Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions - broken

Hrm. It is the end of the month, and no conductor interview! My New Year's Resolution to do a conductor interview every month has petered out already. (Do people named Peter hate the phrase "petered out"?) But the key to New Year's Resolutions is simply not to drop them if you trip up a bit, so look for an interview in April!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday link

I've kind of fallen out of the habit of Monday links, but I have a great one for you today. My friend Mali is the lead singer for the band Jaggery, and they just released their first music video. It is AWESOME. I had a very personal response to it. Although it's not designed to be a comforting video, I find the passion in it consoling to me as a musician. It's always great to run into something that makes you say, "Yes! Art is worth it!"

Click here to see the video! It's 6 minutes long.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday cat post!

Today you get a series! Definitely some of the cutest pictures yet!

"Who, me? Enjoy having my tummy rubbed? I can't imagine what you are talking about."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Weekend Concert Calendar, 3/26/09

I'm happy to announce that I'll be performing in the first concert series with the new group Zefiro. We are based in Providence, and we'll be performing two concerts this weekend and one next weekend. We're doing a concert of Marian Antiphons, with music by Byrd, Victoria, Cornysh, Dufay, and others (including a dash of Poulenc.) There is some really flashy music on the program (hello, Cornysh!) and all of it is gorgeous, and you should come hear us! In twenty years you will be able to say you were there when it all started!

We will be performing on Friday at 8:00 pm in Providence at St. Stephen's Church, 114 George St., Providence, RI. We will also be performing in Somerville on Sunday at 4:00 pm, when we will be at the Nave Gallery, at Clarendon Hill Church, 155 Powderhouse Blvd., Somerville. (And next Friday we will also be performing at 8 pm in Somerville, at the Brickbottom Gallery.)


Zefiro! 8 pm! St. Stephen's Church, Providence!

The Blind Boys of Alabama are in town, and it doesn't look like they're sold out yet, although I expect that could happen any minute. They are legend; you don't want to miss them. They will be performing at 8 pm at Symphony Hall, 301 Mass. Ave., Boston. Brought to Boston by WorldMusic.


At 3:46 pm (ahem): Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday dear currentconductor, happy birthday to me!

My beloved college madrigal group, the Williams College Elizabethans, are on their spring tour! They will be performing at 4:00 pm at Plymouth Congregational Church, 582 Pleasant St., Belmont.

The Boston Children's Chorus, in collaboration with Winsor Music, will present the premiere of a new work by John Heiss. Also on the program will be music by Telemann, J. S. Bach, and James Matheson. This will be at 8 pm at Follen Community Church, 755 Mass Ave, Lexington.


The adult choir of St. Paul Parish will perform Faure's Requiem. This will be at 3:00 pm at St. Paul Church at the corner of Bow & Arrow Sts., Harvard Square, Cambridge.

Zefiro! 4 pm! The Nave Gallery, Clarendon Hill Church, 155 Powderhouse Blvd., Somerville!

Ars et Amici, under directors Sheila Beardslee and Libor Dudas, will present a concert preview of the program they will take on their Croatian tour. Featuring Medieval, Renaissance & early Baroque works by Dunstable, Anonymous, Byrd, Tallis, Coperario, Morley, Maschera, Gastoldi, Gabrieli, Scarlatti, Aichinger, Purcell and others. This will be at 4:30 pm at the Church of the Holy Nativity, 8 Nevin Rd, South Weymouth.

The King’s Chapel Choir, Soloists, and Orchestra will perform “A Bach Celebration.” They will present Cantata 21, part I, "Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis"; the motet "Fürchte dich nicht"; and the Mass in G Major. This will be at 5:00 pm at King’s Chapel, at the corner of School and Tremont Streets, Boston.

The Oriana Consort
will present “Miracles of Spring: Choral music for Easter and Passover from the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 20th centuries”. The program will include works by Bach, Delalande, Philips, Pärt, Yehezkel Brain, and Frank Ticheli's beautiful piece "There Will Be Rest." If you want to learn more about the program, go read and/or listen to my interview with director Walter Chapin! This will be at 5:00 pm at Swedenborg Chapel, 50 Quincy St., Cambridge.

