Announcing the 2008-09 concert season
Chorus to offer classic and innovative programs, creative collaborations
The Providence Singers will begin its 37th concert season by performing and recording Dominick Argento’s Jonah and the Whale. The season features collaborations with FirstWorks, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Aurea Ensemble, Rhode Island Children’s Chorus, and the Junior Providence Singers.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Providence Singers announces its 2008-09 concert season: four programs reflecting a broad spectrum of choral music, each presented in collaboration with regionally acclaimed artists and organizations.
“This is a season of exceptional variety and interest, from the Baroque to newly commissioned music that is being composed for our June concert,” said Andrew Clark, the Singers artistic director. “We will be collaborating with more performing groups than we have in any of our past seasons, including two concerts with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra.”
The Singers’ 2008-09 season will include:
- November: Dominick Argento’s Jonah and the Whale
A new telling of the Jonah story by a Grammy- and Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer, presented with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project at the FirstWorksProv Festival.
- December: G.F. Handel’s Messiah
A reprise of last season’s sold-out performance with the Rhode Island Philharmonic at Veterans Memorial Auditorium.
- March: On the Anniversaries of Poets, Composers and Presidents
Edgar Allan Poe, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Felix Mendelssohn, G.F. Handel, Abraham Lincoln ... The Junior Providence Singers joins the Singers for the celebration.
- June: The Music of Tarik O’Regan
Compositions of the internationally acclaimed British composer, featuring the world première of the first work commissioned by the Singers’ recently established Wachner Fund for New Music. The Singers welcomes the Aurea Ensemble and the Rhode Island Children’s Chorus.
- Guest Appearance: Beethoven April 18 with the Rhode Island Philharmonic
On April 18, the Providence Singers makes its annual spring guest appearance with the Rhode Island Philharmonic, in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy.
November 7 and 9: Argento’s Jonah and the Whale
with Boston Modern Orchestra Project; a featured performance at FirstWorksProv Festival
The Providence Singers’ season opens with the New England première of Dominick Argento’s Jonah and the Whale (1973), presented with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project at the FirstWorksProv Festival. Grammy- and Pulitzer-winning composer Argento combines 14th-century English poetry, sea chanteys and work songs — resulting in an engaging, dramatic cantata for chorus, chamber ensemble, narrator and soloists. (Audiences are encouraged to listen for the whale’s melody, performed by three trombones in Argento’s innovative score.) The Singers complements this whale’s tale with water-themed American folk songs and spirituals in a program fitting for Rhode Island’s heritage as the Ocean State. The Friday evening concert and family-friendly Sunday matinee take place in Providence.
Founded in 1996 by artistic director Gil Rose, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project is one of a handful of professional orchestras in the United States dedicated exclusively to performing and recording music of the 20th and 21st centuries. FirstWorks is a Providence-based arts presenting organization, acclaimed for its world-class festivals of diverse and distinguished performing arts, and for its year-round youth arts programs.
Following the live performances, the Providence Singers travels to Worcester’s Mechanics Hall to produce a studio recording of Jonah, re-introducing it to a broader audience of choral music enthusiasts throughout the United States. The Singers’ recording of Jonah will become the only publicly available CD of the work — as well as the second CD in the chorus’s new “American Treasures” recording series, featuring rediscovered choral masterworks by celebrated American composers. (The Singers’ first CD, of Lukas Foss’ The Prairie, will be released this fall.)
December 20, 2008: Handel’s Messiah
with the Rhode Island Philharmonic
Andrew Clark leads the Providence Singers and the Rhode Island Philharmonic in Handel’s majestic favorite, presented for the second consecutive December at Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Listeners returning from last season’s sold-out Messiah will enjoy the subtle twists that Clark has in store this year, culminating as ever in a grand “Hallelujah” to highlight the holidays.
March 28-29, 2009: Anniversaries
with the Junior Providence Singers
This spring marks several noteworthy anniversaries of composers, poets and presidents — including the 200th birthdays of Abraham Lincoln, Felix Mendelssohn, Edgar Allan Poe, and the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death. To celebrate, the adult and junior choruses join forces to highlight these and other anniversaries, performing works by “anniversary” composers Handel (Zadok the Priest), Haydn (Te Deum), and Mendelssohn (Ave Maria and Verleih Uns Frieden), plus choral settings of texts by Poe, Tennyson and Holmes. Lincoln-themed works include Charles Ives’ Lincoln the Great Commoner and Elie Siegmeister’s Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight. “Anniversaries” takes place in Providence and Bristol.
The Junior Providence Singers is a high school honors chorus founded by the Providence Singers and the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School in 2004. It is led by music director Michele Holt, who is also director of choral activities and coordinator of the music education program at Providence College.
June 6-7: Ecstasies Above: Music of Tarik O’Regan
with the Aurea Ensemble and the Rhode Island Children’s Chorus
The Providence Singers teams up with the Aurea Ensemble to present choral and instrumental works by award-winning 30-year-old British composer Tarik O’Regan. Hailed by the London Observer as “one of the most original and eloquent young composers,” O’Regan blends classical and early music influences with fresh musical insights. The program includes Stolen Voices, commissioned for the United Nations International Day of Peace 2007, featuring a special guest appearance by the Rhode Island Children’s Chorus; The Ecstasies Above, based on a poem by Edgar Allan Poe; and a world premiére, commissioned by the Providence Singers through its Wachner Fund for New Music. This concert takes place in Providence and Bristol.
The Aurea Ensemble, founded by actor Nigel Gore, violinist Charles Sherba, violist Consuelo Sherba, and harmonica virtuoso Chris Turner, integrates music and the spoken word in its dynamic, accessible, and engaging performances. The Rhode Island Children’s Chorus, led by artistic director Christine Noel, is an award-winning ensemble of young singers from throughout Rhode Island and southern New England.
For season tickets and details, contact the Providence Singers at (401) 751-5700 or visit www.ProvidenceSingers.org.
Guest appearance: April 18 with the Rhode Island Philharmonic
On April 18, the Providence Singers makes its annual spring guest appearance with the Rhode Island Philharmonic in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, conducted by Francisco Noya. Tickets for this concert are available through the Philharmonic box office at (401) 248-7000, or online at www.riphil.org.