Los Angeles Master Chorale Announces 2015-16 Season at Walt Disney Concert Hall; Critically Acclaimed Artistic Director Grant Gershon to Conduct 15 Performances during Choir’s 52nd Season of Innovation

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Los Angeles Master Chorale Announces 2015-16 Season
at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Critically Acclaimed Artistic Director Grant Gershon to Conduct
15 Performances during Choir’s 52nd Season of Innovation

Season Highlights Include:
•    “Made In L.A.,” Spotlighting Four Chorale-Commissioned World Premieres by LA-Based Composers, Nilo Alcala, Paul Chihara, Moira Smiley and “House of Cards” composer Jeff Beal;

•    Launch of Major Multi-Year “Hidden Handel,” Featuring Semi-Staged/Multimedia Productions of Five of Composer’s Great but Underrepresented Oratorios Designed in Collaboration with Leading Directors and Artists and Commencing with Partially-Staged Production of Handel’s Alexander’s Feast Created for Chorale by Eminent Stage Director Trevore Ross;    

•    US Premiere of Russian-Born Composer Sofia Gubaidulina’s Intimate Canticle of the Sun Featuring Celebrated Cellist Robert deMaine as Part of All-Russian Program also Including Works by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Gretchaninov;

•    West Coast Premiere of Julia Wolfe’s “Profound” Anthracite Fields about Pennsylvanian Coal Region with Bang On A Can All-Stars and Stunning Multimedia Backdrop by Visual Artist and Scenic Designer Jeff Sugg;

•    Verdi’s Requiem with Leading Soloists Amber Wagner, Soprano, Michelle DeYoung, Mezzo Soprano, Joshua Guerrero, Tenor, and Morris Robinson, Bass;

•    Chorale’s First-Ever Performance of Gregorio Allegri’s Revered Miserere on Program of Sonic Masterworks Spanning Six Centuries;

•    Four Sparkling Holiday Programs, Including “Rejoice! Brass Tidings,” Featuring Blazing Brass Ensemble and Organ Virtuoso Szymon Grab; and

•    27th Annual High School Choir Festival
The Los Angeles Master Chorale (LAMC) – heralded around the globe for its unparalleled artistry and wide-ranging repertoire – announces its 2015|16 Season, its 52nd, at Walt Disney Concert Hall.  Acclaimed Kiki & David Gindler Artistic Director Grant Gershon, “a first-rate conductor” (Opera News) who marks his 15th season at the choir’s helm, conducts 10 programs shaped by his keen creative vision, 5 of which are repeated, for a total of 15 performances at Disney Hall.  The innovative season features numerous world, US and West Coast premieres as well as semi-staged and multi-media concerts designed to provide an immersive experience.

Significant highlights from the season include “Made in L.A.,” spotlighting four Chorale-commissioned world premieres by LA-based composers Jeff Beal, Nilo Alcala, Paul Chihara and Moira Smiley as well as works by Angelenos Dale Trumbore, Matthew Brown, Morten Lauridsen and Shawn Kirchner (November 15, 2015).  The chorus also launches “Hidden Handel,” a major new five-year initiative featuring semi-staged and multimedia productions of five of the composer’s great but underrepresented oratorios designed in collaboration with some of the arts world’s leading directors and artists, starting with the highly anticipated partially staged production of Handel’s Alexander’s Feast created for the Chorale by eminent stage director Trevore Ross (April 16 and 17, 2016).  In subsequent seasons, Gershon is slated to lead productions of Handel’s Saul, Israel in Egypt, Theodora and Samson.

The Chorale’s season opens with “The Russian Evolution,” an all-Russian program anchored by the US premiere of eminent Russian-born composer Sofia Gubaidulina’s intimate Canticle of the Sun, written for famed cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and featuring renowned LA Philharmonic Principal Cellist Robert deMaine.  It also includes selections from Tchaikovsky’s Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil, as well as Gretchaninov’s Cherubic Hymn and other Russian choral masterworks (September 26 and 27, 2015).

Bang On A Can All-Stars joins the Chorale for the West Coast Premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields, described by the LA Times as “a major, profound work.”  Performed with a stunning multimedia backdrop by celebrated visual artist and scenic designer Jeff Sugg, the text weaves together the oral histories, interviews, union speeches and even accident reports from the Pennsylvania mining region at the turn of the 19th century.  Additionally, the program, entitled “Music of the Coal Miner,” includes songs and spirituals of Appalachian coal miners (March 6, 2016).

