Thursday, April 30, 2009

Interview with Amelia LeClair, Transcript, Part 2

Here's the transcription of the second part of my interview with Amelia LeClair. You can find the first part here, and there is more to come. Don't forget that Cappella Clausura, the group she directs, is performing this weekend!

Interview with Amelia LeClair at the Cafe Algiers, Cambridge, MA, on 4/22/09, cont.

Q: And now you’re on NPR (ed. note: Amelia will be on Here and Now sometime this week) so he made a good call, right?
A: He did? I’m having a blast.
Q: And tell me about working with him and directing, because I haven’t really heard a lot about that.
A: He’s a master – he’s got an amazing ear, an incredible ear for choral sound. He can take almost any rag-tag group and turn it into a refined, English-quality…He likes the English school of sound, which is that sort of pure, no vibrato, without all that wobble. But he can turn almost –
Q: I bet NEC students love that!
A: They were told not to sing, you know. But let’s not go there. He just had an amazing ear for detail, for diction, for all kinds of things. Probably the only drawback was that he was such a consummate musician, innately consummate musician, that he wasn’t as good at explaining stuff. For example, one of the stories that I tell a lot, I was learning how to do – conduct a fermata. And I said to him, “So, Simon, how do you…?” Now I know how to do it.
Q: They’re hard.
A: They are hard! So I said, “Well, how do you do that?” And he thought a moment, and you could see the little wheels turning, and he said, “Well, you just do, don’t you?” [laughs] And I thought…OK.
Q: It seems like such a fussy thing for somebody so tall to say.
A: And he was like that. He was just – he was totally like that. But I also have to say, he was the kindest, kindest person, to me. I think within five days of my first semester at NEC I felt completely out of my league. “Whoa, am I out of my league.” And I went up to him and I said, “Simon, I don’t think I can do this, this is very nice of you to accept me, I cannot do this, this is…ugh.” He said, “Don’t be silly. You’ll be fine.” “Oh. OK.” So, you know, he wasn’t going to accept that. And I was really glad he didn’t accept that. Because I was real ready to quit. It was just…wow.
Q: Were there any musical experiences that you had there that you particularly remember?
A: Probably – oh, yes. A lot. I mean, we sang some amazing pieces. Those are the things that stick in my mind. We sang an incredible Scarlatti Stabat Mater. Gorgeous piece of music. We sang an amazing piece by Jonathan Dove called something like “The Passage of Time.” I’m not sure. But he’s a modern English composer. Wow. He had good taste in music. We sang John Adams’ Harmonium. Ooo. I bought the full score, it was just so fabulous. Get the CD. It’s amazing. And stuff like that, that’s what I remember, is just learning these incredible pieces of music, and being a part of them. Both in the big choir, because we had to sing in the big choir, all the conducting students, and in the chamber choir, we also had to sing in the chamber choir. Which was a real treat, because we got to sing with really good singers, and we got to sing really good stuff. So that’s what I remember. I remember also being in his office and listening with him to pieces that he was thinking about scheduling in our rehearsal, and just enjoying how much he enjoyed it, and how much – I mean, you know, he would say, “Listen to this!” and I’d say, “Oh, yeah!” And it was just really nice, really nice. We had a very nice rapport, I think because again we were the same age, or similar in age. And here he was dealing with these young Americans, he didn’t quite know how to deal with some of that. Even though he’d spent a lot of time in Kansas doing just that. But it was really a treat, really a treat. And I feel extremely lucky to have been there from the day he arrived to the day he left, basically. Because he was there for only two years. Yes. Those were my two years.
Q: Only two years? Wow, that is lucky.
A: I’m telling you. It wouldn’t have happened otherwise. I actually – Tamara Brooks was his predecessor. Tamara Brooks was at NEC. And probably three years before I went to NEC I was starting to think about conducting. And this is kind of an interesting story, because I was 47 years old, and I was thinking about doing this work. And someone said to me, “Call up other women who have become conductors, and see what they had to do.” Because I was starting to call around – “What do I have to do?” And someone said, “Call up other women conductors and see.” So I got a list of some people. I called Ann Howard Jones, I called Roberta Hume (sp?) –
Q: I’m very interested to hear about Ann Howard Jones. What did she say?
