In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
Dennis Keene is Artistic Director and conductor of the Voices of Ascension Chorus & Orchestra. Known internationally through his many concerts and recordings with Voices of Ascension; his regular guest appearances as conductor and clinician; and his work as Artistic Director of The Dennis Keene Choral Festival, he has emerged as one of leading choral conductors in the world today.
Recognized early as an exceptional organist, Dennis Keene began musical studies and performing in his native Los Angeles. He moved to New York City to study at The Juilliard School, where he earned the BM, MM, and DMA degrees and the coveted Gaston Dethier Organ Prize as a student of Vernon de Tar. Dr. Keene also studied privately in Paris with Marie-Madeleine DuruflŽ, AndrŽ Marchal, and AndrŽ Isoir. Dennis Keene was active as a recitalist until his interest in conducting led him to concentrate on that discipline. He subsequently studied conducting at the Pierre Monteux School for Orchestral Conductors, with Charles Bruck in Paris, and with John Nelson at The Juilliard School. His passion for the finest in professional choral music can be traced to his early work as organist with Gregg Smith, Roger Wagner, and Margaret Hillis.
In addition to his work with Voices of Ascension and The Dennis Keene Choral Festival, Dr. Keene continues as Organist and Choirmaster of Church of the Ascension in New York City. He served for many years on the Board of Directors of Chorus America, the national service organization for the choral field, which honored him with the first Louis Botto Award for "innovative action and entrepreneurial zeal in developing a professional ensemble of exceptional artistic quality." He has also served on the Choral Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts and on the Music Panel of the New York State Council on the Arts. From 1998 to 2003 Maestro Keene presented a major summer institute for the training of conductors and singers: The Dennis Keene Choral Festival, in Kent, Connecticut.
In 1993 he began his recording association with Delos International, with which he has recorded such best-selling CD's as Beyond Chant, The DuruflŽ Album, and the Berlioz Te Deum. This series of highly acclaimed recordings with Voices of Ascension has secured international recognition for both conductor and chorus and become the standard for first-ranked ensembles worldwide.
Displaying 1-9 of 9 items.
Songlist: Te Deum, Op. 22:, Te Deum, Tibi omnes, Dignare, Christe, Rex gloriae, Te ergo quaesumus, Judex crederis, Spoken Commentary by Dennis Keene:, Introductory comments, Te Deum commentary, Tibe omnes commentary, Dignare commentary, Christe, Rex gloriae commentary, Te ergo quaesumus commentary, Judex crederis commentary
Review: review pending
Songlist: Sicut Cervus, Ave Maria, Justorum Animae, Jesu Rex admirabilis, Exultate Deo, Exultate Justi, Jesu, Dulcis Memoria, Ave Verum Corpus, Psalm 90, Psalm 96, Hodie Christus Natus, O Maria Virgo Pia, Tu Pauperum Refugium, O Sacrum Convivium, If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments, Hosanna to the Son of David, O Quam Goriosum, Selig sind die Toten, Heu Nos Miseros, Exaltabo Te, O Sing Joyfully, O Magnum Mysterium, Laudate Nomen, Cantate Domino
Review: The voices of Ascension sing new choral arrangements of favorite Kern songs - in styles ranging from swinging Browdway (I Won't Dance; Can't Help Singing) to a timeless classical tone (All The Things You Are; Smoke Gets in Your Eyes). Dennis Keene's talented singers are accompanied variously by orchestra, harp, and string quartet, leading to some surprising moments such as a solo oboe emerging from the orchestra in a poignant Long Ago and Far Away. There is also the beautiful a cappella singing listeners have come to expect from Voices of Ascension - as in the rich 8-part version of All The Things You Are.
Songlist: Can't Forget You, All The Tings You Are, I Won't Dance, Don't Ever Leave Me, Pick Yourself Up, Make Believe, Why Was I Born Born, A Fine Romance, Can't Help Singing, They Didn't Believe Me, The Song Is You , Long Ago And Far Away, I'm Old Fashioned, You Couldn't Be Cuter, The Way You Look Tonight, Ol' Man River, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Yesterdays, Don't Ever Leave Me
Review: Voices of Ascension evolved from a 1989 concert series of Church of the Ascension in NYC, when Dennis Keene directed the Ascension choir in a major music festival, "Tribute to Durufle," a retrospective of the French composer that drew international attention. The following year the group incorporated separately from the church as Voices of Ascension. The number of singers in the professional ensemble varies from 20 to 40, among the finest and most skilled ensemble singers and soloists in the country. Metropolitan Opera star Hei-Kyung Hong blesses the VOA with a lyric soprano voice of uncommon beauty and warmth. 15 selections; right from the beginning Randall Thompson's soaring a cappella "Alleluia" and Mozart's "Laudate Dominum" show off the amazing soprano voice of Hei-Kyung Hong. Two by Pablo Casals, "Tota Pulchra" and "Nigra Sum," Felix Mendelsson's "Hear My Prayer" and Durufle's "Tu es Petrus" make it abundantly clear that we are in the presence of greatness. Nicolai Tolstiakov's "Blagoslovi, dushe moya, Ghospoda (Bless the Lord, O My Soul)," Tchaikovsky's "Bazheni, yazhe izbral (How blessed are they)," Charles Villiers Stanford's "Beati quorum via" and the final cut, Mendelssohn's "Happy and blessed are they" leave us in stunned silence after listening to the angels. Some organ accompaniment. Amazing!
