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Dessoff Choirs Announces 2019-20 Season

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Dessoff Choirs Announces 2019-20 Season

Hailed as "one of the great amateur choruses of our time (New York Today) for its "full-bodied sound and suppleness (The New York Times)," The Dessoff Choirs today announced its 2019-20 season. The Dessoff Choirs celebrates its 95th season with performances of choral masterworks by both 20th century luminaries and today's most innovative composers. In addition to Dessoff's popular holiday concerts, the season features the New York premiere of Craig Hella Johnson's Considering Matthew Shepard, a reprise performance and CD release of Margaret Bond's The Ballad of the Brown King, and the Fauré Requiem in the original 1893 version. (The complete season schedule is below.)

As Malcolm J. Merriweather, Dessoff's ninth Music Director explains, "The Dessoff Choirs always performs both old and new choral works, but this season we are doing some that have not been done for many years. We are particularly excited to perform the New York premiere of the musically beautiful and immensely powerful Considering Matthew Shepard."

All 2019-20 performances are conducted by Malcolm J. Merriweather. Tickets are priced at $20-40 in advance, $25-45 at the door. Tickets are now available for purchase at dessoff.org.

The Dessoff Choirs, one of the leading choruses in New York City, is an independent chorus with an established reputation for pioneering performances of choral works from the Renaissance era through the 21st century. Since its founding in 1924, Dessoff's concerts, professional collaborations, community outreach, and educational initiatives are dedicated to stimulating public interest in and appreciation of choral music as an art form that enhances the culture and life of our times.

With repertoire ranging over a wide variety of eras and styles, Dessoff's musical acumen and flexibility has been recognized with invitations from major orchestras for oratorios and orchestral works. Past performances include Britten's War Requiem and Mahler's Symphony No. 8 with Lorin Maazel in his final performances as Music Director with the New York Philharmonic.

Over the course of its 92-year history, Dessoff has presented numerous world premieres, including pieces by Virgil Thomson, George Perle, Paul Moravec, and Ricky Ian Gordon, as well as the first American performance in nearly 100 years of Montemezzi's opera La Nave with Teatro Grattacielo; and the American premieres of Philip Glass's Symphony No. 5, and Sir John Tavener's all-night vigil, The Veil of the Temple.

Dessoff's recent discography includes REFLECTIONS, featuring music by Convery, Corigliano, Moravec, and Rorem; and GLORIES ON GLORIES, a collection of American song featuring composers ranging from Billings to Ives.

The Dessoff Choirs is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and by funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Please visit dessoff.org for more information.

Conductor Malcolm J. Merriweather is Music Director of New York City's The Dessoff Choirs, known for performances of choral works from the pre-Baroque era through the 21st century.

An Assistant Professor, he is Director of Choral Studies and Voice Department Coordinator at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, Artist-in-Residence at Union Theological Seminary, and Artistic Director of Voices of Haiti, a 60-member children's choir in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, operated by the Andrea Bocelli Foundation. In the summer of 2017, Merriweather led Voices of Haiti in performances with Andrea Bocelli at Teatro del Silenzio in Lajatico, Italy, and for Pope Francis at the Vatican. Merriweather is also in demand as a baritone soloist, often performing throughout the eastern United States.

Conducting highlights of the 2018-19 season included his Mostly Mozart Festival debut conducting the West Choir in the world premiere of John Luther Adams's In the name of earth, and appearances with Andrea Bocelli and Voices of Haiti at Madison Square Garden. Merriweather conducted world premieres by composers Eve Beglarian, Douglas Geers, Ian Milliken, and Matthew Aucoin as Dessoff celebrated the bicentennial Walt Whitman's birth. Other highlights included: Ildebrando Pizetti's Messa di Requiem and Margaret Bonds's The Ballad of the Brown King with The Dessoff Choirs; Handel's Messiah at Brooklyn College and the Harvard Club of New York; and William Grant Still's They Lynched Him on a Tree with Grace Chorale of Brooklyn. Solo engagements for the 2018-19 season included Bach's St. Matthew Passion with Harmonium Choral Society; Robert Convery's I have a dream for the New Year's Eve Concert for Peace at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine; and Handel's Messiah with the Worcester Chorus.

Merriweather holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting from the studio of Kent Tritle at the Manhattan School of Music, where his doctoral dissertation, Now I Walk in Beauty, Gregg Smith: A Biography and Complete Works Catalog, constituted the first complete works list for the composer and conductor. He received Master of Music degrees in Choral Conducting and in Vocal Performance from the studio of Rita Shane at the Eastman School of Music, as well as a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Syracuse University, summa cum laude.

Merriweather's professional affiliations include membership in Pi Kappa Lambda, the American Choral Directors Association, and Chorus America, and he sits on the Board of Directors of the New York Choral Consortium.

Please visit malcolmjmerriweather.com for more information. Connect with him on Twitter and Instagram @maestroweather.


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