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MONMOUTH CIVIC CHORUS IN U.S. PREMIERE

March 1, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

An American premiere will close the 60th anniversary season of the award-winning Monmouth Civic Chorus under the baton of Dr. Mark Shapiro. In honor of the Chorus’s diamond anniversary, Dr. Shapiro has chosen Three Choral Diamonds as the theme of the performance on Sunday, May 3, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. at the Count Basie Theatre, 99 Monmouth Street, Red Bank. A full orchestra will join the Chorus for the U.S. premiere of the cosmic Sphaera by Guillaume Connesson; Karol Szymanowski’s haunting Stabat Mater; and Felix Mendelssohn’s lovely Tu Es Petrus (You Are My Rock).

Born in France in 1970, Guillaume Connesson creates an imaginative fusion of styles ranging from Olivier Messiaen to Steve Reich to James Brown. He described the text of Sphaera as “an extraordinary neo-Latin description of the cosmic sphere, embracing the totality of the universe, while also reflecting the vastness of empty space.”

Born in 1882 in what is now Ukraine, Polish composer Karol Szymanowski was a poet and novelist as well as a musician. Dr. Shapiro remarked, “Stabat Mater is his masterpiece: a songful, passionate outpouring of religious feeling that melds the haunting chant of Slavic church music with the harmonic sensuousness of impressionism.”

Felix Mendelssohn shares this bicentennial year with Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. Tu Es Petrus is an early work, inspired by his study of Renaissance and Baroque music. Also on the program are selections from his beloved oratorio Elijah.

The performance of Sphaera is funded in part by The French-American Fund for Contemporary Music, a program of the French American Cultural Exchange (FACE) with support from Cultural Services of the French Embassy, CulturesFrance, Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Éditeurs de Musique (SACEM) and the Florence Gould Foundation. The Chorus joins such illustrious FACE grant recipients as the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Miller Theatre at Columbia University, and the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris.

The concert is also made possible in part by the Monmouth County Arts Council through funding from the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, through the County Historical Commission, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Monmouth Civic Chorus recently received the 2008 ASCAP/Chorus America Alice Parker Award, which recognizes a chorus for programming significant recently composed music that expands the mission of the chorus and challenges the chorus’s audience in a new way. Under Artistic Director, Dr. Mark Shapiro, the Chorus has been acclaimed as “close to perfect” (Asbury Park Press), “sonorously impressive” (The Star-Ledger) and “exceptional” (Red Bank Green).

Concert tickets are $30 and $25 regular, $27 and $22 for seniors, $25 and $20 for groups, $10 and $5 for students. Call (732) 933-9333 or visit www.monmouthcivicchorus.org for tickets and information.

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