And it's not choral, but FOUR composers that I think quite highly of and who all composed works for Anthology's last concert are having premieres on the same concert! This Sunday there will be a SWAN Day (Support Women Artists Now Day) festival at the Community Music Center of Boston, and Erin Huelskamp, Eva Kendrick, Ivana Lisak, and Carol Lubowski will all be having works performed. It should be a good time! This will be at 7 pm at Allen Hall, Community Music Center of Boston, 34 Warren Ave., Boston.

And finally, there's a big children's choral event coming up this Tuesday.

The Big Sing will feature: 8 Massachusetts Children’s Choirs All Together Now Festival Chorus (Rachael Barlow and Christina Kennedy, Directors); the Boston Children’s Chorus Concert Chorus (Anthony Trecek-King, Artistic Director); the Boston City Singers Concert Chorus (Jane Money, Artistic Director); the Boston City Singers Jamaica Plain Advanced Training Chorus (Tom Morris, Director); the John Marshall School Children’s Chorus (June Ambush, Director); the Peabody School Early Bird Singers (Wendy Silverberg, Director); the St. Mary’s School Choir (Yelena Gridneva, Director); and the St. Teresa of Avila Children’s Choir (Sophia Korniyasov, Director). It will be on Tuesday at 6:30 pm, at St. Cecilia Parish, 18 Belvidere St., Boston.

Did I miss anything? Leave it in the comments!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"She conducts just like a man!"

Earlier today I posted a link to a wonderful, thoughtful post by Choralgirl called "Little girly gesture language."

I take issue with one of the commenters, however, whose comment is here. You should read the original comment before going on with my response. I'll reproduce part of it here: "The first time I witnessed the writer conducting I remarked to my wife (in a TOTALLY non-sexist manner) that she conducted like a man!...I mean, by this, that there was not the over-compensation that I have seen in most women conductors...Is it possible that the superior woman conductor hangs up her gender at the entrance to the rehearsal space..." (Go read the whole comment - it's not long.)

Let's unpack that, shall we? I should state outright that I am using the following definition of sexism, and that I believe the sexism in the above comment was wholly unintentional.

First of all, it is not possible to say, "She conducted like a man!" in a non-sexist manner. That is an inherently sexist statement. That statement implies that there is a set of characteristics that all male conductors share; and that there is a set of characteristics that either all women conductors share or all women conductors lack. Since the comment was approving, it also implies that the "male" way of conducting is superior to the "female" way of conducting.

Then let's look at the last part. "Is it possible that the superior woman conductor hangs up her gender at the entrance to the rehearsal space..." That, too, is a sexist statement. Nobody suggests that a man should hang up his gender at the entrance to the rehearsal space, because the male gender is considered "normal" in conductors, and in no way a detriment. To suggest that a female conductor should set aside her gender is to suggest that somehow being a woman is a hindrance to good conducting. Why should I have to leave a substantial and integral part of myself behind when I conduct? Everything in my identity, all my past experiences, everything I am, lends strength to my conducting, and that includes the fact that I am a woman.

Finally, I want to address the core of the comment. I understand the meaning behind saying that the women conductors the commenter has seen tend to overcompensate with the size of their gesture in conducting. This actually could lead to a really interesting discussion. So let's have one. Surprise! - once again I disagree. And I think Choralgirl makes my point for me in her original post; she discusses the fact that the same motion will be read different from a man or a woman, and quotes Marin Alsop in Newsweek saying, "When a woman makes a gesture, the same gesture as a man, it's interpreted entirely differently. The thing I struggled with the most was getting a big sound from the brass because you really have to be strong. But if you're too strong, you're a b-i-t-c-h."* My own theory is that when people see a man making a grand, huge gesture, stretching to the limits of his arms, or giving a downbeat so hard his body shakes, they think of him as passionate or dramatic or active. But when they see a woman making the same gesture, they think, "I don't usually see women make those gestures. How weird. That looks awkward - she must be desperate for a bigger sound or something." I think the commenter sees women gesturing in a way he's not used to (let's face it, women are not expected to carry themselves in the same way as men) and thinks "overcompensation." I suppose one could argue that since women are not expected to carry themselves in the same way as men, this leads to some sort of awkwardness when they try to conduct in a strong manner. (I assume that by "overcompensation" the commenter means that the gesture is awkward in some way.) But I don't agree with this argument, and can't say I've seen that sort of thing from any women conductors I've ever worked with.

