Posted by: Colin Britt | July 3, 2017

Summer update

Well, once again I’ve let an entire concert season go by without writing any updates! To recap, here are a few highlights:

  • On April 27, I conducted my first concert with the choral ensembles at Rutgers Preparatory School. Each of the four groups sang 5 pieces, and we sang 2 combined pieces at the ending. It was a beautiful program, and I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be continuing for another year at this wonderful school!
  • On May 21, the West Village Chorale gave its final brilliant performance of the season, a concert celebrating choral Americana. We sang works by Barber, Bernstein, and Copland, gospel pieces by Hogan and Smallwood, as well as new works by Betinis, Lauridsen, Whitacre, and the premiere of a gorgeous piece by Thomas Peters. You can watch a video of “Total Praise” here:

  • On June 13, Amuse Singers also gave their dazzling final performance of the season, titled “Under the Influence.” This diverse and delightful program featured music by Western composers who drew on influences from around the globe. Abbie Betinis’s stunning From Behind the Caravan was the centerpiece, and other works by Sarah Hopkins, Gabriela Lena Frank, Jan Gilbert, Ivan Moody, Michael McGlynn, Carson Cooman, Zhou Long,  Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, and Marten Jansson were also featured.
  • Lastly, I conducted my final set of concerts with North River Sing in Jersey City. This program, “Around the World in 80 Minutes,” somewhat cheekily featured music with locations in the titles. We did this program in a couple venues, perhaps most unusually in the Oculus at the World Trade Center!

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With Dr. Robert Russell

I was also honored to have not one but two exciting premieres take place this spring. The first, a commission for the 100th anniversary of the Maine Music Educators’ Association, was premiered at the Maine All-State festival on May 20, brilliantly conducted by Dr. Robert Russell (who also conducted my very first all state chorus in 2001!). A picture from that premiere is to the right, and I look forward to sharing a recording of that piece in the near future.

The second premiere was a deeply personal work, commissioned by the New York-based chamber choir Tapestry. Their director, Billy Janiszewski, had contacted me following the contentious 2016 presidential election and asked me if I would write something that would speak to our common humanity and unity in the face of such uncertainty. I set Thoreau’s beautiful poem, “Friendship,” the first line of which is “I think awhile of love” (which became the piece’s title). Then, to underline that theme of common humanity, I drew on some 30 translations of the word “love” to underscore, support, and enhance the English text. Tapestry performed the piece three times, on May 31, June 3, and June 4, and I can’t wait to share the recording from their brilliant performance!

Then, there were also performances in which I sang – one was the premiere of the orchestral version of Michael Conley’s spectacular Appalachian Requiem in San Francisco, and the other was the premiere of Martin Bresnick’s oratorio Passions of Bloom in New Haven by the Yale Choral Artists. So yeah, no rest for the weary!

Stay tuned for exciting news about the fall!

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