Under Artistic Director Chris Shepard, the versatile professional choral ensemble presents concerts celebrating Shakespeare, Favorite Christmas Carols, Art and Music at the Wadsworth Atheneum, Old and New Classics, and Bach Cantatas
HARTFORD AND NEW BRITAIN, CONN. (August 25, 2016) — CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists) announces its 2016-2017 season, featuring five choral concerts under the direction of Chris Shepard, now in his second season as the ensemble’s Artistic Director.
Extraordinary Shakespeare — Continuing a long tradition of inclusion and outreach, CONCORA will be joined by several extraordinary Connecticut high school choirs in a program that features memorable choral settings of texts by William Shakespeare, marking the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death. EVENT DETAILS: Extraordinary Shakespeare Choral concert with CONCORA and area high school choirs Saturday, November 12, 2016, 7:30 PM St Thomas the Apostle Church 872 Farmington Avenue West Hartford, CT
Christmas with CONCORA! Favorite Christmas Carols — In the half century since Oxford University Press released the first volume of its popular sets of Carols for Choirs, these sparkling Christmas carol settings have become essential to the choral holiday repertoire. CONCORA presents a sleigh-full of these immortal a cappella carol arrangements by Sir David Willcocks, John Rutter, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and others. And in keeping with the “Christmas with CONCORA” tradition, the audience is invited to sing along with CONCORA in a number of beloved Christmas carols. EVENT DETAILS: Christmas with CONCORA! Favorite Christmas Carols Choral concert with CONCORA Saturday, December 10, 2016, 7:30 PM First Lutheran Church 77 Franklin Square New Britain, CT Snow Date: Monday, December 12, 7:00 PM
Art and Music — To celebrate the recent beautiful renovation of the Wadsworth Atheneum, CONCORA will present a program at the museum whose repertoire is inspired by the artwork itself. Small ensembles will sing in the various galleries, with music related to the artworks in each room, such a choral music of Claude Debussy alongside Impressionist paintings, colonial songs by William Billings near art by 18th century American artists, and much more. The concert features the premiere of a commissioned choral work by Connecticut composer Ellen Gilson Voth, inspired by paintings of the Hudson River School, including Connecticut-born artist Frederic Church. The event concludes with a concert by the full choir in the stunning Morgan Great Hall. EVENT DETAILS Art and Music Choral Concert with CONCORA Sunday, February 12, 2017, 4:00 PM The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art 600 Main Street, Hartford, CT
Making the Old New — CONCORA returns to Trinity College Chapel, where last year a sold-out audience thrilled to the acoustic miracles of Renaissance motets and masses sung by a small choral ensemble beneath the soaring arches of the Chapel’s Gothic cathedral-esque architecture. This year’s program offers more Renaissance motets and madrigals paired with newer music inspired by the originals. Motets and madrigals by Renaissance “top forty” composers such as Morley, Vecchi, and Tallis will contrast with and complement choral music by renowned contemporary composers William Hawley, Eric Whitacre, and Martin Sedek. The concert features Eleanor Daley’s haunting Requiem, perfectly suited to this remarkable space. EVENT DETAILS Making the Old New Choral Concert with CONCORA Sunday, March 19, 2017, 4:00 PM Trinity Chapel at Trinity College 300 Summit Street, Hartford, CT
BACH Cantatas 29, 190, and 191
CONCORA has long been renowned for its masterful and moving performances of choral music by Johann Sebastian Bach. In 2017, the ensemble presents three glorious choral cantatas with choir, soloists, and professional orchestra: Wir Danken dir, Gott, BWV29; Singet dem Herrn ein Neues Lied, BWV190; and Gloria in excelsis Deo, BWV191. BACH Cantatas Choral concert with CONCORA and professional orchestra Sunday April 30, 2017, 4:00 PM Immanuel Congregational Church 10 Woodland Street, Hartford, CT
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.
Active as a composer, conductor and keyboard artist, Dr. Ellen Gilson Voth is Artistic Director of Novi Cantori, a professional chamber choir based in Springfield (MA), Artistic Director of the Farmington Valley Chorale (CT), and music faculty at Westfield State University (MA). A frequently commissioned composer, her compositions are published by ECS Publishing, Oxford University Press, Santa Barbara Music Publishing and Colla Voce. She received her DMA from the Hartt School at the University of Hartford. Ellen, her husband Greg and daughter Heather, live in Rocky Hill. (www.ellengilsonvoth.net).
About CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists)
Acclaimed as Connecticut’s premier professional choir, CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists) presents masterful performances of the world’s finest choral music. “CONCORA, acknowledging that music transforms and enriches people's lives, perpetuates and performs with excellence choral music of the highest quality for the broadest possible audience.” This mission represents a commitment to the Connecticut community and to artistic excellence, masterful performances, and educational enrichment.
Since its founding in 1974 by Artistic Director Emeritus Richard Coffey, CONCORA has held a unique place in the arts community as Connecticut’s premier professional choir, and has built an extraordinary reputation for artistic excellence throughout New England.
Under the direction of Chris Shepard, now in his second season as Artistic Director, the ensemble’s versatility is displayed in its wide range of repertoire and in the selection of the choir’s singers to produce an extraordinary range of choral color and dynamic range for each program and performance space.
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.