Los Angeles Master Chorale Announces 2014-15 Season at Walt Disney Concert Hall; Choir’s 51st Season Features Transcendent Choral Works Spanning Five Centuries – from Renaissance Gems to Impactful World Premieres

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Press contact: Libby Huebner (562) 799-6055 [email protected]

Los Angeles Master Chorale Announces 201415 Season
at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Choir’s 51st Season Features Transcendent Choral Works
 Spanning Five Centuries –
from Renaissance Gems to Impactful World Premieres

Highlights Include:

  • 14 Performances Conducted by Critically Acclaimed Music Director Grant Gershon;
     
  • Compelling Mix of A Cappella Works, Premieres and Large-Scale Masterpieces for Symphonic Chorus;
     
  • World Premieres of Composer In Residence Shawn Kirchner’s Songs of Ascent, and New Commission by Nack-Kum Paik for Chorale’s Acclaimed “LA Is the World” Multi-Year Initiative featuring Joint Performance with Los Angeles Chamber Choir;
     
  • Disney Hall Premiere of Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light/The Passion of Joan of Arc, Based on and Performed to Legendary 1928 Silent Film The Passion of Joan of Arc, Considered among Top 10 Greatest Films Ever Made;
     
  • Reprise of Oscar and Grammy® Award-Winning Composer Tan Dun’s Extraordinary Water Passion After St. Matthew, First Performed by Chorale in 2005 and One of the Most Talked-About Concerts in Choir’s History;
     
  • 2 Major Choral Masterpieces – Historically Informed Performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra and Los Angeles Children’s Chorus; and Handel’s Messiah;
     
  • Works by Leading Contemporary Choral Composers Eric Whitacre, Arvo Pärt, Ariel Quintana,
    Jan Sandström, Franz Biebl and Francis Poulenc as well as such Renaissance Masters as William Byrd, Josquin des Prez and Thomas Tallis;

     
  • 4 Holiday Programs, including “Rejoice! A Cappella Christmas” Featuring 20th Anniversary Celebration of Morten Lauridsen’s Monumental O Magnum Mysterium, Written for and Premiered by Chorale in 1994;
     
  • 26th Annual High School Choir Festival;
     
  • 3 Additional Programs with LA Philharmonic at Disney Hall;

 

The Los Angeles Master Chorale (LAMC) – heralded around the globe for its unparalleled artistry and wide ranging repertoire – continues expanding and transforming the spectrum of choral music with two world premieres while also presenting Renaissance gems, a cappella masterpieces, contemporary classics and seminal large-scale works during the 2014-15 Season, its 51st, at Walt Disney Concert Hall.  Acclaimed Kiki & David Gindler Music Director Grant Gershon, “a first-rate conductor” (Opera News) who marks his 14th season at the choir’s helm, conducts 10 programs, 4 of which are repeated, for a total of 14 performances at Disney Hall.  The Grammy®-nominated Chorale, hailed as “inspired” (New York Times) and “a superb vocal ensemble” (The New York Observer), displays its skills as both a virtuosic symphonic chorus and a masterful a cappella tour de force with a season of carefully curated repertoire, featuring works by some 20 composers, nearly half of whom are active today, among them Swan Family Composer in Residence Shawn Kirchner, Tan Dun, Arvo Pärt, Eric Whitacre, Nack-Kum Paik, Richard Einhorn, Ariel Quintana, Jan Sandström and Morten Lauridsen.

“I’m very proud of the fact that over half of the music we will sing is by composers of our own time,” says Gershon.  “We celebrate the fact that the LA Master Chorale has built an ensemble and an audience that thrives on the full panorama of great music for voices.”

