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Zoellner hosts free Princeton Singers concert on June 30

The Princeton Singers, under the direction of its artistic director Steven Sametz, will perform a free concert at Zoellner Arts Center at 8 pm. Friday, June 30, 2006

The Princeton Singers will perform brand-new works by esteemed composers from around the United States, works cultivated during a week-long residency at the Lehigh University Choral Composers’ Forum.

The concert is in celebration of a week-long seminar from June 25-30 in choral composition with composer-in-residence Stephen Paulus and master teacher Sametz at Lehigh University with the collaborative efforts of ECS Publishing, the Lehigh University Music Department and Zoellner Arts Center.

Paulus is acknowledged as one of the United States’ most respected orchestral, operatic and choral composers. His more than 200 works represent many genres and include commissions for the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

His choral works have been performed and recorded by some of the most distinguished choruses in the United States, including the New York Concert Singers, Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Robert Shaw Festival Singers, Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

According to The New York Times, “Mr. Paulus often finds melodic patterns that are fresh and familiar at the same time....His scoring is invariably expert and exceptionally imaginative in textures and use of instruments.”

The Choral Composers’ Forum is for professional and advanced composers, conductors, singers, and music educators who study intensively with master musicians in their fields through workshops, master classes, rehearsals, ensemble work, and reading sessions. Sametz founded the workshop five years ago because he wanted to position “Lehigh University as an academic institution that fosters creation of new compositions and as a center of choral studies.”

During that time, the summer forum has hosted world-renowned composers Libby Larsen, whom USA Today celebrated as “the only English-speaking composer since Benjamin Britten who matches great verse with fine music so intelligently and expressively,” Alberto Grau of Venezuela described as “one of the greatest living choral composers today," and Chen Yi who became the first woman to receive a master’s degree in composition in China in June 1986.

The program focuses on developing new pieces under the tutelage of Paulus and Sametz and provides a training-ground for the composers, whom hear their compositions performed daily by choir-in-residence, The Princeton Singers, as the works are evolving. At the end of the week, works or sketches may be chosen for performance in concert and considered by ECS Publishing for publication.

Sametz is professor of music and director of choral activities at Lehigh University and artistic director of The Princeton Singers. His composition, “I Have Had Singing” is being performed by the National Youth Choir of Scotland at the Royal Albert Hall in London this July during the highly prestigious BBC Proms. The 111-year-old event is considered to be the world’s greatest classical music festival.

His “in time of” appears on Chanticleer’s Grammy Award- winning CD, The Colors of Love. His works have been performed throughout the U.S. and Canada, at the Tanglewood and Ravinia festivals, and in Europe at the Salzburg and Schleswig-Holstein Festivals.

Recent guest conducting appearances include the Taipei Philharmonic Foundation, the Berkshire Music Festival, the New York Chamber Symphony and the Netherlands Radio Choir. 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. Sametz has received both the Composer Fellowship and Composer Consortium grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. He holds degrees from Yale University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt, Germany.

The Princeton Singers rank among the elite of the nation’s a cappella ensembles. They have performed and recorded with Chanticleer and The American Boychoir and were heard recently at both the American Choral Directors and American Guild of Organists conventions. The ensemble has appeared on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today” and “With Heart and Voice”, has broadcast for the BBC, and has made numerous recordings. The Princeton Singers have also toured England several times, singing as choir-in-residence at St. Paul’s Cathedral and at Westminster Abbey.

The concert on June 30 at 8 p.m. is free. For more information, please call Zoellner Ticket Services at (610) 758-2787.

--Lynn M. Farley

Posted on Friday, June 09, 2006

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