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Volume 7, Issue 64  |  August 12, 2022


Grammy-winning Pacific Chorale, led by Artistic Director Robert Istad, announces 2022-2023 season

Pacific Chorale’s 2022-2023 season, announced today by Artistic Director Robert Istad and President & CEO Andrew Brown, features five wide-ranging programs of enthralling choral masterworks and contemporary works spanning six centuries, including the orchestral world premiere of Florence Price’s newly discovered anti-war piece set to poetry about Abraham Lincoln and Jocelyn Hagen’s stunning multi-media work inspired by Leonardo da Vinci. The Grammy-winning choir, whose performances have been hailed as “ethereal” (LA Opus), “thrilling” and “sublime” (Classical Voice), also embarks on its first international tour in seven years, taking its artistry to leading venues in Austria, Germany and the United Kingdom during summer 2023. Istad will conduct all five programs as well as the tour performances.

The chorus’ 55th season opens with Jocelyn Hagen’s The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, a mesmerizing multi-media work for choir, orchestra and projections inspired by the writings and art featured in the iconic Renaissance artist’s personal notebooks. Composed to honor da Vinci’s remarkable legacy on the 500th anniversary of his death in 2019, the nine-movement piece is set to text from his notebooks, which draw on themes of art, science, nature and technology. The concert also features Duruflé’s Requiem, widely considered to be the composer’s greatest work, which blends Gregorian chant and 20th century musical concepts, creating a transcendent choral tapestry of emotions. The concert takes place on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 8 p.m. in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

Grammy winning Istad

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Photo by Drew Kelley

Robert Istad conducts Pacific Chorale

Pacific Chorale displays its considerable vocal dexterity when special guests Bach Collegium San Diego, one of the country’s premier early music ensembles, and its founder, organist Ruben Valenzuela, join the choir for a historically informed performance of Monteverdi’s “Vespers of 1610,” a pillar of the Baroque music canon whose splendor and virtuosity has captivated audiences for centuries. The concert takes place on Saturday, March 4, 2023 at 8 p.m. at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church, Newport Beach.

 In the season finale, Istad leads the orchestral world premiere of groundbreaking composer Florence Price’s newly discovered Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight, a setting of Springfield, IL. native Nicholas Vachel Lindsay’s ardent anti-war poem of the same name. The long-lost manuscript by Price, one of the first American women to be widely recognized as a symphonic composer, was recovered from an abandoned house in Illinois in 2009 and is thought to have been completed sometime between 1914 and 1949. Her work is paired with Haydn’s masterpiece Missa in Angustiis (Mass in Time of Anxiety) “Nelson Mass,” composed in 1798, at a time of tremendous turmoil when the citizens of Austria feared defeat by Napoleon’s troops. These works, although grounded in the new and old world’s respectively and composed more than a century apart, both address the futility of war. The concert takes place on Saturday, May 20, 2023 at 5 p.m. at Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. The Chorale will also host its annual gala immediately following the concert, to celebrate and benefit the upcoming European tour.

 Pacific Chorale’s signature holiday programming returns with two performances of “Carols by Candlelight” – spotlighting timeless traditional and contemporary holiday music, including a choir-commissioned world premiere by noted LA-based Filipino composer Saunder Choi, a tenor in the chorus whose work has been described as “fresh and earnest” (San Francisco Classical Voice). The concert take place on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church, Newport Beach.

 The choir also presents two performances of its delightful family favorite “Tis the Season!,” celebrating the holidays with festive carols, seasonal gems and a visit from The Man in Red, Santa Claus. The concerts take place on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 5 p.m. and Monday, Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

 During its European tour, July 12-24, 2023, the chorus performs alongside several regional orchestras the two pieces from its season finale, Price’s rediscovered masterwork, Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight and Haydn’s Nelson Mass. The choir is slated to appear at such iconic venues as the Salzburg Cathedral, which holds one of Austria’s most important music archives, and in the U.K., Salisbury Cathedral, which houses one of only four original copies of the Magna Carta known to exist and Oxford University’s Sheldonian Theatre. Pacific Chorale also tours to Munich and Bath, among other locales.

 “It is incredibly moving to begin and end Pacific Chorale’s season with major choral works inspired by two seminal historical figures – Leonardo da Vinci and Abraham Lincoln – both remembered for their indelible contributions to humanity,” said Istad. “They are extraordinary pieces by two exceptional female composers and I am thrilled to be able share them with our audience. It promises to be a tour de force season as we showcase our outstanding singers on those important newer pieces as well as the enduring choral masterworks of Duruflé, Haydn and Monteverdi and other significant repertoire.”

Season tickets are available in packages of three to five concerts, ranging in price from $64-$498. Single tickets to individual performances, beginning at $25, go on sale on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

All Pacific Chorale concerts are presented in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall located in Segerstrom Center for the Arts at 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, except for “Carols by Candlelight” and “Monteverdi Vespers,” which are presented in Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church located at 2046 Mar Vista Drive, Newport Beach. For tickets and information, visit www.pacificchorale.org, or call 714.662.2345.

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