Monday, February 10, 2014
Neither snow, nor rain, nor dark of night.....will keep the Westminster Symphonic Choir from performing with The Philadelphia Orchestra!
When the weather service predicted another major snow storm for The Philadelphia Orchestra's opening performance of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s choral masterwork The Bells, Westminster Choir College of Rider University leapt in to action and found enough hotel rooms to accommodate the entire Westminster Symphonic Choir close to the Kimmel Center on Philadelphia's Avenue of the Arts. This made it easy and safe for the Choir to participate in rehearsals on February 12 and the first performance, which was scheduled for Thursday, February 13, but canceled due to the State of Emergency issued by Pennsylvania Governor Corbett and Philadelphia Mayor Nutter. The concerts are part of an all-Rachmaninoff program, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, will now be presented on Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15.
This is the Westminster Symphonic Choir’s first performance of Rachmaninoff’s work, which is a setting of Edgar Allen’s poem The Bells, since 1939, when it performed the work with The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by the composer. The concert this week will include a dramatic reading of the poem between movements.
Composed of all of the juniors, seniors and graduate students at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, the Westminster Symphonic Choir has recorded and performed with major orchestras under virtually every internationally acclaimed conductor of the past 78 years. For its first major orchestral collaboration in 1934 legendary conductor Leopold Stokowski brought the Philadelphia Orchestra to Princeton to perform Bach’s Mass in B Minor with the Westminster Symphonic Choir in the Princeton University Chapel to celebrate the opening of the Westminster Choir College campus. Recognized as one of the world’s leading choral ensembles, the choir has sung more than 350 performances with the New York Philharmonic alone.
On May 5 the ensemble will join the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Alan Gilbert, to perform the New York premiere of Christopher Rouse’s Requiem at Carnegie Hall.