A: She said to me…I think she also was a late conductor. I don’t remember how old she was, but I think she came to conducting late, not music late, like I was doing. But she came to conducting late. And I said to her, “What do you think, would BU take me as a student?” And she said, “BU is not the place for someone like you.” It’s not going to accommodate, it’s not going to try to design a program around you, and that’s what you need. You need a school that will accommodate your kind of – not exactly special needs, but the fact that you have a certain lack of training. You don’t fit the mold, in other words. And she said, “Good luck,” you know. We had a very nice chat, she was very nice. But she just said, “No, BU is too much – it’s too strict, you have to do things a certain way.” So then I called – I think I called somebody at Longy, Peter Sykes, maybe. And I said to him, “How do you start an early music – how do you start conducting an early music group?” And he said essentially what Simon said, which is, “Well, you just do.” “Oh, OK, thanks.” Click.
Q: [laughs] So that was why you went to NEC, you knew you wanted to start an early music group.
A: I knew. Yes. Early music was my love since I was 25 when I first heard Simon Carrington singing with the Kings Singers. Which is such a funny thing. So anyway, I called up a number of other women. What’s-her-name, PALS…
Q: Oh…[ed. note, corrected: Amy is referring to Jody Hill Simpson - Alysoun Kegel is the current artistic director.]
A: Yes, the conductor of PALS. The founder of PALS. Anyway, she was lovely. She said to me, “When I was 47…” And I thought, “Hm, this is interesting.” I called Susan Davenny Wyner and I started to observe her, and she said – I guess she lost her voice when she was 47 – she started conducting. I called Roberta Humez, she said, “When I was 47…” And I’m thinking to myself, “What is this about women and 47? There’s something going on.” And I thought to myself, well, it’s partly having to do with your kids are old enough, you begin to see that there’s a world out there, you’re not snowed under with taking care of them, and, you know, you begin to explore. And so all these other women had begun to explore. So that’s what I started to do. And Roberta Humez, bless her heart – do you know who she is?
Q: No.
A: She was the person who you might have replaced at First Unitarian Society. She was there for forty-plus years as music director. First Unitarian Society of Newton. Anyway, she was there for forty-plus years. And I was a member of that church with my family and my kids, they all grew up in that church. And she said to me – I think I went up to her and I said, “Roberta, how would I learn to conduct?” And she kind of laughed a minute, and she said, “You might want to join the choir first.” [laughs] I said, “Ok, maybe I’ll try that.” So I joined the choir. And then one day, again, this is just serendipitous, one day after church she said to me, “Let me put you through your chops.” And I said, “OK. Fine.” So she did, and she said, “You’re hired. You’ll be my children’s choir director.” And I had zero experience. Zero. So I thought, “OK, let me see!” Well, it was lovely, she was very supportive and very nice, and I ended up leaving there after three years with a choir of 25 kids. Out of nothing.
Q: Wow, nice.
A: So that was nice. That was nice. We had a good time. And I loved the kids. They were so cute. Just so cute. And we did some really nice things. One of the most wonderful things I can say that I’m really happy about was that at some point Revels was doing Noye’s Fludde, and they sent word around that they needed children from various choirs in the area. They were gathering, they wanted a hundred plus. And I said to some of my kids, some of my kids who I knew had real talent, “What do you think? Do you want to sing for Noye’s Fludde?” And I talked to their parents. And they were all “Yes, yes, yes, yes!” So I had a couple of third graders, a couple of fourth graders, a couple of fifth graders. And we sang for Noye’s Fludde. And it was – I mean, they were so full of themselves. It was so great. They were so happy. And it was wonderful. And I went to watch them, and George Emlen was directing the whole thing. And I went to watch them, and as it turned out, he kind of needed somebody to keep the kids in line, and maybe to practice with them. So I ended up conducting a hundred kids for Noye’s Fludde, which was fun. Really fun. I had a huge baton. I had to stand up – we did it at Cambridge Congo, you know, and there’s a kind of a half a wall in the back, and all the set was in the front, on the staging area. Behind the staging area there was this half wall. I had to stand up on that half wall, which was kind of like that [points to something 2 feet high], stand up there and conduct all the kids like this, because they were all kind of in the dark. I should have had a Michael Jackson glove. So that was a lot of fun, and that was probably the culmination of my career at First Unitarian. So then after First Unitarian –
Q: And this was before or after NEC?
A: That was before NEC.
Q: That was before NEC.
A: Anyway, while I was at First Unitarian I started to go to NEC, and I quit doing all the stuff that I had been doing as a parent, which was being totally involved in my kids’s school, which was kind of sad, but then my husband took over, it was his turn, and it was his turn to do the homework and his turn to go to the meetings and all that kind of stuff. And I went to some, but I was flat out in school. In school.
Q: Still doing schoolwork, but…And then you graduated.