The Chorale also gives two performances of the thrilling and virtuosic Verdi Requiem with full orchestra and acclaimed soloists Amber Wagner, soprano, Michelle DeYoung, mezzo soprano, Joshua Guerrero, tenor, and Morris Robinson, bass (January 30 and 31, 2016).

The season concludes with “Sonic Masterworks,” a spectacularly eclectic array of a cappella gems spanning six centuries, each of which Gershon describes as “sonically overwhelming,” among them the Chorale’s first-ever performance of Gregorio Allegri’s revered Miserere; Antonio Lotti’s Crucifixus; Pulitzer prize-winning composer Steven Stucky’s Three New Motets; György Ligeti’s Lux Aeterna, made famous by Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey; Abbie Betinis’ Envoi, simulating the sounds of a mass migration of butterflies; and Anders Hillborg’s Muoayiyoum, evoking the surreal beauty of the Aurora Borealis in the Scandinavian winter sky (June 5, 2016).

The Chorale also offers four distinctive holiday concerts in December, among them “Festival of Carols,” a joyous celebration of favorite yuletide carols and songs sung to perfection by the chorus’ 110 singers (December 5 and 12, 2015), two concert performances of Handel’s glorious Messiah (December 6 and 20, 2015), and the ever-popular “Messiah Sing-Along,” in which the audience itself is the choir (December 16, 2015).  Additionally, organ virtuoso Szymon Grab and blazing brass ensemble add sonorous sparkle to “Rejoice! Brass Tidings,” which heralds the season with such classics as Daniel Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata for chorus and double brass, Giovanni Gabrieli’s Christmas Motets for double and triple choirs, John Rutter’s Gloria and Shawn Kirchner’s Behold New Joy: Ancient Carols of Christmas, composed as a companion piece to Rutter’s jubilant opus (December 13, 2015).

The Los Angeles Master Chorale opens the doors of Disney Hall to the public free-of-charge for its 27th Annual High School Choir Festival (April 22, 2016).  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.

Season Details

Chorale Opens 2015|16 Season with US Premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Canticle of the Sun Featuring Celebrated Cellist Robert deMaine on Saturday, September 26, 2 pm, and Sunday, September 27, 2015, 7 pm
The Los Angeles Master Chorale, led by Artistic Director Grant Gershon, launches the 2015|16 season, its 52nd, with “The Russian Evolution,” featuring Russian choral works grand and intimate, including the US premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina’s seminal Canticle of the Sun, “a glorious sonic cloudburst” (New Zealand Herald) based on the nature-centric writings of St. Francis of Assisi and composed for chamber choir, percussion and virtuoso cello, featuring celebrated Los Angeles Philharmonic Principal Cellist Robert deMaine, on Saturday, September 26, 2 pm, and Sunday, September 27, 2015, 7 pm, at Disney Hall. Gershon contrasts Gubaidulina’s ethereal piece and unleashes the full power of the Chorale’s 110 voices with lush, harmonic, mostly a cappella music composed in the 19th and 20th centuries for large choirs, including selections from Tchaikovsky’s Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil, as well as Gretchaninov’s Cherubic Hymn and other Russian choral masterworks.

Gubaidulina wrote Canticle of the Sun in 1997 on the occasion of the 70th birthday of virtuosic cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, who premiered it in 1998.  Paying tribute to “the cellist’s famously sunny disposition” (All Music), Gubaidulina says she made “the choral part very restrained, even secretive, putting all the expression in the hands of the cellist and percussionists.”  Gershon describes Gubaidulina, who grew up impoverished during the Soviet era but found refuge in nature and her deeply held spiritualism, as a “mystic who marches to her own drummer, composing deep and profound music.”

