The Dessoff Choirs to Present Sondheim Revue Featuring Selections From COMPANY, SWEENEY TODD & More

Sondheim Revue includes solos, duets, and choruses from Merrily We Roll Along, A Little Night Music and more.

By: Jan. 19, 2023
The Dessoff Choirs to Present Sondheim Revue Featuring Selections From COMPANY, SWEENEY TODD & More
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The Dessoff Choirs to Present Sondheim Revue Featuring Selections From COMPANY, SWEENEY TODD & More

The Dessoff Choirs, led by Music Director Malcolm J. Merriweather, will celebrate the legacy of Stephen Sondheim with a concert by the 20-voice Dessoff Chamber Choir on Friday, February 10, 2023, at 7:30pm at Roulette (509 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn).

Sondheim Revue includes solos, duets, and choruses from Company ("Being Alive"), Merrily We Roll Along ("Not a Day Goes By" and "Old Friends"), Into the Woods ("Agony," "No One Is Alone," and "Children Will Listen"), Evening Primrose ("I Remember"), Sweeney Todd ("Johanna"), Follies ("Losing My Mind"), A Little Night Music ("Soon" and "Send in the Clowns"), and West Side Story ("America," "Tonight," and others). Steven Ryan joins on piano, and Merriweather both conducts and sings.

On February 3, 2023, at the start of Black History Month, Dessoff will release the world premiere recordings of two cantatas, Credo and Simon Bore the Cross, by 20th-century African American composer Margaret Bonds. Credo is set to the W. E. B. Du Bois' prose poem of the same name. Simon Bore the Cross was one of several collaborations between Bonds and her close friend, poet Langston Hughes. The recording, which is the ensemble's second for AVIE Records, spotlights The Dessoff Choirs and Orchestra, conducted by Malcolm J. Merriweather, along with soloists Janinah Burnett, soprano, and Dashon Burton, bass-baritone. The Dessoff Choirs' performance of Credo is from an authoritative edition by Temple University music professor Rollo Dilworth; the edition and orchestration of Simon Bore the Cross are by Malcolm J. Merriweather.

The Dessoff Choirs' season concludes with Envisioning Bach's St. John Passion, a lightly-staged performance of Bach's masterwork, sung in English, on Saturday, May 6, 2023 at 4:00pm at Mother AME Zion Church.

Performance Details:

Sondheim Revue
Friday, February 10, 2023 at 7:30pm
Roulette Intermedium | 509 Atlantic Avenue | Brooklyn, NY, 11217
Tickets: $24-$50
Link: https://www.dessoff.org/events/sondheim-revue

Selections by Stephen Sondheim:

Company
"Being Alive"

Merrily We Roll Along
"Not a Day Goes By"
"Old Friends"

Into the Woods
"Agony"
"No One Is Alone"
"Children Will Listen"

Evening Primrose
"I Remember"

Sweeney Todd
"Johanna"

Follies
"Losing My Mind"

A Little Night Music
"Soon"
"Send in the Clowns"

West Side Story
"Tonight"
"I Feel Pretty"
"Maria"
"America"
"One Hand, One Heart"
"Somewhere"

The Dessoff Choirs Chamber Choir
Steven Ryan, piano
Malcolm J. Merriweather, conductor and baritone

Proof of Covid-19 vaccination is required for entry and will be confirmed at the door of the venue upon arrival; vaccination card or NY State Excelsior Pass must be presented. Masks are required for the entire duration of all Dessoff events for all members of the audience.

About The Dessoff Choirs

The Dessoff Choirs, under the baton of Malcolm J. Merriweather, music director, is one of the leading choruses in New York City, with an established reputation for pioneering performances of choral works from the Renaissance era through the 21st century. The 's' in Choirs connotes the group's various incarnations - from Dessoff's core group of 60 singers, to the Symphonic Choir assembled for larger engagements and Chamber Choir selected to present more intimate works. Since its founding in 1924, Dessoff's mission is to enrich the lives of its audiences and members by giving voice to new or rarely heard, forgotten music and composers; and to bring great choral works to New York audiences in new ways. Dessoff 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 these 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 near-100-year history, Dessoff has presented many world premieres, including works by Virgil Thomson, George Perle, Paul Moravec, and Ricky Ian Gordon; 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 John Tavener's all-night vigil, The Veil of the Temple.

