– John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, November 29, 1962.
This season, the Chorale commemorates a trio of centenaries: the births of composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein and President John F. Kennedy, and the entry of the United States into World War I. Through a new choral commission, concert programming and special events, the Washington Master Chorale’s season of “remembrance” will encourage our audiences to reflect upon the man who was, arguably one of the most important composers of our times, a president whose commitment to the arts remains unparalleled and a war, so devastating, it was to be the war to end all wars.
Mozart, Martin and Bach
Oct. 29, 2017 at 5 PM
Christmas with the Chorale
Dec. 3, 2017 at 5 PM
Dec. 21, 2017 at 7:30 PM
Celebrating the Legacy of Leonard Bernstein
Mar. 4, 2018 at 5 PM
Youthful Indulgence: Early Masses of Mozart and Martin
The National Presbyterian Church
October 29, 2017 at 5 PM
The Washington Master Chorale opens its 2017-2018 season with a celebration of early works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1757-1791) and Swiss composer, Frank Martin (1890-1974). While the works have in common a relative immaturity given the ages of the composers, they could not be more different stylistically. Mozart’s Missa Brevis in C major, KV 258 for chorus and chamber orchestra, one of three set in C Major he composed in November and December 1776, is lively, bright and buoyant. By contrast, Martin’s a cappella Mass for Double Chorus is a deeply personal work that the composer kept hidden for 40 years. Sober, modal, influenced by Gregorian plainsong, the Mass was composed in 1922 except the “Agnus Dei” movement which was added in 1926. After its premiere in November 1963 by Franz Brunnert and the Bugenhagen Kantorei of Hamburg, Martin explained why the Mass had remained unseen and unheard for 40 years: “I considered it to be a matter between God and myself,” he wrote. “I felt then that an expression of religious feelings should remain secret and removed from public opinion.”
Also on the program, Mozart’s “Regina Coeli,” KV 276, for soloists, chorus and chamber orchestra. An antiphon in honor of the Virgin Mary, it is the last of three settings of this text by Mozart.
New Joy! Christmas with the Chorale
The Church of the Epiphany
December 3, 2017 at 5 PM
December 21, 2017 at 7:30 PM
The holiday season will be celebrated by a pair of holiday concerts, December 3rd and 21st presented at the historic Church of the Epiphany in Washington, DC. Concert goers can look forward to hearing the seldom performed Lauda per la Natività del Signore by Italian neo-classical composer Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936). A cantata for soloists, instrumental ensemble and chorus, Respighi’s pastoral reading of the birth of Christ combines modern harmonies and instrumentation with late-renaissance and early baroque idioms to produce a work that evokes both the mystery and joy of the nativity.
A mix of time-honored carols, hymns and anthems and a spirited audience sing-along with Maestro Colohan will put you in a holiday mood.
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.
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 Messiah, B Minor Mass and solo cantata 82a Ich habe genug with Washington Bach Consort, Bach Magnificat and Bruckner Te Deum with Choralis, and Laura’s Washington National Opera debut in the American Opera Initiative 20-minute operas in January.
Hailed by the Washington Post for her “supple, haunting soprano,” Katelyn G. Aungst has soloed with the Washington Bach Consort, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and the City Choir of Washington. She was the first soprano Vocal Fellow at the Oregon Bach Festival under Matthew Halls and completed the American Bach Soloists Academy in August 2017. Her choral and chamber experiences include performances with Third Practice, Church Circle Singers, and the choir at Christ Church Georgetown. This spring, she will make her professional debut with the American Bach Soloists and appear as the soprano soloist for the Washington Bach Consort’s St. John Passion.
A native of Laurel, MD, Matthew Hill has performed with Washington National Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Annapolis Opera, Ohio Light Opera, and Opera Saratoga. Past solo concert work includes Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil, and the Evangelist in J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. He has won first place in a number of vocal competitions, including both the local and regional rounds of the National Association of Teachers of Singing competitions, the Choralis Young Artist Competition, and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions at the Washington DC District Level, as well as 3rd place in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. Hill received his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Maryland on a Creative and Performing Arts full scholarship, and recently finished his Master of Music degree in Opera Performance at the University of Maryland.
