10/12/2017

The Westminster Symphonic Choir, conducted by Joe Miller, will perform William Walton’s choral masterwork Belshazzar’s Feast on Sunday, October 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Princeton University Chapel.  They will be joined by Princeton University organist Eric Plutz and Westminster faculty member Mark Moliterno, bass-baritone.

Belshazzar’s Feast focuses on the scene in the Bible’s Book of Daniel in which, at King Belshazzar’s Feast, a hand appears and prophetically writes a doom-laden message on the wall. Thanks to its pulsating drive and barbaric splendor, Walton’s searing oratorio has been compared to Orff’s Carmina Burana, and today it is regarded as one of the finest British large-scale choral works.

Recognized as one of the world’s leading choral ensembles, the Westminster Symphonic Choir has recorded and performed with major orchestras under virtually every internationally acclaimed conductor of the past 83 years. It is composed of juniors, seniors and graduate students at Westminster Choir College. In addition to this performance, the ensemble’s 2017-2018 season includes a performance of Holst's The Planets with The Philadephia Orchestra conducted by Cristian Măcelaru; the premiere of Machover's Philadelphia Voices with The Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin; Mozart's Mass in C Minor with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado; Handel's Messiah with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Andrew Manze; and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Rossen Milanov.

Joe Miller is conductor of two of America’s most renowned choral ensembles: the Westminster Choir and the Westminster Symphonic Choir.  He is also director of choral activities at Westminster Choir College of Rider University.  In addition to his responsibilities at Westminster, Dr. Miller is artistic director for choral activities for the Spoleto Festival USA and director of the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir. Dr. Miller is also founder and conductor of the Westminster Summer Choral Festival Chamber Choir, a program that offers professional-level choral and vocal artists the opportunity to explore challenging works for one week each summer on the Westminster campus in Princeton.

Eric Plutz is in his second decade as university organist at Princeton University, where his responsibilities include playing for weekly services at the chapel, academic ceremonies, and solo concerts. A graduate of Westminster Choir College, he has earned critical praise for his solo recordings.  James Reed of The Diapason wrote, “Plutz is a master craftsman… his performances are sensitive, emotional, stunningly accurate, and spectacularly musical… truly a world-class performance by a world-class musician.” David Schwartz of American Record Guide wrote, “….he understands, as would a great orchestrator, how to register the more orchestral side of the instrument….”

The American Organist has praised his concert performances, describing him as an artist who “performs with gusto, flair, clarity, and strong yet pliant rhythmic control.” Mr. Plutz has performed throughout the United States and abroad including Germany, Austria, Philadelphia, New York City, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. His playing has been broadcast on “With Heart and Voice,” “Pipedreams,” and “the Wanamaker Organ Hour.”

Mark Moliterno is an artist/educator who enjoys an extensive performing career in opera, oratorio and concert singing. He has appeared throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Asia in leading operatic roles, and he is a frequent soloist on the concert stage in a repertoire that covers a wide range of musical styles and composers. He has appeared many times at Carnegie Hall as a soloist with the Masterwork Chorus and Orchestra, and he has twice appeared on the New York Philharmonic Chamber Music Series in Merkin Concert Hall, singing Samuel Barber’s Dover Beach and Charles Martin Loeffler’s Songs with Chamber Accompaniment. Mr Moliterno sang the world premiere of Drum Taps, a song cycle by American composer Richard Pearson Thomas at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.

Tickets for this performance are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors.  They are available online at www.rider.edu/arts or through the Westminster box office at 609-921-2663.