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Westminster Symphonic Choir is part of new recording of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass

03/19/2018

As the world observes the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, Westminster Choir College celebrates the release of a new recording of the Westminster Symphonic Choir performing his Mass with The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Yannick  Nézet-Séguin.

The recording is drawn from Verizon Hall concerts between April 30 and May 3, 2015.  The piece is scored for choirs, “street singers,” a marching band, dancers, solo singers, organs, synthesizers, electric guitars, and a blues band. The Symphonic Choir was joined by the Temple University Choir and the American Boychoir for the semi-staged performances.

Peter Dobrin, critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer, wrote about the recording, “The piece was written to help celebrate the opening of the Kennedy Center in Washington in 1971. It sounds like the ’70s. Authentic listening practice would involve sitting in a dark room with incense burning and psychedelic posters aglow under black lights. It is pure America.”

Westminster Choir College has a long history of collaborating with Leonard Bernstein.  Between 1956 and 1989, the Westminster Symphonic Choir performed 14 times and made eight recordings with him. In 1990 the ensemble was invited by the Bernstein family to sing at his memorial concert at Carnegie Hall.  The 2015 concerts with The Philadelphia Orchestra were the ensemble's first performing his Mass.

Leonard Bernstein’s Mass was released on the Deutsche Grammophon label.  It’s available for purchase at amazon.com and streaming on Spotify, as well as other major recording sites.