hero_Current Season

Current Season

Somewhere I Have Never Traveled
New Directions in American Choral Music

For its 2015-2016 season, the Washington Master Chorale will celebrate its commitment to new music with a year of commissions, presenting a newly commissioned American choral work on each of its three concert programs.

Julian Wachner

Composer, Julian Wachner

On Sunday, October 18 at The National Presbyterian Church, the Washington Master Chorale will perform “Modern Romantics,” pairing Morten Lauridsen’s choral cycle Les Chansons Des Roses based on texts of Rainer Maria Rilke with the world premiere of a new work by composer and conductor Julian Wachner. Song selections will examine the shift from Romanticism to Modernism through musical settings of Rilke, Christina Rossetti and others, and reveal the connections among poetry, fine art and music.  Learn more »

The program will open with settings of ancient love songs “Song of Solomon” or “Song of Songs” from the Hebrew scriptures and Wachner’s “Arise My Love” for organ and chorus.  Excerpts from his Rilke Songs and Jennifer Higdon’s stunning setting of e.e. cummings’s “somewhere i have never traveled” will follow.  The chorus will close the first half with Morten Lauridsen’s choral cycle “Les Chansons des Roses.”  The second half will feature settings of love poetry by Samuel Barber and Norman Dello Joio, and will conclude with the premiere of the new work by Julian Wachner, a 10-15 minute multi movement choral work drawn from the secular texts of Christina Rossetti and modeled on Francis Poulenc’s chamber instrumental works.

Russell Nadel

Composer, Russell Nadel

The work of the celebrated sculptor Auguste Rodin and the profound affect he had on Rilke, and Rilke’s connection to Christina and Dante Rossetti will be discussed during a preconcert panel conversation.  The panel will be moderated by Artistic Director Thomas Colohan and feature composer Julian Wachner and experts from the National Gallery of Art and the Library of Congress.

On Sunday, December 20 at The Church of the Epiphany, we will usher in the holiday season with “Noel! Noel!” — a delightful program of seasonal classics, both old and new. Highlights include Heitzeg, Willan, Mathias, Rheinberger, Vaughan Williams, Howells, Lauridsen, Mechem, Paulus, Poulenc, etc.  A highlight of the program will be the world premiere of a new choral work by Russell Nadel on text of Sara Teasdale.  Nadel’s compositions have been premiered by a number of notable groups, including the distinguished Vancouver Chamber Choir.   A spirited audience sing along with Maestro Colohan and the Chorale will round out the festive afternoon. Learn more »

On Sunday, March 6 at The National Presbyterian Church, the Chorale will present “Song of the Beloved,” featuring Gabriel Fauré’s moving Requiem, Op. 48 in its elegant original chamber orchestra instrumentation, along with the world premiere of Song of the Beloved, a choral cantata for soprano and tenor soloists, chorus, and strings, by renowned composer Robert Kyr.

Robert Kyr, Composer

Robert Kyr, Composer

Kyr’s commission is made possible by a generous gift from the Fetzer Institute whose work reflects a belief in the transformative power of love and forgiveness. Texts have been drawn from such disparate sources as Sappho, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Sir Philip Sidney, Vietnamese poet Thich Nhat Hanh, East Indian Rabindranath Tagore, a Native American Medicine man and others.

Robert Kyr’s music has been performed widely around the world and he has been commissioned by numerous ensembles, including Chanticleer, Cantus (Minneapolis), San Francisco Symphony Chorus, New England Philharmonic, Conspirare, Oregon Symphony, Yale Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Symphony), and the Moscow State Chamber Choir (Russia) among others.

