Melodia Women's Choir of "Visions of Peace"
NYC's premier women's choir, conducted by Cynthia Powell, opens its 11th season with a program beckoning the holidays and celebrating Britten 100, Benjamin Britten’s centenary, with works from Britten, Gustav Holst, and Paul Csonka. Central to the concert is a Melodia reprise performance of Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols." Also “Seven Part-Songs for Female Voices and Strings,” by Gustav Holst, Paul Csonka’s Spanish-language piece “Concierto de Navidad,” and an arrangement of samba-jazz tunes.
In atmospheric complement to Britten’s piece, “Seven Part-Songs for Female Voices and Strings,” by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) is an ethereal and deeply haunting work set to the poetry of Robert Bridges (1844-1930). In perfect counterpoint is Paul Csonka’s (1905-1995) sensuous Spanish-language piece “Concierto de Navidad,” rarely performed settings of three Spanish Christmas carols sparked by the rhythms of Cuba.
“This concert is eclectic, but will come together beautifully,” said Powell. “Holst is a natural to pair with Britten - they both had a profound appreciation for great poetry. And Paul Csonka’s ‘Concierto de Navidad’ is a gem that will lead into several popular tunes in jazz samba style, arranged for our instrumental forces.”
Performing throughout the concert will be award-winning pianist Taisiya Pushkar (www.taisiyapushkar.com), accomplished harpist Rita Costanzi (www.ritacostanzi.com), percussionist Barbara Merjan, and the Transfiguration String Quintet.
The 28 voices strong Melodia Women’s Choir has established a reputation as the premier women’s choir of NYC through more than a decade of adventurous, fresh and wide-ranging repertoire that explores rarely heard, stylistically diverse and often original and debut works. Called “riveting” by the New York Times and hailed by composers such as Meredith Monk, Melodia is committed to nurturing emerging women composers through commissions, residencies and performances. Founded by Executive Director Jenny Clarke in 2003, Melodia collaborates with and supports women composers, musicians and performers across the musical spectrum. www.melodiawomenschoir.org
About Cynthia Powell
Cynthia Powell, founding conductor and Artistic Director, celebrates her eleventh season with Melodia Women’s Choir. In addition to her positions as Director of Music and Organist at West End Collegiate Church in NYC, and Organist/Choirmaster of Temple Sinai in Tenafly, New Jersey, she serves as the Artistic Director of the Stonewall Chorale, the nation’s first LGBT chorus. Powell has been featured in GO Magazine’s “Women at the Helm” series, and has performed at Lincoln Center, the Guggenheim, and the Whitney Museum with composer Meredith Monk, and has toured the U.S. and Europe. She has conducted many major works for chorus and orchestra, served on the guest faculty at Sarah Lawrence College, has led the St. George’s Choral Society in NYC, and was a guest conductor at the International Choral Festival in Havana, Cuba.
About Britten 100
Britten 100 celebrates the centenary of the composer Benjamin Britten, who was born on November 22, 1913, It encompasses over 1,500 performances in more than 140 cities around the world from September 2012 to August 2014, and is coordinated by the Britten-Pears Foundation. www.britten100.org