Jen Rogers, Phoenix Chorale
Don Loncasty, Kansas City Chorale
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 6, 2014
Phoenix Chorale & Kansas City Chorale
To Perform Sergei Rachmaninoff’s
Charles Bruffy brings his two GRAMMY-winning choirs together
(Phoenix, AZ) – Artistic Director Charles Bruffy brings his two professional Grammy-winning choirs, the Phoenix Chorale and Kansas City Chorale, together to perform the pinnacle of Russian sacred music, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil. The two choirs share Artistic Director Charles Bruffy, who has led the Kansas City Chorale since 1988 and the Phoenix Chorale since 1999. The concerts take place April 26–27, 2014, in Phoenix, AZ, and on May 23, 2014, in Kansas City, MO.
“I’m very excited to bring my two professional choirs together again. It’s truly magical when all of these amazing voices come together,” says Charles Bruffy. “It’s a lot of responsibility to be in charge of the talent of these two choirs, and singing one of the most profound choral pieces of all time, the All-Night Vigil, well, I’m the lucky one.”
These concerts present a number of firsts for the two ensembles: It’s the first time the two ensembles will perform the All-Night Vigil together; it’s the first time each of the two choirs have ever performed the work in their respective histories; and it’s the first time they have joined forces since their 2009 tour to New York, performing at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.
“When we come together with the Kansas City Chorale, there is this plush wall of sound. It’s overwhelmingly beautiful,” said Stephanie Stickford, Phoenix Chorale alto. “It’s so interesting to be with other singers that know Charles’ way of conducting. It’s like discovering you have a twin that thinks just like you do. When we get together it’s like a superpower, and it’s surprising and wonderful at the same time. I’m really looking forward to it!”
Building on the success of previous collaborations, these performances mark the seventh 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’m a longtime fan of the Phoenix Chorale, so I think it will be really rewarding to work with them! 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.”
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.
What the critics say about the Phoenix Chorale and Kansas City Chorale:
“The massed forces… make a formidable choral machine, one which seems to produce an unending wave of smoothly blended sound.” – BBC Music Magazine
“How can you fail to be bewitched by singing like that?” – BBC Radio 3
“…ravishingly sung by two American choirs, both specialists in unaccompanied choral music.”
– International Record Review
With the Phoenix Chorale & Kansas City Chorale
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)
*K-BACH 89.5 FM Pre-Concert Talk begins at 1:45 pm
Friday, May 23, 2014 – 7:30 pm
at Redemptorist Church (3333 Broadway, Kansas City, Missouri, 64111)
Charles Bruffy’s two Grammy Award–winning choirs join forces for the first time since 2009 to sing the pinnacle of Russian sacred music, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil. When the Phoenix Chorale and Kansas City Chorale sing side by side, they create one sublime sound – this is one musical experience that is not to be missed.
About Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil: 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.
“The ‘Vespers’ setting is considered the finest of Rachmaninoff’s sacred works and has been praised as representing the greatest height reached by music of the Russian Orthodox Church.” – Nick Jones, Liner note author for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
About Charles Bruffy: 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 Jean Belmont, Ola Gjeilo, Matthew Harris, Libby Larsen, Zhou Long, 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 seven recordings for Chandos Records.
About the Kansas City Chorale: 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. Under the artistic direction of Charles Bruffy since 1988, the Kansas City Chorale has six recordings on 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.” In 2008, the Kansas City Chorale’s 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 on the Chandos Record label with the Phoenix Chorale, also led by Charles Bruffy. Also in 2009, the Kansas City Chorale performed 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. The New York Times referred to the ‘refined sound’ and ‘elegant phrasing’ of the choirs, as well as their ‘vivid intensity,’ praising the performance for its ‘buoyant pulse and energetic finesse.’ 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.” www.KCChorale.org.
About the Phoenix Chorale: 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. More information is available at www.PhoenixChorale.org.
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