Alexandria, VA | St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Date: Fri, July 5
Time: 7:30 pm
Tickets: Free, with Eventbrite Registration
Artists: Sedaa (Iran, Mongolia), Barbara Furtuna (Corsica), Toronto Beaches Children’s and Youth Chorus (Canada), Crystal Children’s Choir (USA)
Washington, D.C. | Kennedy Center Millennium Stage
Date: Sat, July 6
Time: 6 pm
Artists: Barbara Furtuna (France) & Crystal Children’s Choir (USA)
Baltimore, MD | Second Presbyterian Church
Date: Sat, July 6
Time: 7:30 pm
Tickets: Free, with Eventbrite Registration
Concert Benefitting: ERICA (Episcopal Refugee and Immigrant Center Alliance)
Artists: Sedaa (Iran, Mongolia), Túumben Paax (Mexico), Toronto Beaches Children’s and Youth Chorus (Canada), Choir Cedemusica (Ecuador)
Washington, D.C. | Kennedy Center Millennium Stage
Date: Sun, July 7
Artists: Calmus (Germany), Choir Cedemusica (Ecudaor) & Toronto Beaches Children’s and Youth Chorus (Canada)
THE BEST OF SERENADE!
Washington, D.C. | Church of the Epiphany
Date: Sun, July 7
Time: 7:30 pm
Tickets: Free, with Eventbrite Registration
Artists: Calmus (Germany), Barbara Furtuna (France), Sedaa (Mongolia, Iran)
Washington, D.C. | Kennedy Center Concert Hall
Date: Mon, July 8
Time: 6 pm
Tickets: Free, with pre-reservation through the Kennedy Center.
Artists: Anima Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus (USA), Barbara Furtuna (France), Calmus (Germany), Choir Cedemusica (Ecudaor), Crystal Children’s Choir (Canada), Sedaa (Mongolia, Iran), Toronto Beaches Children’s and Youth Chorus (USA), Túumben Paax (Mexico).
Serenade! 2019 Choirs
4 time Grammy winner, Anima-Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus celebrates its 54th season in 2018-19. Anima is the Latin word for breath, soul, and spirit. With pride in our heritage as a North American leader in the field of youth choruses, our six ensembles serve children of the Chicago area and beyond. Anima is dedicated to transforming young lives through the highest standards in both music literacy and choral artistry. The choir returns to Serenade! after their first appearance two years ago in 2017.
The Corsican ensemble, Barbara Furtuna is a polyphonic group of four men mostly performing a capella, but occasionally with other instruments. Although the group still finds its inspiration in the island’s oldest traditions, it is now also distinguished by its own creations and offers music that speaks to contemporary longings. Performing alone or in collaborations including with famed tenor Plácido Domingo, the baroque ensemble L’Arpeggiata and with the Persian music ensemble Constantinople, the quartet has shown that it transcends a single genre and that traditional music still has the ability to surprise and to move us. Barbara Furtuna combines repertoire grounded in the island’s rich musical heritage with original works that reflect contemporary themes, such as the plight of refugees, through a lens informed by Corsican culture dating back thousands of years.
The Toronto Beaches Children’s and Youth Chorus was founded in 2006 by artistic director Bronwen Low-Scott. The choir provides both vocal and dramatic training in a fun and supportive environment. The children learn a variety of music from all different genres, and enjoy bi-weekly drama classes. For Serenade! 2019 the choir will explore the stories and music of the First Nations of Canada through a specially commissioned work by Barbara Croall, Waaboos N’gamwin (Rabbit Song).
The Washington Post marveled at the way Calmus “held the audience…spellbound with its artistry,” and this German a cappella quintet’s trademark blend of sound, precision, and wit has led to a successful twenty-year touring career internationally and two dozen critically acclaimed recordings. First Prize Winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition (2009), Calmus embodies the rich choral tradition of Leipzig, its hometown city so closely associated with Bach and Mendelssohn. Whether singing music by those German masters or other works in its diverse repertoire, Calmus has captivated both audiences and critics alike for twenty years with its charming stage presence, flawless technique and entertaining presentation.
Cedemusica is a non-profit institution based in the city of Ambato created in 2008, dedicated to the promotion, organization and execution of music education. Choir Cedemusica has participated in sacred, popular and academic festivals in Ecuador, Peru and Colombia. In addition, the choir sang with the Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale at the Lalama Theater in 2017 under the direction of Jeffrey R. Smith and Jasmine Simons; as well as with the Pacific Boychoir Academy of Oakland, CA led by Andrew Brown in 2018 in Ambato. Their performances are distinguished by their indigenous costumes and Afro-Ecuadorian rhythms.
