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DCINY to Celebrate Karl Jenkins' 70th Birthday at Carnegie Hall, 1/20

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Now entering its 7th season, Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) continues its tradition of bringing the haunting, expansive, and multi-ethnic music of Welsh composer Karl Jenkins to America. On January 20 at 7pm at Carnegie Hall, DCINY presents the U.S. premiere of Jenkins' The Bards of Wales, a setting of a heroic poem by Hungarian János Arany, as well as the composer's Stabat Mater and the "Benedictus" from The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace. DCINY Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Jonathan Griffith leads the Distinguished Concerts Orchestra and a truly international chorus, comprised of singers from the U.S., Canada, The Netherlands, France, Hong Kong, and Argentina.

Karl Jenkins, who will be in residence on January 20, is one of the most prolific, popular, and performed composers in the world today. Jenkins' most recent large scale work, The Bards of Wales, for soloists, chorus and full orchestra, sets the poem by János Arany (1817-82) in Hungarian, Welsh and English. Forging an unexpected link between Hungary and the composer's homeland, Arany's poem was commissioned to praise the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph. But, as the Austrian overlords had just suppressed the 1848 Hungarian Revolution, the poet did the opposite. To satisfy the state censor, the poem was written in terms of Welsh history rather than Hungarian, telling how Edward I of England executed Welsh bards for failing to sing his praises at a banquet in Montgomery Castle in 1277. The performance will feature popular Welsh tenor Rhys Meirion, mezzo-soprano Charlotte Daw Paulsen, baritone Darik Knutsen, bass-baritone Samuel Smith, and Belinda Sykes on vocals and mey, a double-reed instrument of Turkish origin.

For his Stabat Mater, Karl Jenkins added six texts to the 13th-century Catholic poem, both ancient and modern, in Aramaic, Arabic and English. The rich score features ancient instruments, such as the darabuca, def, doholla and modes, such as Hijaz and Bayati. Stabat Mater will also feature soloists Belinda Sykes and Charlotte Daw Paulsen.The birthday celebration will also feature the "Benedictus" from The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace. Karl Jenkins' most popular work, The Armed Man has been performed more than 700 times in 20 different countries, notably by DCINY on the 10th anniversary of September 11th and with several hundred musicians.

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by Peter Danish