Season highlights include the world premiere of Kirchner’s most substantial piece to date, Songs of Ascent, a lyrical seven-moment work for voices and strings.  The Chorale also premieres as part of its acclaimed “LA is the World” multi-year initiative a new commission by Nack-Kum Paik for double choir, featuring the Los Angeles Chamber Choir, under the artistic direction of Chung Uk Lee.  Adding to LA’s reputation as the film capital of the word, the chorus opens the season with a multi-faceted program featuring the Disney Hall debut of Richard Einhorn’s “brilliantly effective” (Washington Post) 1994 work Voices of Light/The Passion of Joan of Arc, inspired by and performed to the 1928 silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc, a cinematic masterpiece thought to have been lost in a fire but discovered in 1981 and now considered among the 10 best films ever made. 

Notably, the Chorale also reprises Tan Dun’s extraordinary Water Passion After St. Matthew, in which water plays a remarkable percussive role as it is splashed, dripped, stirred, struck and more.  The choir gave the “splendid and adventurous” (Variety) LA premiere of the piece in 2005 that was praised for its “precision and vitality” (Los Angeles Times) and remains one of most talked-about concerts in the choir’s history.  In a nod to Tan Dun’s key inspiration for his piece – Bach’s Passion According to St. Matthew – the chorus presents, in a separate concert, a historically informed performance of this influential masterwork in collaboration with two of LA’s most highly regarded ensembles ­– Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, led by Martin Haselböck, and the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, under the direction of Anne Tomlinson.

“This is a season of passion, quite literally,” states Gershon.  “Bach’s St Matthew Passion, Tan Dun’s Water Passion after St. Matthew, and Richard Einhorn’s stunning score to the silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc give this season a strong sense of unity and spiritual center.”

A program of Renaissance gems features works by such masters as William Byrd, Josquin des Prez, Orlande de Lassu, John Taverner and Thomas Tallis.  To close the season, the Chorale’s 115 singers, accompanied by piano and organ, showcase the boundless harmonic imaginations of composer Eric Whitacre, a noted pioneer who has embraced the artistic potential of social media, and “mystic minimalist” Arvo Pärt, celebrated for his sensuous and reflective chant-like compositions.

The Master Chorale’s four holiday offerings include “Rejoice! A Cappella Christmas,” celebrating the 20th Anniversary of former composer in residence Morten Lauridsen’s monumental O Magnum Mysterium, written for and premiered by the chorus in December 1994, which has since become one of the most frequently performed choral works in modern history.  Other works on the program are 16th century Spanish composer Tomás Luis da Vittoria’s radiant O Magnum Mysterium, and several works by 20th and 21st century composers, including Poulenc’s Four Motets for Christmas, Franz Biebl’s Ave Maria, Jan Sandström’s Es ist ein Ros entsprungen (Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming), and former assistant conductor Ariel Quintana’s Hodie Christus natus est, Ave maris stella and Quem vidistis pastores.  Rounding out the seasonal fare are two concert performances of Handel’s glorious Messiah; “Festival of Carols,” a joyous program of favorite yuletide carols sung to perfection; and the Chorale’s ever-popular “Messiah Sing-Along,” in which the audience itself is the choir.

The Los Angeles Master Chorale opens the doors of Disney Hall to the public free-of-charge for its 26th Annual High School Choir Festival.  Serving as a vital force in training the next generation of singers and music lovers, the comprehensive yearlong program culminates with a performance conducted by Gershon of 900 high school students from more than two-dozen Southland high schools.

The Chorale, which is a founding resident company of the Music Center of Los Angeles County, continues to present “ListenUp!,” a series of lively pre-concert conversations providing insight into the evening’s program, with Gershon and KUSC Radio’s Alan Chapman.

In addition to presenting its own concert series, this season the Master Chorale appears in three programs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Disney Hall – Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and John Adams’ Harmonium, led by Gustavo Dudamel; Berlioz’ Romeo and Juliet, under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen; and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.

