2008 Conference – Invited Choirs
Five former choristers of the famous St. Thomas Boys Choir in Leipzig are now continental Europe’s finest men’s a cappella quintet. The blend of humor, charm, elegance, flawless intonation, rarely heard homogeneity and unwavering vocal virtuosity have left audiences delighted since the ensemble’s debut in 1992.
Ensemble Amarcord has won top prizes in choral competitions throughout the world. At home in Leipzig, they recently performed their tenth anniversary concert in the famous Gewandhaus and, two months later, performed with the Gewandhaus Orchestra. Ensemble Amarcord’s programming versatility is suggested by the range of the ensemble’s first three compact discs: “Insalata a cappella” featuring secular music through the ages; “In adventu Domini” featuring music for Advent and Christmas from Gregorian chant to Gospel; and “Hear the Voice” featuring spiritual works from different centuries. Among many other CD releases is, “And So It Goes…” an album of popular and show tunes. The ensemble performed its 100th U.S. concert during the group’s 13th American tour in February 2006. In 2007, Amarcord made its London debut at Wigmore Hall and recorded live performances for the BBC. Members of the ensemble are Daniel Knauft and Holger Krause, basses, Frank Ozimek, baritone, and Wolfram and Martin Lattke, tenors.
Their web site is here.
The early music vocal ensemble Lumen Valo from Helsinki, Finland is one of the leading nordic ensembles, and is especially acclaimed for its tonal clarity and subtle readings of early and contemporary music. The ensemble made its debut in February 1993. Since then, it has aroused considerable attention among serious music lovers for its original, uncompromising repertoire and quality of singing. While the repertoire has concentrated on the polyphonic vocal music of the Renaissance, the ensemble makes frequent detours into both medieval and contemporary music.
Lumen Valo has been regarded as largely responsible for the wide-spread enhusiasm in early music vocal polyphony in Finland. Although Finland has been famous for its conductors, composers, soloists, orchestras and world-class choirs, the field of early vocal polyphony had been somewhat neglected. Now, centuries later most of the treasures of polyphonic vocal music of the Renaissance ( Lasso, Palestrina, Victoria, Josquin, Gesualdo, Schütz, … ) have been heard for the first time in Finland through performances by Lumen Valo.
Concert tours have taken the ensemble to every part of Finland, but also to England, Sweden, Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Belgium, Holland and the United States. The ensemble has published six critically acclaimed recordings, with the seventh to be released early in 2008. The last four recordings have been published under its own Sigillum label. They maintain a web presence here.
Internationally renowned for performances and recordings that sparkle with fresh insight and vibrant musicality, musica intima has earned a reputation as one of North America’s most exciting vocal ensembles. Since 1992, the twelve singers of musica intima have garnered attention for their unique self-directed technique and fresh and vibrant performances of everything from baroque to jazz and pop with a special focus on North American music and new Canadian compositions.
For 2007/2008, musica intima’s engagements include a co-production with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, feature performances at the International Choral Festival in Cork, Ireland, the ACDA Northwestern Division Conference in Vancouver and the World Choral Symposium in Copenhagen, Denmark. musica intima will also premiere a major new work by American Aaron Jay Kernis with the Seattle Symphony in March 2008.
Hailing from Vancouver, Canada, musica intima is often broadcast on Canadian radio and television as performs at the best festivals from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast. musica intima has recorded five albums to date; the most recent with ATMA label, forgotten peoples (2006) features the music of the Estonian composer Veljo Tormis. Their website is located here.
Pomerium was founded by Alexander Blachly in New York in 1972 to perform music composed for the famous chapel choirs of the Renaissance. Widely known for its interpretations of Du Fay, Ockeghem, Busnoys, Josquin, Lassus, and Palestrina, the 14-voice a cappella ensemble has performed for numerous international festivals throughout the world. The ensemble has released four compact discs for Deutsche Grammophon/Archiv Produktion and, on the Dorian and Classic Masters labels, music by Arcadelt, Busnoys, Du Fay, Gesualdo, Marenzio, Monteverdi, Ockeghem, Wert, and Willaert. Pomerium’s most recent compact discs include “Musica Vaticana,” featuring music composed for the Sistine Chapel choir at the time Michelangelo was painting the chapel’s ceiling, “Carolus Maximus: Music in the Life of Charles V” and Josquin Desprez: Missa Hercules dux Ferrarie, Motets & Chansons,” released on the Glissando/Pure Classics label.
Alexander Blachly is the 1992 recipient of the Noah Greenberg Award, given by the American Musicological Society to stimulate historically aware performances and the study of historical performing practices. He has been active in early music as both a performer and scholar for 34 years. Blachly earned his post-graduate degrees in musicology from Columbia University. Prior to becoming Director of Choral Music at the University of Notre Dame in 1993, he taught early music and directed collegia musica at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, Rutgers University, and the University of Pennsylvania. For fourteen years, Blachly directed a summer workshop in Renaissance a cappella performance sponsored by the Syracuse (NY) Schola Cantorum; he has also been on the faculties of the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, the Amherst Early Music Festival, and Pinewoods Camp Early Music Week. In addition to Pomerium, Blachly conducts the University of Notre Dame Chorale and Chamber Orchestra. Their website is located at www.pomerium.org.
Vocalogy is a vocal jazz quintet which brings an exciting and distinctive sound to the world of vocal music. The ensemble has delighted audiences across the country in festivals, concerts, clinics and clubs since the groups formation in 1998.
The ensemble utilizes its range of five-and-a-half octaves to execute intricate and vocally demanding material in a way that seems effortless. They thrill audiences with their improvised solos, tight ensemble work, and dazzling harmonies.
Vocalogy arose from an artist-in-residency program under Grammy-Award nominee Phil Mattson. The group is now based in Los Angeles, California, and performs a collection of their own innovative arrangements. They recently released their debut CD Distilled. The group members are Christine Guter (Helferich), soprano; David Thorne Scott, tenor; John Knutson, baritone; Chris Morey, bass; and Gerhard Guter, pianist and baritone. Vocalogy’s web site is www.vocalogy.net.
Woodley Ensemble – Frank Albinder, conductor
Long held in high esteem for its expert vocalism and high musical standards, Woodley Ensemble has distinguished itself through its commitment to bringing beautiful and unusual choral music to the public through performances and recordings of the finest quality. The Ensemble’s repertoire includes works from many centuries, with a special focus on music of the Renaissance and modern eras. Woodley maintains an active concert schedule, including season concerts in Washington DC and performances throughout the region and beyond. The group has released several recordings, most recently Love Songs for Chorus, on Arsis Audio, which was featured on the cover of the Fall 2003 issue of Fanfare Magazine.
Frank Albinder became music director of Woodley Ensemble in 2000. He also directs the Washington Men’s Camerata and the Virginia Glee Club at the University of Virginia. He came to Washington after 11 years as a singer and director of Chanticleer. Other performance credits include the Boston Camerata, the Robert Shaw Festival Singers, the Washington Bach Consort, and the Concord Ensemble. He holds a B.A. in voice from Pomona College and graduate degrees in choral conducting and voice from the New England Conservatory. From 1984-1988, Mr. Albinder was Director of Choral Activities at Davidson College in North Carolina. He is the National Chair of Repertoire & Standards for Male Choirs for ACDA, as well as Vice-President of Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses, Vice-President of ChoralNet and the DC representative of the National Collegiate Choral Organization. Woodley Ensemble’s web site is www.woodleyensemble.org.