New Dominion Chorale will open its 23rd concert season with a program entitled “In Praise of Music,” featuring the world premiere of Artistic Director Thomas Beveridge’s “Orpheus with his Lute” and works by Henry Purcell and G.F. Handel.
The concert will take place on Sunday, October 27, at 4 p.m. at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center, 3001 North Beauregard St., on the Alexandria campus of Northern Virginia Community College.
Mr. Beveridge will conduct the 200-voice Chorale and a professional orchestra in Purcell’s “Come, Ye Sons of Art” and Handel’s “Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day” and his own setting of William Shakespeare’s song “Orpheus with his Lute” for lute, orchestra and chorus, featuring lutenist William Simms.
The vocal soloists are all well known to Washington audiences: soprano Esther Heideman, alto Kristen Dubenion-Smith, tenor Daniel Snyder, countertenor Chris Dudley, and bass-baritone Matthew Osifchin.
Handel’s “Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day” is the principal work to be performed on this program. It is a setting of a poem by 17th-century poet John Dryden that honors St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music. During Handel’s extended stay in London there was a tradition among British musicians to dedicate concerts to St. Cecilia on her feast day, November 22. Dryden’s poem in praise of the power of music reflects the theories of Pythagoras that the world was formed out of chaos through the power of the music of the spheres: “From harmony, from heavenly harmony, this universal frame began.”
New Dominion Chorale has played an important role in the abundant choral world of the nation’s capital. Although there are no auditions for membership in the organization, it has received consistent praise from Washington Post music critics for performances of “power, but with delicacy and grace.” The Chorale has performed all the major works for chorus and orchestra at venues, in addition to Schlesinger Concert Hall, such as the Washington National Cathedral, the Washington Hebrew Congregation, the George Mason University Center for the Arts, and the Concert Hall of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Mr. Beveridge is one of Washington’s most versatile musicians. He is the composer of over 650 original musical compositions and arrangements in all media. Washingtonian magazine has named him the “Dean of Washington Composers.” His most prominent work is “Yizkor Requiem,” which received its world premiere in 1993 by New Dominion Chorale and has received over 20 performances since then. There are two commercial CD recordings of “Yizkor Requiem,” both on the Naxos label: one by the Choral Arts Society of Washington and the other by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, conducted by Sir Neville Marriner (commissioned by the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music).
Tickets for “In Praise of Music” are available online through the Chorale’s website (newdominion.org) or at the door on the day of the performance. Tickets (general admission) are $30, $25 (seniors), $5 (students and children) and $20 for individuals in groups of 10 or more. For more information and directions, visit newdominion.org.