American Voices: Celebrating the Legacy of Leonard Bernstein
The National Presbyterian Church
March 4, 2018 5 PM
The Washington Master Chorale is among 14 arts organizations partnering with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in honoring the legacy of Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), Leonard Bernstein at 100. Longtime Washingtonians will remember Bernstein and his relationship to the Kennedy White House, an unprecedented time in modern political history when art and culture took their rightful places at the vanguard of American life. The Chorale will perform Bernstein’s Missa Brevis, a 1988 work based on incidental music he composed for the 1955 Broadway production of “The Lark” starring Julie Harris. In honor of the occasion, the Chorale will perform the world premiere of “To the Thawing Wind” by award winning composer and rising star Joshua Fishbein, from a poem by Robert Frost (1874-1963). Washingtonians will further recall Frost’s recitation of his poem “The Gift Outright,” a history of America in 16 lines of blank verse, at the blustery cold Kennedy Inaugural. A singer and pianist, Fishbein composes vocal and instrumental music and is a Teaching Fellow and PhD candidate (A.B.D.) in Music Composition at UCLA.
The rest of the program is a celebration of American voices in words and music. Noted sopranos Angeli Ferrette and Marlissa Hudson will join the Chorale in a spirited musical journey moving from early American hymns, through iconic works by Aaron Copland, Moses Hogan, Alice Parker, Stephen Paulus and Randall Thompson among others.
A pre-concert lecture on Bernstein and his association with the Kennedy White House will be held at 4pm and is free and open to the public.
Listen to “Sanctus” from the Washington Master Chorale’s October 2014 performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Missa Brevis, featuring Lena Seikaly, mezzo-soprano.
Lena Seikaly is a fresh voice on the national jazz scene from Washington, D.C. Named “one of Washington’s preeminent jazz singers” and “brightest voices in jazz” (The Washington Post), as well as a “major league young talent in jazz” by Duke Ellington’s biographer, Dr. John Hasse, Lena is already making her mark as both a revivalist of traditional jazz vocals, as well as an innovator in contemporary vocal jazz styles. She began her training at age four with piano, continued with classical voice in her teens, and went on to complete a B.M. in classical vocal performance at the University of Maryland School of Music. Lena is also very active in the D.C. area as a professional classical mezzo-soprano, a recording artist in varying genres, and arranger, and in 2012 had the unique privilege of being commissioned to arrange a suite of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s music for a 16-piece version of the New Orchestra of Washington, which premiered later that same year. An avid educator, Lena was the jazz vocal instructor at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts during 2008-09, and has lead seasonal workshops at the Strathmore Music Center for aspiring jazz vocalists since 2010. She currently teaches privately, focusing on jazz vocal coaching, style and technique.
American soprano Marlissa Hudson has been described as a “superb lyric coloratura” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). At home both on the operatic and concert stage, she made her professional debut while a student, performing Summertime from Porgy and Bess with the Baltimore Symphony Pops Orchestra under the baton of Marvin Hamlisch. Recognized as an international concert performer, Marlissa has been featured in Bulgaria and Paraguay, and has collaborated in the U.S. with such esteemed organizations as the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Pops Orchestra, Vocal Essence, the 92nd Street Y, and members of the Arianna Quartet. Marlissa received her formal training at Duke University and the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, earning awards for music at both schools.
Angeli Ferrette is a native Washingtonian whose career in music began at the tender age of 3 when her mother asked her to sing with her for church services. Her classical training began when she attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and, inspired by the voice of the great lyric soprano Leontyne Price, decided to pursue a career in vocal performance. Ms. Ferrette has degrees and certificates from the University of Northern Iowa and The Peabody Conservatory, and is currently an M.B.A. candidate at Trinity University of Washington, DC. She has performed across the US and abroad, appearing in concert, oratorio and opera. Locally,Ms. Ferrette has performed as a concert soloist and recitalist with The Washington Opera, Alexandria Choral Society, the City Choir of Washington, Vocal Arts Society, Aria Club, and the Repertory Opera Theater of Washington. She has received an award for artistic excellence from the National Association of Negro Musicians and was recognized as a Life Time Member from the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts. Ms. Ferrette has been a finalist in several competitions including those sponsored by the Rochester Oratorio Society, Harlem Opera Theater, and the National Association of Negro Musicians, and she was a semi-finalist in the Classical Singer Competition. And music is not her only interest — she is a “fierce feline lover.”