Crystal Children’s Choir was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1994 and has grown into an organization of over one thousand members. The choir has toured Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America and has performed at prestigious venues including St. Peter’s Basilica, Taipei National Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House, Davies Symphony Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Beijing Concert Hall. The choir aspires to be cultural ambassadors of children’s choral music, especially in the field of Chinese folk songs and newly commissioned works. Predominantly made up of young Chinese-American musicians, the choir’s repertoire engages both Chinese and American musical traditions, as well as those from around the world.
Sedaa means “voice” in Persian and connects traditional Mongolian music with the Orient, which makes an extraordinary and fascinating sound. Master singer Nasaa Nasanjargal and Naraa Naranbaatar, who studied in their Mongolian homeland join, with the virtuosic Dulcimer player Ganzorig Davaakhuu and the Iranian multi-instrumentalist Omid Bahadori to bring you one genuinely exotic world between the Orient and Mongolian steppe. The foundation of their modern composition is formed by natural sounds which are produced with traditional instruments and the use of ancient vocal song techniques of their nomadic ancestors with which a person produces several tones at the same time.
Designated “Ambassador 2014” of the International Federation for Choral Music, winner of Gold Medals in competitions in Japan, Italy the Túumben Paax Female Vocal Sextet (“New Music,” in the Mayan language) is a pioneer ensemble in Mexico established in 2006 by Lucía Olmos, and formed by young singers from the top conservatories in Mexico. It has been conducted by Arturo Valenzuela, Samuel Pascoe, Jorge Córdoba, Jorge Cózatl and now Rodrigo Cadet. The choir bring repertoire to Serenade! that includes pre-Hispanic music, modern arrangements of traditional folk song and contemporary pieces that reflect Mexico’s past and present, such as Cadet’s Xon ahuiyacan (Be Joyful).
Doreen Rao is a distinguished conductor and master teacher committed to the dynamic intersections linking choral artistry and music education. “For her, every note has an urgent meaning, not just within the composition, but within the wider world.” Recipient of the 2019 Robert Shaw lifetime achievement award by the American Choral Director’s Association for her extraordinary contributions to choral music, Doreen’s seminal work has inspired generations of young singers, accomplished choral teachers and celebrated conductors.
Doreen’s illustrious career began as a professional singer and choral music teacher. During her formative association with the Chicago Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, she prepared the Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus for concerts and recorded performances, winning four Grammy Awards and a Grand Prix du Disque with Sir George Solti, Margaret Hillis, Claudio Abbado and James Levine. As Assistant Conductor for the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Doreen’s apprenticeship with Margaret Hillis informed her orchestral and choral conducting with a legacy of deep musicianship and enduring professionalism.
Doreen founded and chaired the first ACDA National Committee for Children’s Choirs organizing an inspired divisional and state leadership across the country. Commissioning, premiering and editing the music of living composers throughout her career, Doreen inspired and edited a massive choral repertoire for young treble and SATB choirs, published by Boosey & Hawkes as Choral Music Experience (CME). During the same period, she produced an innovative and on-going professional development curriculum dedicated to emerging conductors and choral teachers, founded as the CME Institute and Certification Courses in Choral Teacher Education, www.choralmusicexperience.com.
Following her graduate studies at Northwestern University, Doreen accepted an appointment as Director of Choral Programs at the University of Toronto. The first woman to hold an endowed chair in conducting, Doreen carries the prestigious Elmer Iseler Chair in Conducting Emeritus in perpetuity. During her twenty-two year tenure at the Faculty of Music, she regularly conducted the University Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in a wide range of choral-orchestral masterworks. She founded and conducted the Faculty of Music MacMillan Singers and Bach Festival Singers for frequent concert collaborations with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra led by Maestros Peter Oundjian, Bernard Labadie, Gianandrea Noseda, among others. Collaborating with the distinguished German conductor and Bach scholar Helmuth Rilling, Rao led Canada’s International Bach Festival hosted by the University of Toronto in partnership with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the International Bach Academy Stuttgart.
From 2008, Doreen conducted and directed the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, preparing the large symphonic chorus for concerts with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra led by the Grammy award-winning conductor Joanne Falletta. She enjoyed regular guest appearances with the BPO and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestras conducting choral masterworks concerts that featured Mendelssohn Symphony No. 2 “Lobgesang,” Puccini Messa di Gloria and the American premiere of Puccini’s early opera Cessato il suon dell’armi, Bach Magnificat, and Bernstein, Chichester Psalms and Mass (Rao edition).
