Cecilia Chorus Of NY Presents SING ME THE UNIVERSAL - A Walt Whitman Bicentennial Concert

Cecilia Chorus Of NY Presents SING ME THE UNIVERSAL - A Walt Whitman Bicentennial Concert

The Cecilia Chorus of New York, Mark Shapiro, Music Director will present Sing Me the Universal, a Walt Whitman Bicentennial Concert on March 2 at 8:00 PM at the Church of St. Francis Xavier, 46 W. 16th St., between 5th and 6th Avenues in Manhattan. This event celebrates the 200th anniversary of the poet's birth.

Repertoire will be 20th century composer Vincent Persichetti's Celebrations, the premiere of a new version of contemporary Cuban composer Jorge Martín's One Hour to Madness and Joy with organ, both of which capture the power and transcendence of the words of Walt Whitman. Excerpts from the Mass in D minor (1860) of Bostonian John Knowles Paine highlight the poet's radical individualism.

The Mass will feature contralto Nicole Joy Mitchell and tenor Michael St. Peter. More about Jorge Martín and organist James Kennerley at http://ceciliachorusny.org/#/walt-whitman-bicentennial.

Mark Shapiro writes, "The American original Walt Whitman has long been a favorite of composers. I think this is because his poetry, itself, sings. Its rhythms and textures leap from the page, calling out not merely to be read silently, but heard aloud. There is music already latent in Whitman's sound as well."

The concert will be presented with organ and percussion accompaniment.

Tickets for the March 2 concert are $30 in advance, $35 at the door, $25 for students, and can be purchased online at https://ceciliachorusny.org/products/walt-whitman-bicentennial.

For more information about this concert, visit http://www.ceciliachorusny.org/ or call 646-638-2535.

For MTA transportation information, visit http://tripplanner.mta.info/MyTrip/ui_web/customplanner/TripPlanner.aspx.

Jorge Martín (Composer, One Hour to Madness and Joy) was born in Santiago de Cuba and has degrees from Yale College and Columbia University. He writes in all major genres and his music is commissioned and performed by artists and groups across the U.S. In 1999 and again in 2012 he received a Cintas Fellowship for creative artists of Cuban descent, and also the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Academy Award in Music in 1998. In 2005 Martín was awarded a fellowship by the Bogliasco Foundation in Genoa, and artist's residencies at Yaddo in 1993 and again in 2003. The Fort Worth Opera Festival presented the World Premiere of Martín's first full-length opera, Before Night Falls, in the Spring of 2010; Florida Grand Opera revived the production in 2017. The opera is available on record. Mr. Martín has numerous other recordings available commercially, and he is a member of A.S.C.A.P. His website is at www.jorgemartin.com.

The Cecilia Chorus of New York is the 2015 winner of the ASCAP/Chorus America Alice Parker Award. New York City's Department of Cultural Affairs recently awarded them a generous grant to support several consecutive seasons. The chorus was founded in 1906 and has evolved into one of the finest avocational performing arts organizations in New York City, described as "reliably venturesome" (The New Yorker, 2017) and "admirable," (New York Times, 2017). Recent performance highlights have included the commission and premiere of Oedipus the King (2017) by the Brothers Balliett, featuring two-time Tony Award-winning actor Stephen Spinella, the commission and premiere of Tom Cipullo's Credo for a Secular City at Carnegie Hall in 2014, the New York Premiere of the Mass in D (1892) by Dame Ethel Smyth in 2013 as well as the Chorus's first-ever commission/premiere for Carnegie Hall, Divis Cetera by Raphael Fusco in 2012. The Chorus's 2016-17 season included three newly commissioned works. Their 2017-18 season included two U.S. premieres: Messe Romane, by Thierry Escaich, and The Prison (1930) by Dame Ethel Smyth. This season includes a newly commissioned work from The Brothers Balliett, Fifty Trillion Molecular Geniuses. Much more about CCNY at http://ceciliachorusny.org/.

Mark Shapiro was appointed the seventh Music Director of The Cecilia Chorus of New York in 2011. Music Director of The Prince Edward Island Symphony and Artistic Director of Cantori New York, he is one of a handful of artistic leaders in North America to have won a prestigious ASCAP Programming Award six times, achieving the unique distinction of winning such an award with three different ensembles. The New York Times has characterized his conducting as "insightful" and acknowledged its "virtuosity and assurance," and "uncommon polish." His artistic leadership was characterized by New Jersey's Star-Ledger as "erudite and far-reaching." His bio is at http://www.ceciliachorusny.org/music-director-mark-shapiro/.

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