Friday, March 21, 2014 E-mail

J. Johnson

D. DiOrio

032114_marika_kuzma_web.jpg M. Kuzma



Friday, March 21, 2014
8:00 PM

a cappella NEXT

Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall



Ad Astra Singers
John Paul Johnson, Director

NOTUS: IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble
Dominick DiOrio, Director

UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus
Marika Kuzma, Director


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Participating Ensembles:

The Ad Astra Singers

032114_adastra_web.jpgA vibrant, sixteen voice professional chamber choir from Wichita, Kansas, the Ad Astra Singers are developing a reputation for creative programming, vocal depth, and contributing to the choral repertoire by commissioning new works. The ensemble performs music from the historical eras and international styles, as well as folk music, contemporary/Avant Garde, and American popular genres. The Ad Astra Singers (the name taken from the Kansas state motto "To the stars") are dedicated vocalists; each serving the vocal art as a teacher, performer, or student. Together, their mission is to share and educate audiences about vocal chamber music in America.

032114_jp_johnson_web.jpgJohn Paul Johnson, Artistic Director of the Ad Astra Singers, has been a conductor and teacher for more than thirty years at universities and public schools in Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Under his direction, his choirs have performed at state, regional, and national music conventions, been featured in internationally acclaimed festivals and premieres, and toured throughout the United States and Europe. Johnson has served as a conductor, clinician, or adjudicator for more than 700 events throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. He has been Conductor-In-Residence at the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, Poland, and Trinity College of Music in London, England and has conducted numerous concerts at Carnegie Hall. He has been an adjudicator for the Trinidad and Tobago National Music Festival, a guest conductor, clinician, and consultant for the Ministry of Education in Singapore, and a judge for the National Collegiate Choral Festival of Indonesia.



notus_2013-14.jpgIndiana University Contemporary Vocal Ensemble is comprised of 24 highly-skilled singers from the Jacobs School of Music. Directed by conductor-composer Dominick DiOrio, NOTUS is run as a professional chorus and its members are expected to demonstrate the highest levels of musicianship and vocal ability. Noted for innovative programming, NOTUS explores all significant styles of the last century as well as works at the forefront of today's contemporary music scene. This season included a performance at the Central ACDA Convention in Cincinnati, a residency with Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw, and a professional recording session with Juventas New Music for New Dynamic Records.

dominick_diorio_web.jpgConductor and composer Dominick DiOrio is assistant professor of choral conducting at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he directs NOTUS: IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, with whom he regularly commissions new music. Called "a forward-thinking young composer filled with new ideas, ready to tackle anything," DiOrio's work is published with Alliance, Boosey & Hawkes, Éditions à Couer-Joie, Edition Peters, G. Schirmer, Lorenz, Mark Foster, Oxford and Santa Barbara. DiOrio earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the Yale School of Music. He currently serves as the Indiana National Board Member for the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO).


UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus

032114_uc_chamber_chorus.jpgThe Chamber Chorus of the University of California, Berkeley is the university's premiere concert choir. A select group of some thirty-two singers, it is open to current students and alumni, staff, faculty, and singers from the greater Berkeley community. The Chamber Chorus singers regard music as their primary vocation or a passionate, serious avocation. Acceptance into the chorus is by audition. This year, the UC Chamber Chorus has been invited take part in a unique concert in New York City at the Weill Recital Hall, part of Carnegie Hall, on March 21st. This performance will feature three chamber choirs from across the United States, each performing innovative a cappella repertoire.

Sponsored by the Department of Music, the chorus performs a cappella and choral-instrumental works and is particularly acclaimed for its readings of early and contemporary music. In 2009, it performed Handel's L'Allegro with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the Mark Morris Dance Group. In 2010-11, it performed Morton Feldman's Rothko Chapel with the Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio and James MacMillan's Seven Last Words with the Berkeley Symphony under Joana Carneiro. Last Fall, it performed the Vaughan Williams Mass in G at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and Berg's Wozzeck under Maestro Esa-Pekka Salonen in Berkeley and in Los Angeles at Disney Hall. The Chamber Chorus has also appeared in concert tours to the East Coast, Canada, and Europe. Its performances have been featured in broadcasts of the Voice of America, Public Radio International, and Austrian Radio. Critics from the New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and Opera News alike have praised the chorus as "excellent," "splendid," "electric." "The UC Chamber Chorus leaves no syllable unarticulated and no musical marvel unexplored" (San Francisco Examiner). Among Chamber Chorus recordings, its Handel Susannah on the harmonia mundi label won a Grammy award, and its Icons of Slavic Music is known in Eastern Europe as well as America.

032114_marika_kuzma_web.jpgMarika Kuzma has been the director of choirs at UC Berkeley since 1990. While in Berkeley, she has gained acclaim in the San Francisco Bay Area as a versatile conductor, leading her student choirs in works ranging from the Dufay to Mozart, Verdi,  Messiaen, and premieres of new works. Under her direction, the University Chorus has been invited to perform with professional ensembles such as the Berkeley Symphony under Kent Nagano, Midsummer Mozart Festival under George Cleve, Oakland East Bay Symphony under Michael Morgan. She has prepared the Chamber Chorus for frequent collaborations with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra under Nicholas McGegan and Jane Glover. The Chamber Chorus has joined the Mark Morris Dance Group in premiere productions of Handel L'Allegro, Rameau Platée and, most recently, Purcell King Arthur, receiving enthusiastic reviews from the San Francisco Chronicle, Opera News, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal alike. In 2006, it was invited to Brazil to perform the Bach Matthäus-Passion with the Youth Orchestra of the Americas.

Kuzma received her doctorate in choral directing from Indiana University, studying with Jan Harrington and Robert Porco. She studied orchestral conducting at the Aspen Summer Institute under Paul Vermel and at other summer programs with Volodymyr Kolesnyk and Gustav Meier. Ms. Kuzma began her music studies in voice and violin in Hartford, Connecticut at the Hartt School of Music, continuing at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Salzburg Mozarteum; and Vienna Hochschule für Musik. Her close study of artsong lends a particular sensitivity to text and vocal inflection in her choirs.



From Sequenza21:

Weill Concert of New Choral Works Proves Promising

Posted by James Knox Sutterfield in Contemporary Classical

On Friday, March 21, Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) presented "a cappella NEXT," in which three choirs performed a fascinating line-up of contemporary choral music in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Included were four world premieres, and many of the composers represented on the program were present in the sold-out audience, making for an evening vibrant with the vitality of new music.



From NY Concert Review:


Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) presents: a cappella NEXT: An Evening Dedicated to Contemporary Choral Music in Review

by Jeffrey Williams for New York Concert Review; New York, NY

Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) is well known for their large concert productions featuring many hundreds of performers from around the globe.  What might be not as well known is that DCINY also presents smaller concerts in much more intimate venues. Such was the case with “a cappella NEXT,” a concert focusing on contemporary choral music showcasing the talents of three outstanding a cappella ensembles in Weill Recital Hall on March 21, 2014.





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