THE PROMISE OF LIVING
Oct. 27, 2019 at 5 PM
CHRISTMAS WITH THE CHORALE
Dec. 22, 2019 at 5 PM
POETRY INTO SONG
April 19, 2020 – Postponed due to COVID-19
On February 28, 2010, the Washington Master Chorale stepped onto the risers at The National Presbyterian Church for the first time and presented a program of 20th century choral works based on themes of transition and transformation. As we prepare to embark on our 10th season, we note with pride that we have remained true to our mission to: advance American choral excellence through vocal artistry, contribute to the choral canon through the commissioning of leading composers and present choral works in the context of their culture and time.
Our 2019-2020 season features the hallmarks of what has made us one of Washington’s premier ensembles: a generous mix of pieces the Chorale has made its own by masters of the choral form including Samuel Barber, Moses Hogan, Alice Parker, and Ralph Vaughan Williams, rediscovered repertoire, and new works by Henry Dehlinger and David Conte that are destined to become choral classics.
Thank you for keeping us “a sound worth hearing.” The past 10 years have been exhilarating. We are looking forward to sharing ten more with you.
Photo credits: Diane Kresh; Vassar College Library (Elizabeth Bishop)
The Promise of Living
The Church of the Epiphany
October 27, 2019 at 5 PM
The Washington Master Chorale opens its 10th season as a performing ensemble with a rich program of American vocal music. Joined by guest vocalists Marlissa Hudson and Kevin Johnson, and keyboard artist Jonathan King, the concert will feature African American spirituals, choral art songs, and well-crafted arrangements of early folk songs and hymns, including works by Samuel Barber, H.T. Burleigh, Aaron Copland, William Dawson, Moses Hogan, Alice Parker, Stephen Paulus, Kevin Siegfried, and more. A highlight of the concert will be the world premiere of a new choral cycle by composer Henry Dehlinger based on the poetry of James Joyce. Chorale favorites Laura Choi Stuart, Spencer Adamson, and Zsolt Balogh are also featured soloists on the program.
Come early and hear a discussion of African American spirituals in the classical repertoire with Dr. Lourin Plant, professor of vocal music at Rowan University and Stanley J. Thurston, founding director of the Heritage Signature Chorale. Maestro Colohan will moderate the pre-concert program beginning at 4:00 p.m.
Photo credit: Diane Kresh.
Hailed by Gramophone Magazine for his “vibrantly colorful palette” and “exquisite piano-playing” that “stands out from the crowd,” Henry Dehlinger is active as a composer of contemporary vocal, choral and orchestral music notable for its stylistic diversity, soaring melodies and complex harmonic idioms. His compositions express a modern, yet tonal American aesthetic that synthesizes classical and vernacular elements. Dehlinger renders strong, unique themes and leitmotifs from a palette of diverse musical styles that reflect the text he is setting and emotional responses he means to elicit. These rich musical fragments are then woven into meaningful—and often dramatic—aural experiences. Audiophile Audition calls his work “stunningly superb” and “formidably essential listening!” This 2019-20 season, Dehlinger looks forward to world premieres of five new concert works, including: Kohelet, a cantata in five movements co-commissioned by the Washington Master Chorale and the Santa Clara Chorale, which combines lush, modal melodies, energetic meters, and colorful harmonic textures with Hebrew text drawn from the Book of Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs; The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, a sweeping rhapsody for voice and orchestra adapted from the poem by T.S. Eliot and composed for Metropolitan Opera soprano Danielle Talamantes and the National Philharmonic at Strathmore; and Three Choral Songs on James Joyce: Night Piece, Strings in the Earth and Air, and Bahnhofstrasse. Photo credit, Roy Cox.
To learn more, visit www.HenryDehlinger.com.
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.
Baritone Kevin Daniel Johnson is a rising singer and recently returned native of the NY city area. On the opera stage, Mr. Johnson has performed with the Repertory Opera Theater of Washington, Atlanta Opera, DaCorneta Opera, Maryland Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, HUB opera, Lyric Opera of New Jersey, Center for Contemporary Opera and Bel Cantanti Opera. As a concert soloist, he has sung across the nation, France, and Canada. On several occasions, he has performed Handel’s Messiah, DuBois’ Seven Last Words, the requiems of Faure and Brahms, Schubert’s Mass in G, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah in multiple cities across the country. Kevin is a native of Hackensack, NJ. He has received a Bachelors Degree from Morehouse College, a Masters in Music from The Chicago Conservatory of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, and a D.M.A from The Catholic University of America.