Songlist: And I Saw a New Heaven, Alleluia , Laudate Dominum , Tota Pulchra , Nigra Sum, Hear My Prayer , I was glad when they said unto me , Tu es Petrus , Panis angelicus , Like as the Hart, Blagoslovi dushe moya, Ghospoda (Bless the Lord, O My Soul) , Blazheni, yazhe izbral (How blessed are they), Pieta, Signore, Beati quorum via , Happy and blessed are they
Review: "Mysteries" is a very special collection of the Keene's and the Voices of Ascension's favorite pieces from many periods and countries having to do with Mary, mother of Jesus. Two of our favorites are two of the oldest pieces on the recording, the lovely a cappella "Alma Redemptoris Mater" by Giovanni Palestrina and Tomas Luis de Victoria's classic "Ave Maria." Other favorites are Anton Bruckner's "Gradual: Os Justi," Gabriel Faure's "Tantum Ergo," which only grows more beautiful with repeated hearings, Schubert's "Die Allmacht" and "Psalm 23," Pablo Casals' "Eucaristica," Charles Gounod's "Ave Maria," and Felix Mendelssohn's "Psalm 43." Some light accompaniment by harp, piano and organ. New York City's 38-strong, mixed-voice Voices of Ascension is one of our favorite choirs recording sacred music, and "Mysteries" is an inspiring joy from the first cut to the last!
Songlist: Alma Redemptoris Mater, Gradual: Os Justi , Tantum Ergo , Ave Maria , Ave Maria , Tota Pulchra Es , Ave Maria , Die Allmacht, Ave Maria , Eucaristica , Ave Maria , Psalm 23 , Psalm 43 , Ave Maria , Cantique de Jean Racine , Ubi Caritas
Review: One of the finest (and most prolific) mixed choirs recording sacred music we have heard, NYC's exquisite Voices of Ascension turns their attention to Giovanni Pierluigi de Palestrina, the most famous Italian composer of his day. Laid to rest in one of the side chapels of St. Peter's in Rome at his death in 1594, the plaque on his coffin is inscribed "Prince of Music." Included here are the 6-part "Missa Papae Marcelli" and the 7th part, "Agnus Dei II," 8 "Motets and Offertories," and bonus tracks "Alma Redemptoris Mater," "Sicut cervus" and its second part, "Sitivit anima mea." The music is all a cappella, and to listen to any random movement, such as "Credo," "Sanctus," "Tue es Petrus" or "Peccantem me quotidie" is to hear the songs of angels, some of the most beautiful a cappella music ever written!
Songlist: Missa Papae Marcelli ~ Kyrie eleison, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, Angus Dei I, Secundum multitudinem, Tu es Petrus, Dum complerentur, O Domine Jesu Christe, Super flumina Babilonis, Canite tuba, Rorate coeli, Peccantem me quotidie, Agnus Dei II, Alma Redemptoris Mater, Sicut cervus, Sitivit anima mea
Review: A rich musical heritage and vibrant contemporary culture intersect in Catalunya in north-eastern Spain. Granados's long-lost masterpiece Song of the Stars is comparable to a virtuoso piano concerto with chorus and organ rather than orchestra, gloriously combining Romantic-Modernista poetry with post-Wagnerian harmonies. The internationally famous cellist Pau Casals also composed a small body of very beautiful music, including the deeply spiritual choral works on this disc. Morera's The Nightingale and Blancafort's Love Song are evocative of their Catalan texts, while Oltra's Echo and Prelude explore themes of memory and hope through images of nature.
Songlist: Rosarium Beate Birginis Mariae, Recordare, Virgo Mater, Salve Regina, Nigra Sum, El Rossinyol, Romanza, Ave Maria, Escena Religiosa, Cant D'amour, Eco, Preludio, Cant de les Estrelles
Review: Organist and Choirmaster of the Church of the Ascension Dennis Keene has dedicated a large part of his career to the music of Maurice Durufle, having conducted all of the French composer's choral works in performance. Here are Durufle's finest sacred works, the 9 soaring, dramatic movements of "Requiem, Op. 9," "Messe 'Cum Jubilo," Op. 11," and the lovely short piece, "Notre Pere." All orchestra-accompanied with some nice viola, violoncello, horn and harp solos. Vocal solos by Patricia Spence and Francois Le Roux are standouts. The Voices of Ascension is one of our favorite mixed choirs and "Album" is a wonderful collection of works by the master 20th century sacred composer.
Songlist: Introit, Kyrie, Domine Jesu Christe, Sanctus, Pie Jasu, Agnus Dei , Lux aeterna, Liberma me, In Paradisum, Kyrie, Gloria , Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei , Notre Pere
Review: With this recording New York City's Voices of Ascension and Conductor Keene celebrate the 900th birthday of one of the most remarkable creative spirits of the Middle Ages, the Abbess Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179). Although some musicians embellish Hildegard's single line chants with additional parts, the Voices of Ascension's approach is to present the inspired poetry and music of this mystic visionary "pure," without any contemporary additions. We are hearing, in these 14 haunting pieces, the Women of the Voices of Ascension, a mixed-voice choir on all their other excellent recordings. Soloists Kathy Theil, Michele Eaton, Alexandra Montano and Allessandra Visconti are particularly wonderful on cuts like "O virga ac diadema," "Vos Flores Rosarum," "Et Ideo," "O Pastor animarum,""Caritas Abundat," "Ave, generosa" and "O Jerusalem, aurea civitatus." All beautiful, soaring a cappella. This is simple, powerful music that touches and speaks to us across more than 8 centuries, in a way that its composer could never have imagined.
Songlist: O virga ac diadema, O viridissima virga, Vos Flores Rosarum, O Ecclesia, Columba aspexit, Et Ideo, O Euchari columba, O Pastor animarum, O clarissima mater, Caritas Abundat, O presul vere civitatis, Ave, generosa, Unde Quocumque, O lerusalem, aurea civitatis
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