CONCORA concludes the 2018-2019 Masterworks Season with a special performance of Mozart's profoundly beautiful Requiem in the resonant sanctuary of Saint James's Episcopal Church in West Hartford.

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CONCORA offers the Timeless Mozart Requiem April 29 in West Hartford
CONCORA concludes the 2018-2019 Masterworks Season with a special performance of Mozart's profoundly beautiful Requiem in the resonant sanctuary of Saint James's Episcopal Church in West Hartford.
HARTFORD AND NEW BRITAIN, CONN. (April 10, 2018) — To conclude the 2017-2018 Masterworks season, CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists), the region’s oldest all-professional choral ensemble, presents a performance of Mozart’s Requiem on Sunday, April 29, 2018, 4:00 PM, at Saint James’s Episcopal Church in West Hartford, CT. CONCORA’s Artistic Director Chris Shepard will direct CONCORA’s professional vocalists and a professional orchestra in a performance that includes Sir Michael Tippett's “Five Spirituals,” stunning choral arrangements of African-American spirituals that form the structural pillars of A Child of Our Time, Tippett’s World War II oratorio.
“In the 2017-2018 season, when CONCORA is presenting the greatest choral masterworks, it was a natural choice to conclude the series with the Mozart Requiem,” said Chris Shepard, the ensemble’s Artistic Director. "And it is an appropriate bookend to the choral masterwork with which we opened the season, the Brahms Requiem."
Composed just as Mozart was reaching the height of his creative powers, and left incomplete at his death in 1791 the Requiem offers exquisite melodies, rich orchestration, and a dramatic sweep that remain compelling after more than two centuries.
“Part of the mystique of the Requiem is the swirl of speculation, mystery, and gossip that has surrounded it since Mozart laid down his pen,” said Shepard. “Who was the anonymous patron who commissioned the Requiem? Was Mozart poisoned, and if so, by whom? Do we know for sure which parts of the Requiem were composed by Mozart himself, and which might have been completed by others?”
CONCORA will perform the Requiem as it was completed by Franz Süssmayr, a composer who had assisted Mozart in his final year, copying many of his scores and manuscripts. The ensemble has performed the Mozart Requiem just twice in its 44-year history (1985 and 2002).
“Modern scholarship has answered a great many of the questions about the Requiem’s origins and completion,” observed Shepard. “We do know for sure that many of the Requiem’s most heart-wrenching passages—especially the dark opening measures and the first part of the Lacrymosa—were composed by Mozart, and they remain as compelling today as they must have been when they were first heard more than two centuries ago.”

CONCORA will dedicate the April 29 performance of the Mozart Requiem to the memory of long-time CONCORA singer and staff member Christine Laird, who passed away on March 18, 2018, after a brief illness.
The program opens with arrangements by British composer Sir Michael Tippett (1905-1998) of five African-American spirituals. In his large-scale oratorio A Child of Our Time, Tippett used these spirituals much as Bach used chorales within his sacred oratorios, deploying them at various intervals to stop the action and allow the choir, acting as a proxy for the audience, to reflect on the story.

