If you're studying to be a choral conductor, and aspiring to direct some of the iconic large-scale works with orchestra in the choral repertoire, it can be quite a challenge to find opportunities to gain this particular experience. Even in graduate-level programs, podium time for choral conductors to rehearse while the massive combined choral-orchestral forces are gathered is very scarce indeed.
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The Hartford Chorale has a lot to celebrate this spring. Part of the fabric of the Hartford community for 50 years, the chorale has established a reputation for excellence throughout southern New England and beyond. The organization takes great pride in its rich history and tradition of performing symphonic-scale, choral-orchestral repertoire at a high standard of artistry. A bedrock of dedicated volunteer singers and savvy board members, together with dynamic artistic leaders and a small fellowship of resourceful paid administrators, have keyed the organization’s longevity, achievements, and evolution.
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In the upcoming season, The Washington Chorus (TWC) looks not only to meet the challenge of planning in a world dealing with COVID-19, but to do so while welcoming a new incoming artistic director. Eugene Rogers, who takes the artistic helm of TWC while continuing in his role as director of choral activities at the University of Michigan, shared his thoughts with Chorus America on the unique challenges and opportunities ahead for him, his new ensemble, and the choral community.
Music’s prominence in the sacred sphere has shaped some of the most enduring genres of choral music in Western culture, such as the requiem mass. For more than a century, composers have found resonance in the requiem outside its traditional religious framework — a resonance that has acquired new intensity in recent years. Here is a look at four American composers of today who have adapted the idea of the sacred requiem to secular expressions that commemorate loss and encourage healing. Their music responds to a wide spectrum of inspirations—and perhaps has even more relevance in a world coping with suffering and loss in a new way.
Asking your chorus members to re-audition may be the single greatest test of the notion that choruses can create outstanding art and at the same time create meaningful community. Artistic leaders, managers, and singers who have experienced re-auditioning in volunteer choruses large and small talk about its benefits and pitfalls, and explain how they have managed this delicate process.
No other piece of music captivated iconic conductor Robert Shaw more than the Brahms Requiem. A symposium presented by Chorus America in honor of the Shaw centenary explored the conductor’s deep connection to this masterwork—and what it reveals about his approach to music and his legacy.
Faculty members and participants at Chorus America’s Robert Shaw Centenary Symposium reflect on the qualities that made Shaw a choral icon.
“There are so many commonalities between directing a community choir and the church music experience,” says Tom Dooling of First Presbyterian Church San Antonio.
After performing the Brahms Requiem as the centerpiece of Chorus America’s Robert Shaw Centenary Symposium in mid-April, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus brought the work to New York for a special performance at Carnegie Hall. Music journalist Matthew Sigman attended the New York performance—which also included Jonathan Leshnoff’s newly-commissioned work Zohar—and reflects on his experience hearing the masterpiece for the first time.