[to be continued!]

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Interview with Amelia LeClair, Transcript, Part 1

Here's the transcription of the first part of my interview with Amelia LeClair. More to come. Don't forget that Cappella Clausura, the group she directs, is performing this weekend!

Interview with Amelia LeClair at the Cafe Algiers, Cambridge, MA, on 4/22/09

A: So ask me a question.
Q: Where were you born?
A: [laughs] Paris, France.
Q: Really?
A: Yes.
Q: I didn’t know that.
A: Paris, France.
Q: How long did you live there?
A: I lived in France until I was six.
Q: Wow, this is already fascinating!
A: And then I came to this country when I was six, and I didn’t speak any English, and so I learned English, and then I moved around quite a lot throughout my childhood, because my father worked for the government, the U.S. State Department.
Q: And did you do anything musical as a kid?
A: I had piano lessons for two years, from the time I was about nine until the time I was eleven. And I fell madly in love with the piano right away, and madly in love with music right away. But unfortunately I was taking piano lessons in a very remote country where it was really cheap to do so, and whenever we came back home, we never had any money, so that was the end of my piano lessons. So that’s the sum total of my piano lessons, nine to eleven.
Q: So where were you taking piano lessons?
A: Columbo, Sri Lanka, where I lived.
Q: Wow. I had no idea that you were born in France and lived in Sri Lanka. Where else have you lived?
A: Beirut, Lebanon, for three years. Algiers – Café Algiers! – for one year, but I don’t remember that, because I was one. Bordeaux. U.S., mostly Kensington and Virginia – Maryland and Virginia, because we needed to be near Washington, D.C. And then my father moved to Canada when I went to college. I did all my high school in the U.S. And when I went to college, my parents moved to Canada, and by then I was pretty much done with traveling with them because I was too old to go with them. My father went to Vietnam when I was in high school, and we had the option then of either going to Thailand or staying home, and my parents made the unfortunate decision that we should stay home in the States, which was really boring.
Q: So you enjoyed the childhood of traveling?
A: Loved it. We all loved it.
Q: That’s great. Where was college?
A: College was Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart in New York, which was not the place for me. I’m being kind. We didn’t get along.
Q: But did you stick it out?
A: I didn’t finish it, no. I quit twice, in typical sixties fashion.
Q: And then you went back.
A: And then I went back…by the time I went back I was 22, I went back to UMass Boston and paid for myself. And I graduated from UMass Boston.
Q: And then what?
A: Then 25 years of work and marriage and children. And then I went to NEC (New England Conservatory.)
Q: And was there – what happened during those 25 years?
A: I worked, I had kids, I didn’t play music –
Q: No, I mean, to make you then be like, “NEC is next.”
A: Mostly I was a very frustrated musician, because I didn’t – you know, I took lessons here and there, I sang here and there, I sang with some choruses, I sang with some small groups, I played the piano, I taught myself guitar. But it was all self-taught kind of stuff. I was never really accomplished as a trained musician. So I was very, very surprised when I auditioned for NEC – I didn’t know it was an audition, that was the fun part. I met Simon Carrington, ostensibly to talk about whether or not he would accept a student. And we chatted, and I’m sure that because we were so close in age (laughs) he was probably thinking, “Wouldn’t it be lovely to have someone in the country that I could chat with?” And so I suspect he took me on because of that, you know, but also I seemed to show some musical talent. And he said, “OK, I’ll take you as a student.” And that was the beginning of my conducting career.
Q: Wow. So then Masters at NEC?
A: Masters at NEC in conducting. It was the hardest thing I ever did. I was fifty when I went.
Q: What was the experience of being around all the younger people like?
A: I loved that. I loved that.
Q: OK. It wasn’t ever…didn’t ever make you want to bang your head against the wall?
A: The only thing that I found amusing was that most of these kids, or a lot of these kids would show up for chorus early in the morning with major hangovers, and having spent the whole night being up all night, and unprepared. And of course I was fully grown up, and I was prepared all the time, and in fact probably over-prepared, because I would stay awake all night just preparing, you know. And these kids would just kind of coast along, and I thought, well, you know, that’s what they do. They coast at that age. Especially if they have a lot of talent and a lot of training, and because I hadn’t had a lot of training, in fact I had had so little, I felt consistently under-prepared and under-qualified and all that kind of stuff. So it was very, very hard.
Q: How much of that do you think was in your head, and how much of it was really…?
A: Well, for example, I knew that if I had had to play the piano, and truly audition for NEC, I wouldn’t have been able to get in. Because I can’t play the piano for beans.
Q: And they require their conductors to all play the piano?
A: Pretty much. Yes. You have to show some proficiency—
Q: Not at Westminster!
A: Really? Oo, well I should have tried there!
Q: Yes!
A: Now when you auditioned for Westminster, what did you have to do?
Q: We had to do a theory test, and some sight-reading tests. We might have had a piano proficiency. I can’t imagine it counted for anything, I really can’t.
A: Really?
Q: I think the most important things would have been the interview and the audition with the Westminster Choir. That was really the –
A: That was the big deal.
Q: People would come in and they would look at how you conducted the Westminster Choir for ten minutes.
A: Oh, so you’d have to conduct. I mean, you had to have some conducting chops.
Q: Yes. Well…you had to – they had to see your rapport with the choir. They had to see that – they had to see something. Even the choir could not always tell what it was they were looking for. But it was not necessarily technical proficiency, although that was always a good thing to see.
A: Right, right. But the way you work with people. Yes. Well, I do think what Simon saw, and I asked him after I graduated, I said, “So, Simon. Why’d you take me?” And he said, “It was your eyes.” And he wasn’t being flirtatious by saying that. I think what he saw was that I was really passionate about it, and I really wanted to do it.

