FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONCORA Media Contact: Christine Laird
ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE: CONCORA, 233 Pearl Street, Hartford, CT 06103
CONCORA Announces 2017-2018 Concert Season: Great Choral Masterworks of Brahms, Mozart, Bach, and more
For its 44th season, the versatile professional choral ensemble presents fresh interpretations of enduring classics.
HARTFORD AND NEW BRITAIN, CONN. (May 2, 2017) — CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists) announces its 2017-2018 concert season, featuring five choral concerts under the direction of Artistic Director Chris Shepard.
In the upcoming season, CONCORA celebrates masterworks of the choral art, with fresh interpretations of music that many consider the greatest examples of the genre: the contrasting Requiems of Brahms and Mozart; Bach’s dramatic, poignant Saint Matthew Passion; and quintessential Mass settings by William Byrd and Frank Martin.
“True masterworks have lasting power and beauty,” said Chris Shepard, who begins his third season as the ensemble’s Artistic Director. “Musical trends and fashions come and go, but these works stand firm. Each stands on its own as an artistic force to be reckoned with, to come to terms with, to wrestle with. Like a master painting, each bears re-visiting; there is always more to learn and to share with new audiences.”
In a special concert in November that continues a long tradition of educational outreach, CONCORA will perform with selected high school choirs, presenting a program of excerpts from the Requiems of Brahms and Mozart and Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion. “For many of the young participants, this concert will be their first opportunity to collaborate with professional musicians, and perhaps their first experience with these classic masterworks,” said Shepard.
Brahms Requiem – CONCORA opens the 2017-2018 season with one of the most enduring works in the choral repertoire, Brahms’ German Requiem, beloved for its messages of comfort and hope, blessing and rest. The ensemble will perform the “London Version,” an arrangement for choir and four-hand piano that Brahms himself prepared for more intimate presentations of the work. Also on the program is a beautiful but lesser-known Brahms masterwork, Nänie, a poignant but ultimately consoling elegy.
Sunday, October 15, 2017, 4:00pm
South Church, New Britain, CT
Saturday, November 4, 2017, 7:30pm
Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Stamford, CT
Extraordinary Masterworks – Continuing a long tradition of inclusion and outreach, CONCORA will be joined by several extraordinary Connecticut high school choirs to present excerpts from choral masterworks by Bach, Mozart, and Brahms.
Saturday, November 18, 2017, 7:00pm
Hartford area venue TBA
Masses Ancient and Modern – CONCORA returns to Trinity College Chapel, where the ensemble has performed sold-out programs in each of the last two seasons. In February, the ensemble will offer three beautiful and inspiring settings of the ancient Mass text that will soar beneath the Chapel’s Gothic arches. The program includes Missa Orbis factor, one of the classics of Gregorian chant repertoire; a four-voice Mass setting by 16th-century Tudor composer William Byrd; and the Mass for Double Choir by Swiss composer Frank Martin, music that is in turns contemplative, exultant, somber, and glorious.
Sunday, February 11, 2018, 4:00pm
Trinity Chapel at Trinity College
300 Summit Street, Hartford, CT
Bach Saint Matthew Passion – CONCORA has long been renowned for its masterful and moving performances of choral music by Johann Sebastian Bach. In 2018, the ensemble presents the monumental Saint Matthew Passion, one of two surviving settings by Bach of the Easter Passion story. Calling for three choirs, soloists, and orchestra, the Saint Matthew Passion offers some of Bach’s grandest music, while exploring in the most intimate terms the very nature of human faith and spiritual redemption.
Sunday, March 25, 2018, 4:00pm
Immanuel Congregational Church
10 Woodland Street, Hartford, CT
Mozart Requiem – By overlaying the natural restraints of neoclassicism with the passion of Romanticism, Mozart depicted in music the peace of eternal rest alongside the bone-chilling fear of eternal torment. Composed just as Mozart was reaching the height of his creative power, the Requiem offers exquisite melodies, rich orchestration, and a dramatic sweep that remains compelling even after more than two centuries. The program also includes “Five Spirituals” from A Child of Our Time by Michael Tippett, considered among the best arrangements of their kind.
Sunday, April 29, 2018, 4:00pm
Saint James’s Episcopal Church, West Hartford, CT
Tickets are expected to go on sale by June 1, 2017.
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 http://concora.org/artistic-director/.
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, about to begin his third 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.
More information about CONCORA is available at http://concora.org/about/
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For more information, or to schedule an interview with Chris Shepard, please contact:
Christine Laird, firstname.lastname@example.org 860-293-0567
Photos of Chris Shepard and CONCORA are attached.
Administrative Office: City Arts on Pearl, 233 Pearl Street, Hartford, CT 06103