Press Release

VocalEssence Again Joins Iconic Mexican Symphony Orchestra for Performances


Jennifer Weismann


Minneapolis-based choral ensemble will travel to Mexico for second summer to perform Verdi’s Requiem with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería

MINNEAPOLIS — July 23, 2019 The VocalEssence Ensemble Singers have again been invited to join the legendary Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería (OSM) in Mexico City from August 25 through September 2 for a cross-cultural celebration as an encore of last year’s stellar debut.  This year, VocalEssence will be performing Verdi’s Requiem with the Coro de la Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería.

Photo are available here.

During the summer in Mexico, established regional symphony and opera orchestras do not perform, so OSM is comprised of the top players from these orchestras for a two-month summer program of concerts. A true all-star team, the OSM is known as the best orchestra in Mexico. According to its mission, the orchestra exists to “promote Mexican music, musicians and composers, find talent, invite other orchestras and ensembles, and include the rescue of lost music and forgotten musicians of our country.” The OSM is conducted by Carlos Miguel Prieto, Mexico’s most well-known conductor, and music director of both the Mexican National Symphony and the Louisiana Philharmonic in New Orleans. He debuted with the Minnesota Orchestra in 2017.

“For the Verdi, the Ensemble Singers will be joined by 60 professional Mexican singers — bringing our cultures together to sing in harmony,” says Philip Brunelle, artistic director and founder of VocalEssence. “We’re thrilled that two concerts will again take place in Mexico City’s Sala Nezahualcoyotl—considered by many to be the best concert hall in Latin America. We will also have a solo performance in the Sala Silvestre Revueltas del Conjunto Cultural Ollin Yoliztli, celebrating our 12-year commitment to commissioning Mexican composers, as well as honoring Minnesota composers and the American spiritual tradition.”

Brunelle is himself a recipient of the Mexican government’s prestigious Ohtli Recognition Award—which highlights those who have aided, empowered, or positively affected the lives of Mexican nationals in the United States and other countries—for his work with the VocalEssence ¡Cantare! Program, a program that for 12 years has brought the talents of Mexican composers directly into Minnesota classrooms, and culminates with a bilingual concert each spring.

In addition to the OSM performances, the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers will present a solo concert of music by United States and VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! composers on August 27, 2019 in the evening. There will also be an opportunity for the group to meet with several university choruses—both singing together and performing for each other. Also, Philip Brunelle will offer a workshop for student conductors at the University of Mexico.

VocalEssence, called “one of the irreplaceable music ensembles of our time” by Dana Gioia, past chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, impacts thousands of students, singers, and composers each year through its initiative programs, contests, and support for innovative art. VocalEssence was founded in 1969 and has debuted more than 300 commissions and 550 world premieres. For more information, visit