World Premieres of Four Chorale Commissions by Angelenos Jeff Beal, Nilo Alcala, Paul Chihara and Moira Smiley Anchor “Made in L.A.” Sunday, November 15, 2015, 7 pm
Championing established and up-and-coming composers closely affiliated with the City of Angels, the Los Angeles Master Chorale presents “Made in L.A.,” highlighted by four Chorale-commissioned world premieres by Paul Chihara, a prolific composer celebrated for works “sleek and luxuriously colored” (New York Times), Emmy Award-nominated House of Cards composer Jeff Beal, new-to-the-Chorale “vocal shape-shifter” Moira Smiley and Filipino-American composer Nilo Alcala, whose new choral work features Subla, a Filipino kulintang ensemble led by master musician Danny Kalanduyan, on Sunday, November 15, 2015, 7 pm, at Disney Hall. Gershon, who conducts the concert, further showcases LA’s deep pool of talented composers with Dale Trumbore’s The Whole Sea in Motion, set to text from the 1907 novel Agnes Grey by British author Anne Brontë; Matthew Brown’s wistful Another Lullaby for Insomniacs, set to a poem by A. E. Stallings; National Medal of Arts recipient Morten Lauridsen’s richly textured Ave Maria; and Shawn Kirchner’s soaring Memorare, an a cappella setting of the beloved Marian devotional prayer.  Alcala’s piece completes the final chapter of the Chorale’s acclaimed LA is the World commissioning series, a multi-year initiative 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.  It is funded in part by the James Irvine Foundation.

The program also reveals the considerable impact an established composer can have on those new to the scene.  For nearly 50 years, Lauridsen, former LAMC composer in residence, has been educating and inspiring the next generation of American choral composers at the University of Southern California, including alums Trumbore and Brown, whose works share their mentor’s impeccable craftsmanship and who have earned critical acclaim of their own, Trumbore for her “soaring melodies and beguiling harmonies” (New York Times) and Brown for creating “ravishingly beautiful sounds” (Classical Net).

Says Gershon, “Los Angeles has consistently nurtured incredibly innovative composers, artists and musicians and introduced them to the world.  By aligning the Chorale with the next wave of creative talents, we can truly make the strongest possible impact on the future of choral music.”

Two Matinee Performances of “Festival of Carols” Herald the Holidays Saturday, December 5 and Saturday, December 12, 2015, 2 pm
The Los Angeles Master Chorale adds a generous dash of yuletide cheer with two matinee performances of its popular “Festival of Carols,” on consecutive Saturdays, December 5 and 12, 2015, 2 pm, at Disney Hall.  New arrangements of cherished Christmas carols and traditional favorites, performed by 110 members of the Chorale under Grant Gershon’s baton, set a joyful tone.  The event has been proclaimed a “magical” (Time Out) “heartfelt spectacle” (Downtown News) “guaranteed to put you in the mood to decorate the tree” (Family Savvy).  Tickets for children 6-12 are discounted in all sections.  (Children under 6 not admitted.)

Seasonal Programming Continues with Two Performances of Handel’s Messiah Sundays, December 6 and 20, 2015, 7 pm
Adding special musical flourish to the holiday season, the Los Angeles Master Chorale presents two performances of its critically acclaimed concert version of Handel’s Messiah on Sunday, December 6 and Sunday, December 20, 2015, 7 pm.  Featuring 48 members of the Grammy-nominated 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 beautiful orchestrations – performed by what many critics consider to be the best chorus in the country.  Composed in just 24 days, Messiah continues to be the composer’s most popular work and may well be the most performed classical work of all time.

Organ Virtuoso Szymon Grab and Blazing Brass Ensemble Add Sparkle to “Rejoice! Brass Tidings” with Music by John Rutter, Daniel Pinkham, Shawn Kirchner and Giovanni Gabrieli on Sunday, December 13, 2015, 7 pm
Organ virtuoso Szymon Grab and a blazing brass ensemble add sonorous sparkle to “Rejoice! Brass Tidings,” which celebrates the season with such classics as Daniel Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata for chorus and double brass, Giovanni Gabrieli’s Christmas Motets for double and triple choirs, John Rutter’s Gloria and Shawn Kirchner’s Behold New Joy: Ancient Carols of Christmas, composed as a companion piece to Rutter’s jubilant opus, on Sunday, December 13, 2015, 7 pm.  Gershon also conducts captivating arrangements of favorite Christmas carols.

