Kansas City Chorale Performs Rachmaninoff's ALL-NIGHT VIGIL with Phoenix Chorale Tonight
Artistic Director Charles Bruffy brings his two professional Grammy winning choirs, the Kansas City Chorale and the Phoenix Chorale, together to perform the pinnacle of Russian sacred music, Sergei Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil. Bruffy has led the Kansas City Chorale since 1988 and the Phoenix Chorale since 1999. The concert takes place tonight, May 23, 2014, in Kansas City at Redemptorist Church, 3333 Broadway.
"It's always a very special occasion for me to bring my two professional choruses together. With 50 voices, we are able to explore new repertoire, and I think Rachmaninoff's masterpiece is the perfect choice for our brand of singing." says Charles Bruffy. "The prospect of conducting this incredible ensemble performing one of the world's most beloved choral works is very thrilling. And very daunting!"
Building on the success of previous collaborations, these performances mark the eighth time the two choirs have performed together. Of their performance at Alice Tully Hall in New York, Vivien Schweitzer of The New York Times wrote that the choirs "performed with a buoyant pulse and energetic finesse," and she praised "the choirs' refined sound and elegant phrasing."
Kansas City Chorale alto Katherine Crawford is also looking forward to the joint concerts and said, "As a newer member of the Kansas City Chorale, I'm really excited for the groups to sing together. I believe that both of the groups bring a mutual respect for the other's talents as well as a shared love for the repertoire that will only lead to great things when we collaborate."
All-Night Vigil will be performed Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 7:30 pm at St. Mary's Basilica (231 North 3rd St., Phoenix, Arizona, 85004); Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 3:00 pm at Camelback Bible Church (3900 E. Stanford Dr., Paradise Valley, Arizona, 85253); and Friday, May 23, 2014 - 7:30 pm at Redemptorist Church (3333 Broadway, Kansas City, Missouri, 64111).
The Phoenix Chorale and Kansas City Chorale are regarded as two of the finest professional choral ensembles in the world. Their recordings have earned a combined total of ten GRAMMY Award nominations and four wins. The Kansas City Chorale was founded in 1982 and the Phoenix Chorale was founded in 1958.
Sergei Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil was written at the height of his compositional creativity prior to the 1917 Revolution in Russia, during which time all church music was banned in Russia. The All-Night Vigil, sometimes referred to as "Vespers," was written by Rachmaninoff in just two weeks in 1915 and is known as his last and greatest liturgical composition. It is both spiritual and sensational, harkening back to the days of chant, while at the same time featuring the lush harmonies that Rachmaninoff is known and loved for.
One of the most admired choral conductors in the United States, the GRAMMY® Award-winning conductor Charles Bruffy began his career as a tenor soloist, performing with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers in recordings and in concerts both in France and at Carnegie Hall in New York. Shaw encouraged his development as a conductor and in 1996 he was invited by American Public Media's 'Performance Today' to help celebrate Shaw's eightieth birthday with an on-air tribute. In 1999, The New York Times named him as the late, great conductor's potential heir. He has been Artistic Director of the Kansas City Chorale since 1988, the Phoenix Chorale since 1999, and Chorus Director of the Kansas City Symphony Chorus since 2008. He conducts workshops and clinics across the US; is a member of the Advisory Board of the Atlanta Young Singers of Callanwolde; and served on the Board of Chorus America for seven years. Respected and renowned for his fresh and passionate interpretations of standards of the choral repertoire and for championing new music, Charles Bruffy has commissioned and premiered works by composers such as Ola Gjeilo, Matthew Harris, Libby Larsen, Zhou Long, Michael McGlynn, Stephen Paulus, Stephen Sametz, Steven Stucky, Eric Whitacre, and Chen Yi. Under his supervision, the Roger Dean Company, a division of the Lorenz Corporation, publishes a choral series specializing in music for professional ensembles and sophisticated high school and college choirs. His eclectic discography includes six recordings on the Nimbus label and five recordings for Chandos Records.
Founded in 1982, the Kansas City Chorale is a professional vocal ensemble that enriches local, national, and international communities through its dedication to excellence in performing music from diverse historical periods. Audiences around the globe have enjoyed the sounds of the Kansas City Chorale through recordings and radio broadcasts. Previously, the Chorale received an ASCAP Award for adventurous programming and appeared as part of the Library of Congress's "I Hear America Singing" series. In 2009, the Kansas City Chorale performed as headliners at the Incheon International Choral Festival in South Korea, and made its New York debut with the Phoenix Chorale in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center.Under the artistic direction of Charles Bruffy since 1988, the Kansas City Chorale has six recordings with Nimbus Records, and was the first North American choir signed to that label. Their recording of Rakhmaninov's Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom was praised by the New York Times as "...a project that must be rated a serious contender for record of the year... the chorus is everywhere remarkable." Since 2006 the Chorale has recorded exclusively for Chandos Records. In 2008, their recording Grechaninov: Passion Week was nominated for four Grammy Awards, including "Best Classical Album," "Best Choral Performance," "Best Surround Sound Album," and won a GRAMMY for "Best Engineered Album, Classical." In 2009, the Kansas City Chorale's recording Rheinberger: Sacred Choral Works was nominated for two GRAMMY Awards including "Best Choral Performance" and "Best Surround Sound Album." Both recordings were part of a series of joint-recordings with the Phoenix Chorale. The newest addition to their discography was released in 2012, titled Life and Breath: Choral Works by René Clausen, and it won two GRAMMY Awards, including "Best Engineered Album, Classical" and "Best Choral Performance." KCChorale.org.
The Grammy Award winning Phoenix Chorale, under the direction of Artistic Director Charles Bruffy, is regarded as one of the finest choral ensembles in North America. The Chorale has developed that reputation through live performances across the U.S. and in Canada, along with a series of recordings treasured by music lovers and played by radio stations around the globe. What began in 1958 as a small study group of singers became a fully professional choir in 1992 made up of Arizona residents: highly educated and trained singers, teachers and professionals. In 2004, the Phoenix Chorale became the first North American choir to record for the U.K.'s prestigious Chandos Records and since then, the Chorale's recordings have earned a total of eight GRAMMY nominations and two GRAMMY wins. The newest addition to their discography was released in 2012, titled Northern Lights, and features music composed by Ola Gjeilo, the Chorale's 2009-10 composer-in-residence. Northern Lights spent 13 weeks on the Billboard Charts (reaching #4 on the Traditional Classical Chart), spent 6 weeks on the Gramophone charts, was the top-selling title for Chandos Records in the USA in 2012, and was named "Best Classical Vocal Album of the Year" on iTunes Best of 2012. The Phoenix Chorale aims to be the preeminent model for American choral music by redefining standards of excellence and its mission is to enrich life through excellence and distinction in choral artistry. In its 56-year history, the Phoenix Chorale's conductors have included Millicent Wesley (the Chorale's first conductor from 1958), Wallace Hornibrook, Dan Durand, Vance George, Anders Öhrwall, Jon Washburn, and Charles Bruffy. The Phoenix Chorale, ensemble-in-residence at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Phoenix, is sponsored in part through grants and funding from Cathedral Arts, Sundome Performing Arts Association, Arizona Commission on the Arts, City of Phoenix Office of Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Quail Distributing.