[to be continued!]

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Interview with Amelia LeClair

This month's interview is with conductor Amelia LeClair. She's the founder and director of Cappella Clausura. I am a singer in the group and we know each other well, so the interview is very easy-going! Cappella Clausura has a concert coming up this weekend. They (not me, this time around) will be singing a program called "La Donna, La Dame," featuring music by Cesis, Assandra, Cozzolani, Margaret of Austria and Jacquet de la Guerre. They will be at Gordon Chapel in Old South Church this Friday, May 1 at 7:30 pm; at the Episcopal Parish of the Messiah on Saturday, May 2 at 8:00 pm; and also at Grace Church in Salem next Sunday, May 10, at 7:30 pm.

The day before we did this interview, Amelia was interviewed for Here and Now on NPR. And it aired today - go to their website to listen! It's about 10 minutes long, and my interview is about 50 minutes long, and also they are professionals, so I recommend listening to their interview first. And I am singing in the first audio clip they play - that's me!

If you want to listen to our interview, you can click this link, or just click on the player below. Transcript coming soon!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday cat post!

Today you get a video of Oomi!

The purpose of the internet is to watch videos, recorded on hand-held cameras, of other people's cats playing with balls of tinfoil. It just is. Don't resist.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Weekend Concert Calendar, 4/23/09

First of all, Anthology is performing this weekend! We will be giving our last performance of our program "Songs of Protest and Social Unrest" at First Parish Cohasset, 23 North Main St., Cohasset this Sunday at 4 pm. Here is more information about the concert, and here is a reminder about all the good press we got for our first performances back in February!

Also this weekend, Boston College is having an Arts Festival this weekend! It started today, and is running through Saturday. The entire schedule is here. Highlights include an a cappella showcase on Friday at 2:30 pm; the Voices of Imani Gospel Choir on Saturday at 12:15 pm; another a cappella showcase on Saturday at 1:45 pm; and the New Fisk Jubilee Singers on Saturday at 3:30 pm.

Friday:

John Harbison's 70th Birthday Concert will be celebrated at MIT. Among the vocal and instrumental works to be performed will be A Clear Midnight (a cantata for five soloists and strings with texts by Walt Whitman) and Umbrian Landscape with Saint, a sinfonietta with chorus, featuring the MIT Chamber Chorus under the direction of William Cutter. This will be at 8 pm at Kresge Auditorium, MIT, 48 Mass. Ave, Cambridge. And it's FREE!