Season Detailed

Chorale Launches 2014-15 Season with LA Debut of Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light/The Passion of Joan of Arc Performed with Silent Film Masterpiece that Inspired the Choral Work on Sunday, October 19, 2014, 7 pm
The Los Angeles Master Chorale launches the 2014-15 season, its 51st, on Sunday, October 19, 2014, 7 pm, at Walt Disney Concert Hall, with a spectacular multi-faceted cinematic and aural event featuring the Disney Hall premiere of Richard Einhorn’s “brilliantly effective” (Washington Post) 1994 work Voices of Light/The Passion of Joan of Arc, inspired by the 1928 silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc.  Thought to have been lost in a warehouse fire, the film was discovered in a janitor’s closet of a Norwegian mental institution in 1981, and is now considered by critics to be among the 10 best films ever made.  Music Director Grant Gershon conducts the evocative piece, written for orchestra, chorus and soloists, accompanying a live screening of the rarely seen “restored” version of Carl Dreyer’s haunting cinematic masterpiece.  Previously performed to sold-out audiences at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Kennedy Center and Wolf Trap, among other venues, Einhorn’s music “beautifully accompanies the film” (Time) providing “an overwhelming experience” (Chicago Tribune) that is “timeless in its appeal” (Grand Rapids Press) and “cannot soon be forgotten” (Washington Post).

 “Richard Einhorn’s score to The Passion of Joan of Arc creates a unique and powerful concert experience,” says Gershon.  “It seems particularly fitting to present this intense and influential film in the movie capital of the world.”

Renaissance Music is Centerpiece of Concert Sunday, November 16, 2014, 7 pm
The Chorale’s season continues with a program of soaring Renaissance gems on Sunday, November 16, 2014, 7 pm, at Disney Hall.  Gershon conducts William Byrd’s Sing Joyfully, Josquin des Prez’s Ave nobilissima creatura, John Taverner’s Western Wind Mass, Thomas Tallis’s If Ye Love Me and Orlande de Lassus’s O Crux Splendidor, among other 16th and 17th century works that helped lift mankind out of the Middle Ages and promise to resonate in the sparkling acoustics of Disney Hall.

“The LA Master Chorale has a great affinity for the music of the Renaissance that goes back to our founding,” Gershon says.  “We chose music for this concert that embodies the sensuousness and purity of the sacred music of the era and will, no doubt, transform Disney Hall into a stainless steel cathedral.”

“Messiah Sing-Along” Beckons Do-It-Yourself Fans Sunday, December 7, 2014, 7 pm
Belting out the Hallelujah chorus has become an exhilarating and joyous rite of passage during the holidays, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s famed “Messiah Sing-Along” at Disney Hall conducted by Grant Gershon continues its reign as the ultimate must-do for sing-along fans on Sunday, December 7, 2014, 7 pm, at Disney Hall.  Sopranos, altos, tenors and basses of all levels – even those with no singing experience – are welcome to the 34th Annual Sing-Along, in which the 2,200-member audience becomes the choir.  The performance features a professional orchestra and a quartet of professional soloists from the Chorale. (Scores are available for sale in the lobby.)

Matinee Performance of “Festival of Carols” Adds Yuletide Cheer Saturday, December 13, 2014, 2 pm
The Los Angeles Master Chorale adds a generous dash of yuletide cheer with a matinee performance of its popular “Festival of Carols,” on Saturday, December 13, 2014, 2 pm, at Disney Hall.  New arrangements of cherished Christmas carols and traditional favorites, sung to savory perfection by 115 members of the Chorale under Grant Gershon’s baton, set a joyful tone to make this concert a highlight of the season.  Tickets for children 6-12 are discounted in all sections.  (Children under six not admitted.)   Festival of Carols is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts.

