Pittsburgh 2018 Headlining Choirs and Keynote Address
For more than half a century, The Swingles have pushed the boundaries of vocal music. The seven young singers that make up today’s London-based group are driven by the same innovative spirit that has defined the five-time Grammy® winners since they first made waves in the 1960s. At a time when a cappella music is more popular than ever, The Swingles are recognized as masters of their craft.
In 1963, American-born Ward Swingle first assembled a group of Parisian session singers to sing Bach’s keyboard music. The resulting album, Jazz Sebastian Bach, launched the Swingle Singers to fame. Since then, they have won five Grammy® awards and made more than 50 recordings, with a repertoire that has grown to include a huge variety of music, including new original songs. They have also appeared on numerous film and TV soundtracks, including Sex and the City, Milk, Grey’s Anatomy and Glee. In 2017, they co-wrote and performed a song for the end credits of Alexander Payne’s acclaimed film Downsizing.
Tenebrae’s ever-increasing discography has brought about collaborations with Signum, Decca Classics, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI Classics, LSO Live and Warner Classics. In 2012 Tenebrae was the first-ever ensemble to be multi-nominated in the same category for the BBC Music Magazine Awards, securing the accolade of Best Choral Performance for their recording of Victoria’s Requiem Mass, 1605. The following year the choir’s recording of Fauré’s Requiem with the London Symphony Orchestra was nominated for the Gramophone Awards, having been described as “the very best Fauré Requiem on disc” (Gramophone Magazine) and “the English choral tradition at its zenith” (Richard Morrison, Chief Music Critic, The Times). In 2014 the choir’s recording of Russian Orthodox music was launched on its own label, Bene Arte, receiving glowing reviews and reaching number 1 in the UK Specialist Classical Chart. In 2016 Tenebrae received its second BBC Music Magazine Award for a recording of Brahms and Bruckner Motets, the profits from the sale of which benefit Macmillan Cancer Support. In order to mark Tenebrae’s fifteenth anniversary in 2016-17, the choir re-released its first major commission by Joby Talbot, Path of Miracles, alongside a new work by rising composer, Owain Park.
Praised for a “rich, natural sound that’s larger and more complex than the sum of its parts,” (National Public Radio) New York Polyphony is one of the foremost vocal chamber ensembles active today. The four men, “singers of superb musicianship and vocal allure,” (The New Yorker) give vibrant, modern voice to repertoire ranging from Gregorian chant to cutting-edge compositions. Their dedication to innovative programming, as well as a focus on rare and rediscovered Renaissance and medieval works, has not only earned New York Polyphony two GRAMMY nominations and wide acclaim, but also helped to move early music into the classical mainstream.
Commissioning new works has been central to the mission of New York Polyphony since their founding in 2006. Both in performance and on recording, the ensemble has demonstrated a commitment to presenting contemporary compositions that explore the boundaries between ancient and modern music. They have forged relationships with numerous composers, including established artists such as Richard Rodney Bennett, Jonathan Berger and Jackson Hill, emerging talents Bora Yoon and Gregory Brown, and prominent figures such as Gabriel Jackson and Andrew Smith. In January 2017, as part of Miller Theatre at Columbia University’s Early Music Series, New York Polyphony premiered The Vespers Sequence, a multi-movement setting of the Byzantine evening prayer service composed for the ensemble by Ivan Moody. Future projects include The Bitter Good by American composer Gregory Spears, for which the quartet was awarded a 2016 Commissioning Grant from Chamber Music America.
Musical America’s 2004 Conductor of the Year, Joseph Flummerfelt’s artistry has been heard in many of the world’s concert halls for over 40 years. He is founder and musical director of the New York Choral Artists, and for 33 years was conductor of the world-renown Westminster Choir. In 2016 he retired from 44 years of choral preparation for the New York Philharmonic.
As an orchestral conductor, Flummerfelt made his debut with the New York Philharmonic, conducting Haydn’s Creation in 1988. In 2001, he conducted the world premiere of Stephen Paulus’ Voices of Light with the Philharmonic and the Westminster Choir. He has also appeared as guest conductor with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Juilliard Symphony Orchestra, and the San Antonio and Phoenix symphonies. He has also conducted over 60 choral/orchestral performances with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in the United States and Italy.
For over four decades Flummerfelt has collaborated in the preparation of hundreds of choral/orchestral performances and recordings with such conductors as Abbado, Bernstein, Barenboim, Boulez, Chailly, Colin Davis, Gilbert, Giulini, Maazel, Masur, Mehta, Muti, Ozawa, Sawallisch, Shaw, Steinberg. In addition to the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Flummerfelt’s choirs have performed with numerous other American orchestras, as well as European orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, the Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Click here for full bio…