The Chamber Singers of the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum will present "Versa est in Luctum," a concert of sacred vocal music from the late Renaissance. Featuring works by Josquin, Ockeghem, Victoria, and Lassus. This will be at 8 pm at First Church Cambridge, 11 Garden St., Cambridge.

Sine Nomine, southern New England's early music choral ensemble, will present Purcell's Dido and Aeneas under the direction of Paul Cienniwa. This will be at 8 pm at Emmanuel Church, 42 Dearborn Street, Newport, RI. This program will be repeated on Saturday and Sunday.

Mastersingers by the Sea, accompanied by chamber players from the New Bedford Symphony Orchestram, will present James D. Wagoner's Song of Solomon, along with works by a few Bachs (both J.S. and C.P.E.) This will be at 8 pm at St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church, 124 Front St., Marion. This program will be repeated on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday:

The Master Singers of Lexington will present their 40th anniversary concert "Bach to Bolcom," including a premiere of an original choral work by Pulitzer Prize-winner William Bolcom, commissioned for the occasion. The 200th anniversary of the death of Haydn and the birth of Mendelssohn will also be recognized. This will be under the direction of Adam Grossman. The concert will be at 8 pm at First Parish Lexington, 7 Harrington Rd., Lexington.

The New England Philharmonic, together with the Simmons College Concert Choir, will present a concert that will include the world premiere of Peter Child's new work Louisa's War (based on the journals and poetry of Lousa May Alcott and contemporary writers). This will be at 8 pm at the Tsai Performance Center, 685 Commonwealth Ave., Boston.

Emmanuel Music will present six of J.S. Bach's choral motets under the direction of Associate Conductor Michael Beattie. Also on the program will be Emmanuel Church organist Nancy Granert performing Bach organ pieces selected to complement the motets, including the chorale-prelude Komm, heiliger Geist and the fantasy on the chorale Jesu, meine Freude. This will be at 8 pm at Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St., Boston.

The Salisbury Singers will present Haydn's Creation under the direction of Dr. Michelle Graveline. This will be at 7:30 pm at St. Stephen's Church, Worcester.

Sine Nomine, southern New England's early music choral ensemble, will present Purcell's Dido and Aeneas under the direction of Paul Cienniwa. This will be at 8 pm at Emmanuel Church, 42 Dearborn Street, Newport, RI. This program will be repeated on Sunday.

Mastersingers by the Sea, accompanied by chamber players from the New Bedford Symphony Orchestram, will present James D. Wagoner's Song of Solomon, along with works by a few Bachs (both J.S. and C.P.E.) This will be at 8 pm at Saint Barnabas Church, On the Village Green, 91 Main Street, Falmouth. This program will be repeated on Sunday.

Sunday:

The Arlington-Belmont Chorale and The Arlington Philharmonic Orchestra will present their 75th Anniversary Season Sponsor's Concert, featuring works by Mendelssohn, Dvorak, and Sears. This will be at the First Parish UU Church, 630 Mass Ave., Arlington.

Mastersingers by the Sea, accompanied by chamber players from the New Bedford Symphony Orchestram, will present James D. Wagoner's Song of Solomon, along with works by a few Bachs (both J.S. and C.P.E.) This will be at 3 pm at Saint Barnabas Church, On the Village Green, 91 Main Street, Falmouth.

Sine Nomine, southern New England's early music choral ensemble, will present Purcell's Dido and Aeneas under the direction of Paul Cienniwa. This will be at 3 pm at First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough St., Boston.

The Harvard University Choir will perform Handel's Saul with the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra. This will be at 4 pm at the Memorial Church, Harvard Yard, Cambridge.

The North Cambridge Family Opera
will present "Naturally Selected: A Darwin Bicentennial Revue." A science oratorio sung by 100 adults and children, this world premiere includes 24 songs about Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution by four contemporary composers, each writing from a unique musical perspective. This will be at 6:30 pm at the Boston Museum of Science, 1 Science Park, Boston. (Words cannot express how much I want to go to this performance! Alas, I am booked. Someone else go and tell me how it is? Please?)

And next Tuesday at 7:30 pm, Sweet Honey in the Rock will be in town at the Opera House!

Did I forget anything? Leave it in the comments!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday link

Today I offer you the site Daily Routines: How writers, artists, and other interesting people organize their days. There are not many musicians up there yet, but it is well work a look.

