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October 25, 2012

Ringing in New Works to Celebrate Longevity

New York Times

Now this is the way for an ensemble to celebrate an anniversary. The New York Virtuoso Singers, founded 25 years ago by the conductor Harold Rosenbaum, are an invaluable professional chamber choir that focuses on American contemporary music. For the group’s anniversary Mr. Rosenbaum commissioned 25 composers to write 25 works.

Understandably, the new pieces, most for a cappella choir, are relatively short. Still, this ambitious project shows an ensemble celebrating past accomplishments by furthering its artistic mission.

There was one problem with the program. The chosen composers, among them Fred Lerdahl, Bruce Adolphe, George Tsontakis, Jennifer Higdon, Steven Stucky, Shulamit Ran and John Harbison, write in various languages that explore modern harmony while maintaining loose ties to tonality. And there are only so many ways to compose for a cappella choir. Inevitably, many of these pieces had surface similarities. I almost longed for an example of steely 12-tone writing or undulant Minimalism. Read more.

Posted by acapnews at October 25, 2012 12:00 AM