Musica Viva NY Presents 'Infinite Hope' on Sunday, April 8
The concert features the Musica Viva NY Choir-led by Artistic Director Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez and accompanied by the award-winning Aeolus Quartet and pianist Trent Johnson-in Alice Parker's A Sermon From the Mountain: Martin Luther King, which pays tribute to Dr. King, and is inspired by the Biblical verses frequently quoted by him and the spirituals which use these texts. Baritone James Dargan is spotlighted in Alice Parker's work, which includes narration by David Rockefeller, Jr. Additional featured soloists include soprano Devony Smith, alto Barbara Fusco, and tenor Shawn Bartels.
The program also features beloved spirituals including Precious Lord, Take My Hand, Elijah Rock, and There is a Balm in Gilead, arranged by Moses Hogan, William L. Dawson, and Arnold Sevier. The Aeolus Quartet performs Dvo?ák's String Quartet in F Major, Op. 96, "American", which is interspersed with the spirituals.
Tickets, priced at $40, are available by visiting musicaviva.org/tickets or can be purchased at the door.
Founded in 1977, Musica Viva NY, a chamber choir of thirty professionals and highly skilled volunteers, is driven by a desire to share the transcendent power of choral and instrumental music with audiences in New York City and beyond, through its annual four-concert series at All Souls Church on the Upper East Side. The choir's broad repertoire includes new compositions and classic masterworks, emphasizing artistic excellence and transformative interpretations.
Musica Viva NY additionally will present Voices in Motion: Exploring Sound and Space on Sunday, February 25 at 5:00 p.m.; and Sunrise in the City: Musica Viva NY Celebrates 40 Years onSunday, May 20, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. featuring a new commission by Elena Ruehr.
Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of MLK's Assassination
All Souls Church
1157 Lexington Avenue (at 80th Street)
New York, NY 10075 Featuring:
Musica Viva NY Choir
Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez, Artistic Director
Trent Johnson, piano
James Dargan, baritone
David Rockefeller, Jr., narrator
Devony Smith, soprano
Barbara Fusco, alto
Shawn Bartels, tenor
ALICE PARKER A Sermon from the Mountain: Martin Luther King
ANTONIN DVO?ÁK String Quartet No. 12 in F Major, Op. 96, "American"
Spirituals arranged by Moses Hogan, William L. Dawson, and Arnold Sevier
Precious Lord, Take My Hand
There is a Balm in Gilead
Esteemed conductor, pianist, and composer Dr. Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez was named Artistic Director of Musica Viva NY and Director of Music of the historic Unitarian Church of All Souls in Manhattan in 2015. He is also Co-Founder of the New Orchestra of Washington and Artistic Director of the Victoria Bach Festival. He has earned accolades from The Washington Post as a conductor "with the incisive clarity of someone born to the idiom," as well as praise from The New York Times for leading "a stirring performance" of Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem. He is featured in El mundo en las manos/Creadores mexicanos en el extranjero (The World in Their Hands/Creative Mexicans Abroad), a book by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs honoring Mexican nationals who are leading figures in diverse artistic fields. He is the recipient of a 2016 Shenandoah Conservatory Alumni of Excellence Award for his exemplary contribution to his profession, national level of prominence, and exceptional integrity. He resides in New York City and Washington, D.C. The Aeolus Quartet is committed to presenting time-seasoned masterworks and new cutting-edge works to widely diverse audiences with equal freshness, dedication, and fervor. Formed in 2008, the Quartet is comprised of violinists Nicholas Tavani and Rachel Shapiro, violist Caitlin Lynch, and cellist Alan Richardson. The all-American Aeolus Quartet has been awarded prizes at nearly every major competition in the United States and has performed across the globe in venues such as Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Reinberger Recital Hall at Severance Hall, Merkin Hall, The Library of Congress, Renwick Gallery, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center. They were the 2013-2015 Graduate Resident String Quartet at the Juilliard School. Members of the Quartet hold degrees from the Juilliard School, Peabody Conservatory, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the University of Maryland, and the University of Texas at Austin, where they served as Graduate String Quartet-in-Residence. The quartet has released two critically acclaimed albums of classical and contemporary works through the Longhorn/Naxos label which are available on iTunes, Amazon, and major retailers worldwide.
Trent Johnson is an organist, composer, pianist and conductor. He is the Organist and Assistant Director of Music of the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City and is the Music Director of the Oratorio Singers of Westfield, New Jersey. Mr. Johnson is a graduate of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and The Juilliard School. He was formerly the Assistant Organist of the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City. An active organ recitalist, Mr. Johnson has performed recitals in many of the major churches, concert halls and cathedrals in the United States, Europe and Asia. Some notable recital venues in New York have included the Riverside Church, St. Thomas' Church 5th Avenue, St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, and the Brick Presbyterian Church. He is an organist at Radio City Music Hall, where he plays the "Mighty Wurlitzer" organ for the Christmas Spectacular Show.
James Dargan is a creative artist and authenticity addict from the Southeastern US. He has played the violin and sung since he was a child, and he is a composer, essayist, poet, and polyglot translator. After a brief stint as a university English professor, James decided to sing, and subsequently performed and studied throughout the US, Europe, the UK, and Canada. James lives and works in New York City. Artistic milestones include his first Schubert's Winterreise in May 2017, performances (past and upcoming) of his social justice recital "Oh, Glory!" which will be performed at All Souls Church in May, and the in-progress writing of his first opera The Legend of John Henry.
David Rockefeller, Jr. has been actively using his voice as a performing instrument since he was ten years old, singing in choir as a child, then participating in theatre and Glee Club in high school and college, and as a semi-professional chorister for more than forty years with Boston's Cantata Singers and the Boston Camerata. Recently, David has focused on narration, often with musical accompaniment. In his former home city of Boston, he performed with the Boston Pops Orchestra (as John F. Kennedy), the Lexington Symphony, and the Handel & Haydn Society. At All Souls Church, he has performed with Musica Viva NY and for several years as a regular reader at Stories with Soul. Elsewhere, he has performed at the Bohemian Club in San Francisco and has twice presented the epic poem Enoch Arden (for piano and voice) by Alfred Lord Tennyson, at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi, and at The Century Association in New York City. He has also appeared as a narrator in three of the films directed by his wife, Susan Cohn Rockefeller, and he read for a five CD set for Audible.com in which he was the voice of Albert Einstein.
Image by Richard Termine