My favorite:

Perhaps the finest writer ever to use speed systematically, however, was W. H. Auden. He swallowed Benzedrine every morning for twenty years, from 1938 onward, balancing its effect with the barbiturate Seconal when he wanted to sleep. (He also kept a glass of vodka by the bed, to swig if he woke up during the night.) He took a pragmatic attitude toward amphetamines, regarding them as a "labor-saving device" in the "mental kitchen," with the important proviso that "these mechanisms are very crude, liable to injure the cook, and constantly breaking down."

John Lanchester, "High Style," The New Yorker, January 6, 2003

Is it bad that I find that hilarious? It is, isn't it? But come on. "Liable to injure the cook?" Ya think?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday cat post!


Today we have a special guest star. This is Toby, who is the owner of a couple of neighbors of my parents, and who frequently comes over to try and persuade my mother and father that he is starving and has never eaten anything, ever.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Weekend Concert Calendar, 4/16/09

First off, I have some concerts this weekend! (In fact, I have concerts every weekend for the next five weeks, so buckle your seatbelts and prepare for self-promotion.)

This weekend Schola Cantorum will be performing Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli, Randall Thompson's Horace Odes (with classical Latin pronunciation, oh yeah), along with madrigals and motets of Cipriano de Rore. The Thompson is very cool, and seldom performed, and of course the Palestrina is a beloved classic, so come out and hear a fascinating and beautifully sung (if I do say so myself) program! On Friday at 8 pm we will be at St. John's Church, 35 Bowdoin St, Boston. On Saturday at 8 pm we will be at St. Peter's Church, 340 Boston Post Rd, Weston. And on Sunday at 4 pm we will be at the Holy Ghost Church, at the corner of Atwells Ave and Knight St in Providence, RI. I hope to see you at one of them! (And maybe we'll get another Globe review! That would be exciting!)

Friday:

Schola Cantorum
! 8 pm! St. John's Church, 35 Bowdoin St, Boston!

Syncopation, jazz quartet extraordinaire, will be at the Taylor House B&B at 7:30 pm. They are totally awesome, and I highly recommend seeing them whenever you can. Taylor House is located at 50 Burroughs St, Jamaica Plain.

The Dedham Choral Society
, under the direction of Jonathan Barnhart, will be performing Dvorak's Stabat Mater. This will be at 8:00 pm at NEC's Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough St, Boston.

The Manchester Choral Society, together with the Hanover Chamber Orchestra and the choirs of Plymouth State University, will present A Child of Our Time by Michael Tippett. This is one of the great 20th-century choral works, but not performed often because it is so difficult. This will be at 8:00 pm at St. Joseph Cathedral, 145 Lowell St, Manchester, NH. This program will be repeated on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday:

Schola Cantorum! 8 pm! St. Peter's Church, 340 Boston Post Rd, Weston!

The Orpheus Singers will present “A Judeo - Christian Musical Tradition: Music from 17th Century Italy and 20th Century America.” The program will include works by Monteverdi and Rossi (Rossi is very cool, and not performed enough, so you should seize this opportunity to hear his music) as well as Boykan and Wolpe, two 20th-century American composers. This will be at 8 pm at Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St., Boston. This program will be repeated on Sunday.

The Manchester Choral Society, together with the Hanover Chamber Orchestra and the choirs of Plymouth State University, will present A Child of Our Time by Michael Tippett. This is one of the great 20th-century choral works, but not performed often because it is so difficult. This will be at 8:00 pm at the Silver Center for the Arts, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH. This program will be repeated on Sunday.

Boston College's University Chorale will present Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass. This will be at 8 pm at Trinity Chapel on the Newton BC campus.

The Boston Conservatory Women’s Chorus, under the direction of Miguel Felipe, will present "Four Masses," including Villa-Lobos's Missa Sao Sebastiao, Rautavaara's Missa Duodecononica, Britten's Missa brevis, and Faure's Messe basse. (That looks awesome, I have to say! I'm really disappointed I can't go.) This will be at 8 pm at First Church, 66 Marlborough St., Boston.

Sunday:

Schola Cantorum! 4 pm! Holy Ghost Church, corner of Atwells Ave and Knight St, Providence, RI!