The arrangements are highly virtuosic, calling for the 24 singers to be divided into 8 or more parts, with dramatic vocal solos.
“These appealing and effective arrangements are rightly considered masterworks of the twentieth century choral canon,” said Shepard. “They combine the eternal power of African-American spirituals with the high artistic mastery of one of England’s great modern composers.”
What: Choral Concert: Music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Sir Michael Tippet performed by the professional choir CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists) and professional orchestra, conducted by CONCORA’s Artistic Director Chris Shepard.
Program: Mozart Requiem (complete), and Tippett’s “Five Spirituals” from A Child of Our Time.
When: Sunday, April 29, 2018, 4:00 PM
Where: Saint James’s Episcopal Church, 1018 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford, CT
Accessible: Yes
Tickets: $10-$55. Discounted rates are available for general admission and senior tickets for groups of 8 or more. 2-for-1 general admission tickets are available with the Let*s Go! Arts card; contact the CONCORA office for details.
Reserve Tickets at: or contact the CONCORA office at or 860-293-0567. Tickets are also available at the door on the day of the concert, though advance reservations are recommended for preferred seating.
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Interviews: For more information, or to schedule an interview with CONCORA Artistic Director Chris Shepard, please contact Sarah Hager Johnston, CONCORA VP for Marketing and Communications, at or 860-676-2228.
Images: Included below are photos of CONCORA and CONCORA's Artistic Director Chris Shepard.
About CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists) – CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists) holds a unique place as the region’s first professional choir. Now in its 44th season, the ensemble enjoys an extraordinary reputation for artistic excellence throughout New England. Under the direction of Artistic Director Chris Shepard, the ensemble’s versatility is displayed in its wide range of repertoire and in the crafting of select ensembles from among the choir’s roster of singers to produce an extraordinary range of choral color and dynamic range for each program and performance space. CONCORA’s mission statement – “to perpetuate and perform with excellence choral music of the highest quality for the broadest possible audience” – represents a commitment to the Connecticut community and to artistic excellence, masterful performances, and educational enrichment. CONCORA’s educational outreach program includes several highly successful projects. CONCORA extends special invitations to other choruses, especially children’s, high school and college ensembles, as a regular part of its concert programming, particularly the “Extraordinary Concerts,” where the ensemble collaborates with select high school choirs. CONCORA’s Summer Festival offers adult singers from the community and select high school and college singers an opportunity to join with CONCORA in rehearsing and performing great choral works. For children, the CONCORA-to-Go quartet presents an interactive, multicultural program, “Around the World in Music,” performed in area elementary schools and public libraries. More information about CONCORA is available at
About CONCORA’s Artistic Director Chris Shepard – Chris Shepard has served as CONCORA’s Artistic Director since 2015, succeeding founder Richard Coffey in that role. He also serves as Music Director of the Worcester Chorus and the Masterwork Chorus of Morristown, New Jersey. With these choirs, Chris has performed a wide range of repertoire, collaborating with a number of major orchestras in venues that include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Radio City Music Hall in New York, as well as the Royal Festival Hall in London and the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. A conductor with a particular affinity for the choral music of J.S. Bach, Chris founded the Sydneian Bach Choir in Sydney, Australia, an ensemble that has performed all of Bach’s choral cantatas as well as all of his major choral works. He has taught at the Taft School, Sydney Grammar School and Holy Cross College. A pianist and keyboard continuist, Chris holds degrees from the Hartt School and the Yale School of Music, and the University of Sydney. His PhD dissertation won the American Choral Directors Association’s 2012 Julius Herford Prize for outstanding doctoral thesis in choral music. A fuller bio of Chris Shepard is available at
CONCORA Media Contact: Sarah Hager Johnston
Media inquiries:
Media phone: 860-676-2228
General inquiries:
Office phone: 860-293-0567
FAX: 860-244-0073
Twitter: @CONCORASings
Address: CityArts on Pearl, 233 Pearl Street, Hartford, CT 06103

CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists) in a recent performance of Bach's Passion According to Saint John at Immanuel Congregational Church, Hartford. Photo courtesy CONCORA.
CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists) in a recent performance of Bach cantatas at Immanuel Congregational Church, Hartford. Photo by Kevin Andersen, courtesy CONCORA.
Chris Shepard, Artistic Director of CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists). Photo by Kevin Andersen, courtesy CONCORA.

CONCORA’s 2017-2018 season is made possible through the generous gifts of many individual donors and with the generous support of the following foundations and institutions: the American Savings Foundation, the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the J. Walton Bissell Foundation, the Andrew J. Sloper Music Fund, the Saunders Foundation, The Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation, the Ensworth Charitable Foundation, Connecticut DECD Office of the Arts, The William and Alice Mortensen Foundation, the City of New Britain Commission on the Arts, and the Robert C. Vance Foundation.

Copyright © 2018 CONCORA, All rights reserved.

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