Earth, our home and country: songs of celebration and remembrance
THE EARTH AND I
Oct. 28, 2018 at 5 PM
Dec. 20, 2018 at 7:30 PM
Dec. 23, 2018 at 5 PM
PARIS TO LONDON
Mar. 3, 2019 at 5 PM
END OF THE WAR TO END ALL WARS
In addition to our standard season, the Chorale will be joining the New Orchestra of Washington (NOW) and Music Viva (NY) in two concerts commemorating the end of World War I. The concerts will feature works by Vaughan Williams, Ravel, Holst, Radiohead, and a new work by American composer, Joseph Turrin on texts by WWI poets. Learn more → November 10, 2018 at 5 PM (Washington, DC)
November 11, 2018 at 5 PM (NYC)
The Earth and I
The National Presbyterian Church
October 28, 2018 at 5 PM
In the fall of 2013, the Washington Master Chorale released its first recording, “The Earth and I: New American Choral Music,” an exploration of humankind’s relationship with nature which drew its inspiration from a trio of “word paintings” by acclaimed composer Lori Laitman from texts by Emily Dickinson. On the fifth anniversary of that release, we reprise the themes and much of the content of “The Earth and I” to perform works by contemporary North American (Effinger, Finney, Chatman, Laitman, Lauridsen, Mechem) and classical Spanish (De Falla, Granados, Morera) composers. The program selections mine fertile ground: from works that contemplate the cosmos, the elements, aging and spirituality, to one that considers the fate of a fly. New additions to the choral canon, from composers Allison McIntosh (“The True Knowledge”) and Wendy Griffiths (“Stroking the Swan,” “The Fly,” and “The Noise of Water”), will receive world and local premieres, respectively. The centerpiece of the concert is a performance of Spanish composer and pianist Enrique Granados’s rarely-heard, Neo-romantic masterpiece, “Cant de les estrelles” (“Song of the stars”), inspired by the poetry of German Heinrich Heine. Composed for chorus and organ accompanying a virtuosic piano part, the piece was premiered to much acclaim on March 11, 1911 with the composer himself at the keyboard. It was instantly lauded as one of Granados’s finest compositions and unlike his other, more nationalistic works. In spite of its auspicious beginning, however, the piece languished for close to 100 years, mired in squabbles between the publisher and extended family who maintained the rights after Granados’s sudden and tragic death in 1916 when the passenger ferry he and his wife were aboard was torpedoed by a German U-boat. Granados had a profound influence on another Spanish composer represented on today’s program, Manuel de Falla. And finally, lest you think that songs about nature and humankind are inherently serious and philosophical, Artistic Director Thomas Colohan has written two delightful nonsense pieces (“The Cat and the Fiddle” and “There was a Young Woman”) for your (and our) amusement.
A pre-concert discussion with American pianist and Granados expert Thomas Riva and Artistic Director Thomas Colohan will take place at 4:00pm and is free and open to the public.
American pianist Douglas Riva has gained international recognition for his profound knowledge of Spanish music and no less an authority than the distinguished Spanish composer Xavier Montsalvatge has described him as an exceptional pianist. Douglas Riva’s interpretations of the works of Enrique Granados have earned him his reputation as today’s leading exponent of Granados’ piano music. His recordings for Naxos of the complete piano works of Granados, comprising 231works including 102 World Premiere recordings have won worldwide critical acclaim. Douglas Riva is the Assistant Director of the eighteen-volume critical edition of the Complete Works for Piano of Enrique Granados, directed by Alicia de Larrocha and published by Editorial Boileau, Barcelona. In November, 2016 the Complutense University, Madrid, published his critical edition of the complete orchestral works by Granados, including the first publication of 8 works. Mr. Riva recorded one of these works, Elisenda, with the City of Granada Orchestra, directed by Cristóbal Soler, for Deutsche Grammophon. Mr. Riva has performed at the White House, Carnegie Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and numerous festivals in Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Holland, and the United States. He gave the first American performance of a newly discovered Scarlatti sonata at the National Gallery of Art, Washington and the world première of Gazebo Dances by John Corigliano. Granados’s long-lost masterpiece Cant de les estrelles for piano solo, organ and choruses was performed for only the second time in history by Douglas Riva and the Voices of Ascension, directed by Dennis Keene in 2007. The Naxos recording of the première performance, Song of the Stars, was nominated for a GRAMMY award. Learn more
Lori Laitman is a critically acclaimed composer of multiple operas and choral works and over 250 songs. Fanfare Magazine described her as “one of the most talented and intriguing of living composers,” and The Journal of Singing wrote “It is difficult to think of anyone before the public today who equals her exceptional gifts for embracing a poetic text and giving it new and deeper life through music.” Her music is widely performed, internationally and throughout the United States and she has been commissioned by many distinguished organizations, among them, Opera America, Opera Colorado, Seattle Opera, The Virginia Choral Society, Music of Remembrance, The Susan B. Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership and The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Photo credit, Christian Steiner. Learn more
Allison McIntosh is a Midwest-based composer originally from the Pacific Northwest. She grew up playing the cello and piano, and began studying composition while in college. McIntosh graduated with a Master of Music in composition from the New England Conservatory, where she studied under Michael Gandolfi. She also graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University with a Bachelor of Arts in music. She was the co-director of the Boston concert series Art Made Audible, which pairs new music with visual art. In 2018, McIntosh began a Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Kansas. Learn more
Wendy Griffiths has composed chamber works, art songs, rock songs, orchestral works and dance scores. Her concert music has appeared on the Composers Concordance series, at the Merce Cunningham studio, the Manhattan School of Music, the Yale-Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Storm King Music Festival, Music Under Construction (of which she is a founding member) and in Stockholm performed by the Acidophilus Ensemble. Her opera “The Quiet American,” was supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and she has received grants from Meet the Composer and the American Music Center. Griffiths recently returned to her musical roots and appears as a keyboard player/singer/bassist with her band Changing Modes (www.changingmodes.com) with whom she has recorded 2 EPs and 4 full-length CDs. Learn more
Enrique Granados (1867—1916) was a pianist and composer and a leader of the movement toward nationalism in late 19th-century Spanish music. Granados made his debut as a pianist at 16. He studied composition in Barcelona with Felipe Pedrell, the father of Spanish nationalism in music. He composed extensively and fluently for the piano, in a somewhat diffuse, Romantic style. The Chorale will perform Granados’ Cant de les estrelles (Song of the Stars), featuring piano, organ, and voice. The piece was premiered on March 11, 1911, with Granados himself on the piano. The poetic text derives from an unknown source, and is entirely in Catalan. Granados was one of the defining composer of the Spanish nationalism movement, and this is one of his finer pieces.