The Orpheus Singers
will present “A Judeo - Christian Musical Tradition: Music from 17th Century Italy and 20th Century America.” The program will include works by Monteverdi and Rossi (Rossi is very cool, and not performed enough, so you should seize this opportunity to hear his music) as well as Boykan and Wolpe, two 20th-century American composers. This will be at 4 pm at Beth El Temple Center, 2 Concord Ave, Belmont.

The Manchester Choral Society, together with the Hanover Chamber Orchestra and the choirs of Plymouth State University, will present A Child of Our Time by Michael Tippett. This is one of the great 20th-century choral works, but not performed often because it is so difficult. This will be at 3:00 pm at St. Joseph Cathedral, 145 Lowell St, Manchester, NH.

Did I miss anything? Leave it in the comments!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday link

Remember Paul Potts? I blogged about him several years ago after my dad sent me a link to a video of his performances.

Well, I just found another link to another fabulous singer on the same show, "Britain's Got Talent." The amazing thing about watching this video is observing the scorn with which everyone treats the singer before she performs, and the drastic change in response after she opens her mouth. Here's hoping she wins!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday cat post!


Here Oomi meets Obiwan, a friendly neighborhood cat. (Oomi is the one inside.)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Weekend Concert Calendar, 4/9/09

It's Holy Week! Which means few choruses are foolish enough to schedule a concert, when their singers may have as many as eight services to sing in a single week. But if you are so inclined, there are still a few events to go hear.

Friday:

Emmanuel Music, under the direction of John Harbison, will present Schütz's Matthew Passion. This will be at noon at Lindsay Chapel, Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St., Boston.

Coro Allegro and members of the Boston City Singers will join with the Trinity Choirs to present A Musical Meditation for Good Friday. This will be at 5:30 pm at Trinity Church, Copley Square, 206 Clarendon St., Boston.

The MIT Chamber Chorus will present works by Harbison, Schütz and Poulenc under the direction of William Cutter. This will be at 8 pm at Kresge Auditorium, MIT, 48 Mass. Ave, Cambridge.

Saturday:

I got nuthin'!

Sunday:

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Galas!

There are a couple of gala events coming up for two groups I'm a member of (although sadly I won't be able to attend either one.) But you should! They will both be a rip-snortin' good time!

First up is the Boston Opera Collaborative's Second Annual Gala on the evening of April 17. All the best up-and-coming young opera singers in Boston will be there, many of them on stage! The schedule is:
Cocktails, Arias, and Dinner: 6:00 PM
Dessert and Rossini's La Cambiale di Matrimonio: 8:00 PM

The night will feature a performance of "The Marriage Contract," a goofy one-act opera by Rossini about a wealthy British businessman who tries to bind his daughter to the highest bidder. Come see what happens when he ignores the fine print and his accountants take a stand for true love!

Also, there are three ticket price levels, which is a relief for those of you (the majority, I'm guessing) who can't afford a $250 ticket. They are:
$250: Gala Sponsor
$100: Full Evening, including dinner and drinks (6:00 pm)
$20: Dessert (gelato!) and La Cambiale di Matrimonio (8:00 pm)
You can order tickets online here.

And Cappella Clausura, my early music professional women's chorus, is hosting a fundraising gala called "Kick the Habit!" It will be on Sunday, April 26th, 5:30pm-7:30pm at the home of Helena and Juergen Froehlich, 19 Prescott Street in Newtonville. There will be sparkling libations, light supper, and early music. There will also be some not so early music from classic carabet repertoire! The fundraiser will feature special guest Boston acclaimed soprano Nancy Armstrong. Tickets are $65 per person (or more if you want special sponsorship goodies.) You can read more about it and order seats online here.

Go support my groups so they can stay afloat and I can keep performing with them!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Continuing thoughts on Otello - Monday link

For those who were interested in my post on Otello, I recommend you read this wonderful speech by Wendy Doniger. It is called "Thinking More Critically About Thinking Too Critically," and was the convocation speech at the University of Chicago last June. She discusses dealing with prejudices we find horrifying in art that we love, and how to reach a point where "we can see how good some writers are despite the inhumanity of their underlying worldviews." (She is talking primarily about literature, but of course everything she says applies to music.)

Friday, April 03, 2009

Friday cat post! (barely)


I call this one "Trying to look innocent while simultaneously contemplating angles of attack."

