Westminster Choral Festival Chorus Performs Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 in Philadelphia and Princeton


The Westminster Summer Choral Festival Chorus and Piffaro, The Renaissance Band, conducted by Joe Miller, will perform Claudio Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 on Friday, June 30 at 7 p.m. at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral and Saturday, July 1 in Miller Chapel on the campus of the Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton.  Tickets for the Philadelphia concert, available at the door, are $30 for adults and $15 for students and seniors.  A free-will offering will be taken at the Princeton Theological Seminary.

Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 is known for the grandeur of its conception and the opulence of its sound. No other surviving work from that time is written on such a scale, combining the grandest of public music with the most intimate of solo songs; no other such work calls for the many colorful instruments and uses them in such a daringly modern, virtuosic way.   The work is believed to have been written as an example of what could be done setting texts in different styles, particularly the new theatrical style of which Monteverdi was a great pioneer. Instead of hearing the flowing, closely knit counterpoint expected from a composer like Palestrina of the preceding generation, the Vespers of 1610 is something that's been described as half opera and half dance.

Joe Miller is director of choral activities at Westminster Choir College of Rider University and conductor of the Westminster Choir, as well as director of choral activities for the Spoleto Festival USA.  His staged production of John Adams’ El Niño with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, the Westminster Choir and an international cast, earned critical acclaim.  The Financial Times praised, “the driving minimalistic iterations of Adams’ score securely projected under Joe Miller’s direction.

Piffaro is known for its highly polished recreations of the elegant sounds of the official wind bands of the late Medieval and Renaissance periods.  Its ever-expanding instrumentarium are all careful reconstructions of instruments from the period. Under the direction of Artistic Directors Joan Kimball and Bob Wiemken, these world renowned pied-pipers of Early Music present an annual subscription concert series in the Philadelphia region; tour throughout the United States, Europe, Canada and South America; and appear as performers and instructors at major Early Music festivals.

These concerts are the culmination of the annual Westminster Summer Choral Festival, which offers choral singers the opportunity to live, sing, study and perform in a professional-level choral ensemble each summer on the Westminster campus in Princeton.

For more information call 609-924-7416.