Monday, December 27, 2010

Cornell Glee Club with Pasadena Master Chorale Jan. 16

Over the past 15 years, the Cornell Glee Club, whose singing was described by legendary conductor Eugene Ormandy as “superb” and “virtuosic” by the Washington Post, has left the university campus in Ithaca, New York to share its artistry with music lovers in China, Brazil, England and Venezuela. Audiences in Southern California will now have a chance, however, to hear the renowned ensemble, when the Pasadena Master Chorale (PMC) hosts the Club at a performance on Sunday, January 16 at 4 p.m. at La Crescenta Presbyterian Church in La Crescenta.

“The Cornell Glee Club has long been considered one of the finest male choruses in the country,” says PMC’s Artistic Director Jeffrey Bernstein, whose ties to the University run deep, considering that his father, mother and brother all studied and taught at Cornell.

“Under the direction of Scott Tucker the Glee Club has developed a stunning sound, supple and intense, and they sing with great musicality,” Bernstein continues. “I'm delighted that PMC can host Cornell on its California Tour and thrilled that PMC audiences will get a chance to hear an ensemble like the Cornell Glee Club. It will be an unforgettable concert experience.”

The performance will be an equally ‘unforgettable experience’ for Bernstein, the composer and conductor confesses. “Scott Tucker and I have been friends for over 20 years, since we met in the Harvard Glee Club,” he explains. “We were both students of Jim Marvin, so in a way that makes us musical brothers. Over the years we've spoken often of ways to bring our choruses together. In January, it will finally happen.”

The concert will open with a performance by the Pasadena Master Chorale of the “Introit” and “Kyrie” from Mozart’s Requiem, K. 626. Soloists will include soprano Lauren Buckley and pianist Renee Gilormini. Bernstein will conduct. The Cornell Glee Club will then present all-male choral music from a variety of cultures, ranging from compositions from the European Renaissance to folk music of the Americas.

“The Glee Club looks forward to sharing its unique repertoire and the Cornell musical tradition with alumni, current students and members of the communities we visit,” says Tucker. “We’re especially excited to perform pieces by Cornell alumni who now live and work in California, including Byron Adams and Joseph Gregorio. The tour will also feature premieres of works by Cornell-California composers David Conte and David Lefkowitz as well as selections from the Glee Club’s 1960-61 tour of the USSR, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that historic event.”

“It’ll be a reunion of sorts for me and David Lefkowitz,” Bernstein reveals. “David teaches at UCLA, where he was my composition teacher during my doctoral studies.”

Southern California music lovers will have an opportunity as well to meet the Hangovers, the a cappella subset of the Glee Club, which will perform several original arrangements of popular music. Alumni, meanwhile, will find themselves humming along to traditional Cornell school songs, including the Song of the Classes, the Evening Song and the Cornell Alma Mater.

“Contrary to what you might expect, the Cornell Glee Club is not made up simply of music majors but rather 50 to 60 students from all seven undergraduate schools and the graduate school at Cornell who pass a very rigorous round of auditions,” Bernstein adds. “In that way, just as Scott and I are ‘musical brothers,’ so the Glee Club and PMC are kindred spirits. We both have a deep commitment to encouraging members of our communities from a wide spectrum of disciplines and interests – but who share our love of choral music – to join us and sing for the sheer joy of singing.”

Tickets for the performance of the Cornell Glee Club and Pasadena Master Chorale are available at the door, for a suggested donation of $20. La Crescenta Community Church is located at 2902 Montrose Avenue in La Crescenta California, 91214.

For more information about the Pasadena Master Chorale, visit Recorded information is available by phone at 626.208.0009.

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