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For Immediate Release: March 22, 2011

Contact: Jen Rogers, 480-204-0101
Box Office: 602-253-2224


Concerts feature choir with percussion

(Phoenix, AZ) – The Phoenix Chorale’s 2010-11 Season closes with “The Rhythm of Life,” a cross-cultural experience of music from Korea, Estonia, USA, Finland and Africa on April 9, 10 & 17. These concerts feature an eclectic selection of music for choir and percussion and range from French choruses by Leonard Bernstein to the minimalism of Steve Reich. Special guest performer includes percussionist Sonja Branch on marimba, djembe, claves, shakere, shaman drum, traditional Korean kkyangari drum, thunder sheet, bass drum, suspended cymbal, wind chimes, and more.

Music on these concerts include four American composers: Leonard Bernstein’s French Choruses from The Lark; minimalist Steve Reich’s Clapping Music; Eric Whitacre’s Cloudburst; and two pieces by Joan Szymko: Ye Jaliya-o and This Wonderful Feeling. Also featured is Psalm 150 in Kent Treble Bob Minor by Finland’s Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, Estonian composer Veljo Tormis’s Curse Upon Iron, and two pieces by Korean composer Hyowon Woo: Airirang and Me-Na-Ri.

 The Saturday, April 9 concert begins at 7:30 p.m at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Phoenix (100 W. Roosevelt St.) – KBAQ 89.5 FM Talks at Trinity, hosted by Sterling Beeaff, start at 6:30 pm. The Sunday, April 10 concert begins at 3:00 pm at Camelback Bible Church (3900 E. Stanford Dr., Paradise Valley). The Sunday, April 17 concert begins at 3:00 pm at American Lutheran Church in Sun City (17200 Del Webb Blvd.). Tickets will be available for sale at all concerts starting at least one hour before the concert begins.


The Daily Telegraph said that “After Arvo Pärt, [Veljo] Tormis is probably Estonia’s most important living composer.” Tormis’s most famous work, Curse Upon Iron (Raua Needmine) is based upon ancient Estonian shamanism and folk song texts and rhythms. The piece was once banned by the Soviet government for its allegoric statements about the evils of war. Tormis says “I do not use folk song, it is folk song that uses me.”

Leonard Bernstein’s French Choruses from “The Lark,” is incidental music written for countertenor, chorus and percussion for The Lark by Jean Anouilh – a drama about the trial of Joan of Arc. The French choruses are based on medieval folk songs and include three parts: Spring Song, Court Song, and Soldier’s Song.

In his own words, Steve Reich wanted to “create a piece of music that needed no instruments beyond the human body.” In Reich’s Clapping Music he does just that – but not with the human voice – with hands. One performer claps an unchanging rhythm for the entire piece while the other claps the same pattern, shifting the pattern one eighth note to the left after every 8 or 12 bars, continuing until they are once again playing the pattern in unison. This piece features Artistic Director Charles Bruffy and Sonja Branch.

Two pieces by Joan Szymko will be performed; the first is Ye Jaliya-o which is based on the tradition of West African rhythms and incorporates text excerpts from “The Pulse of Life” by Catherine De Vinck along with the dominant Lambango lyric: “Ye Jaliya-o, Allah le ka Jaliya da” which translates to “Oh music, God created music.” Szymko’s other piece is for women’s chorus and marimba and is a three song set titled This Wonderful Feeling with texts drawn from poetry written by children. The three songs are titled “Saboo,” “In My Quite Place,” and “Purple Night.”

Psalm 150 in Kent Treble Bob Minor, written by Finland’s Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, features the concept of change-ringing in bells. Change-ringing is an old English tradition of ringing church bells based on permutations that the bells ring in a different order. “The idea of using change-ringing methods to generate music has been in the back of my head for quite some time.

Two pieces will be performed by South Korea’s leading composer, Hyowon Woo. Airirang is based on a piece of traditional Korean music which is sometimes considered the unofficial national anthem of Korea. Me-Na-Ri is a stunning piece for three choirs and solo voice.

Cloudburst, by Eric Whitacre, was written for choir, piano, handbells, bass drum, thunder sheet, hands, suspended cymbal and wind chimes. Whitacre says “Cloudburst is a celebration of the unleashed kinetic energy in all things. The mood throughout is reverent, meditative and centered…”

Interviews and press tickets can be arranged by contacting Jen Rogers, at 480-204-0101 or

25 & UNDER FREE: Each season, hundreds of students, children and young adults enjoy the Phoenix Chorale for free with the “25 & Under Free” extreme rush ticket program. This program allows anyone ages 25 years old and younger to attend. These seats are subject to availability and are not guaranteed to be available at every concert. A ticketed parent or legal guardian must accompany patrons under 16 years of age. More information is available on our website at

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The Rhythm of Life
Charles Bruffy
, conductor

$25 General Admission
$20 Seniors (65+) & Military
$10 Students

April 9, 2011 – Saturday evening at 7:30 pm
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (100 W. Roosevelt St., Phoenix)
*KBAQ 89.5 FM Pre-Concert Talk starts at 6:30 pm

April 10, 2011 – Sunday afternoon at 3:00 pm
Camelback Bible Church (3900 E. Stanford Dr., Paradise Valley)

April 17, 2011 – Sunday afternoon at 3:00 pm
American Lutheran Church (17200 Del Webb Blvd., Sun City)

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About the Phoenix Chorale: The Grammy Award-winning Phoenix Chorale is regarded as one of the finest professional choral ensembles in America and is equally dedicated to the creation and performance of new music, which it intermingles with more traditional concert literature. Audiences around the world have been treated to the sounds of the Chorale through live performances across the United States and in Canada, and in live broadcasts and recordings on radio stations across the globe.

In 2004, the Phoenix Chorale became the first North American choir to release an album on Chandos Records, one of the largest independent classical record labels in the world. The Phoenix Chorale’s newest solo recording, Spotless Rose, was released in September 2008, and received a Grammy Award nomination for ‘Best Classical Album,’ and won a Grammy for ‘Best Small Ensemble Performance.’ Rheinberger: Sacred Choral Works is the Phoenix Chorale’s third joint-recording in a series of albums on the Chandos Record label with the Kansas City Chorale and received two Grammy Award nominations including ‘Best Choral Performance’ and ‘Best Surround Sound.’ Two other joint-recordings have been released on Chandos Records, the first in the series is Eternal Rest (2005) followed by Grechaninov: Passion Week which received Grammy Award nominations in 2007 including ‘Best Classical Album,’ ‘Best Choral Performance,’ ‘Best Surround Sound Album,’ and won a Grammy Award for ‘Best Engineered Album, Classical.’

In its 52-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


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