporary choral music has now been posted:

In the last decade of the 20th century, the composer Morten Lauridsen wrote a series of pieces while serving a residency for the Los Angeles Master Chorale that have had a lasting and international impact. This year the choral world celebrates the 20th anniversary of the largest of these milestones, Lux Aeterna. What has given the Lauridsen aesthetic its power to connect and attract? And why does it continue to move performers, composers, and listeners?

continue reading

 

Filed under: choral music, Grant Gershon, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Morten Lauridsen

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