LA Master Chorale To Open 2018/19 Season With The Mozart Requiem and Special Events
The Los Angeles Master Chorale will open its 2018/19 concert season in Walt Disney Concert Hall with two performances of The Mozart Requiem on Saturday, September 22 at 2 PM and Sunday, September 23 at 7 PM. The performances will feature the full 100-voice Master Chorale and Orchestra, and will be conducted by Grant Gershon, Kiki & David Gindler Artistic Director. Guest soloists for the Requiem are Liv Redpath (soprano), J'Nai Bridges (mezzo-soprano), David Portillo (tenor), and Rod Gilfry (baritone). The concerts will open with Shawn Kirchner's Songs of Ascent-a setting of the Psalms sung by pilgrims journeying to Jerusalem-commissioned and premiered by the Master Chorale in 2015 when Kirchner was the Swan Family Composer-in-Residence. These performances will include three Psalms Kirchner has since added to the piece.
Mozart's Requiem-the last piece of music he composed and infamous for its mysterious origins and posthumous completion-has been performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale under each of its directors. It was last performed by Gershon and the Master Chorale in 2009, and the choir most recently performed it with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in August 2017. There have been several versions of the Requiem published. Gershon and the Master Chorale will perform the Franz Xaver Süssmayr version. Süssmayr (1766-1803) is the Austrian composer and conductor credited with completing the Requiem after Mozart's death in 1791.
"The Mozart Requiem holds a special place in my heart because it was the first major choral work that I ever sang at the tender age of 14," says Gershon. "Now 'several' years later I'm even more in awe of its combination of majesty, terror, humanity, and compassion. The fact that Mozart was literally composing it on his death bed simply adds to the sense of tragedy and miracle surrounding the Requiem. These performances by the Master Chorale will surely be soul-stirring."
Lacrimosa Short Film
The Mozart Requiem features in Lacrimosa, a short film by director Arnaud Uyttenhove including members of the Master Chorale. The Lacrimosa section of the Requiem was recorded especially for the film, scored by composer Adam Crystal with a sampled orchestral track by Emmy Award-winning composer Jeff Beal, and conducted by the Master Chorale's Associate Conductor, Jenny Wong. The film was screened at the Hammer Museum as part of the Flux Summer Series in June and released worldwide in July by NOWNESS, an international arts and culture video channel.
Since its premiere in 2015, Songs of Ascent has been performed by choirs around the country including the San Diego Master Chorale led by John Russell, the Sioux County Oratorio Chorus led by Ben Kornelis, Boston's Coro Allegro led by David Hodgkins, and the Winchester Musica Viva led by Ken Nafziger. Kirchner says the three "conflict psalms" he has brought back into the work were part of the original composition, but he decided to streamline the piece for its premiere. He subsequently felt that some of his intent with the piece was lost, particularly in conveying that the arts play an essential and powerful role in helping to heal our personal and collective traumas.
"After the premiere I realized that people were hearing the piece as largely "euphonious" (to quote a critic) rather than sensing the implicit drama that I had intended. I knew I needed to be more overt about the theme of estrangement and reconciliation, both for the artistic success of the piece, as well as to do justice to my own convictions about the importance of peacemaking. So, I dusted off the three "conflict psalms" and made them the dramatic center of the piece."
To celebrate the opening of Master Chorale's 55th season, special pre- and post-concert festivities have been planned. The Grand Mozart Experience offers audiences the opportunity to go behind the scenes at Walt Disney Concert Hall for a lively, backstage open house party. Guests will explore Mozart-inspired musical vignettes from room to room, and enjoy food, drinks, music, a silent auction, and more. The Grand Mozart Experience will begin at 4 PM on both concert days, following the 2 PM concert on Saturday, and preceding the 7 PM concert on Sunday. The cost is $150 per person, excluding concert ticket.
Guests on Sunday are also invited to attend a post-concert Opening Night Dinner. Including a sumptuous family-style dinner by Patina in BP Hall, the evening will also feature special guests and surprises. The cost is $500 per person, excluding concert ticket. Both events will support the artistic and educational programming of the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
The Master Chorale's 2018/19 concert season continues through May 2019, including its popular Christmas concerts in December. Full details of the season can be found here.