Learn more and Get tickets »

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2015
at 4:00 PM
The National Presbyterian Church

Get Tickets for Leonard Bernstein Tribute, October 6 at 4:00pm
Orchestra – $50 / $35 / $25
Balcony – $20
Student – $10 (balcony)

The shift from the Romantic era to Modernism in both music and poetry is the focus of “Modern Romantics” with the themes of romantic love and celebration of nature as unifying elements. At the heart of the program is the pairing of Morten Lauridsen’s choral cycle Les Chansons des Roses, based on the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, with the world premiere of An October Garden by composer and conductor Julian Wachner, inspired by the secular texts of Victorian poet Christina Rossetti. In setting Rilke’s poems, Lauridsen employs musical genres ranging from nocturnes to folksongs to create an aural tapestry that glorifies the rose, symbol of love and beauty.  An October Garden, a new multi-movement work for chorus, flute, clarinet and piano by composer and conductor Julian Wachner, is based on four poems by Victorian poet Christina Rossetti that follow the annual progress of the seasons.  Cast in near symphonic proportions, each movement has its own distinct character.  From buoyant spring to heavy-laden winter, Wachner deftly conveys the inherent joy and drama of the life-cycle using musical idioms that are at once both lyrically expressive and minimalistic.

The concert opens with a jubilant setting of Wachner’s “Arise My Love” for organ and chorus, a setting of the Song of Songs from the Hebrew Scriptures. Selections from his Rilke Songs and two settings of Rilke poems by Paul Hindemith, performed by the Washington Master Chorale Chamber Singers, and Jennifer Higdon’s stunning arrangement of “somewhere i have never traveled” by e.e.cummings will follow. The first half will close with Morten Lauridsen’s Les Chansons des Roses.

The second half will feature love songs by Lisa Dowling-Alexander, Norman Dello Joio, and Lori Laitman, whose The Earth and I was premiered by the Chorale in 2011 and concludes with the premiere of An October Garden.  Appearing with the Washington Master Chorale are: Paul Skevington, organ; Mark Vogel, piano; Lee Hinkle, vibraphone; Garrick Zoeter, clarinet; and, Kathryn Farenish, flute. Soprano Deborah Sternberg will perform Laitman’s “Echo,” from the poem by Rossetti. Garrick Zoeter will perform a “Romanza” by Francis Poulenc.

View full program »

Pre-concert Conversation at 3:00 p.m.

A pre-concert conversation with Artistic Director Thomas Colohan and Maestro Wachner will take place at 3:00 p.m. This conversation is free and open to the public.

Meet the Guest Artists

Julian Wachner, composer

Julian Wachner

Julian Wachner

Grammy-nominated conductor Julian Wachner is one of North America’s most exciting and versatile musicians, sought after as conductor, composer, and keyboard artist. Wachner is Music Director of the Grammy Award-winning Washington Chorus, with whom he won ASCAP’s Alice Parker award for adventurous programming in 2011.  Read full biography »

Mark Vogel, piano

Mark Vogel, piano

Mark Vogel

Houston pianist Mark Vogel is Music Director at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston, and Pianist at Congregation Beth Israel. Before taking up his posts in Texas he resided in Washington, DC, where for nine years, he was an active pianist and music director, performing at such venues as the Kennedy Center, Strathmore Concert Hall, National Cathedral, Wolf Trap Performing Arts Center, and the Library of Congress.
Read full biography »

Garrick Zoeter, clarinet

Garrick Zoeter

Garrick Zoeter

American clarinetist Garrick Zoeter’s passionate and exciting way with the clarinet has been acknowledged around the world. The Clarinet recently described his playing as “remarkable, his tone is beautiful and he shows complete mastery of all the technical demands and effects that are required of this piece, his artistry and virtuosity are compelling.”
Read full biography »

Deborah Sternberg, soprano

Deborah Sternberg, soprano

Deborah Sternberg

Deborah Sternberg , described by critics as a “spine-tingling soprano” (Ben Demers, DC Theatre Scene), is praised for her flexibility, stage presence, and radiance of tone. Her first full-length CD, The Avian Project, features new music written for soprano and will be released in 2016.
Read full biography »

