Westminster Choir College invites the community to a free concert to welcome the Westminster Choir home from its Florida tour.

Westminster Choir in Fort Lauderdale

LIMITED SEATS for this concert will be available at the Richardson Auditorium box office beginning at 7 p.m.

NOTE: This concert will be broadcast live and on the Web by WWFM The Classical Network.  Learn more.

The Westminster Choir, conducted by Joe Miller, will celebrate its return to Princeton after its January concert tour of Florida with a free concert for the community on Monday, January 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall on the Princeton University campus.

Entitled “The Cloud-Capp’d Towers: Poetry and Choral Artistry,” the concert will create a poetic soundscape through settings of texts by classic and contemporary poets.  The program will feature Three Shakespeare Songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams, which includes “The Cloud-Capp’d Towers,” for which the concert is named.  The choir will also perform Rückert Lieder, Johannes Brahms’ and Gustav Mahler’s settings of poems by Friedrich Rückert, and James MacMillan’s Strathclyde Motets.  Other composers represented in the program are J.S. Bach and Georgy Sviridov.

A highlight of the concert will be To a Locomotive in Winter, Jaakko Mäntyjärvi’s dynamic setting of Walt Whitman’s poem with the same title.  The work was commissioned by Westminster Choir College for the Westminster Choir’s concert tour of Florida.  Mäntyjärvi has written about the poem and his composition, “In this poem, an early example of machine romanticism, Walt Whitman conjures up a realistic yet idealized image of a technological  advancement which within his lifetime had transformed the continent of North America.  The overall impression in my mind of the shape of the poem and of the piece was not that the train starts and accelerates, but rather that the train is already in motion and, if anything, is slowing down – or perhaps this is to be understood as the Doppler shift in the sound of a moving object passing by.”

The Westminster Choir is composed of students at Westminster Choir College, a division of Rider University’s Westminster College of the Arts.  In addition to this concert, the ensemble’s 2010-2011 season includes a concert tour of Florida, three radio broadcasts and its annual residency at the Spoleto Festival USA. Its debut recording with Joe Miller, Flower of Beauty, earned critical praise from American Record Guide, which described the Westminster Choir as “the gold standard for academic choirs in America.”  Its second recording, Noël, a collection of French Christmas music, was released this fall.  It will be the centerpiece of a PRI radio program, Noël- Christmas from Paris, which will be broadcast in December.

Praised by The New York Times for its “full-bodied, incisive singing,” the Westminster Choir also forms the core of the Westminster Symphonic Choir, which has performed and recorded with the leading conductors and orchestras of our time. 

Joe Miller is director of choral activities at Westminster Choir College, where he oversees a program of eight choral ensembles.  In addition, he is founder and conductor of the Westminster Chamber Choir, a program that offers professional-level choral and vocal artists the opportunity to explore challenging works for two weeks each summer.  In demand as a clinician and guest conductor, his 2010-2011 season includes conducting the Virginia and Kentucky All-State Choruses and a residency with the Berlin Radio Symphony Chorus.

 A podcast featuring Maestro Miller discussing the program is available on the Westminster Choir’s Web site, www.rider.edu/westminsterchoir, or on iTunes.

Admission to the concert is free; however tickets are required.  Tickets are available through the Princeton University ticketing office at 609-258-9220 or online at www.princeton.edu/utickets.