“Messiah Sing-Along” Hails Do-It-Yourself Fans Wednesday, December 16, 2015, 8 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 Wednesday, December 16, 2015, 8 pm, at Disney Hall.  Sopranos, altos, tenors and basses of all levels – even those with no singing experience – are welcome to the 35th 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.)  Setting a festive visual mood as well, audience members “often dress up for the event, donning everything from formal wear to Christmas sweaters” (Downtown News).
Verdi Requiem Features Stellar Guest Soloists Saturday, January 30, 2 pm, and Sunday, January 31, 2016, 7 pm
The Los Angeles Master Chorale presents two performances of Verdi’s towering Requiem, a “thrilling opera in disguise” (National Public Radio), with stellar guest soloists Amber Wagner, soprano, Michelle DeYoung, mezzo soprano, Joshua Guerrero, tenor, and Morris Robinson, bass, on Saturday, January 30, 2 pm, and Sunday, January 31, 2016, 7 pm, at Disney Hall.  A stunningly theatrical staple of the choral repertoire, Verdi’s work is a tumultuous, tortured, terrifying spectacle that has thrilled audiences since its debut in 1874.

Gershon, who considers the Verdi Requiem to be one of the top three greatest choral works ever written, says, “There is nothing like hearing this extraordinary work in Disney Hall.”

Wagner, acclaimed for her “remarkable voice” (Chicago Tribune), is a winner of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals.  DeYoung, considered one of the world’s most exciting mezzo sopranos, has been called “the Jessye Norman of our day” (London Times).  A member of the prestigious Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, Mexican-born tenor Guerrero has garnered critical praise for his “substantial voice” (Opera Today).  The “commanding” (Houston Chronicle) Robinson is a former All-American offensive lineman with “a big, sonorous bass voice” (New York Times).

Chorale Presents West Coast Premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields with Bang On A Can All-Stars on Sunday, March 6, 2016, 7 pm
Bang On A Can All-Stars joins the Chorale for the West Coast Premiere of Julia Wolfe’s powerful Anthracite Fields on Sunday, March 6, 2016, 7 pm.  Performed with a stunning multimedia backdrop by celebrated visual artist and scenic designer Jeff Sugg, the text weaves together the oral histories, interviews, union speeches and even accident reports from the Pennsylvania mining region at the turn of the 19th century.  Additionally, the program, entitled “Music of the Coal Miner,” includes songs and spirituals of Appalachian coal miners.

Anthracite Fields is named for Anthracite, a much sought after, super efficient, clean-burning coal, which, after its discovery in America in 1790, spurred a vast mining industry and fueled the industrial revolution that built our modern world.  Chronicling the sweat, blood, tears and lives sacrificed by the coal miners toiling in the world beneath our feet, it premiered in 2014 in Philadelphia and was reprised at the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial Celebration to great acclaim, heralded as “a major, profound work” (LA Times) that is “polished and stylistically assured” (New York Times). Wolfe, who is a co-founder of Bang On A Can, draws inspiration from folk, classical and rock genres and has “long inhabited a terrain of [her] own, a place where classical forms are recharged by the repetitive patterns of minimalism and the driving energy of rock” (Wall St. Journal).

Semi-Staged Performance of Handel’s Alexander’s Feast Directed by Trevore Ross Launches Five-Year “Hidden Handel” Initiative on Saturday, April 16, 2 pm, and Sunday, April 17, 2016, 7 pm
The Los Angeles Master Chorale presents a partially staged production of Handel’s Alexander’s Feast created for the Chorale by eminent stage director Trevore Ross to launch “Hidden Handel” – a major new five-year initiative featuring semi-staged/multimedia productions of five of the composer’s great but underrepresented oratorios performed in collaboration with some of the art world’s leading directors and artists – on Saturday, April 16, 2 pm, and Sunday, April 17, 2016, 7 pm.  According to Gershon, the lively piece celebrates the power of music. In subsequent seasons, he is slated to lead productions of Handel’s Saul, Israel in Egypt, Theodora and Samson.

“The Chorale has long had a strong affinity for Handel and we want to expand upon that with these immersive experiences,” explains Gershon.  “Each of these vivid works is really an opera under a different name with great dramatic stories and flair.”

“Sonic Masterworks” Concludes Season with A Cappella Gems on Sunday, June 5, 2016, 7 pm
The Chorale’s season concludes with “Sonic Masterworks,” a spectacular aural tapestry of a cappella gems spanning six centuries, each of which Gershon describes as “sonically overwhelming,” on Sunday, June 5, 2016, 7 pm.  They include the Chorale’s first-ever performance of Gregorio Allegri’s revered Miserere; Antonio Lotti’s Crucifixus; Pulitzer prize-winning composer Steven Stucky’s Three New Motets; György Ligeti’s Lux Aeterna, made famous by Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey; Abbie Betinis’ Envoi, simulating the sounds of a mass migration of butterflies; and Anders Hillborg’s Muoayiyoum, evoking the surreal beauty of the Aurora Borealis in the Scandinavian winter sky.