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. Equally comfortable in recital and concert settings, Laura appears regularly with the Washington Bach Consort and the Washington Master Chorale, in addition to solo appearances with many area ensembles. Solo highlights of the coming season include Messiah and St. Matthew Passion at the Washington National Cathedral, Brahms Requiem, a holiday celebration featuring Bach Cantata 51 and Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 with the New Orchestra of Washington, and works of Tavener and Mealor with Cantate. To learn more, visit laurachoistuart.com
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.
Zsolt Balogh is from Tapolca, Hungary. He began studying piano at age five. He received a Master’s Degree in piano from the Franz Liszt Academy of Music where he studied with András Kemenes. He has appeared at the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, the Great Concert Hall at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, and extensively as a collaborative pianist in cities throughout Canada and the United States. He graduated with a Master’s of Music in collaborative piano from The Juilliard School in 2014, and received his D.M.A. in collaborative piano at the University of Maryland in 2019.
Christmas with the Chorale
The Church of the Epiphany
December 22, 2019 at 5 PM
Our December program reprises our favorite songs of the season, time-burnished gems sure to put you in the holiday spirit. The concert will ring out the old, ring in the new, and close with a contemplative candlelight rendering of “Silent Night.” Trumpets, merry organ, high spirits, and bright voices – yours and ours – will join as one for a delightful and joyful afternoon. Photo credit: Diane Kresh.
Poetry Into Song
The Church of the Epiphany
April 19, 2020 – Postponed due to COVID-19
Please note: This program will be rescheduled.
We conclude our 10th season with a landmark event, the world premiere of The Unknown Sea, by renowned composer David Conte. Featuring mezzo soprano Lena Seikaly, SATB chorus, piano, and chamber orchestra, the piece is based on the texts of preeminent American poet Elizabeth Bishop. Bishop is one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th Century. A “poet’s poet,” she was the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (a position now known as the nation’s Poet Laureate), a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner, and a gifted teacher. Conte will attend the premiere and participate in a pre-concert conversation led by former Poet Laureate of California, Dana Gioia. Gioia was both a student of Bishop and the moderator at the Chorale’s inaugural concert in February 2010. The Unknown Sea will be paired with Ralph Vaughan Williams’s masterful cantata, Dona Nobis Pacem based on Walt Whitman’s poems and texts from the Bible, and re-orchestrated by British composer and conductor Jonathan Rathbone.
Join us for a pre-concert discussion at 4:00 pm:
Poet Dana Gioia, former NEA chairman and student of Elizabeth Bishop, will lead a conversation and Q&A with composer David Conte, friends, colleagues, and scholars.
Photo credit: Elizabeth Bishop, Brazil 1954. Archives and Special Collections, Vassar College Library (Reference #3.454).
David Conte (b. 1955) is the composer of over one hundred and fifty works published by E. C. Schirmer Music Company, including 7 operas, works for chorus, solo voice, orchestra, band, and chamber music. He has received commissions from Chanticleer, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, the Oakland, Stockton, and Dayton Symphonies, the Atlantic Classical Orchestra; and from the American Guild of Organists. In 2007 he received the Raymond Brock commission from the American Choral Directors Association, one of the nation’s highest honors in choral music. His work is represented on many commercial CD recordings, including in 2015 Chamber Music of David Conte, on the Albany label; in 2016 Choral Music of Conrad Susa and David Conte, on the Delos label; and in 2018 Everyone Sang: Vocal Music of David Conte on the Arsis label. His opera The Gift of the Magi has received over 30 productions in the U. S., Canada, and Europe. He co-wrote the film score for the acclaimed documentary Ballets Russes, shown at the Sundance and Toronto Film Festivals in 2005, and composed the music for the PBS documentary, Orozco: Man of Fire, shown on the American Masters Series in the fall of 2007. In 1982, Conte lived and worked with Aaron Copland while preparing a study of the composer’s sketches, having received a Fulbright Fellowship for study with Copland’s teacher Nadia Boulanger in Paris, where he was one of her last students. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University and his Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Cornell University. He is Professor of Composition and Chair of the Composition Department at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In 2010 he was appointed to the composition faculty of the European American Musical Alliance in Paris. In 2014 he was named Composer in Residence for Cappella SF, a professional chamber choir in San Francisco. In 2016 his song cycle American Death Ballads won First Prize in the NATS Composition Competition, and was premiered by tenor Brian Thorsett and pianist Warren Jones at the NATS Conference in Chicago.