Finally, I do not mean to say that this commenter is sexist himself, or is not in any way a supportive and loving person to all the women in his life. I am just pointing out that what he said was sexist. I am using him as a cautionary tale as to why you should not try to compliment anyone in your acquaintance by saying they "conduct just like a man!" I am also aware that he did not intend it to be sexist, but as shrub.com points out, your intent does not absolve you. It's kind of like walking around with your fly unzipped. Nobody intends to go around with an unzipped fly, and yet sometimes it happens to the best of us. And when it does, isn't it helpful when someone gently points it out?

Further helpful reading (dealing with issues of racism, not sexism, but in this case with comparable ideas): Vignette 5 and Vignette 6 from www.learningdiversity.com.
*In my experience, usually you can't get the brass to shut up!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Another good review for Anthology!

Remember the German guys? The German guys Anthology did a concert with?

Well, that concert got a great review on casa.org!

Monday link

Via Choralnet's ChoralBlog, a great post from a fellow conductor titled "Little girly gesture language." I'd like to meet this blogger!

Stay tuned for a rant on the comments, though.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday cat post!

I think this looks like Oomi has a CD in her mouth, but my brother claims this is simply a picture of her jumping off the couch, and the camera can't keep up with her, she's just that fast! Apparently it can keep up with most of her front half, excluding part of her mouth, but not her back half? Anyways, it's a pretty cool-looking picture, even if it's hard to figure out exactly how it happened.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Weekend Concert Calendar, 3/19/09

We are all ridiculously spoiled for choice this weekend. Especially on Sunday. I'm just sayin'.


From 7-9 pm there will be a Balkan Singing Workshop led by internationally renowned Balkan vocalist and performer, Tatiana Sarbinska. This will be at Springstep, 98 George P. Hassett Dr., Medford. Pre-registration is suggested, but walk-ins are welcome.

The Handel & Haydn Society will present Brahms' First Symphony, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto (starring violinist Ilya Gringolts) and the world premiere of a choral tribute to Handel by Tom Vignieri, all under the direction of Grant Llewellyn. This will be at 8 pm at Symphony Hall, 301 Mass. Ave, Boston. This program will be repeated on Sunday.


I don’t usually mention a cappella, just because there’s too much of it for me to handle including it in these weekly posts. But I’ll make an exception for the Boston Regional Harmony Sweepstakes! You can hear a number of different a cappella groups all competing to go to the national sweepstakes in California, and it’s always a fun night. It’s going to be hosted by last year’s winners, Syncopation, who are absolutely fantastic. This will be at 7:30pm at the Cohen Auditorium, Tufts University, 40 Talbot Ave., Medford. It will sell out, so if you are interested, follow the link and get your tickets in advance!

For much of Saturday, Emmanuel Music, in collaboration with Winsor Music, will present "A Bach Birthday Celebration." From 2-5 pm there will be a master class with John Harbison; and at 7:00 pm there will be a discussion of Bach Cantata BWV 1215 with Rev. Pamela Werntz and John Harbison, followed by a performance conducted by John Harbison and featuring members of Emmanuel Music. This is free, but tickets must be reserved in advance; call 617-536-3356. This will be at Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St., Boston.

The Back Bay Chorale will present Britten's Psalm 70, Gerald Finzi's Requiem da camera and several works by Mozart under the baton of director Scott Allen Jarrett. This will be at 8 pm at Sanders Theater, 45 Quincy St., Cambridge.

Musica Sacra will present "Give Ear To Thy People: Choral Music from the Jewish Tradition" under the baton of director Mary Beekman. The concert will feature Paths of Stone and Water, a world premiere written for Musica Sacra by Osnat Netzer, Israeli composer and pianist. The concert also includes Aaron Copland's In the Beginning, music by Noam Elkies, Yiddish choral music from the early 20th century, and other selections from the Jewish diaspora. This will be at 8 pm at First Church Congregational, 11 Garden St., Cambridge.


The Sounds of Stow Festival Chorus and Orchestra will present "Music of Celebration," featuring works by Mendelssohn on his 200th birthday under the direction of Barbara Jones. This will be at 3 pm at Hale Middle School, 55 Hartley Rd, Stow.