“Rejoice! A Cappella Christmas” Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Morten Lauridsen’s Monumental O Magnum Mysterium Sunday, December 14, 2014, 7 pm
“Rejoice! A Cappella Christmas” on Sunday, December 14, 2014, 7 pm, at Disney Hall, showcases the Chorale’s astonishingly pure sound and exquisite balance with a program that celebrates the 20th Anniversary of former composer in residence/National Medal of Arts recipient Morten Lauridsen’s monumental O Magnum Mysterium, written for and premiered by the chorus in December 1994, which has since become one of the most frequently performed choral works in modern history.  Gershon conducts the program, which encompasses a wide range of a cappella works from around the globe, including several from the last century, among them Lauridisen’s motet O Nata Lux; Poulenc’s exuberant Four Motets for Christmas, which, although written in Paris in 1952, is infused with Renaissance and Baroque spirit; Franz Biebl’s Ave Maria, the German composer’s best known work; Swedish composer Jan Sandström’s Es ist ein Ros entsprungen (Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming), a widely-performed eight-part a cappella setting written in 1990; and former assistant conductor Ariel Quintana’s richly layered Hodie Christus natus est, Ave maris stella and Quem vidistis pastores, all composed in the past 10 years.  Adding a delightful twist to the repertoire is 16th century Spanish composer Tomás Luis da Vittoria’s sublime O Magnum Mysterium.

Two Performances of Concert Version of Handel’s Messiah Wrap Holiday Programming Wednesday, December 17, 7:30 pm, and Sunday, December 21, 2014, 7 pm
Adding a final flourish to the holiday season, the Los Angeles Master Chorale presents two performances of a concert version of Handel’s Messiah on Wednesday, December 17, 7:30 pm, and Sunday, December 21, 2014, 7 pm, at Disney Hall.  Featuring 48 members of the acclaimed chorus, orchestra and four gifted soloists from the Chorale’s ranks, the concert provides the opportunity to hear this riveting oratorio – rich with soaring high notes, powerful bass, majestic brass and lush orchestrations – performed by what many critics consider to be the best chorus in the country.  Composed in a mere 24 days, Handel’s 1741 English-language oratorio may be the most performed classical work of all time.  It is set to the libretto by Charles Jennens, who drew texts from the King James and Great Bibles.

“Handel’s Messiah is the ultimate musical stocking stuffer,” says Gershon.  “It is universally beloved and is thrilling to conduct, especially in Disney Hall with its unparalleled acoustics.” 

Chorale Presents Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra and Los Angeles Children’s Chorus Saturday, January 31, 2 pm, and Sunday, February 1, 2015, 7 pm
The Los Angeles Master Chorale – in collaboration with Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, one of the country’s leading period instrument ensembles, and the acclaimed Los Angeles Children’s Chorus – presents two historically informed performances of Bach’s towering masterwork Passion According to St. Matthew, “one of the pillars of Western sacred music” (National Public Radio), on Saturday, January 31, 2 pm, and Sunday, February 1, 2015, 7 pm, at Disney Hall.  Bach’s musical interpretation of the biblical passion story was written for Good Friday vesper services nearly 300 years ago, but continues to deeply touch and inspire audiences around the globe with its message of humanity.  This marks the sixth collaboration between the Chorale and Musica Angelica, hailed for its commanding performances “stylishly played” (Los Angeles Times).  The Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, under the direction of Anne Tomlinson, which frequently performs with the Chorale, has been called “one of the world’s foremost children’s choirs” (Pasadena Star News), and described by critics as “hauntingly beautiful” (Los Angeles Times) and “astonishingly polished” (Performances Magazine).  The Chorale has previously performed St. Matthew Passion 12 times (4 times on its own concert series and 8 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic).

World Premieres of Swan Family Composer In Residence Shawn Kirchner’s Songs of Ascent and New Commission by Nack-Kum Paik for Chorale’s “LA is the World” Initiative Both Touch on Theme of Epic Pilgrimages on Sunday, March 8, 2015, 7 pm
Continuing its vital role of expanding the choral music repertoire, the 115-member Los Angeles Master Chorale, led by Gershon, presents two world premieres on Sunday, March 8, 2015, 7 pm, at Disney Hall, both based on the themes of epic pilgrimages, set at opposite ends of the earth.  They include Swan Family Composer In Residence Shawn Kirchner’s most ambitious piece to date, Songs of Ascent, a lyrical seven-moment work for voices and strings set to the psalms pilgrims sang on their journey to Jerusalem.  The other is an “LA Is the World” commission, the Chorale’s sixth, which showcases a new work by Korean-American composer Nack-Kum Paik for double choir and will be performed with the Los Angeles Chamber Choir, under the artistic direction of Chung Uk Lee.  The acclaimed “LA is the World” initiative was conceived by Gershon as a collaboration among American composers, master musicians and the choir to expand the choral repertoire with works that mirror LA’s vibrant multi-cultural fabric and is funded in part by the James Irvine Foundation.

