In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
Named "among America's very best choirs" by American Record Guide, Seattle Pro Musica embarks on its 38th season in 2010-2011 with a trio of magical performances.
Established in 1972 as a small but ambitious chamber choir, today's distinguished ensemble consists of 70 talented singers with diverse backgrounds and a shared passion for beautiful and precise expressions of classical music. Seattle Pro Musica also has two smaller ensembles, the 24-voice Madrigalia chamber ensemble and the 15-voice women's Schola. They perform under the direction of award-winning conductor and artistic director, Karen P. Thomas.
Known for adventurous programming and compelling performances, Seattle Pro Musica performs a repertoire ranging from Medieval chant to choral and orchestral masterpieces to contemporary works-including American works with an emphasis on Northwest composers. Past seasons have featured numerous world and Seattle premieres.
Throughout their concert season, Seattle Pro Musica also brings choral music to audiences who might not otherwise have access to it, through both outreach appearances and a music education program designed to introduce students to the beauty and technical challenge of the choral art.
Seattle Pro Musica's outstanding contributions to music and the community are widely acknowledged. The ensemble has received the distinguished Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence and the ASCAP-Chorus America Award for Adventuresome Programming, and is currently a finalize for The American Prize. During the past year Seattle Pro Musica was a featured ensemble for the both ACDA (American Choral Directors Association) regional conference and the American Guild of Organists 2010 convention. The group has appeared on National Public Radio's Saint Paul Sunday and by invitation at prestigious choral events in the U. S. and Canada. The choir has received international praise in reviews of both CD recordings and live performances.
Seattle Pro Musica was one of thirteen choirs nationwide selected for the National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces Choral Initiative. Under the auspices of the NEA, Seattle Pro Musica hosted and produced the American Masterpieces Choral Festival in June 2007 and toured Washington and Oregon during the 2006-2007 season. A CD of this spectacular year, whose production was funded through the National Endowment for the Arts, was released to critical acclaim in April 2008.
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Review: Featuring Morten Lauridsen's stunning Madrigali: Six Firesongs on Italian Renaissance Poetry and pieces by Italian Renaissance composers Claudio Monteverdi and Carlo Gesualdo. The works of Monteverdi and Gesualdo inspired Lauridsen to write his Madrigali. Also includes Arvo Part's beautiful Magnificat and Karen P. Thomas' Medieval Lyrics, as well as works by Hildegard von Bingen, Frank Ferko and Guillaume Dufay.
Review: From 1880 to 1917 was a renaissance in Russian choral music, a great outpouring of sacred compositions by major composers such as Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Chesnokov and Kastalsky. While Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) only wrote a few choral works, they are among the crowning achievements of Russian choral music. "Vsenoshchnoye Bdeniye Op. 37 (Vespers)" encompasses a wealth of moods and emotion, ranging from meditative introspection to praise and proclamation. The 76-strong, award-winning Seattle Pro Musica is the perfect ensemble for this material, dramatically powerful on a piece like "Priidite, poklonimsya," (Come Let Us Worship), sweetly meditative on songs like "Blagoslovi, dushe moya, Gospoda" and "Shestopsalmiye: Slava v vyshnikh bogu" (The Six Psalms: Glory Be to God in the Highest), filled with wonder on "Tropar: Dnes spasneniye" (The Troparion: Thou didst Rise from the Tomb), and joyfully triumphant on "Vzbrannoy voyevode" (To Thee, the Victorious Leader). Truly wonderful, rarely-heard sacred music from one of great composers of all time.
Review: This large (76 mixed voices) award-winning (ASCAP Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music) brings us a sumptuous collection of sacred Christmas music by composers from the 16th century (Praetorius, Philipp Nicolai, Heinrich Schutz), to the 19th century (Brahms, Mendelssohn, Bruckner, Franz Gruber's "Stille Nacht") to the 20th century (the seven movements of Hugo Distler's "Chorale Motets from Die Weihnachtsgeschichte," Franz Biebl's "Ave Maria"). Biebl's "Ave Maria." A timeless piece like Praetorius' "In dulci jubilo," with its beautiful, ringing harmonies, soars and amazes as it did when first performed four hundred years ago!