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The Dessoff Choirs Names New Music Director


The Dessoff Choirs today announces its appointment of Malcolm J. Merriweather as its ninth music director.

"I'm delighted with The Dessoff Choirs' appointment of Malcolm Merriweather as their new Music Director. Malcolm is one of the bright rising stars of his generation of choral conductors," said Kent Tritle, Director of Cathedral Music and Organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and former Music Director of The Dessoff Choirs. "Dessoff is close to my heart, and I will always be grateful to the choir for our eight wonderful years together. Knowing them as I do, it is my great expectation that their new synergy with Malcolm will lead to new heights of artistic achievement."

The Dessoff Choirs today also announces its 2016-17 season, which opens with a concert at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center-the first time the choir has performed there since 2010.

The five-concert series reflects Merriweather's approach to programming with a focus on connecting audiences to topical and meaningful themes. Under his leadership, Dessoff seeks to personalize the audience experience by extending engagement before, during and after each concert.

Concerts include: We Remember, reflecting on the lives of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. through music with Steven Stucky's Take Him Earth, the premiere performance of David Hurd's orchestrated five moment work, In Honor of Martin, and Franz Beyer's re-orchestration of Mozart's Requiem (November 7 at Alice Tully Hall); Welcome Yule, featuring seasonal favorites, carols, and Bach's Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden, BWV 230 as well as a Hallelujah Chorus sing-along; (December 10 at Saint Peter's Church in Manhattan and December 18 at Saint John's Episcopal Church in Brooklyn); French Fête, spotlighting French composers of the twentieth century, including Debussy, Langlais, Boulanger, Dupré, and Hahn (February 26 at Saint Jean Baptiste Church); Bach, Buxtehude, and Barber, featuring the chamber choir joined by chamber orchestra presenting Bach's Jesu meine Feude as well as Maestro Merriweather stepping off the podium to perform Barber's Dover Beach (April 1 at Union Theological Seminary); and A New Amorous World, reflecting the diverse experiences of life with music from the Middle and Far East with special guests, the Chamber Choir from the United Nations International High School (May 14 at Fort Tyron Park and May 21 at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity).

Additionally, with Merriweather's appointment, Dessoff has launched its new logo and new website through a partnership with Raven Agency. The new logo, comprised of dots that make up a capital "D" alongside the choir's name, showcases the relationship between the choir and the audience. The choir is represented by the straight line of separated dots while the audience is represented by a curve of overlapping dots that are closer together, nearly creating a solid curve. The two parts come together to form the capital "D" of Dessoff. The new website encompasses the new logo, and is easy to navigate through a streamlined format.

In addition to his new position with Dessoff, Merriweather currently serves as Assistant Professor and Director of Choirs at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, Associate Choirmaster at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and the Music Director of the "Voices of Haiti" children's choir in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He holds his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting from the Manhattan School of Music. A protégé of Kent Tritle, Merriweather was the first graduate of the new doctoral program in conducting. Malcolm recently received the Lotos Club Award in Arts and Sciences, a prize which recognizes individuals for distinguished accomplishments and exceptional talent in the arts and sciences. He additionally holds Master of Music degrees in Choral Conducting and in Vocal Performance from the Eastman School of Music.

"I am honored to be called upon by the members and Board of Directors to be the ninth music director of The Dessoff Choirs," said Merriweather. "I remain astounded by the rich history of this institution and look forward to continuing and expanding upon its traditions of bringing great choral music to New York City."

Cyndee Socci, President of The Dessoff Choirs, said, "We are looking forward to the start of a wonderful collaboration with Maestro Merriweather. His depth and breadth of experience made him the perfect choice for the future of The Dessoff Choirs as we look ahead to our 100th anniversary season in 2024. We are very excited to witness his vision of creating rich and context-driven experiences for audiences through exceptional music-making in the 2016-17 season."

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