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We are just three weeks away from our departure to France.  We leave on July 15 and return on August 2.  Please bookmark this blog to follow our travels and concerts.  We will update with photos, video and commentary as we are able.  We are thrilled to be singing these festivals as a result of our 2008 Tolosa Festival Competition win.

Here is the Antioch Performance Map showing where we will be:

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Time to clean out your closets and send in your old electronics. It is a responsible way to recycle and a great way to support The Antioch Chamber Ensemble. You do not pay for shipping–all you have to do is box your things and use their pre-paid postage. Click on our picutre below to get started.  Thanks for your support!

Composer Matthew Brown‘s piece (though love be a day) was premiered at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.  Here is the performance:

We are sadly wrapping up our wonderful annual trip to Charleston and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.  There will be some video later this week, but here is a fantastic review of our concert. We are so grateful for our host families and, in particular, Capers Cross and Jane McGreevey from St. Philip’s Church, for the amazing hospitality we receive each and every year.

Thank you and see you next year, Charleston!

Prime Piccolo at St. Philips

Posted by Lindsay Koob on Sun, May 30, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Happily, I was able to make it to my first Piccolo event Saturday afternoon. Trust me when I say — from long experience — that Spoleto USA’s little-sister festival consistently manages to attract quite a few world-class acts in all areas of the performing arts, and yesterday’s performers fall into that exalted category.

Antioch is a fabulous New Jersey-based professional mini-chamber choir (12 voices) that’s been performing in Piccolo’s generally excellent Spotlight on the Art of Choral Music Series for years. I first heard them here a few years back, and have been looking for a chance ever since to again wallow in their sweet sonorities and relish anew their rare choral artistry.

Perhaps the most revealing thing I can tell you about the ensemble’s quality is that about half of its members are alumni of the vaunted Westminster Choir, Spoleto USA’s world-famous resident chorus. Their appearance at St. Philip’s Church offered a winning array of mostly a cappella choral classics, both ancient and modern, plus some really cool jazz.

They got going with a set of five Italian Madrigals: secular choral confections from the late renaissance that tend to celebrate things like the beauties of springtime and the joys of romance, or to bitterly mourn lost or unrequited love. Among others, we enjoyed a frolicsome number about beautiful shepherdesses (lots of “fa-la-la’s”) by Giovanni Gastoldi, a keenly mournful jilted suitor’s lament by Cipriano de Rore, and an especially gorgeous item about love’s ecstasy by Claudio Monteverdi,– with its adroit canonic layering of vocal lines. Next came the jazz numbers: three of them, all by rising composer Greg Jasperse. We heard “Oh How Beautiful, this Finely Woven Earth,” an original composition, followed by a lovely arrangement of the popular song “Fields of Gold.” The best-known piece was “VoiceDance,” a happy wordless vocal romp that recalls the art of scat-singing. And all of it is real jazz, both in terms of rhythm and harmony, yet the composer achieves classically brainy levels of sophistication and refinement that would make these pieces at home in any serious choral event. With them, Antioch revealed an entirely different sort of vocal warmth and laid-back expressiveness.

Finally, we were treated to the evening’s true novelties. The first was “Though Love be a Day,” the world premiere performance of a cunningly crafted E.E. Cummings setting by Matthew Brown, a young composer who studied with American choral icon Morten Lauridsen. Brown, as explained by founding director Joshua Copeland, sent the piece to Antioch after discovering them on YouTube. The singers, loving the music, ran with it, and for good reason: it’s a sweet and warmly accessible work, offering ingenious harmonic structure and direct emotional appeal.

The final selection was The City and the Sea, a new five-piece cycle (again, setting poems by E.E. Cummings) by American choral wizard Eric Whitacre. Antioch recently delivered in its world premiere performance, and they’ll be giving its European premiere in an upcoming tour. Not just any old choir gets to do this composer’s premieres. The music, like the poetry it sets, tends to be whimsical and wondering, almost like nursery rhymes. Whitacre’s usual inventive tonal structures beguiled our ears, and the piano accompaniment was downright startling, consisting mostly of tone-clusters that enveloped the choral sonorities in a kind of surreal harmonic haze.

Bravo to accompanist Christine Chang for pulling this very tricky material off splendidly. The happy crowd’s spontaneous standing O got us a sweet encore: “Sleep,” a well-known earlier piece from Whitacre, a soft and sensual marvel in which the composer makes a truly beautiful thing of dissonance. Antioch’s interpretations glowed and glittered throughout, offering melting tonal beauty, dead-on intonation, exquisitely nuanced phrasing, tremendous dynamic range and faultless technique.

This concert will continue to haunt me for days. And to think: this sterling ensemble is but one of many reasons why music lovers should take Piccolo Spoleto very seriously. Afterward, I was touched to witness the reunion of director Copeland with his revered mentor, Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt, former Westminster Choral Director (and still Spoleto USA’s cherished choral director), who had come to bear proud witness to the consummate artistry of his protégés. What a joy it must be for him to count artists like these among his life’s work.

Antioch’s brand new CD, “The Passing of the Year” is currently in production with MSR Classics.  We anticipate the CD to be available at our venues in Williamsburg and Charleston in late May.  If you are not able to attend one of our concerts, you can preorder our CD by clicking here to go to our Google Checkout page.  The price is $15 and qualifies for free S&H if you preorder before May 27.  The CD will be shipped to you the first week of June 2010.  Works by Whitacre, Dove and Lauridsen will make this a wonderful collection to your music library.  Click here to order now!

On December 15, 2009, Antioch performed at The Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at RPI in Troy, NY.  We just received the video and audio from the concert and thought we’d give everyone a taste of the venue and the program.  The videos can be viewed in 720p HD by clicking on the “Watch in YouTube” link.  Once on YouTube, select “720p”  The entirety of Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols can be found in two parts:

Part 1:

Part 2:

What Sweeter Music, arr. John Rutter

Jesu, as Thou art our Savior – Benjamin Britten

Mid-Winter Songs – Morten Lauridsen

Antioch Chamber Ensemble
Saturday, March 6, 2010, 7:00 PM
Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium

Tickets Here

A Tribute to Bronzino

The award-winning vocal ensemble performs a concert inspired by the exhibition “The Drawings of Bronzino,” featuring the world premiere of Bruce Adolphe’s “Dell’arte e delle cipolle: Omagio al Bronzino” (Of Art and Onions: Homage to Bronzino) and including the music of Monteverdi and his contemporaries.

This is a co-production with the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation, Florence, and The Learning Maestros, New York.

This event is presented in conjunction with “The Drawings of Bronzino,” January 20–April 18, 2010.

The exhibition was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in collaboration with the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi and the Polo Museale Fiorentino, Florence.

The exhibition is made possible by the Gail and Parker Gilbert Fund.

Additional support is provided by Dinah Seiver and Thomas E. Foster.