VocalEssence opens 41st season with Midwest premiere of Dominick Argento work
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (June 24, 2009) – The VocalEssence Chorus & Ensemble Singers open the 2009-2010 season with Of Love & Angels featuring the Midwest premiere of Evensong: Of Love and Angels, written by Minnesota’s own Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Dominick Argento.
The program also commemorates the 250th Anniversary of George Frideric Handel’s death with Zadok the Priest, performed at every British coronation since 1727, and the lyrical Laudate Pueri (Psalm 113) for chorus and chamber orchestra, showcasing soprano Maria Jette.
Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis hosts this season opening performance on Friday, September 25, 2009 at 8 pm. Composer Dominick Argento will join Minnesota Public Radio’s John Birge for a Concert Conversation at 7 pm.
After the passing of his wife, Dominick Argento believed that he would never compose music again. But with the encouragement of friends, he accepted a commission from the Cathedral Choral Society in Washington, D.C., composing Evensong: Of Love and Angels to honor the memory of his wife, accomplished soprano Carolyn Bailey. In March 2008, this intensely personal work for soprano, boy soprano, reader, and chorus premiered to critical acclaim at the Washington National Cathedral. The Washington Post praised the “warmth and melodic accessibility” of the piece and concluded “it’s hard to imagine a lovelier or more heartfelt memorial.”
A former teacher of VocalEssence Founder and Artistic Director Philip Brunelle, Dominick Argento received the first-ever commission by VocalEssence in 1973, composing Jonah and the Whale. Argento has since written four additional commissions for VocalEssence: A Thanksgiving to God, for His House (1979), Spirituals and Swedish Chorales (1994), Sanctus (new orchestration in 2002), and The Choirmaster’s Burial (2009) composed for over 500 voices to conclude the 40th Anniversary Season.
Of Love & Angels performance tickets ($20-$40, service charges apply), are available by calling 612-371-5656 or by visiting www.vocalessence.org. Student and group discounts are available.
For press information and photographs related to Of Love & Angels, contact Jennifer Bauer (612-547-1459, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dominick Argento Biography
One of the most significant forces in Minnesota’s classical music community for the past 50 years, Dominick Argento joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 1958, where he taught until 1997 and now holds the rank of professor emeritus. Among Argento’s most lauded works are his song cycle From the Diary of Virginia Woolf, which earned him the 1975 Pulitzer Prize, and his 1984 opera Casanova’s Homecoming, described by Opera News as “a masterpiece.” Born in York, Pennsylvania in 1927, Argento studied at the Peabody Conservatory, earned his Ph.D. from the Eastman School of Music, and received Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellowships. Argento is the Minnesota Orchestra’s composer laureate, the first composer to hold such a position with an American orchestra.