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Northwestern to Celebrate Holidays Early With Three Concerts

November 14, 2006 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Northwestern University School of Music will celebrate the holidays in early December by presenting two versions of the “Magnificat” -- also known as the “Song of Mary” -- during two holiday concerts and a program of Advent and Christmas readings and music. All three performances will be held on the University's Evanston campus.

Carl Philipp Emanuel (C.P.E.) Bach's “Magnificat” for chorus and orchestra will be performed during the University's 67th annual Holiday Concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive. Robert A. Harris' “Gloria,” a work written for soprano solo, mixed chorus and orchestra, is also part of the program.

Harris will conduct the University Chorale, University Chorus, University Singers and the Northwestern Symphony Orchestra during both performances.

C.P.E. Bach's 1749 version of the “Magnificat” is the third rendition of this piece. His father, Johann Sebastian Bach, first composed the work in E-flat in 1723, to be performed at Vespers on Christmas Day at the Church of St. Nicholas in Leipzig, Germany. C.P.E. Bach's later version earned him wide acclaim, helping to cement his place as the chamber musician to the King of Prussia, Frederick the Great.

Harris is Northwestern's director of choral organizations, and an active conductor and composer throughout the United States and abroad. He was commissioned by the Westminster Choir of Dayton, Ohio, to compose “Gloria,” which premiered in May 2006.

Ticket prices for each of the Holiday Concerts are $12 for general public; $8.50 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $5.50 for full-time students and children. 

Estonian composer Arvo Pärt's ethereal 1989 choral setting of the “Magnificat” will be a program highlight during A Festival of Lessons and Carols at 11 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, at Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road. Prelude music will begin at 10:35 a.m.

Other works on the morning program, featuring the Alice Millar Chapel Choir, Millar Brass Ensemble and Philharmonia, include the “Gloria” from Mozart's Mass in C Minor, Pinkham's “Gloria in Excelsis” and instrumental works by Bach, Dupre and Redford. Michael Henoch will be the oboe soloist. School of Music faculty member Stephen Alltop, director of music for Alice Millar Chapel, will conduct the program. Admission is free. A freewill offering will be taken.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Pick-Staiger Ticket Office at (847) 467-4000 or visit www.pickstaiger.com.

Topics: Campus Life