The Oriana Consort will present “Miracles of Spring: Choral music for Easter and Passover from the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 20th centuries”. The program will include works by Bach, Delalande, Philips, Pärt, Yehezkel Brain, and Frank Ticheli's beautiful piece "There Will Be Rest." If you want to learn more about the program, go read and/or listen to my interview with director Walter Chapin! This will be at 4:00 pm at the Old Ship Meeting House, 90 Main St., Hingham. And it's FREE!

The Seraphim Singers and the Boston Boy Choir, under the direction of Jennifer Lester, will present "The Abiding Chorale;" music by Bach, Brahms, Gyger, Distler, and including a newly commissioned work by Sawyer. This will be at Mission Church, 1545 Tremont St., Boston.

The Polymnia Society will present a program called “Queen of Peace,” a concert of Marian texts, under the direction of Murray Kidd. This will be at 4:00 pm at St. Mary's Church, 46 Myrtle St., Melrose. (Fun fact: someone listed this on the Boston Globe website as "Queen of Peach"!)

There will be a Gospel Concert at 7:00 pm at First Presbyterian Church, 270 Franklin St., Quincy. I don't have much more information about it!

The Handel & Haydn Society will present Brahms' First Symphony, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto (starring violinist Ilya Gringolts) and the world premiere of a choral tribute to Handel by Tom Vignieri, all under the direction of Grant Llewellyn. This will be at 8 pm at Symphony Hall, 301 Mass. Ave, Boston.

Correction: I was wrong about the Boston Secession concert; that is not this weekend, it has been postponed. Mea culpa!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


One of the things on my to-do list is "What is maximum decibel level that a snow machine can run while chorus sings? Find a specific number (dB) and give it to prod staff."

Just thought I'd share.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Otello, Rihanna, and Chris Brown

As some of you know, one of the projects I’ve recently been involved with is a production of Verdi’s Otello with the Harvard Lowell House Opera Company where I am the chorusmaster. I haven’t written much about it, mostly because I’ve been so busy doing it. And it’s been very rewarding in a lot of ways – I love my chorus, and I really appreciate the chance to learn this opera. The music for the chorus is really wonderful and very complex, and a lot of fun to work on and teach.

But now we are finishing the run (tonight is closing night) and I have been watching the opera a lot. A LOT. Chorusmasters don’t perform operas; they watch them and take notes on what to improve with the chorus for next time. And after watching it so much, this opera makes me feel uncomfortable for a number of reasons.

The main one is the way the issue of domestic abuse is handled. I like the way it’s handled in Act III. In Act III, when Otello hits Desdemona in public everyone is horrified, and sings about how awful it is in a completely unqualified manner. But when we get to Act IV, issues arise. Otello kills Desdemona, and then…everyone comes in and explains that he was wrong to kill her because she hadn’t cheated on him like he thought. The reason this is such a tragedy is that Desdemona wasn’t actually unfaithful at all!

I hope you all see the problem with this. If a man kills his partner, whether or not she cheated on him is kind of irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if a woman who is killed is a virgin or a whore. It’s a horrific crime, period. And the repeated cries of “She was innocent!” imply that if she HADN’T been innocent, well, then she would have deserved it. At the very least, she ought to have known what might happen, right? And therefore some of the culpability would have rested with her.

Now, I know a lot of people will say, “Oh, but that was just how women were treated back then. It was awful, of course, but if you are going to perform opera from that time period, you have to accept that bad treatment of women was normal.”

Except that we have the same attitudes today. It has nothing to do with “that time period.” And the current Rihanna/Chris Brown news reports demonstrate this quite well. For those who don’t know, Rihanna is an extremely popular singer (at my elementary school, there is probably no musician more popular, with the possible exception of Hannah Montana.) And Chris Brown is her boyfriend, also a very successful singer. According to news reports, on the way to the Grammys he beat her while he was driving, then pulled over the car and continued to beat her, including choking her nearly into unconsciousness. She landed in the hospital. It’s an extremely high-profile case.

And what does the internets have to say about this? Well, the victim-blaming is nauseating. I don’t want to link to much of it here, but I have found things in my research that made me sick. (For instance, the Boston Globe reports that nearly half of Boston teens surveyed thing that Rihanna was at fault for being attacked.) Lots of discussion is centered around what she did to “make” him beat her. How many times to we have to say that there is nothing that you can do that means you deserve to be beaten? The self-defense argument doesn’t hold water either, because even if she attacked him in some way, the fact that he doesn’t have a scratch on him and she was in the hospital clearly means that his reaction was utterly out of proportion and completely indefensible.

