Cantata Singers Announces 2016-17 Chamber Series

Cantata Singers will continue a successful partnership with the Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, presenting a three-concert Chamber Series season at the Academy on November 18, 2016, January 20, 2017 and March 31, 2017. The series, led by director Allison Voth, gives listeners the opportunity to deeply explore chamber repertoire that complements Cantata Singers' mainstage series.

The series begins on Friday, November 18, 2016 at 7:30pm with "Entartete Musik," featuring music by Nazi-labeled "degenerate" composers Kurt Weill, Arnold Schoenberg, Hanns Eisler, Berthold Goldschmidt, Eric Korngold, Alexander von Zemlinsky, Egon Wellesz, Paul Hindemith, Ernst Krenek, Hans Gàl, Franz Schreker, and Wilhelm Grosz. All twelve composers were ostracized by the Nazi Regime (1933-1945), and many were designated in campaigns against "Entartete Kunst," or degenerate art, that was considered to be "un-German, Jewish, or Communist" in nature. Composers were often dismissed from their teaching or conducting positions, and their music was banned from being performed in concert halls. Some artists were even forbidden from producing art at all, and imprisoned in concentration camps. Most of the composers included on this program immigrated to Allied or neutral countries during World War II, many settling in the United States. While linked together by the shared historical and cultural events that greatly affected their lives, each composer wrote with his/her own unique musical voice. Highlights of the program include Schoenberg's Wanderlied, Hindemith's 3 Hymnen, and Weill's Berlin im Licht. Mark Ludwig, executive director of the Terezín Music Foundation and violist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, will give the per-concert talk at 6:30pm.

Chamber Series Director Allison Voth is an associate professor of music at Boston University's School of Music, and principal coach at Boston University's Opera Institute. A well-known diction coach in Boston and New York, she has concertized widely with Lucine Amara of the Metropolitan Opera. She has worked as diction coach and répétiteur with such companies as Opera Boston, Boston Lyric Opera, Emmanuel Music, Chautauqua Opera, Providence Opera, Granite State Opera, the Verismo Opera of New Jersey, and Opera North. A champion of new music, Voth has performed and assisted in the premieres of many new works with ALEA III, Collage New Music, The New Music Consort, The Group for Contemporary Players and the National Orchestra Association New Music Project. She is a specialist in the music of Paul Bowles and was on the cutting edge of the Paul Bowles revival movement in the 1990s.

The Chamber Series continues on Friday, January 20, 2017, with a program featuring the music of Lazar Weiner and Kurt Weill. Born only three years apart, Weiner and Weill both immigrated to the United States, where they made distinctively different marks on twentieth-century music, Weiner primarily in the synagogue, and Weill on the stage. Featured on the program are a collection of beautiful Yiddish art songs by Weiner, and Weill's Abendlied and Four Walt Whitman Songs, among others. Yehudi Wyner, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, and son of Lazar Weiner, will give the pre-concert talk at 6:30pm.

The Chamber Series concludes on Friday, March 31, 2017, with music by "Les Six," a collection of early 20th century French avant-garde composers. The group, assembled by writer Jean Cocteau and comprised of composers Arthur Honegger, Georges Auric, Louis Durey, Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, and Germaine Tailleferre, were labelled "Les Six" by music critic Henri Collet. While the six composers have been grouped together since the start of their careers, their musical languages vary, as demonstrated on this program featuring Milhaud's Trois Poèmes de Jean Cocteau and Auric's Huit poèmes de Jean Cocteau, Poulenc's Quatre Poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire and Honegger's Six Poèmes d'Apollinaire, and Milhaud's Suite for violin, clarinet, and piano, op. 157b. Anna Winestein, executive director of the Ballets Russes Arts Initiative, will give the pre-concert talk at 6:30pm.

Single tickets $25, discounts for students, seniors, and groups, For more information, contact Cantata Singers at 617.868.5885, or visit our website,

A singular desire to bring to Boston's listeners music that isn't being heard anywhere else has inspired Cantata Singers' programming for 53 years.

In 1964, that music included the cantatas of J.S. Bach. Today, it may be hard for us to believe, but when Cantata Singers was founded in 1964, live performances of Bach cantatas were quite a rarity. In fact, Cantata Singers' early concerts featured the first Boston performances of many of the cantatas.

Bach's music, from the cantatas to the B-minor Mass to the Passions, remains an essential part of Cantata Singers' repertoire. However, the ensemble's repertoire has expanded to include music from the 17th century to today. Cantata Singers has commissioned 14 works for choir and orchestra-including one that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music-and has presented more than fifty Boston premieres of music both old and new.

Many of Boston's most talented musicians perform regularly with Cantata Singers. The chorus is made up of singers who have careers as musicians, educators, doctors, and architects. Many of these members appear as soloists with Cantata Singers, as well as with other highly respected organizations; some conduct other choruses and orchestras in the area. Although many of our musicians perform actively as solo singers, they choose to sing with Cantata Singers because of the reward they find in performing music of the choral canon at the highest possible level.

Cantata Singers has always focused on the music-be it by Bach, Verdi, Harbison, or Pärt-and its audiences do, too. Our audiences return year after year to hear fresh visions of iconic music, or an intriguing unfamiliar work that is-in fact-quite approachable. Each Cantata Singers concert is often surprising, sometimes challenging, always beautiful, and ultimately inspiring.

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