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 the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

About Malcolm J. Merriweather

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

Merriweather enjoys a versatile career, with performances ranging from the songs of Margaret Bonds to gems of the symphonic choral repertoire. The baritone can be heard on the GRAMMY-nominated recording of Paul Moravec's Sanctuary Road (NAXOS). Hailed by Opera News as "moving...expertly interpreted," Margaret Bonds: The Ballad of the Brown King & Selected Songs (AVIE) has earned considerable praise around the world.

In addition, Merriweather is the Director of the New York Philharmonic Chorus. An Associate Professor and Director of Choral Studies and Voice Department Coordinator at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, he has also joined the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music. He was the founding Artistic Director of "Voices of Haiti," a 60-member children's choir in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, operated by the Andrea Bocelli Foundation.

Maestro Merriweather's 2022-23 season opened with the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, where he led three staged performances of Considering Matthew Shepard. He began his new appointment as Director of the New York Philharmonic Chorus by preparing the professional choir for three programs throughout the season for Maestro Jaap van Zweden, including Beethoven's Ninth Symphony for the reopening of David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center. With the Dessoff Choirs he conducts Duruflé's Requiem, Bach's St. John Passion, and motets by Vicente Lusitano, the first published Black composer. This season includes the long-awaited release of the world premiere recordings of Margaret Bonds' Credo and Simon Bore the Cross (AVIE Records). Merriweather's solo baritone engagements include Handel's Messiah at Carnegie Hall and Sanctuary Road with the Cincinnati May Festival and the Penn Square Music Festival.

Merriweather has been featured as a soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Dessoff Choirs, the New York Choral Society, and the Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in New York City. The baritone has premiered contemporary solo works by Eve Beglarian, John Liberatore, Juri Seo, Douglas Fisk, and James Adler. He has been a fellowship recipient at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and at the Tanglewood Music Center.

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 his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Syracuse University, summa cum laude.

His professional affiliations include memberships in Pi Kappa Lambda, the American Choral Directors Association, and Chorus America. He was previously Music Director of the West Village Chorale, Organist and Choirmaster at the Church of St. Luke and St. Simon of Cyrene (Episcopal) in Rochester, NY, and, for five years, Associate Choirmaster at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City. Connect with him on Twitter and Instagram @maestroweather and at www.malcolmjmerriweather.com.

About Steven Ryan

Steven Ryan, piano, has been Dessoff's accompanist and keyboard soloist since 1997. In recent years, Mr. Ryan has performed in Russia, Austria, France, and Italy. In 2014, he was featured in the Voices Across the Pacific festival in Sydney, Australia, playing a solo concert and working with choirs. He has performed several solos with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and the Greater Trenton Symphony Orchestra.

He has played celesta with the Berlin Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall; piano, harpsichord, and organ with Dessoff; and synthesizer with the Moody Blues. Conductors he has collaborated with include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Charles Dutoit, Neeme Järvi, Sir Neville Marriner, Gerard Schwarz, and Maxim Shostakovich.

Mr. Ryan is a regular accompanist at Montclair State University, recently working with their choirs in a Voces 8 immersive program, culminating in a concert at Merkin concert Hall. In the summer of 2022, he toured with Montclair State University's Symphonic Band throughout Germany and Austria, during which Mr. Ryan was the soloist in Olivier Messiaen's Couleurs de la Cité Céleste. In October 2022, he also performed with Voces 8 at Merkin Hall.

In 2000, Mr. Ryan won second prize at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, and in 2001 he took first place in the Concours des Grand Amateurs de Piano in France.

Photo credit: Dan Wright




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