To me, these are two sides of the same coin. The story of Otello says, “This is such a tragedy because she didn’t do anything wrong!” The very real Chris Brown/Rihanna story sparks discussion about “She was beaten! What did she do wrong?”

Now, I really understand the feelings behind victim-blaming. We want to believe that bad things happen for a reason, because that means we can avoid all bad things by just doing everything right. That is a far more comforting thought than to believe that sometimes bad things are unavoidable, they just happen and we have no control over them. Thus, we want to believe that if something bad happens to someone, they must somehow be at fault. It means that it is less likely to happen to us, because we can just avoid whatever mistake they made. And we are just as likely to victim-blame those we love as well as strangers, because if we just explain to our loved ones how to be smart, nothing bad will ever happen to them. “You know, if you hadn’t gone out without a hat, you wouldn’t have gotten the flu.” Now they’ll never go out without a hat again, and then they’ll never get the flu again, and it will be because we saved them!

But we don’t actually have that much control over the bad things that happen to us. It’s important to communicate that sometimes you run into people who do bad things, and it’s just not your fault. And domestic abuse is one of those situations – if your partner hits you, there is no justification for that kind of behavior, ever. But you wouldn’t know that from Otello, or from the current discussions surrounding Chris Brown and Rihanna. (The New York Daily News suggests in a headline that perhaps she could use anger management classes. So that she will stop provoking him by getting angry, I guess.)

Going back to Otello and continuing to look at Act IV, there are more problems. The script and the music redeem Otello. We’re supposed to empathize with him; he feels so bad about the whole thing after he learns she was innocent. The music from their Act I love duet comes back, and he sings some of the same phrases about kissing her – we are meant to understand that this was a truly romantic relationship. Not only is there an implication that if Desdemona had cheated on Otello then he would have been at least somewhat more justified in killing her, the whole mess is made to look romantic. Desdemona is not alive to forgive him, but we are clearly meant to.

This also plays into the insulting and demeaning notion that a man who gets jealous or angry reverts to a crazy person devoid of morality, and should not be held responsible for his actions. Iago is evil. But Otello? Otello’s music tells us we should observe his downward slide with sympathy, not condemnation. The message is that men can’t be held responsible for what they do while they are having emotions.

“But this is all subtext,” I hear some gentle readers saying. “It’s really not that obvious, so it’s not exactly a big problem. Who’s really going to pick up on this?” Let me point you to a study showing that it’s the subtle examples of sexism that have the most damaging effect.

So what to do, then? There are lots of problematic pieces of great musical literature. St. John’s Passion always brings up discussions about Bach's harshly negative portrayal of Jews. There are scores of scores (including Otello) laced with incredible racism, both in portrayals of characters and representations of music. And, of course, lots of sexism problems all over the place. And that’s just scratching the surface. How does a musician deal with these problems?

It would be great to end this blog entry with a good answer to that question, right? Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer. I think one extreme is to say, “They should never be performed!” And I don’t think that’s right. The other extreme is to say, “Oh, let’s just ignore all the problems and perform the music because it’s so beautiful that all other faults should be forgiven.” And I don’t think that’s right either; I’m not capable of ignoring these sorts of problems in musical works. But what is the middle ground? Should one just write really fantastic program notes? That doesn't quite seem like enough.

Different people will have different answers. One friend of mine, when I invited her to Otello, said, “Violence against women is way too real and way too prevalent for me to want to see it in my fantasy and entertainment.” Another person I talked to told me that she never sings oratorios or other works that are anti-Semitic, because it’s too clear in her daily life how much anti-Semitism is still present in the world, and she can’t condone adding to it.

For those of us who are interested in performing problematic art, the Boston-based Actor’s Shakespeare Project provides one way forward. They recently contended with similar problems in The Merchant of Venice, which of course is known for the unsympathetic Jewish character of Shylock, and for the anti-Semitic attitudes of the rest of the characters. They hired a Jewish director, and a Jewish actor for Shylock; everyone in the cast was very aware of the issues running through the play; they had a large number of talk-backs with the actors attached to performances; and I believe, although I can’t find this confirmed online, that they also had outreach to the Jewish community. I couldn’t find a lot of information, since the show is now over, but there is a Boston Globe article here which discusses the ASP’s approach. If I had realized my own thoughts about Otello a little earlier in the production, I might have suggested that Lowell House reach out to both the African and African American Studies department (I didn’t discuss the racist problems in Otello in this entry, but they are just as pernicious) and the Women’s Studies department to do some public discussions together.

