Music’s prominence in the sacred sphere has shaped some of the most enduring genres of choral music in Western culture, such as the requiem mass. For more than a century, composers have found resonance in the requiem outside its traditional religious framework — a resonance that has acquired new intensity in recent years. Here is a look at four American composers of today who have adapted the idea of the sacred requiem to secular expressions that commemorate loss and encourage healing. Their music responds to a wide spectrum of inspirations—and perhaps has even more relevance in a world coping with suffering and loss in a new way.
Several choral music organizations find themselves seeking or transitioning to new artistic leaders at a time when shifting circumstances call on them to consider challenging new directions, not the least of which is the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of these challenges, what are choruses in transition thinking about the kind of leadership they need? How do they manage to find it? How will they and their new artistic directors define and achieve success next season, not to mention seasons beyond?
Nina Simon’s work as an author, change leader, and activist is all about creating more open, generous, community-focused organizations. She is the founder and CEO of OF/BY/FOR ALL, a nonprofit organization that provides tools to help civic and cultural organizations matter more to more people. Today, over 50 organizations are using the OF/BY/FOR ALL framework to build relationships, relevance, and impact in their communities.
These days, news from the U.S.-Mexico border is fraught with tension. Increased U.S. restrictions on asylum-seekers have left hundreds of migrants from Central America and elsewhere stranded on the Mexican side of the border, and relations between the two countries have been strained. In response, various cultural and human rights groups are reaching across the border to help stranded migrants and to reinforce the historic bonds between the two countries. Among them are a handful of choral music organizations, including two choral initiatives centered on the San Diego-Tijuana border region.
Chorus America has announced the recipients of its 2020 awards program, recognizing a broad range of achievements in choral music, including artistic excellence, adventurous programming, innovative education programs, and lifetime service to the choral art.
As diversity, equity, and inclusion have increasingly come to the forefront for so many classical music organizations today, there’s a forum that has become a leading space in DEI conversations for the past five years: SphinxConnect.
(NANM board members in 1941, Foster Memorial Hall, Pittsburgh. Pictured are Blanche K. Thompson, Josephine Inness, Henry L. Grant, Mary Cardwell Dawson, Clarence Hayden Wilson, and Florence B. Price. Photo credit: Carnegie Museum of Art, Charles "Teenie" Harris Archive)
A panel discussion at the 2019 Conference capped off Chorus America’s inaugural “Voices of Change” program—an effort to foster more collaboration and inclusiveness in the Philadelphia-area choral community and provide leaders with education on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Now the time has come to identify insights from this cohort that are relevant to choruses elsewhere. What might choral leaders expect when venturing into DEI discussions and attempting to build new connections in their choral communities? Voices of Change participants, facilitator Nicole Robinson, and Chorus America staff reflect on what was gained over the course of the year, as well as seeds planted that will take continued work to nurture.
Alexander Lloyd Blake is a conductor, vocal arranger, singer, and music activist in Los Angeles, and directs Tonality, a choral ensemble founded in 2016 that solely focuses on themed concerts on social justice.
The World Symposium on Choral Music is an eight-day festival held every three years, organized by the International Federation for Choral Music. The next symposium is scheduled for July 2020, to be hosted in Auckland, New Zealand. In anticipation of WSCM2020, symposium artistic director John Rosser, who also founded and directs the Auckland-based chamber choir Viva Voce, spoke with Chorus America about next year’s event and its theme, tangata whenua.