Jazz Mass: A fusion of heaven and earth
William Chapman Nyaho, piano
Tess Altiveros, soprano
Donald Skirvin, composer
Talvi String Quartet
Seattle Choral Company
Steve Dobrogosz – Mass, scored for choir, piano soloist and strings
Bob Chilcott – The Making of the Drum, scored for choir, marimba and percussion
Donald Skirvin – Curve of Gold, scored for choir, soprano solo and piano
Our season ends with African drum rituals and an exciting jazz-inspired choral mass that crosses comfortably from classical to jazz and gospel. The music is classical, and intended to be approachable at the same time.
Steve Dobrogosz is an American pianist and composer based in Sweden whose career spans several decades and ranges in style from classical to jazz and pop. Dobrogosz grew up in Raleigh, NC, and later studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. In 1978 he moved to Stockholm, Sweden, and began a fruitful musical career there amid the city’s vibrant jazz scene. His "Mass," which appeared in 1997, was premiered by Gary Graden and the St. Jacob’s Chamber Choir. It is an exciting jazz-inspired choral mass that crosses comfortably from classical to jazz and gospel. It will performed for the first time in Seattle.
Paired with Steve Dobrogosz’ modern-day "Mass" will be a very different choral work, also based on a sacred ritual – "The Making of the Drum" – an exuberant and rhythmic cantata for chorus and percussion, based on African rituals associated with drum making. Former King Singer, Bob Chilcott, composed "The Making of the Drum" using the poetry of Caribbean poet Edward Kamau Brathwaite. The work is a celebration of how the living spirit of the drum is brought to life.
Seattle resident Donald Skirvin wrote "Curve of Gold" for choir, piano, and soprano soloist in 2003 and revised in 2015 on texts by the American poet Sara Teasdale. The work is dedicated to SCC Conductor Freddie Coleman and Assistant Director Scott Kovacs, and will receive its world premiere on this concert.
About Seattle Choral Company
Founded in 1982 by Artistic Director Freddie Coleman, the Seattle Choral Company has, over the course of 40 years, become one of the region’s most accomplished and respected choral organizations. Maestro Coleman’s finely-tuned yet spirited interpretations of the masterworks of classical choral music have been acclaimed by critics and audiences, including Berlioz’ Te Deum, Prokofieff’s Alexander Nevsky, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Haydn’s Creation, Mozart’s C Minor Mass, Bach’s St. John Passion, and many more. After a recent performance at Benaroya Hall featuring Johannes Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, The Gathering Note wrote that the performance “was anchored by deep emotions, a strong sense of purpose, and an excellent advocate in Freddie Coleman and the Seattle Choral Company.” Freddie Coleman has also championed America’s finest contemporary choral composers, offering area listeners their first live hearing of such works as Arvo Pärt’s Te Deum, Philip Glass’ Itaipu, Hawley’s Songs of Kabir, Roxanna Panufnik’s Westminster Mass, and Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna. In 2001, the SCC commissioned a new choral work, Seattle, by New York composer William Hawley, as part of the city of Seattle’s sesquicentennial celebrations. Additionally, the Company has commissioned and premiered new works from gifted Seattle composers, such as Donald Skirvin and Bern Herbolsheimer. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer recently applauded this commitment, stating “it’s not surprising that Coleman…would devote an entire program to contemporary music. He has long been an advocate for living composers.” In the 1980s the Seattle Choral Company toured to Australia and the former Soviet Union. (Their work as cultural ambassadors was recognized with a commendation from the Washington State legislature.) The many albums it has recorded, including The Moon Is Silently Singing, When the Morning Stars Sang Together, Carmina Burana, and Unearthed, have been highly praised and received extensive radio exposure. The Company has recorded soundtracks for Public Television (Death: the Trip of a Lifetime) and NBC (Crime and Punishment and Noah’s Ark), and its recordings have been used in at least a dozen Hollywood movie trailers. The Seattle Choral Company has become a valued collaborator with other performing arts organizations in the region. It has appeared on stage with the Pacific Northwest Ballet many times, including several mountings of Kent Stowell’s staging of Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Hail to the Conquering Hero, featuring choruses by Handel. In 2010, the SCC appeared with the Seattle Youth Symphony in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”) at Benaroya Hall. The SCC has appeared with the Seattle Symphony on many occasions, including Those Glorious MGM Movie Musicals, Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Holiday Pops with Doc Severinsen, Holiday Pops with Marvin Hamlisch, New Year’s Eve with the Seattle Symphony, and most recently The Matrix Live In Concert. On four occasions, they have appeared at the Paramount Theater in the touring production of Video Games Live, and members of the Company sang in both the Seattle and Portland productions of Star Wars In Concert. The SCC is partnered with the Northwest Sinfonietta, and is an artist-in-residence at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral. http://www.seattlechoralcompany.org
Seattle, WA 98102