Award-winning conductor Thomas Colohan has been the Artistic Director of the Washington Master Chorale since its founding in 2009. The Washington Post has acclaimed Colohan’s work with the Master Chorale as “skillfully wrought and moving.” He has led choruses at Carnegie Hall, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington National Cathedral, The Library of Congress, Prague’s Rudolphinum Concert Hall, and the Stephansdom in Vienna. The Chorale will perform two new works composed by Maestro Colohan. Photo credit, Rhianna V. Nissen. Learn more
American pianist, Thomas Pandolfi, is an exciting virtuoso who, with each passing season, is becoming more and more sought after by audiences worldwide, and showered with superlatives by critics for his passionate artistry and amazing technique. His remarkably warm and communicative tone uniquely “sings,” projecting the poetry and emotion of whatever he plays—Thomas truly touches the hearts of all who hear him. His virtuosity is breathtaking, and his sense of phrasing and command of style are marvelously convincing.
Hailed as “a lyric soprano of ravishing quality” by the Boston Globe, Laura Choi Stuart has appeared on the mainstage with Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Boston, Annapolis Opera, Lake George Opera, the In Series, and Opera North in roles including Musetta, Adina, Gilda, Pamina, and Frasquita. Highlights of the upcoming season include a return to the Washington National Cathedral as soprano soloist for Handel’s Messiah in December, and as featured soloist in “Bach, Vivaldi & the Italian Influence” presented by the Washington Bach Consort in March 2019. Learn more
Carolyn Forte has performed throughout the D.C. metro area with such groups as the Advent Project, Alexandria Choral Society, St. Luke Festival Choir, Washington Master Chorale, and Washington Summer Sings. Solo concert work includes Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Faure Requiem, and Mozart’s Exultate, jubilate. Carolyn recently sang Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Kenwood Symphony (Mn.), as a 2017 winner of their Masters’ Concerto and Aria Competition. Her recent opera roles include Magda in Puccini’s La Rondine with Undercroft Opera (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Florencia (cover) in Daniel Catan’s Florencia en el Amazonas with Opera Steamboat (Co.), and Mimi (La Bohème) with the Boulder Symphony. Learn more
Noelle Drewes is a freelance oboe and English horn player in Washington, DC. She plays principal oboe with the Washington DC-based Apollo Orchestra, and is a founding member of the Capital Reeds, a DC-based reed trio. Dr. Drewes maintains a private teaching studio and is a woodwind repair specialist. Ms. Drewes received her Bachelor of Music from Ithaca College in New York, and attended the University of Maryland for graduate school, earning both Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees. Learn more
Spencer Adamson’s recent performances include leading roles in local opera houses, including Tonio in Pagliacci, and Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana. He is regularly heard ministering to the congregation of Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church in Baltimore, MD where he performs sacred and contemporary works during radio-broadcast worship services. Mr. Adamson holds a Bachelor’s degree in Voice Performance from Westminster Choir College, and graduate work at Indiana University, Bloomington.
Birth Dance! Christmas with the Chorale
The Church of the Epiphany
December 20, 2018 at 7:30 PM
December 23, 2018 at 5 PM
The Washington Master Chorale celebrates the holiday season with two performances of new and old favorites, including Gustav Holst’s “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence,” J. David Moore’s “Annua Gaudia,” Peter Warlock’s “Bethlehem Down,” two selections from Three Nativity Carols by Ronald Center, James MacMillan’s “O Radiant Dawn,” and Joseph Turrin’s “Magnificat.”
A mix of time-honored English, French and Spanish carols, hymns and anthems accompanied by brass, percussion and the merry organ. A spirited audience sing-along with Maestro Colohan will put you in a holiday mood.
Paris to London
The National Presbyterian Church
March 3, 2019 5 PM
Our season closes with a musical journey between two of capitals of western art music. The journey begins in Paris with excerpts from Maurice Duruflé’s monumental Requiem, Op. 9 and works by several of his contemporaries and successors including Gabriel Fauré, Lili Boulanger, and Francis Poulenc. For the second half of the program, we travel to London to present Ralph Vaughan Williams’s rousing In Windsor Forest based on Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” with music from his opera, Sir John in Love. The concert will also include an exciting second performance of “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by Washington native son and Julliard student, Alistair Coleman. Mr. Coleman was recently appointed the Composer-in-Residence of the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale and his piece, “Of Radiance and Light,” commissioned by the National Philharmonic, premiered at Strathmore Hall in November 2016. Choral masterpieces of English Cathedral tradition will round out the program. For this performance, The Washington Master Chorale will be joined by the Children’s Chorus of Washington.