Doreen left University teaching in 2011 and returned to Chicago where she maintains an active career guest conducting, teaching and writing. She has enjoyed her tenures as Artistic Director of the Chicago Chamber Choir and the Buffalo Master Chorale. As a Visiting Professor at Ionian University, Doreen has led graduate conducting courses and summer academy courses in Corfu Greece. She spent the 2017-2018 season as Visiting Artistic Director of the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay collaborating with the talented British conductor Michael Francis and the Florida Orchestra. Doreen recently signed with GIA Publications in Chicago as Series Editor of the forthcoming Global Encounters for Young Choirs. www.giamusic.com
Doreen is a member of the Zen Peacemakers Order and a longtime student of the American Zen teacher, Roshi Joan Halifax. She is the author of Circle of Sound Voice Education, a book that serves as the philosophical and practical foundation for her innovative mindfulness approach to conducting and teaching.
Where do we come from? And, as a people, how has that informed who we are now? Moving forward, will we continue to strive for a brighter, shared tomorrow?
On Monday, July 8, 2019 at 6:00 PM on stage at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, the 9th annual Serenade! Choral Festival will conclude with a truly grand finale: individual performances from all participating ensembles, as well the 2019 Serenade! mass choir, led by the 2019 recipient of the Robert Shaw Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Choral Directors Association, Doreen Rao. Dr. Rao will conduct her second Serenade! mass choir in the world premiere of Refuge—a brand-new work by internationally lauded soprano, composer and Director of Vocal Studies at the University of Chicago, Patrice Michaels—commissioned by Classical Movements’ own Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program.
Established in 2011, and lauded by the Washington Post’s Anne Midgette for “the most genuinely international ensemble I’ve ever heard, apart from the Olympic Games,” Classical Movements‘ Serenade! Washington, D.C. Choral Festival is an exuberant celebration of international choral music, offering unforgettable experiences for both singers and audiences alike.
With freewill donations collected for local non-profit charities, Serenade! has showcased more than 83 choirs from 32 countries at storied venues throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Music Center at Strathmore.
For our third consecutive summer together, Classical Movements and Kennedy Center will co-present the 2019 Serenade! Choral Festival, inviting vocal ensembles of all kinds, the world over, to join us across Greater Washington for a deep, meaningful investigation into “The Human Journey: Music, Migration & Identity.”
For more detailed information on Classical Movements’
2019 Serenade! Choral Festival, please call or email:
(+1) 703-683-6040 | email@example.com
Serenade! 2020: June 30-July 7
Serenade! 2021: TBA
(Serenade! 2019: July 3-9; Serenade! 2020: July 8-13)
Established in 2011 and hailed this summer by the Washington Post‘s Anne Midgette as “the most genuinely international ensemble I’ve ever heard, apart from the Olympic Games,” Classical Movements’ Serenade! Choral Festival is an exuberant celebration of choral music from around the world, offering unforgettable, life-changing experiences for both singers and audiences alike.
Presented free to the public—with freewill donations collected for local non-profit charities—Serenade! has showcased more than 85 choirs from some 33 countries to enthusiastic audiences at prestigious venues throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
Once again co-presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the 8th annual Serenade! Choral Festival will honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of South African revolutionary, politician and philanthropist, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
From June 25—July 2, 2018, professional vocal ensembles hailing from nations sharing President Mandela’s prized notions of “Hope, Justice & Unity” will perform collaborative concerts and exchange cultures through shared workshops and side-by-side rehearsals with select community choral groups and youth choirs alike, all while participating in outreach and service projects across the Greater Washington region.
Featuring five multi-choral performances on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage—as well as the always anticipated Serenade! mass choir concert inside the Concert Hall—Serenade! ensembles will perform 12 additional concerts at stunning and historic venues in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Concert Hall
Betsayda Machado & Parranda El Clavo (Venezuela)
Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir (Australia)
Chennai Children’s Choir (India)
Ensemble Tyva Kyzy (Tuva Republic)
Nai Syrian Children’s Choir (Canadian-Syrian refugees)
Nathaniel Dett Chorale (Canada)
Olga Vocal Ensemble (Netherlands)
Serenade! Mandela at 100 on Millennium Stage:
All Kennedy Center Millennium Stage concerts are free and start at 6 p.m.
