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Oxford Institute Festival Chorus in concert

The Princeton Singers, under the direction of its artistic director Steven Sametz, share the stage with the Oxford Institute Festival Chorus, under guest conductor Peter Phillips, artistic director of the world-renowned Tallis Scholars, in a concert on June 29, 2002 at 8 pm in Zoellner Arts Center. The concert will feature works by composer-in-residence Libby Larsen, a premiere piece by Sametz, "Nevermore will the Wind," (his tribute to the victims of September 11) the premiere of the Oxford Award composition (to be announced at the concert) and Haydn’s "Lord Nelson Mass."

The concert is a culmination of a new weeklong festival at Lehigh University signaling the collaboration of Oxford University Press, the Lehigh University Music Department and Zoellner Arts Center. "The result of this undertaking will be many new choral pieces, one of which will be performed at the concert," says Sametz. In addition, the concert will include Sametz conducting The Princeton Singers in "Quid commisisti?" motet cycle by Heinrich Schütz; "Laudibus in sanctis Domino" by William Byrd; and "Invitation to Music" and "Sweet and Sour Nursery Rhymes " by Libby Larsen.

The choral workshop, called the Oxford Summer Institutes, is for professional and advanced composers, conductors and singers. Sametz and Phillips are joined by composer-in-residence Larsen who will introduce the week’s new works in a 1 pm talk on Saturday, June 29.

Haydn's "Lord Nelson Mass" (also known as the "Mass in D") was written in the summer of 1798 and given its current title after 1800, because the work was among those performed for Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton when they visited Prince Esterhazy at Eisenstadt Castle in September of 1800. There will be a 4 pm discussion on this work.

Steven Sametz’s recent guest conducting appearances include the Taipei Philharmonic Foundation, the Berkshire Music Festival, the New York Chamber Symphony and the Netherlands Radio Choir. His compositions have been heard at the Tanglewood, Ravinia, Salzburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Santa Fe music festivals. His in time of appears on the 1999 Grammy Award-winning CD by Chanticleer, Colors of Love; his work may also be heard on six other Chanticleer CDs as well as on CDs by the Lehigh University Choir and Choral Arts, and The Princeton Singers.

Peter Phillips, director of The Tallis Scholars was awarded a scholarship to Oxford in 1972 and studied Renaissance music with David Wulstan and Denis Arnold. In 1973 he brought together choral scholars from Oxford and Cambridge chapel choirs to form The Tallis Scholars. Their recordings have won numerous awards, including the 1987 Gramophone Record of the Year. In November 2001, Phillips and The Tallis Scholars released the first two recordings devoted to the 8 Magnificants of Nicolas Gombert.

Libby Larsen’s music, prized for its dynamic, deeply inspired and vigorous contemporary American spirit, has been commissioned and premiered internationally by major artists and orchestras. USA Today celebrated her as "the only English-speaking composer since Benjamin Britten who matches great verse with fine music so intelligently and expressively."

The Princeton Singers’ repertoire of sacred and secular music spans a wide cross-section of choral tradition, with an emphasis on purity of sound and tuning in a rich palette of color and tone. The ensemble has appeared on National Public Radio’s Performance Today and With Heart and Voice, has broadcast for the BBC, and has made five recordings to date. The Princeton Singers have also toured England several times, singing as choir-in-residence at St. Paul’s Cathedral and at Westminster Abbey.

Reserved seats are now available for the June 29 8 p.m. concert at $17 (Orchestra/Grand tier/Balcony). Afternoon talks at 1 pm and 4 pm. Please call Zoellner Ticket Services at 610-758-2787 or order online at ztix.lehigh.edu. Senior, student, LVAIC and group discounts available.

The Oxford Summer Institutes at Lehigh concert is supported in part by The Amaranth Foundation.

Posted on Monday, June 03, 2002

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