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Joseph Lee | 28 Days of Black Excellence

Today marks the seventh day of 28 Days of Black Excellence created by VocalEssence Associate Conductor G. Phillip Shoultz, III. Phillip highlights the work of Joseph Lee, a caterer, baker, and restauranteur who invented two things that revolutionized the food industry and still impact our favorite party foods today. His musical inspiration comes from the…  Read More

Heinrich von Herzogenberg | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Heinrich von Herzogenberg. This episode features Tenor Dan Dressen. Heinrich von Herzogenberg 1843-1900 Heinrich von Herzogenberg was an Austrian composer and conductor best known for his sacred works for choir and organ. The son of…  Read More

Camille Saint-Saëns | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Camille Saint-Saëns. Camille Saint-Saëns 1835-1921 Camille Saint-Saëns was a French composer, pianist, organist and writer known for brilliant craftsmanship, versatility, and prolific compositions contributing to every genre of French music. He was taught the piano…  Read More

Francis Grier | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Francis Grier. Francis Grier b.1955 Francis Grier is an English composer, organist, pianist, and psychoanalyst, best known for his compositions for choir and voice. He was a chorister at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, music…  Read More

Charles-Marie Widor | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Charles-Marie Widor. Charles-Marie Widor 1844-1937 Charles-Marie Widor was a French organist, composer and teacher known primarily for his organ symphonies. At age 11 he became the organist at the lycée in Lyons. Upon the recommendation…  Read More

Antonín Dvořák | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Antonín Dvořák. Antonín Dvořák 1841-1904 Antonín Dvořák, the Czech composer, was the first Bohemian composer to achieve worldwide recognition, noted for turning folk material into 19th-century Romantic music. He came to know music early and…  Read More

Franz Liszt | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Franz Liszt. Franz Liszt 1811-1886 Franz Liszt, Hungarian composer, pianist, and teacher, was a leader of the Romantic movement with music known for his imaginative and technical approach to composition. Born in Raiding, his father…  Read More

Robert Wetzler | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Robert Wetzler. Robert Wetzler b. 1932 Robert Wetzler is an American composer, organist, and choirmaster based in Minneapolis, MN, well-known for his sacred choral works. Wetzler earned his Bachelor of Arts from Thiel College and…  Read More

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov 1844-1908 The Russian composer and educator Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was a luminary of orchestral orchestrations. Born in Tikhvin into an aristocratic family, Rimsky-Korsakov showed musical ability from an early age but instead…  Read More

César Franck | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer César Franck. César Franck 1822-1890 César Franck, Belgian-French Romantic composer, organist, and music educator was one of the most powerful French composers in the second half of the 19th- century. Franck showed unmistakable musical gifts…  Read More

Peter Cornelius | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Peter Cornelius. This episode features Mezzo-Soprano Clara Osowski. Peter Cornelius 1824-1874 Peter Cornelius’s versatility as a composer, writer, and translator makes him one of the most distinguished German composers of the 19th-century. Born into a…  Read More

Sir John Stainer | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Sir John Stainer.  John Stainer 1840-1901 Sir John Stainer was an English organist, church composer, and a pioneering early musicologist. As a boy, Stainer sang in the choir of St. Paul’s Cathedral and was appointed…  Read More

Gioachino Rossini | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Gioachino Rossini. This episode features a duet with Soprano Maria Jette and Mezzo-Soprano Clara Osowski.  Gioachino Rossini 1792-1868 No composer in the first half of the 19th century enjoyed the measure of prestige, wealth, popular…  Read More

Ways to celebrate MLK Day in the Twin Cities Ways to celebrate MLK Day in the Twin Cities

By BECCA MOST | bmost@pioneerpress.com | St. Paul Pioneer Press PUBLISHED: January 14, 2021 at 9:12 p.m. | UPDATED: January 14, 2021 at 10:45 p.m. https://www.twincities.com/2021/01/14/ways-to-celebrate-mlk-day-in-the-twin-cities/ Although the pandemic has prevented many from celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in person this year, many events will still take place virtually. Saturday, Jan. 16 The VocalEssence…  Read More

Composers Datebook: “Welcome Christmas” Carol Contest

By John Birge | Your Classical Published: Sunday, December 6 “Welcome Christmas” Carol Contest Synopsis On today’s date in 1998, two brand-new Christmas carols debuted in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during the “Welcome Christmas” choral concert of VocalEssence conducted by Philip Brunelle. The two carols, “Sweet Noel” by Joan Griffith and “The Virgin’s Cradle Hymn” by Richard…  Read More