“This concert is pure ear candy,” states Gershon.  “These are pieces that have long been on my radar and will bring out the complex and kaleidoscopic sonorities of the Chorale’s versatile voices.”
Special Events
Los Angeles Master Chorale Hosts Annual Gala on Saturday, March 19, 2016, 6 pm
A spectacular black-tie gala benefit celebrating the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s remarkable artistry is planned for Saturday, March 19, 2016, 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.

27th Annual High School Choir Festival Set for April 22, 2016
The Chorale opens the doors of the Walt Disney Concert Hall to the city free-of-charge for its 27th Annual Los Angeles Master Chorale High School Choir Festival slated for Friday, April 22, 2016.  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.

Ticket Information

For further information about the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 201516 season at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, please call (213) 972-7282, or visit www.lamc.org.
# # #
LA Master Chorale 2015-16 Season
Grant Gershon, Artistic Director
Performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall Listed Chronologically

The Russian Evolution
Saturday, September 26, 2015 – 2 pm
Sunday, September 27, 2015 – 7 pm
110 singers a cappella | 48 singers with percussion & cello
Tchaikovsky | Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (Selections)
Gretchaninov | Cherubic Hymn
Rachmaninoff | All-Night Vigil (Selections)
Sofia Gubaidulina | Canticle of the Sun  US PREMIERE
with Robert deMaine, cello
And other Russian masterworks

Made in L.A.
Sunday, November 15, 2015 – 7 pm
62 singers | piano | kulintang ensemble
Morten Lauridsen | Ave Maria
Jeff Beal | The Salvage Men   WORLD PREMIERE
Nilo Alcala | WORLD PREMIERE
with Subla Ensemble, featuring Guru Danny Kalanduyan
Paul Chihara | Ave Maria/Scarborough Fair  WORLD PREMIERE
Dale Trumbore | The Whole Sea in Motion
Matthew Brown | Another Lullaby for Insomniacs
Moira Smiley | WORLD PREMIERE
Shawn Kirchner | Memorare

Festival of Carols
Saturday, December 5, 2015 – 2 pm
Saturday, December 12, 2015 – 2 pm
110 singers | pipe organ | piano
Favorite Christmas Carols

Handel: Messiah
Sunday, December 6, 2015 – 7 pm
Sunday, December 20, 2015 – 7 pm

48 Singers | chamber orchestra | soloists
Handel | Messiah

Rejoice! Brass Tidings
Sunday, December 13, 2015 – 7 pm
62 singers | brass ensemble | pipe organ
John Rutter | Gloria
Shawn Kirchner | Behold New Joy: Ancient Carols of Christmas
Daniel Pinkham | Christmas Cantata
Giovanni Gabrieli | Christmas Motets
And carols of the season

Messiah Sing-Along
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 – 8 pm
chamber orchestra | soloists | Audience is the Chorus!
Handel | Messiah

Verdi Requiem
Saturday, January 30, 2016 – 2 pm
Sunday, January 31, 2016 – 7 pm
110 singers | orchestra | guest artists
Verdi | Requiem
Amber Wagner, soprano
Michelle DeYoung, mezzo soprano
Joshua Guerrero, tenor
Morris Robinson, bass

Music of the Coal Miner
Sunday, March 6, 2016 – 7 pm
32 singers | Bang On A Can All-Stars | video projection
Julia Wolfe | Anthracite Fields  WEST COAST PREMIERE
With Bang on a Can All-Stars
And songs and spirituals of Appalachian coal miners

Alexander’s Feast
Saturday, April 16, 2016 – 2 pm
Sunday, April 17, 2016 – 7 pm
48 singers | chamber orchestra | soloists
Handel | Alexander’s Feast (The Power of Music)
Trevore Ross, Stage Director

Sonic Masterworks
Sunday, June 5, 2016 – 7 pm
110 singers a cappella
Antonio Lotti | Crucifixus
Gregorio Allegri | Miserere
György Ligeti | Lux Aeterna
Abbie Betinis | Envoi
Anders Hillborg | Muoayiyoum
Steven Stucky | Three New Motets
And other “ear candy” choral works

*********************************
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
# # #

(Program and artists subject to change.)
02/10/15

 

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