The Providence Singers announces its 2008-09 concert season: four
programs reflecting a broad spectrum of choral music, each presented
in collaboration with regionally acclaimed artists and organizations.
The season opens in November with Grammy- and Pulitzer-winning
composer Dominick Argento’s cantata, Jonah and the Whale, presented
with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project at the FirstWorksProv
Festival. December reprises last season’s sold-out Messiah with the
Rhode Island Philharmonic, at Veterans Memorial Auditorium. In March,
the Singers presents an “Anniversaries” program with the Junior
Providence Singers, featuring masterworks by celebrated composers and
poets with anniversaries in 2009. The Singers completes its season in
June with the vibrant music of internationally acclaimed 30-year-old
British composer Tarik O’Regan, presented with the Aurea Ensemble and
featuring a guest appearance by the Rhode Island Children’s Chorus.
“This is a season of exceptional variety and interest, from the
Baroque to commissioned music that is being composed for our June
concert,” said Andrew Clark, the Singers artistic director. “We will
also be collaborating with more performing groups than we have in any
of our past seasons, including two concerts with the Rhode Island
November 7 and 9: Jonah and the Whale
with Boston Modern Orchestra Project; a featured performance at
The Providence Singers’ season opens with the New England premiere of
Dominick Argento’s Jonah and the Whale (1973), presented with the
Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) at the FirstWorksProv
Festival. Grammy- and Pulitzer-winning composer Argento combines 14th-
century English poetry, sea chanteys and work songs – resulting in an
engaging, dramatic cantata for chorus, chamber ensemble, narrator and
soloists. (Audiences are encouraged to listen for the whale’s melody,
performed by three trombones in Argento’s innovative score.) The
Singers complements this whale’s tale with water-themed American folk
songs and spirituals, in a program fitting for Rhode Island’s
heritage as the Ocean State. The Friday evening concert and family-
friendly Sunday matinee take place in Providence.
Founded in 1996 by artistic director Gil Rose, the Boston Modern
Orchestra Project (BMOP) is one of a handful of professional
orchestras in the United States dedicated exclusively to performing
and recording music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
FirstWorks is a Providence-based arts presenting organization,
acclaimed for its world-class festivals of diverse and distinguished
performing arts, and for its year-round youth arts programs.
Jonah recording project
Following the live performances, the Providence Singers travels to
Worcester’s Mechanics Hall to produce a studio recording of Jonah, re-
introducing it to a broader audience of choral music enthusiasts
throughout the US. The Singers’ recording of Jonah will become the
only publicly available CD of the work – as well as the second CD in
the chorus’ new “American Treasures” recording series, featuring
rediscovered choral masterworks by celebrated American composers.
(The Singers’ first CD, of Lukas Foss’ The Prairie, will be released
December 20, 2008: Handel’s Messiah
with the Rhode Island Philharmonic
Andrew Clark leads the Providence Singers and the Rhode Island
Philharmonic in Handel’s majestic favorite, presented for the second
consecutive December at Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Listeners
returning from last season’s sold-out Messiah will enjoy the subtle
twists that Clark has in store this year, culminating as ever in a
grand “Hallelujah” to highlight the holidays.
March 28-29, 2009: Anniversaries
with the Junior Providence Singers
This spring marks several noteworthy anniversaries of composers,
poets and presidents – including the 200th birthdays of Abraham
Lincoln, Felix Mendelssohn, Edgar Allan Poe, and the 250th
anniversary of Handel’s death. It’s also the fifth anniversary of the
Junior Providence Singers, a chamber chorus of the region’s talented
high school singers. To celebrate, the adult and junior choruses join
forces to highlight these and other anniversaries, performing works
by “anniversary” composers Handel (Zadok the Priest), Haydn (Te
Deum), and Mendelssohn (Ave Maria and Verleih Uns Frieden), plus
choral settings of texts by Poe, Tennyson and Holmes. Lincoln-themed
works include Charles Ives’ Lincoln the Great Commoner and Elie
Siegmeister’s Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight. “Anniversaries”
takes place in Providence and Bristol.
The Junior Providence Singers (JPS) is a high school honors chorus
founded by the Providence Singers and the Rhode Island Philharmonic
Music School in 2004. JPS is led by music director Michele Holt, who
is also director of choral activities and coordinator of the music
education at Providence College.
June 6-7: Ecstasies Above: Music of Tarik O’Regan
with the Aurea Ensemble and the Rhode Island Children’s Chorus
The Providence Singers teams up with the Aurea Ensemble to present
choral and instrumental works by award-winning 30-year-old British
composer Tarik O’Regan. Hailed by the London Observer as “one of the
most original and eloquent young composers,” O’Regan blends classical
and early-music influences with fresh musical insights. The program
includes Stolen Voices, commissioned for the United Nations
International Day of Peace 2007, featuring a special guest appearance
by the Rhode Island Children’s Chorus; The Ecstasies Above, based on
a poem by Edgar Allan Poe; and a world premiere, commissioned by the
Providence Singers. This concert takes place in Providence and Bristol.
The Aurea Ensemble, founded by actor Nigel Gore, violinist Charles
Sherba, violist Consuelo Sherba, and harmonica virtuoso Chris Turner,
integrates music and the spoken word in its dynamic, accessible, and
engaging performances. The Rhode Island Children’s Chorus, led by
artistic director Christine Noel, is an award-winning ensemble of
young singers from throughout Rhode Island and southern New England.
For season tickets and details, contact the Providence Singers at
401-751-5700, or visit http://www.ProvidenceSingers.org.Guest appearance: April 18 with the Rhode Island PhilharmonicOn April 18, the Providence Singers makes its annual spring guest
appearance with the Rhode Island Philharmonic in Beethoven’s Choral
Fantasy, conducted by Francisco Noya. Tickets for this concert are
available through the Philharmonic box office at 401-248-7000, or
online at http://www.riphil.org.About the Providence SingersThe Providence Singers celebrates the choral art through concerts of
masterworks and contemporary works, creative collaborations, new
music commissions, and education programs.
Established in 1971, the Providence Singers is a leading choral
performance and education organization serving southern New England.
Led by artistic director Andrew Clark, the 100-voice auditioned
chorus presents an annual concert series of and makes frequent guest
appearances throughout the region, including annual concerts with the
Rhode Island Philharmonic. The chorus has also performed recently
with the Kronos Quartet at the FirstWorks Providence Festival, and
with Dave Brubeck at Lincoln Center and the Newport Jazz Festival.
In March 2007, the organization hosted one of seven American
Masterpieces Choral Festivals sponsored that year by the National
Endowment for the Arts. Additional NEA support has enabled the
Singers to record Lukas Foss’ landmark cantata, The Prairie, for
public release in the fall of 2008.
The Providence Singers advances the choral tradition through the
commission and performance of new works, with support of its Wachner
Fund for New Music, established to commemorate former artistic
director Julian Wachner’s decade of service. In partnership with the
Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School, the Providence Singers
sponsors the Junior Providence Singers, a high school honors chorus
now celebrating its fifth anniversary.