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David Lang’s ‘The Little Match Girl Passion’ to be Performed

Choral events include Feb. 9 Alice Millar Chapel 50th anniversary birthday concert

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January 17, 2014 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A performance of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang’s “The Little Match Girl Passion,” the world premiere of Northwestern alumnus Joseph Schwantner’s “Chapel Music” and a collaboration with Germany’s Johann Sebastian Bach Music School Orchestra will brighten Northwestern University’s Evanston campus this winter.

All of these and more will be presented by Northwestern University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music. Performances are open to the public and take place on the University’s Evanston campus at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Alice Millar Chapel and Vail Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road and Lutkin Hall, 700 University Place, as noted. 

Internationally renowned composer David Lang visits Northwestern as the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble performs his Pulitzer Prize-winning work “The Little Match Girl Passion” at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26, in Alice Millar Chapel. Lang will discuss current and future compositional directions in a free, preconcert talk at 2 p.m. in Vail Chapel. Bang on a Can founder and Musical America’s 2013 Composer of the Year, Lang is one of the country’s most-performed composers with a catalog of opera, orchestra and chamber music. “The Little Match Girl Passion” for chamber choir is an emotionally charged retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of hope and sorrow explored through a haunting score. Under the direction of Donald Nally, the ensemble will also perform Renaissance composer Brumel’s 12-voice “Missa et ecce terrae motus” (“Earthquake Mass”). Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.

The Alice Millar Chapel celebrates its 50th anniversary with a birthday concert at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, at the chapel. Part of a four-day residency with Grammy-nominated composer and Northwestern alumnus Joseph Schwantner, the concert’s focal point will be the world premiere of his “Chapel Music: Five Diverse Songs for Chorus and Orchestra.” The concert will include Vierne’s “Marche triomphale” as well as Schwantner’s “New Morning for the World,” based on texts by Martin Luther King Jr. The evening’s performers include the Alice Millar Chapel Choir, conducted by Stephen Alltop; University Singers, under the direction of Emily Ellsworth; Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra; organist Eric Budzynski; and narrator Rodrick Dixon. Admission is free and an offering will be accepted.

The Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble and University Chorale will perform alongside the Johann Sebastian Bach Music School Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Germany’s most accomplished youth orchestra makes its home at Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, where Mendelssohn was once conductor. The ensembles will collaborate on a program celebrating music from the New World and the Old, including Barber’s setting of Pablo Neruda’s poetry in “The Lovers”; Mendelssohn’s chorale cantata “Verleih uns Frieden gnadiglich”; Reger’s “Hymnus der Liebe”; and Brahms’ “Academic Festival Overture.” Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.

Northwestern’s Women’s Chorus will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 2, in Lutkin Hall. Under the direction of Christopher Windle, the ensemble’s program will perform  works for treble voices. The program includes Veljo Tormis’ “Lauliku Iapsepoli,” Maria Lofberg’s “Hildegard Motets,” Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s “Litanies a la vierge” H. 86, R. Murray Schafer’s “Snowforms,” Ola Gjeilo’s “Tundra,” Eric Whitacre’s “Seal Lullaby” and Shawn Kirchner’s arrangement of “Bright Morning Stars.” Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.

The University Singers will present a concert titled “Gloria” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 3, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The choir, directed by Emily Ellsworth, will perform Dominick Argento’s “Gloria” from “Masque of Angels” and Mozart’s “Missa brevis” No. 9 in B-flat Major. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.

For more information, call the Pick-Staiger Concert Office at (847) 491-5441 or visit Pick-Staiger. To purchase tickets, call the Pick-Staiger Ticket Office at (847) 467-4000; to order single tickets online, visit Pick-Staiger.