Paul Skevington, organ

Organist, Paul Skevington

Paul Skevington

Paul Skevington is a sought after choral accompanist in the Washington, D.C. area, and has an active schedule as a solo performer. He can be heard on five compact disc recordings, including two with trumpeter Phil Snedecor. He is soloist on the internationally released Organ Concertos by Joseph Rheinberger on the Naxos label. Organist Paul Skevington has been at St. Luke Parish in McLean since 1993.
Read full biography »

Lee Hinkle, vibraphone

Lee Hickle, percussion

Lee Hinkle

Lee Hinkle, D.M.A. is a percussionist and baritone vocalist whose percussion playing has been called “rock-steady” by the Washington Post. Dr. Hinkle is the principal percussionist with the 21st Century Consort, a position he has held since 2012. He made his Carnegie Hall solo debut in March 2014 with the world premiere performance of Baljinder Sekhon’s Double Percussion Concerto for two percussion soloists and wind ensemble. The live performance was released on CD in Fall 2014.
Read full biography »

Kathryn Farenish, flute

Kathryn Farenish

Kathryn Farenish

Kathryn Farenish has received both her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School, studying with Robert Langevin, Principal Flute of the New York Philharmonic. Noted for her “vibrant tone, superb musicianship, and warm demeanor”, Ms. Farenish is emerging as one of today’s rising, versatile artists.
Read full biography »

The National Presbyterian Church
4101 Nebraska Ave NW
Washington, DC


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On Sunday, December 20, at the Church of the Epiphany, the Washington Master Chorale presented Noel! Noel!, an assortment of time-burnished carols, motets, folk ballads, shape–note hymns, and chants ranging from Medieval to modern times. In programming this seasonal spectacular, the Chorale reached into its catalog of past winter concerts to select works by composers from both sides of the Atlantic from Estonia (Arvo Pärt, “Bogoroditse Djevo”) to Minnesota (Stephen Paulus, “Three Nativity Carols”).  Texts will be no less diverse ranging from the 16th century Piae Cantiones, to the poetry of Christina Rossetti (“In the Bleak Mid-winter”) and e.e. cummings (“Little Tree”) and Mother Thekla, the longtime spiritual muse of the late Sir John Tavener (”Today the Virgin”).  Concert goers can also expect to hear Chorale favorites Charles Ives (“A Christmas Carol”), Robert Shaw (“Deck the Halls”), Healy Willan (“Hodie, Christus Natus Est”), and Gustav Holst (“Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent) among others.  And no Chorale holiday concert would be complete without several selections from “Carols for Choirs” the masterful compilation of songs edited by the late Sir David Willcocks, arguably the most influential choirmaster of his generation.

The centerpiece of Noel, Noel! will be the world premiere of Russell Nadel’s “Early Winter Tree” commissioned by the Washington Master Chorale for chorus and harp.  Through artful interweaving of harp and voice, Nadel’s impressionistic composition with a text by American lyric poet Sara Teasdale, both evokes winter’s time of sadness and loss and presages the inevitability of spring’s renewal.

So strike the harp and join the chorus for a concert that will fill you with joy and hope for a bright new year.

(Photo by Diane Kresh)

Meet the Guest Artists

Russell Nadel, composer

Russell Nadel

Russell Nadel

Russell Nadel graduated from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2006, having earned Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Music Composition and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education.  He has had original compositions commissioned and performed by adult and children’s performing ensembles in the United States and Canada, and has won a variety of awards for his compositions at the local, national and international levels.
Read full biography »

Rachel Carlson, assistant conductor

Rachel Carlson

Rachel Carlson

Rachel Carlson enjoys a versatile career as a conductor, soloist, chamber ensemble singer, and voice teacher based in the Washington, DC area.  She founded and serves as Artistic Director of Six Degree Singers, a community chorus in Silver Spring, Maryland, serves as Assistant Conductor of the Washington Master Chorale, assistant conducts the Chamber Singers and Women’s Chorus at the University of Maryland.  She is in demand as a vocal coach and adjudicator in the Washington, DC area.
Read full biography »

