Holiday Harmonies: Songs of Christmas - Judith Clurman, conductor with Essential Voices USA
Date: November 23, 2015
Choir type: Chamber Choirs and Vocal Ensembles
Holiday Harmonies: Songs of Christmas
Judith Clurman, Conductor With Essential Voices USA
Guest Artists: Mezzo Soprano Jamie Barton, Soprano Maureen McKay
Pianist Tedd Firth and Harpist Stacey Shames
CD RELEASE FROM SONO LUMINUS TO BE RELEASED OCT 30, 2015
Includes both new, innovative arrangements of seasonal favorites as well as brand new pieces commissioned by Essential Voices USA for this release.
This is Essential Voices USA third album with Sono Luminus, the former two of which have become bestsellers and are widely acclaimed by critics.
“EVUSA [does] exquisite work….brilliant phrasing and nuance.” — The Huffington Post
“Judith Clurman - the exceptional conductor.” — Time Out, New York
Judith Clurman conducts her acclaimed chorus, Essential Voices USA, in Holiday Harmonies: Sounds of Christmas, the ensemble’s third recording for Sono Luminus. This holiday disc includes premiere recordings of new vibrant arrangements of seasonal favorites and new works that were written for the disc by some of America’s finest composers. Mezzo Soprano Jamie Barton, Soprano Maureen McKay, Pianist Tedd Firth, and Harpist Stacey Shames are featured performers. Traditional repertoire includes: “Angels We Have Heard on High” (arr. David Chase), “O Holy Night” (arr. Ryan Nowlin), “Silent Night” (arr. Tedd Firth and Judith Clurman), “The Virgin’s Slumber Song” (Max Reger), and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” (adaptation Judith Clurman). New works include: “Whispered and Revealed” (Nico Muhly), “Love Came Down” (Jennifer Higdon) and “Merry Christmas Wishing Well” (Gene Gilroy, arr. Michael Gilbertson).
JUDITH CLURMAN: I love every note on this CD - new and old - and the work of every performer with whom I collaborated!
JAMIE BARTON: I’m thrilled to be a part of this holiday album. It's a magical mix of traditional heart-warming Christmas songs and some interesting new composers – like your favorite hot cider with some tasty new spices!
NICO MUHLY: “Music for Christmas is, at its best, a combination of the traditional and the new, and Judith Clurman has assembled a great combination of known music in new arrangements, and three commissioned works. It is such a pleasure to be included in this compilation, to share it with my colleagues, and to work with Judith, who has been a longtime supporter of my work, and the work of many living composers. “
COLIN J. RAE, CEO, Sono Luminus: “To me, Judy and Essential Voices USA hit all the right sweet spots with Holiday Harmonies; Christmas nostalgia coupled with contemporary beauty capped off with SPECTACULAR singing.”
1. Angels We Have Heard on High - Traditional French Carol (arr. David Chase)
Essential Voices USA; Tedd Firth, piano
2. O Holy Night - Adolphe Adam (arr. Ryan Nowlin)
Essential Voices USA; Stacey Shames, harp
3. Silent Night - Franz Xaver Gruber (arr. Tedd Firth and Judith Clurman)
Jamie Barton, mezzo-soprano; Essential Voices USA; Tedd Firth, piano
4. Love Came Down - Jennifer Higdon
Maureen McKay, soprano; Essential Voices USA; Stacey Shames, harp
5. The Virgin’s Slumber Song - Max Reger
Jamie Barton, mezzo-soprano; Tedd Firth, piano
6. Whispered and Revealed - Nico Muhly
Essential Voices USA; Stacey Shames, harp
7. Merry Christmas Wishing Well - Gene Gilroy (arr. Michael Gilbertson)
Essential Voices USA; Tedd Firth, piano
8. We Wish You a Merry Christmas - adaptation Judith Clurman
Essential Voices USA; Jamie Barton, mezzo-soprano; Maureen McKay, soprano
All first recordings
ESSENTIAL VOICES USA
Judith Clurman’s Essential Voices USA (EVUSA) is widely regarded as one of New York’s preeminent choral ensembles. It comprises a highly talented roster of both seasoned professionals and auditioned volunteers. Within this group, Clurman has created a dynamic choral model in which the size of the ensemble is dictated by the unique needs of each project. EVUSA performs regularly on the Carnegie Hall subscription series with The New York Pops and at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music. The ensemble was in residence with National Public Radio during the month of February 2011. That same year, the ensemble launched The Composer Speaks, a popular series of informal concerts in workshop format designed to encourage dialogue with composers and lyricists and moderated by Judith. In 2011 and 2012, EVUSA “rocked the rock” on NBC’s national broadcasts of the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting. A highlight of the 2012–2013 season was EVUSA’s participation in the Presidential Inaugural activities, including a sing-along of the “Sing Out, Mr. President” song cycle at the “Church of the Presidents” in Washington, D.C. The ensemble’s CD was also featured on NPR on Inauguration Day 2013. They performed on July 4th Macy’s 2014 Spectacular Fireworks broadcast on NBC television. EVUSA has recorded two other critically acclaimed CDs for Sono Luminus: Celebrating the American Spirit (DSL 92162) and Cherished Moments: Songs of the Jewish Spirit (DSL 92182).
JUDITH CLURMAN Judith Clurman is an Emmy and Grammy nominated conductor, vocal educator, and choral specialist. She conducts Essential Voices USA (EVUSA), collaborates with the Omaha Symphony on their Sacred Voices and Community Concerts and the New York Pops on their Carnegie Hall subscription series, and maintains an active vocal studio. She recently conducted the Österreich Festival Orchestra and the Music Celebrations Chorus at the Mozarteum Grosser Saal, Salzburg and the nationally televised July 4th Macy’s Fireworks Spectacular. Judith has worked with many of the world’s finest symphonies and has commissioned and premiered works by over fifty prolific American composers, received an Emmy nomination for her work as Associate Music Director for Season 39 of Sesame Street, and conducted the World-Premiere of a newly-discovered canon text by Mozart for Lincoln Center’s Mozart Bicentennial, and a Leonard Bernstein arrangement of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. She served as Director of Choral Activities at The Juilliard School from 1989-2007, as Co-Director for Harvard University’s Leonard Bernstein: Boston to Broadway Festival, as a faculty member and vocal specialist for the National Endowment for the Arts/Columbia University Institute of Classical Music.
American mezzo-soprano JAMIE BARTON is the winner of the 2015 Richard Tucker Award, the winner of both the Main and the Song Prizes at the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, and a winner of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She has been described by The Guardian as “a great artist, no question, with an imperturbable steadiness of tone, and a nobility of utterance that invites comparison not so much with her contemporaries as with mid-20th century greats such as Kirsten Flagstad.” Jamie appears with the world’s finest opera companies and symphonic orchestras. She is featured on the CD singing “Silent Night,” “The Virgin’s Slumber Song,” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”
Following performances of Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, the Washington Post hailed soprano MAUREEN MCKAY as the "undisputed star of the show," and further exclaimed, "Armed with a silvery, precisely aimed voice, natural stage presence and the kind of beautifully detailed acting you don't see often enough on the operatic stage, McKay turned in a smart, sexy and thoroughly charming performance." She has performed with the Komische Oper Berlin, Bayerische Staatsoper, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Portland Opera, San Diego Opera, Seattle Opera, Gran Teatre del Liceu, and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. She is featured on the CD singing Jennifer Higdon”s “Love Came Down” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”
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Judith Clurman: © Frank Wang
Jamie Barton: © Fay Fox
Maureen McKay: © Simon Pauly
EVUSA: © Judith Clurman