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Musica Sacra to Celebrate Women's History Month with Works by Meredith Monk, Jocelyn Hagen, 3/31

Musica Sacra, the longest continuously-performing professional chorus in New York City, will present a performance in honor of Women's History Month featuring works by acclaimed composers Meredith Monk and Jocelyn Hagen at New York's Alice Tully Hall on Monday, March 31, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

As part of its commitment to expanding the choral repertoire, Musica Sacra turns to contemporary composers Meredith Monk and Jocelyn Hagen. Led by Music Director Kent Tritle, the performance will feature the New York premiere of Jocelyn Hagen's oratorio amass, uniquely scored for chorus, vocal and cello soloists, cello quartet, guitar, marimba, vibes and bells. Traditional texts from the Roman Catholic mass provide a framework for poetry from Saint John of the Cross and medieval mystic Meister Eckhart, and Eastern texts from the Hindu poet Tukaram. Soprano Jennifer Zetlan, tenor John Matthew Myers, baritone Mischa Bouvier, and cellist Arthur J. Fiacco will be the soloists.

Meredith Monk will join the Musica Sacra chorus to perform selections from her 1991 opera ATLAS, including "Other Worlds Revealed," "Explorers' Junctures," and "Return to the Earth" from Part III: Invisible Light. Katie Geissinger, both a member of Musica Sacra and Monk's acclaimed Vocal Ensemble, will join Ms. Monk to perform the duet "Hocket" from Facing North. The Musica Sacra chorus will complete Meredith Monk's set with Nightfall, originally written for Musica Sacra in 1995 and recorded by the chorus on the album Monk and the Abbess (Catalyst Records/BMG) conducted by founding Music Director Richard Westenburg. This is Musica Sacra's first concert performance of the work.

Music Director Kent Tritle states, "On March 31st we're presenting a truly unique concert that features the strengths of Musica Sacra in a repertory that is broad and fulfilling. Our relationship with Meredith Monk goes back a long way- in the 1990s we recorded her works on two different releases, including Nightfall, which we commissioned. Jocelyn Hagen's amass drew my immediate attention for its ecumenism, and intriguing use of the traditional mass text in combination with mystic spiritual commentary from Saint John of the Cross, Tukaram and Eckhart."

Kent continues, "Our chorus has increasingly become known for its stylistic flexibility, from performances of Handel's Messiah under my baton at Carnegie Hall to excerpts of Ligeti's Requiem with the New York Philharmonic. This concert features those same strengths in action."

Composer Jocelyn Hagen discusses the ideas of faith in her work, saying: "If I had to choose one central idea, or theme, for amass, it would be the concept of interreligious harmony. My beliefs and traditions are based in the Christian faith, but accepting Christianity in its entirety has been hard for me, because if I believe that the Christian faith represents the truth, then I would have to believe that everyone else who believes otherwise is wrong. The problem implicit in all religions is their claim in being the one 'true' religion. The Dalai Lama suggests that the key to resolving the reality of the world's multiplicity of faiths is to understand that 'in the case of a single individual, there can indeed be only one truth, one religion.' I guess I'm still looking for my personal truth. amass reflects where I am currently in this journey with God."

On Wednesday, March 26, 2014, Jocelyn Hagen, Meredith Monk, Mischa Bouvier and Kent Tritle will participate in a "Composer Conversation" moderated by Nancy Shear, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Bruno Walter Auditorium, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (111 Amsterdam Avenue at 65th Street, New York, NY 10023).


Musica Sacra

Kent Tritle, Music Director and Conductor

Meredith Monk, Composer, Vocalist

Jennifer Zetlan, Soprano

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