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Weekend Concert Calendar, 4/2/09

I was putting this list together, and almost completely forgot to include my own two concerts this week! My group Zefiro will be singing on Friday at 8 pm at the Brickbottom Studios; and Anthology will be performing our "Songs of Protest and Social Unrest" concert on Sunday at 7:30 pm at St. James Episcopal Church in Farmington, CT. I know CT is a bit far out, but you should come to the Zefiro performance on Friday if possible!

Friday:

Zefiro (including me!) will perform a concert of Marian Antiphons, with music by Byrd, Victoria, Cornysh, Dufay, and others (including a dash of Poulenc.) This will be at 8 pm at the Brickbottom Gallery, 1 Fitchburg St., Somerville.

The Voices of Imani Gospel Choir at BC will present their spring concert of contemporary gospel and spirituals at 7:00 pm. The website still says "location TBA" so I would suggest checking out the BC website at regular intervals for more intervals. (Or just calling someone!)

The choruses of Boston University will present works by Haydn and Mendelssohn, including Haydn's St. Cecelia Mass, Mendelssohn's Magnificat and short works by Elgar, Mendelssohn, Bach, Patriquin, and Schubert. This concert will feature the Women's Chorale under the direction of Jamie Hillman, the Chamber Chorus under the direction of Ann Howard Jones, and the Concert Choir under the direction of Christopher Walters. This will be at 7:30 pm at Marsh Chapel, 735 Comm Ave, Boston.

Emmanuel Music will present Bach's St. Matthew Passion at 7:30 pm at Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St., Boston. Bound to be fantastic. This will be repeated on Sunday.

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 8:00 pm at First Lutheran Church, 299 Berkeley Street, Boston.

The Tallis Scholars are in town, courtesy of BEMF. They will be singing at 8 pm at St. Paul Church in Harvard Square, at the corner of Bow & Arrow Streets, Cambridge.

Saturday:

Check out GospelFest at MIT at 7:00 pm. An array of gospel groups from the greater Boston area will be participating. This will be at MIT's Kresge Auditorium, 48 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge.

The Unicorn Singers celebrate their 30th anniversary with a concert called "Te Deum Laudamus," settings by Handel, Haydn, Parsons and Britten. This will be at 8 pm at the House of Prayer Lutheran Church, 916 Main Street, Hingham. This concert will be repeated on Sunday.

Sunday:

Anthology will be performing "Songs of Protest and Social Unrest," including eight new works written just for us, at 7:30 pm at the St. James Episcopal Church in Farmington, CT.

Emmanuel Music will present Bach's St. Matthew Passion at 3:00 pm at Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St., Boston. Bound to be fantastic.

The choruses of Tufts and Brown join together for a concert of choral masterworks by Bach, Rachmaninoff, Whitacre, and a premiere by Travis Worthley. Conducted by Andrew Clark and L. Frederick Jodry. This will be at 3:00 pm at the Distler Performance Hall, 20 Talbot Ave.
Medford. And it's free!

The Unicorn Singers celebrate their 30th anniversary with a concert called "Te Deum Laudamus," settings by Handel, Haydn, Parsons and Britten. This will be at 3 pm at the House of Prayer Lutheran Church, 916 Main Street, Hingham.

Sorellanza, an a cappella chorus, will perform their spring concert "Dreams to Wish Upon" at 4:00 pm at the First Parish Unitarian Church, 225 Cabot St., Beverly.

Exsultemus will present Telemann's St. John Passion at 5:30 pm at First Lutheran Church, 299 Berkeley Street, Boston.

The choir of Old North Church in Marblehead will present Mozart's Requiem under the direction of Maria van Kalken. This will be at 7:00 pm at Old North Church, 35 Washington Street, Marblehead.

Belmont Open Sings will be hosting an open reading of Handel's Israel in Egypt. This will be at 7:30 pm at the Payson Park Church, 365 Belmont Street, Belmont.

Did I miss anything? Probably. The only way I was able to keep myself awake and focused on writing this entry was to listen to Fall Out Boy's "Sugar, We're Goin' Down," Hampton the Hampter's "Even Hamsters Fall in Love," and Mika's "Happy Ending" on constant shuffle. It's been one of those days. (I would like to point out here, in regards to the penultimate entry, that the beautiful thing about YouTube is that you don't have to watch the videos.)

So, leave whatever I missed in the comments!