by Dr. Ryan James Brandau, Artistic Director

The 110-strong annually-auditioned chorus of singers that comprises Princeton Pro Musica is hard at work preparing the varied and exciting repertoire to be presented this coming concert year.

We’ll open our season on October 30 with one of the best of Haydn’s beloved masses, the Missa in Angustiis, or “Lord Nelson” Mass. We are using the original orchestration of strings, timpani, and trumpets, which allows the fiery baroque intensity of the opening movement to shine. We will welcome to the stage violinist Johanna Novom, who will perform Arvo Pärt’s Fratres, and the Polydora Ensemble, a vocal quartet who will sing the solos in the Haydn and also treat us to two of Brahms’ late quartets.

On December 11, Princeton Pro Musica will celebrate the holidays at Patriots Theater in Trenton with special guests from the Trenton Children’s Chorus. I have written a full-length suite for full orchestra and chorus that combines some of our favorite movements from Messiah and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with lush arrangements of holiday favorites like O Holy Night, Deck the Hall, and Auld Lang Syne. It will be a beautiful afternoon full of warmth and cheer.

In 1963, in response to the news that John F. Kennedy was killed, Leonard Bernstein said “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly, than ever before.” In 1965, he wrote his Chichester Psalms for the Southern Cathedrals Festival in England. The work, which ends with the text “Behold how good and how pleasant it is, for brethren to dwell together in unity,” captures the intensity, beauty, and devotion in Bernstein’s statement. On March 18, Princeton University Chapel will be the perfect setting for this magnificent piece of music, as pertinent now as when it was written.

We will close the year on May 21 with one of the blockbusters of the choral repertoire, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Orff conceived the piece as a “scenic cantata,” with music and dance together, and I am absolutely delighted that we will collaborate with Mark Roxey and the Roxey Ballet, who will create new choreography for this performance. We’ll also collaborate with our friends at the Princeton Girlchoir. Pianos, percussion, voices, dancers, lights — this is going to be Carmina as we’ve never experienced it before!

Subscriptions and single tickets are available and can be purchased online at www.princetonpromusica.org, or by calling the office at 609-683-5122.

Princeton Pro Musica exists to perform choral masterworks and other works of the choral literature with energy, passion, and uncompromising artistic excellence. We believe in the power of choral music to uplift and transform our current and future audiences, performers, and communities. Programs are made possible in part by funds from The Edward T. Cone Foundation, The New Jersey State Council on the Arts/ Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

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