“Everything that Shawn Kirchner touches turns to musical gold,” Gershon observes.  “The Chorale and I are tremendously excited to present a major new work from our dear friend and colleague.  And we are so eager to collaborate with Nack-Kum Paik, an extremely talented composer who looks forward to writing a new piece for the Chorale.”

Back-to-Back Performances of Tan Dun’s Water Passion Set for Saturday, April 11, 2 pm, and Sunday, April 12, 2015, 7 pm
The Chorale reprises Oscar and Grammy® Award-winning composer Tan Dun’s extraordinary Water Passion After St. Matthew – in which water takes center stage as it flows, drips, gurgles, splashes, bubbles and crashes to create a staggering array of percussive sounds – with back-to-back performances conducted by Gershon on Saturday, April 11, 2 pm, and Sunday, April 12, 2015, 7 pm, at Disney Hall.  The choir gave the “splendid and adventurous” (Variety) LA premiere of the piece in 2005 that was praised for its “precision and vitality” (Los Angeles Times) and remains one of the most talked-about concerts in the choir’s history. 

Written for choir, soloists, chamber ensemble and 10 illuminated water bowls, The Water Passion “plays with watery symbols of baptism, creation and rebirth” (Newsday).  It is also drenched with metaphysical metaphors for cleansing and renewal that recall ancient Chinese water rituals from the village where Tan Dun grew up.  Whispers, shouts, chants, laughter, Mongolian overtone singing and the high-pitched “calligraphy” of Eastern Opera vocal traditions emerge from the chorus as they play river stones and Tibetan finger bells and rattle ominous thunder sheets.  Moments of shattering intensity and frenzy contrast with silence and stillness.  The piece was commissioned by Helmuth Rilling for the 250th Anniversary of the death of J.S. Bach.

Music of Eric Whitacre and Arvo Pärt Concludes Season Saturday, May 16, 2 pm, and Sunday, May 17, 2015, 7 pm
The boundless harmonic imaginations of American composer Eric Whitacre, a noted pioneer who has embraced the artistic potential of social media, and Estonian “mystic minimalist” Arvo Pärt, celebrated for his sensuous and reflective chant-like compositions, are featured on the Chorale’s season-closing concert on Saturday, May 16, 2 pm, and Sunday, May 17, 2015, at 7 pm.  The Chorale, conducted by Gershon and accompanied by piano and organ, showcase Whitacre’s Lux Aurumque, Sleep, Water Night, The City and the Sea, and Siante Chapelle.  Gershon also conducts Pärt’s Morning Star, Missa Syllabica, Cantate Domino, Veni Creator, and Solfeggio.

“No one writes more beautifully and more soulfully for voices than Arvo Pärt and Eric Whitacre, two composers who the Master Chorale has championed in recent years,” explains Gershon.  “We end the season as we began, with music of today that resonates with timeless purity and joy.”

Special Events

Los Angeles Master Chorale Hosts Annual Gala on Sunday, March 1, 2015, 6 pm
A spectacular black-tie gala benefit celebrating the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s remarkable artistry is planned for Sunday, March 1, 2015, 6 pm, at Walt Disney Concert Hall.  The evening includes a special performance by the Chorale, a sumptuous sit-down dinner, dancing and an auction.

26th Annual High School Choir Festival Set for May 1, 2015
The Chorale opens the doors of the Walt Disney Concert Hall to the city free-of-charge for its 26th Annual Los Angeles Master Chorale High School Choir Festival slated for May 1, 2015.  One of the largest high school choir festivals in the nation, it showcases the remarkable vocal talents of more than 800 high school students from some two dozen Southland schools in a massive choir conducted by Grant Gershon.  The community is welcome to enjoy the vitality and power of these young voices raised in song in the splendid setting of Disney Hall.