Date: TUES, JUNE 26
Featuring: Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir (Australia); Indonesian Children and Youth Choir – Cordana (Indonesia)
Date: WED, JUNE 27
Featuring: Olga Vocal Ensemble (Netherlands); Chennai Children’s Choir (India)
Date: THURS, JUNE 28
Featuring: Ensemble Tyva Kyzy (Tuva Republic); Nathaniel Dett Chorale (Canada)
Date: FRI, JUNE 29
Featuring: Tiharea (Madagascar); Betsayda Machado & Parranda El Clavo (Venezuela)
Date: SAT, JUNE 30
Featuring: Howard University Gospel Choir (U.S.A.); Countermeasure (Canada)
Serenade! Mandela at 100 World Premieres:
In addition to the two works for the 2018 Serenade! mass choir, Classical Movements’ Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program has commissioned eight more works by composers from the festival’s featured countries, each piece inspired by the ideals Mandela, himself, championed.
A 2012 alumni of the Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program, back by popular demand, award-winning composer Aaron Jensen returns to Serenade! with a new work for the ensemble he founded, those cool Canadian chanteurs of Countermeasure. Inspired by Mandela’s 1994 autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, Jensen has titled his tribute Long Road to Freedom.
Dutch composer Anne-Maartje Lemereis’ A Requiem in Quotes was written explicitly for Olga Vocal Ensemble, the female-identifying a cappella quintet formed in 2012 at Utrecht Conservatory by five guys named Jonathan, Philip, Pétur, Matt and Arjan (and “Ketill,” their red, cast iron mascot). Meanwhile, fellow Dutch composer Carlijn Metselaar’s Well, Actually for this woke quintet of Dutch, Icelandic, Russian and English men takes its inspiration from one of the newest additions to the Oxford English Dictionary: mansplaining. Explains Metselaar,“I thought that a piece which plays up to Olga’s witty performance style—with big lush chords, barbershop harmonies and driving rhythms—would be the best way to approach it.”
Hailing from a small coastal village in Barlovento, Betsayda Machado has been dubbed “the voice of Venezuela.” Fronting her band Parranda El Clavo for some three decades now, she remains the most expert exponent of the especially infectious Afro-Venezuelan tambor genre—a spirit-shaking fiesta guaranteed to have every last person in D.C. up and moving with Arriba Mandela, her brand-new song for Serenade!
Having mastered the forbidden-for-women art of Tuvan throat-singing, southern Siberia’s Ensemble Tyva Kyzy is literally a one-of-a-kind ensemble—the only all-female group in the Tuva Republic that dares to publicly perform the five main styles of traditional khöömei song. Heading to Washington with a new arrangement of the traditional tune Дагын катап дарлатпас бис (“We Will Not Fall”) by founder Choduraa Tumat, these women accompany themselves on a range of folk instruments, such as the chadagan, a beguiling, zither-like instrument of their own making.
Founded in 1997, the name of this singing, dancing and percussion-playing trio of sisters from the Androy region of southern Madagascar couldn’t be more apt. Translated from Malagasy, the national language of their homeland, Tiharea means “wealth,” and hearing their virtuosic stylings live and in-person on co-founder Talike Gellé’s Serenade! commission Heagnen-Tsy Tratse (“Heaven’s Treaty”) is sure to make for an embarrassment of riches, indeed.
An inspirational ensemble consisting of orphaned, blind and differently-abled Tamil kids, the Chennai Children’s Choir sings with perfect diction in Telugu, Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, Kannada and English, including a new work for Serenade! by Vedanth Bharadwaj and Manjula Ponnapalli called நம்ம பாடு (“Let’s Sing”) that acknowledges humanity’s interconnectedness, as well as the ongoing need to make our world, and especially the environment, a better place.
Meaning “sound of the flute” in Arabic, Nai Syrian Children’s Choir provides a unique space for young refugees to learn to express their grief, yearning, love and hope through singing in their mother tongue and in the official languages of their new home, Canada. Nai will present the world premiere of Canadian composer Hussein Janmohamed‘s new multilingual work, Rise Children, Let’s Rise to Peace, via livestream from the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.
Also notable among the 2018 Serenade! international ensembles: the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir, who recall Mandela’s exhortation to their nation to confront Australia’s history of oppression in the same way South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission had; Nathaniel Dett Chorale, who performed for Madiba during his iconic 2001 “Mandela and the Children” concert in Toronto; and Indonesian Children and Youth Choir – Cordana, whose glorious combination of song and movement recalls Mandela’s joyful declaration, “It is music and dancing that make me at peace with the world.”
The two American ensembles invited to perform during the 8th annual Serenade! Choral Festival have both local and Mandela ties, too. The Howard University Gospel Choir of Washington, D.C. represent that institution where the recently elected President of South Africa delivered 1994’s convocation speech. And while participating in Classical Movements’ 2013 Ihlombe! South African Choral Festival, the Singing Sensations Youth Choir of Baltimore, Maryland serenaded the ailing Nobel Peace Prize-winning icon outside his hospital room, mere months before his passing.