What is your answer? It’s always hard for me to get people commenting on this blog, but I encourage you to do it! What piece of music or play or movie do you have really big problems with? Is there anything you would refuse to perform? Are there things you did decide to perform, even though you found them problematic, because you thought the music was worth it? What do you do about it? How do you find your balance?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday cat post!

A surprisingly demure pose!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Weekend Concert Calendar, 3/12/09

It's cabin-fever-almost-spring-next-snowstorm-is-probably-next-week time! Soothe your longings for spring with some choral music.

Anthology has a concert Friday (probably today, depending on when you are reading this.) I know, I know, didn't we just have a concert? But this one is completely different. We are sharing the stage with Vocaldente, an award-winning a cappella group from Germany! They are the winners of the national 2008 Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival. Check out their website if you would like to see snazzy videos of them performing. We are very excited to be their hosts for this concert, and we hope you can make the performance!

Friday, March 13th at 8pm
Third Life Studio, Somerville, MA
33 Union Square (Somerville Ave.)
For directions and parking: www.thirdlifestudio.com
(Do not use Mapquest!)
$15 admission, $10 students and seniors.


Anthology! And Vocaldente! Together!

Blue Heron will perform works of Du Fay. Their publicity says, “Blue Heron winds up its 10th season with a program exploring connections between Guillaume Du Fay, the court of Savoy, an immense and entirely anonymous musical manuscript from the French court on Cyprus, and a wedding in 1434.” There will be a pre-concert lecture at 7:15 by Alenjandro Enrique Planchart (Professor Emeritus, University of California), one of the world’s leading scholars of Du Fay. This will be at 8 pm at First Church Congregational, 11 Garden St, Cambridge.

The Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum will present their spring concert “Reverence and Reflection,” featuring Frank Martin’s “Mass for Double Choir,” the New England premiere of Paul Moravec’s “Songs of Love and War” and the World premiere of “Oseh Shalom Bimromav” by Michael Schachter, class of 2009. This will be at 8:00 pm at Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy St., Cambridge.

The Cantata Singers will present Beethoven’s Mass in C, Britten’s Orchestra Suite from Death in Venice, and Finzi’s Lo, the Full, Final Sacrifice. This will be at 8 pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough St, Boston.


Chorus pro Musica, under the baton of guest conductor Michael Driscoll, will present music by Bach, Handel, and award-winning British composer Jonathan Dove. This will be at 8 pm at Church of the Covenant, Copley Square, Boston.

Cappella Clausura will be performing their program “From Bingen to Salzinnes” at the 9th Annual Women Composers Festival of Hartford. This will be at 7:30 pm at the Sisters of Saint Joseph, 27 Park Road, West Hartford, CT.

The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus
will present a concert including works by David Del Tredici, Ricky Ian Gordon and Rufus Wainwright. This will all be under the direction of Reuben M.Reynolds III at 8:00 pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough St., Boston. This concert will be repeated on Sunday.

The Concord Chorus, under the direction of Michael McGaghie, will present a program of hymn tunes and folk songs from the American and British traditions, including works by Copland, Vaughan Williams, Thomson, Wilberg and others. This will be at 8 pm at the Concord Academy Chapel, 166 Main St., Concord.


The Quincy Choral Society will present a concert of spirituals and gospel. This is FREE! It will be at 2 pm at the Sacred Heart School, 370 Hancock Street, N. Quincy.

The Masterworks Chorale will present Mendelssohn’s opera Son and Stranger and Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes. This will be at 3:00 pm at at Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy St., Cambridge.

The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus will present a concert including works by David Del Tredici, Ricky Ian Gordon and Rufus Wainwright. This will all be under the direction of Reuben M.Reynolds III at 3:00 pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough St., Boston.

The Boston Camerata will perform a program called "The Distant Haven: Voyage and Encounter in Medieval France." It will include music and poetry recounting legendary quests, spiritual pilgrimage, and chivalric adventure: beautiful chants, songs and lais of the troubadours and trouvères, the finest creative spirits of the 12th and 13th centuries, all under the direction of Anne Azéma. This will be at 3 pm at First Lutheran Church, 299 Berkeley Street, Boston.