Other Engagements

Chorale Appears in Three Programs with LA Philharmonic at Disney Hall
In addition to presenting its own concert series, the Los Angeles Master Chorale continues its close partnership with the LA Philharmonic, its fellow resident company at Walt Disney Concert Hall, appearing in three programs with the acclaimed orchestra at Disney Hall.  The engagements include four performances of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and John Adams’ Harmonium led by Gustavo Dudamel (October 9-12, 2014); and three performances each of Berlioz’ Romeo and Juliet under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen (November 7-9, 2014), and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas (January 9-11, 2015).

Ticket Information
For further information about the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 201415 season at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, please call (213) 972-7282, or visit www.lamc.org.               
                                                                                   
# # #               
(Program and artists subject to change.)

LA Master Chorale 2014-15 Season
Grant Gershon, Music Director

Performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall Listed Chronologically

Voices of Light
Sunday, October 19, 2014 – 7 pm

115 singers | orchestra | soloists | film projection
Richard Einhorn | Voices of Light/The Passion of Joan of Arc

Renaissance: Reawakened
Sunday, November 16, 2014  – 7 pm
36 singers
John Taverner | Western Wind Mass
William Byrd | Sing Joyfully
Josquin des Prez | Ave nobilissima creatura
Orlande de Lassus | O Crux Splendidor
Thomas Tallis | If Ye Love Me
And other 16th and 17th century works

Messiah Sing-Along
Sunday, December 7, 2014 – 7 pm
chamber orchestra | soloists | Audience is the Chorus!
Handel | Messiah

Festival of Carols
Saturday, December 13, 2014 – 2 pm

115 singers | pipe organ | piano
Favorite Christmas Carols

Rejoice! A Cappella Christmas
Sunday, December 14, 2014 – 7 pm
62 singers
Morten Lauridsen | O Magnum Mysterium
Francis Poulenc | Four Motets for Christmas
Franz Biebl | Ave Maria
Tomás Luis da Vittoria | O Magnum Mysterium
Morten Lauridsen | O Nata Lux
Ariel Quintana | Hodie Christus natus est, Ave maris stella, Quem vidistis pastores
Jan Sandström | Es ist ein Ros entsprungen (Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming)
And other sublime a cappella works

Handel: Messiah
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 – 7:30 pm
Sunday, December 21, 2014 – 7 pm
48 Singers | chamber orchestra | soloists
Handel | Messiah

Bach: St. Matthew Passion
Saturday, January 31, 2015 – 2 pm
Sunday, February 1, 2015 – 7 pm
40 singers | Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra | Los Angeles Children’s Chorus | soloists
Bach | Passion According to St. Matthew

Songs of Ascent
Sunday, March 8, 2015 – 7 pm
115 singers | string orchestra
Shawn Kirchner | Songs of Ascent WORLD PREMIERE
Nack-Kum Paik | LA is the World WORLD PREMIERE
     with the Los Angeles Chamber Choir
     Chung Uk Lee, artistic director

The Water Passion
Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 2 pm
Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 7 pm
62 singers | percussion and solo instruments | soloists
Tan Dun | Water Passion After St. Matthew

Music of Whitacre & Pärt
Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 2 pm
Sunday, May 17, 2015 at 7 pm
115 singers | organ | piano
MUSIC OF ERIC WHITACRE            MUSIC OF ARVO PÄRT
Lux Aurumque                             Morning Star
Sleep                                         Missa Syllabica
Water Night                                Cantate Domino
The City and the Sea                    Veni Creator
Sainte Chapelle                           Solfeggio

**********************************
For more information or a free brochure
, call
213-972-7282 or visit www.lamc.org

All performances held at Walt Disney Concert Hall,
and conducted by Grant Gershon.

Programs and artists subject to change.

Walt Disney Concert Hall is located at:
111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012

# # #

(02/07/14)

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