Paul Skevington, organ

Organist, Paul Skevington

Paul Skevington

Paul Skevington is a sought after choral accompanist in the Washington, D.C. area, and has an active schedule as a solo performer. He can be heard on five compact disc recordings, including two with trumpeter Phil Snedecor. He is soloist on the internationally released Organ Concertos by Joseph Rheinberger on the Naxos label. Organist Paul Skevington has been at St. Luke Parish in McLean since 1993.
Read full biography »

Lee Hinkle, percussion

Lee Hickle, percussion

Lee Hinkle

Lee Hinkle, D.M.A. is a percussionist and baritone vocalist whose percussion playing has been called “rock-steady” by the Washington Post. Dr. Hinkle is the principal percussionist with the 21st Century Consort, a position he has held since 2012. He made his Carnegie Hall solo debut in March 2014 with the world premiere performance of Baljinder Sekhon’s Double Percussion Concerto for two percussion soloists and wind ensemble. The live performance was released on CD in Fall 2014.
Read full biography »

Church of the Epiphany
1317 G St. NW
Washington, DC 20005

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 6, 2016
at 4:00 PM
The National Presbyterian Church

Get Tickets for Leonard Bernstein Tribute, October 6 at 4:00pm
Orchestra – $50 / $35 / $25
Balcony – $20
Student – $10 (balcony)

On Sunday, March 6 at The National Presbyterian Church, the Chorale will present “Song of the Beloved,” featuring Gabriel Fauré’s moving Requiem, Op. 48 in its elegant original chamber orchestra instrumentation, along with the world premiere of Song of the Beloved, a choral cantata for soprano and tenor soloists, chorus, and strings, by renowned composer Robert Kyr.

Robert Kyr’s music has been performed widely around the world and he has been commissioned by numerous ensembles, including Chanticleer, Cantus (Minneapolis), San Francisco Symphony Chorus, New England Philharmonic, Conspirare, Oregon Symphony, Yale Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Symphony), and the Moscow State Chamber Choir (Russia) among others.Kyr’s commission is made possible by a generous gift from the Fetzer Institute whose work reflects a belief in the transformative power of love and forgiveness. Texts have been drawn from such disparate sources as Sappho, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Sir Philip Sidney, Vietnamese poet Thich Nhat Hanh, East Indian Rabindranath Tagore, a Native American Medicine man and others.

Pre-concert Conversation at 3:00 p.m.

A pre-concert conversation with Artistic Director Thomas Colohan and Robert Kyr will take place at 3:00 p.m. This conversation is free and open to the public.

Meet the Guest Artists

Robert Kyr, composer

Robert Kyr

Robert Kyr

Robert Kyr is among the most prolific composers of his generation, having composed numerous instrumental and vocal works. His choral music is distinguished by a warmly compelling lyricism, as well as by a contrapuntal mastery that arises from his love of early music.  Read full biography »

Amy Broadbent, soprano

Amy Broadbent

Amy Broadbent

With a voice that “shimmers,” (DC Metro Theater Arts), soprano Amy Nicole Broadbent is a versatile performer who excels in a variety of performance settings, from the concert stage to chamber music to opera.   Read full biography »

Matthew Hill, tenor

Matthew Hill

Matthew Hill

American tenor, Matthew Hill, received his Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from the University of Maryland College Park (2009-2013), where he studied voice with Carmen Balthrop, and was a member of the UMD Chamber Singers.  Read full biography »

Jeffrey Grayson Gates, baritone

Jeffrey Grayson Gates

Jeffrey Grayson Gates

Baritone Jeffrey Grayson Gates is a Texas native who is quickly distinguishing himself as a talented young performer across the United States.  Most recently, Mr. Gates was selected as a winner of the Vocal Arts DC Young Artists Competition, and the Washington D.C. District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.  Read full biography »

The National Presbyterian Church
4101 Nebraska Ave NW
Washington, DC


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