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Cellist Carter Brey to Join Voices of Ascension for "O Holy One"
by Daniel N. Colborn, II for Vocal Area Network
Posted April 22, 2005

Christ as Redeemer, from the Voices of Ascension siteCarter Brey, internationally distinguished soloist and Principal Cellist of the New York Philharmonic, will be the special guest artist in the next concert by Voices of Ascension, the acclaimed professional chorus conducted by Dennis Keene. The Concert, titled "O Holy One", is scheduled for 8:00 PM, Tuesday, April 26, 2005, at The Church of the Ascension, Fifth Avenue at 10th Street, New York City.

Mr. Brey will be featured in Svyati (O Holy One) for violoncello and chorus by noted contemporary British composer John Tavener. He will also perform excerpts from a Bach cello suite. Works of Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Poulenc and others will be included in what Aristic Director Dennis Keene has termed "an evening of spirituality and mysticism." Keene commented, "We have linked together the austere yet expressive French spirituality of Francis Poulenc with the mysticism of contemporary composer John Tavener and the rich choral sonorities of music from the Russian Orthodox Church that inspired him."

Another highlight of the concert will be the world premiere of Dialogue: Angel of Peace, Angel of War for chorus and organ by New York composer James Bassi, with text by Dean Kostos, which was commissioned by Voices of Ascension for this performance as part of its 15th Anniversary celebration. "We are honored to perform James Bassi's beautiful new work," Keene commented.

Sir John Tavener's dramatic and highly moving Svyati is set to a prayer used at almost every Russian Orthodox service. The cello, placed in the center aisle of the church, represents the Priest, and "sings" in dialogue with the choir (representing the people, placed at a distance in the choir stalls). "We are very pleased to collaborate on this special project with the noted cellist Carter Brey," said Keene. A leading figure in the world of 20th-century British music, Sir John Tavener's choral and orchestral works reflect his deeply spiritual outlook and distinctive musical voice. He is perhaps best known to worldwide audiences for his Song for Athene, which was performed at the funeral of Princess Diana in 1997. His vast, 7-hour work, The Veil of the Temple, was featured in the 2004 Lincoln Center Festival.

Voices of Ascension was founded at The Church of the Ascension in Greenwich Village in 1990. The previous season, Dennis Keene and the Choir of the Church of the Ascension had produced a major music festival, "Tribute to Duruflé," the first complete retrospective of the music of French composer Maurice Duruflé. The festival drew international attention and was later broadcast across the U.S. on American Public Radio. The following season the group incorporated separately from the church and became Voices of Ascension. Since its founding, Voices of Ascension has evolved into one of the most esteemed professional choruses in the world, and conductor Dennis Keene has been hailed as the leading choral conductor of his generation.

Voices of Ascension is one of only very few independent professional choruses to present a full series of concerts, year after year, and it is nearly alone among New York City choruses in not concentrating on one period or style, but performing a wide variety of choral works from all periods and musical styles.

The ensemble and Artistic Director Dennis Keene have received virtually every award and accolade from professional music organizations, including invitations to perform at several national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the American Choral Directors Association, and Chorus America. This national service organization for the choral field also honored Dennis Keene with its first Louis Botto Award for "innovative action and entrepreneurial zeal in developing a professional ensemble of exceptional artistic quality."

Highlights of the ensemble's fifteen years include its recording relationship with Delos International, begun in 1993, which has produced nine recordings including the chart-topping Beyond Chant, the critically acclaimed Duruflé Album, and the massive Berlioz Te Deum -- recorded live at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine at the centennial convention of the American Guild of Organists. Voices' most recent recording, Hear My Prayer, with soprano Hei Kyung Hong, was released in 2004. Guest appearances for the ensemble have been with the San Francisco Symphony, EOS Orchestra, the Mark Morris Dance Group, and the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center.

Tickets for O Holy One are $45, $35, $25, and $15 (half price for students with valid ID) and are available from Voices of Ascension by phone at 212-358-1469 or online at www.voicesofascension.org.

The final concert of Voices of Ascension's 15th-Anniversary Season will be a Bach Celebration featuring the Magnificat in D on May 17, 2005, at 8:00 PM, at The Church of the Ascension, Fifth Avenue at 10th Street, New York City.

Daniel N. Colburn, II is the Executive Director of Voices of Ascension. This article, his first for Vocal Area Network, was adapted from a Voices of Ascension press release.

Content Contact: Daniel N. Colborn, II.
Revision Date: April 22, 2005.
Technical Contact: Steve Friedman.

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