Under Scott Tucker’s artistic leadership, the acclaimed Choral Arts Chorus has expanded to over 190 singers, launching the Choral Arts Chamber Singers and the Choral Arts Youth Choir. Maestro Tucker maintains Choral Arts’ strong connection with the National Symphony Orchestra, as well as continuing the choir’s reputation as sought-after collaborators, receiving invitations from a wide range of guest contracts. Tucker has prepared the Choral Arts Chorus for such conductors as Christoph Eschenbach, Emil de Cou, John Mauceri and Rossen Milanov. Tucker prepared the chorus to perform Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand” for Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra on the 100th anniversary of the U.S. premiere with the orchestra and Verdi’s Messa da Requiem for Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony. Most recently, Tucker prepared the choruses for NSO performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Christoph Eschenbach and for Carmina Burana with incoming music director Gianandrea Noseda. Deeply committed to supporting new music, Tucker continually programs world premieres, Choral Arts commissions and performances of recently composed works. Prior to his tenure with Choral Arts, Tucker commissioned and premiered more than 30 works from composers such as Ernani Aguiar, Bernard Rands, Steven Stucky, Augusta Read Thomas, Carol Barnett, David Conte, Libby Larsen and Chen Yi. Prior to his engagement with Choral Arts, Tucker was the P.E. Browning Director of Choral Music at Cornell University.
Hailed as a “virtuoso” and “intensely soulful” by the New York Times and “spellbinding” by the New Yorker, Syrian-born Kinan Azmeh, Classical Movements’ inaugural Composer-in-Residence, was the first Arab to win the premier prize at the 1997 Nicolai Rubinstein International Competition, Moscow. A student of Charles Neidich, Azmeh is a graduate of the Juilliard School and both the Damascus High Institute of Music, where he studied with Shukry Sahwki, Nicolay Viovanof and Anatoly Moratof, and Damascus University’s School of Electrical Engineering. In 2013, Azmeh earned his doctoral degree in music from the City University of New York. Having appeared as a soloist, composer and improviser in the most prestigious concert halls in the world, he has also shared the stage with Yo-Yo Ma, Daniel Barenboim, John McLaughlin and Djivan Gasparian, among others. Azmeh is a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, with whom he won a Grammy in 2016, and leads two of his own bands: Hewar and Kinan Azmeh CityBand.
South African composer Qinisela Sibisi is a versatile musician, equally at home in various genres: classical, jazz, soul, gospel and traditional African styles. With his music degree and a post-graduate teaching qualification from the University of Zululand, Sibisi has been an educator, choirmaster, conductor and adjudicator since 1984. Currently, he serves as a senior music lecturer at Esayidi TVET College in KwaZulu-Natal. In addition to the world premiere of Let the New Age Dawn at Classical Movements’ Serenade! Choral Festival, 2018 will see the staging of his first opera, Uqomisa Iliba.
It was a very special pleasure for us to have been involved in Serenade! It was an enjoyable, instructive and educational experience for us all. The physical, cultural and psychological distance travelled by the women and men of the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir from the dust of Central Australia to the world’s most powerful capital and its prestigious stages was monumental, mind stretching and historic, expanding their horizons, enhancing their skills, and widening their friendship circle.
“Absolutely magical…you have created something truly special with the Serenade! Festival.”
–Grant Gershon | Artistic Director, Los Angeles Master Chorale
“Laced with precision, care, passion, variety and excitement,
Classical Movements is the go-to company to organize a festival such as Serenade!”
–Madras Youth Choir (India)
“The high-class of [Serenade!] is exceptional.”
–Philippe Ostiguy | Artistic Director, Les Voix Boréales (Canada)
“With all the many different musical experiences we had,
it is impossible to put into words how amazing Serenade! was.”
–Laura Jēkabsone | Latvian Voices
“The most genuinely international ensemble I’ve ever heard, apart from the Olympic Games.”
–Anne Midgette, Washington Post
“Bringing together top-tier choirs from a dozen countries in a bid to show music’s universality—
how the joy of singing transcends cultures.”
–Agence France Presse, 2017
“A majestic showcase of what can be achieved through collaboration, and a most welcome reminder that
we all have a voice, and that the glory of song can resoundingly reaffirm a
common sense of humanity, the world over.”
–Songlines Magazine (U.K.), 2017
“Serenade! will fill this region with a rich diversity of sounds and will promote cultural interaction.”
–Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun