Westminster Williamson Voices Presents 'Crucifixus'

Performing the American premiere of Paul Mealor's choral masterwork in Princeton April 20 and New York April 21.
Monday, April 8, 2013

Westminster Williamson Voices, conducted by James Jordan, will present a concert entitled 'Crucifixus' on Saturday, April 20, at 8 p.m. at Princeton Meadow Church and Event Center in West Windsor, N.J. and Saturday, April 21, at 5 p.m. at Rutgers Presbyterian Church in New York City.  They will be joined by baritone Sean McCarther and the Westminster Festival Orchestra.

The concert will mark the American premiere of Paul Mealor's choral masterwork Crucifixus.  The program will also include Mealor’s O Vos Omnes, the first movement from Alberto Ginastera’s Lamentations of Jeremiah and the Kyrie from Tomás Luis de Victoria Requiem of 1605.

Composer Paul Mealor has been described by The New York Times as, ‘the most important composer to have emerged in Welsh choral music since William Mathias.

Topping the UK Classical Charts for six weeks with his bestselling album, “A Tender Light,” featuring Tenebrae and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, in November 2011, he also broke records by being the first classical composer to hold both the classical and pop chart No 1’s at the same time in December 2011, securing the UK Christmas No 1 with his piece, Wherever You Are. In April of 2012 Mealor was voted the nation’s favorite living composer during the Classic FM Radio Stations Hall of Fame.

Born in St Asaph, North Wales in 1975, Paul Mealor studied composition privately as a boy with William Mathias and later with John Pickard, and at the University of York and in Copenhagen with Hans Abrahamsen and Per Nørgård. His music has been commissioned and performed at many festivals and by many orchestras and choruses, and it has been broadcast on every major television and radio station throughout the world. He is a professor of Composition at the University of Aberdeen. Mealor was catapulted to international stardom in April 2011, when 2.5 billion people heard his motet Ubi caritas performed by the choirs of Westminster Abbey and Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, conducted by James O’Donnell, at the Royal Wedding Ceremony of His Royal Highness Prince William and Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey. It since topped the classical singles charts in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, France and New Zealand.

Since its founding in 2003 by its conductor, James Jordan, the 40-voice Westminster Williamson Voices has quickly established itself as a voice of composers of our time and has been acclaimed for creative programming and collaborations with other art forms. Most notable was the ensemble’s performance at The Philadelphia Cathedral of Eric Whitacre’s Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine with the renowned Spiral Q Puppet Theater and the premiere of James Whitbourn’s Luminosity with The ArcheDream Blacklight Dance Theater Company of Philadelphia. Grammophone magazine has described the Westminster Williamson Voices as an ensemble of “intimate and forceful choral artistry,” with tone that is “controlled and silken in sustained phrases as they are vibrantly sonorous in extroverted material.” The American Record Guide in described the ensemble as “without peer.”

James Jordan is recognized and praised around the musical world as one of the nation’s pre-eminent conductors, writers and innovators in choral music. The author of more than 30 books and DVDs on all aspects of the choral art, he has been described as a “visionary” by The Choral Journal. Gramophone hailed him as a conductor of “forceful and intimate choral artistry.” His career and publications have been devoted to innovative educational changes in the choral art, which have been embraced around the world. His book Evoking Sound was named as a “must read” on a list of six books by The Choral Journal.. He has made two recordings of the music of James Whitbourn with the Westminster Williamson Voices on the Naxos label. Living Voices was described as “superb” by Gramophone. Annelies, the first major choral setting of The Diary of Anne Frank, was hailed by BBC Music Magazine for its “poignant intertwining of voices and instruments.”

Baritone Sean McCarther serves as assistant professor of Voice and Pedagogy at Westminster Choir College where he teaches studio voice and undergraduate voice science.  He has performed leading roles in opera, musical theatre, and staged plays with JCA Management, The Lee Norvelle Theater and Drama Center, the Bloomington Early Music Festival, Bloomington Playwrights Project, and IU Opera Theatre.  He is a strong proponent of new music and has appeared in several premieres including Gabriella Ortiz’s Unicamente la Verdad! and Don Freund’s Romeo and Juliet.  He premiered the chamber cycle Archy Speaks by composer Gabriel Lubell as part of the Ball State New Music Festival.

Tickets for the April 20 concert are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and students. To order tickets call the box office at 609-921-2263 or order online at www.rider.edu/arts. Princeton Meadow Church and Event Center is located at 545 Meadow Rd., West Windsor, NJ.

Admission to the April 21 concert will be through a donation at the door.  Rutgers Presbyterian Church is located at 236 West 73rd Street in New York City.

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