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Cantata Singers Presents 'Primosch, Bartók, And Pärt' On January 25

Cantata Singers season continues on Friday, January 25, 2019 at 8pm in New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall with a program of music by James Primosch, Béla Bartok, and Arvo Pärt.

Beginning the program is James Primosch's Matins-a provocative meditation on creation, brokenness, and renewal. A Cantata Singers and Winsor Music joint co-commission from 2003, Primosch was inspired by the musical world of Bach cantatas when writing Matins. However, instead of setting music for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, which was typical for Bach, Primosch set gorgeous, reflective poetry by Mary Oliver and Gerard Manley Hopkins to mark the morning prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours. Primosch was not only inspired by Bach's structure; he writes, "The concertante writing for the oboe, which acts as a kind of vocal soloist beyond words, also honors the role that the instrument plays in Bach." The work was originally written for world renowned oboist Peggy Pearson, and she will reprise her performance for the program.

A student of George Crumb, Richard Wernick, John Harbison, and Mario Davidovsky, James Primosch's works have been performed by Cantata Singers, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Collage, the New York New Music Ensemble, and the 21st Century Consort. Dawn Upshaw included a song by Primosch in her Carnegie Hall recital debut. Commissioned works by Primosch have been premiered by the Chicago Symphony, Cantata Singers, and pianist Lambert Orkis. Eighteen of his compositions are available on commercial recording. He is presently at work on a song cycle for soprano and orchestra on texts by former MacArthur fellow Susan Stewart.

Peggy Pearson is a winner of the Pope Foundation Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Music. Ms. Pearson is Director of Winsor Music, Inc.; she is also Artistic Director of, and oboist with the Winsor Music Chamber Series in Lexington, Massachusetts, and the Greenleaf Chamber Players, currently in residence at Purchase College, NY. She is a founding member of the chamber group, La Fenice, has toured internationally and recorded extensively with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and has appeared with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra as principal oboist. In addition to her freelance and chamber music activities, Peggy Pearson has been an active exponent of contemporary music, and has premiered works by Mario Davidovsky, John Harbison, Peter Child, and Yehudi Wyner. She is currently on the faculties at Boston Conservatory and MIT.

Concluding the program are Bartók's Divertimento for Strings and Pärt's Te Deum.

One of the most celebrated living composers, Arvo Pärt's signature tintinnabuli composition style is employed throughout Te Deum. Contrasting with the setting traditional Latin text is Pärt's unique orchestration. The work is scored for three choirs (women's choir, men's choir, and mixed choir), strings, prepared piano, and a tape of a wind harp that functions as a drone throughout the piece.

Béla Bartók's delightfully witty and engaging Divertimento was the last work the composer wrote before fleeing Hungary and immigrating to the United States during the outbreak of World War II. It showcases Bartók's signature attention to detail-despite its quick composition in just 15 days-with precise tempos and tonal clarity.

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