The Paul Madore Chorale will present Debussy's "The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian," along with works by Faure and Ravel. This will be at 3 pm at St. Mary of the Annunciation, 14 Otis St., Danvers.

The Christ Church Choir will present a Lenten concert under the direction of Stuart Forster. This will be at 3 pm at Christ Church, Zero Garden St., Cambridge.

The Arlington-Belmont Chorale and The Arlington-Belmont Chamber Chorus will present an "Almost Spring" concert, including works by Pearsall, Brahms, Vaughan Williams, Chatman, and the world premiere of Singing in Tongues by Christopher Haynes. Barry Singer and Christopher Charig will conduct. This will be at 3 pm at First Parish Unitarian-Universalist Church, 630 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington.

Did I forget anything? Leave it in the comments!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Anthology success!

You may recall that about three weeks ago I mentioned that my vocal quartet Anthology was going to present eight world premieres.

I am happy to announce that our first two concerts went really well. And we got our first reviews!

One is here, at the Boston Musical Intelligencer. The other is here, at the Contemporary A Cappella Society. And I'm happy to say they're both really positive!

We are presenting this program two more times, once on Sunday, April 5 at 7:30 at St. James Episcopal Church in Farmington, CT, and also on Sunday, April 26 at 4:00 pm at First Parish in Cohasset, MA. I hope you can come to one of them! (If you want to make sure you don't miss them, you could always join Anthology's mailing list! Just say in the form that you want to be added to the list.)


I realized that I haven't even mentioned on my own blog the production that has been completely consuming my life for the past few months. I'm the chorusmaster for a production of Verdi's Otello, put on by the Lowell House Opera Company at Harvard. Last week was the first week of the show and this week is the second and last. The remaining shows will be tonight, Friday, and Saturday at 8:30 pm. More information is here.

My chorus is awesome! And the leads aren't too shabby either. (By which I mean they are all professionals, and some have flown over from Europe just to donate their time to this production. Yeah.)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Friday cat post!

Er, slightly belated - technically a Saturday cat post. Because I have not been getting enough of this:

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Weekend Concert Calendar, 3/5/09

The weather's supposed to be good, so trot yourself out this weekend to support some live choral music!


The Boston Choral Ensemble presents "Voces Latinas," contemporary choral works by Latin American composers including Chavez, Villa-lobos, and Ginastera. This looks pretty awesome, I must say. This will be at 8 pm at First Church Cambridge, 11 Garden St., Cambridge. This program will be repeated on Sunday.


The Spectrum Singers will perform works by Schubert and Brahms. This will be at 8:00 pm at First Church Congregational, 11 Garden St, Cambridge. There will be a pre-concert lecture at 7:00 pm by Joshua Jacobson, Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Northeastern University.

The Harvard Glee Club will perform music by such various composers as Thomas Tomkins, Francis Poulenc, and Randall Thompson under the direction of Kevin Leong. This will be at 8 pm at Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy St., Cambridge.

The The Worcester Chorus will present Bach's "St. Matthew Passion" with the All Saints Children's Choir of Worcester and Festival Orchestra under the direction of Andrew Clark. This will be at 8 pm in Mechanics Hall, 321 Main Street, Worcester. More info here.


The Boston Choral Ensemble
presents "Voces Latinas," contemporary choral works by Latin American composers including Chavez, Villa-lobos, and Ginastera. This will be at 2:30 pm at Old South Church, Copley Sq., Boston.

The Cambridge Concentus period ensemble will present a concert called "Apocalyptic Bach." This will be at 3 pm at First Church Cambridge, 11 Garden St., Cambridge. And it is FREE!

The New England Classical Singers, under the direction of David Hodgkins, will present Part 2 of Handel's Messiah. This will be at 3 pm at the Rogers Center for the Arts, Merrimack College, North Andover.

Susan Hellauer of the group "Anonymous 4" leads a concert called the "Vespers of 1210," made up of 13th-century plainchant canticles, psalms, antiphons and chant-based polyphony by the ever-popular prolific composer “Anonymous." This will be at 6:30 at the St. Paul Catholic Church at the corner of Bow and Arrow Sts. in Harvard Square, Cambridge.

I got no sleep last night. I probably missed something. What else have you all got?