“EXCELSIS – Contemplating extremity” will be performed at 8:00 pm @ Holy Rosary Catholic Church.
Two world premiere commissions, a Pulitzer-prize-winner, and more –this is music you won’t hear anywhere else!
In the final concert of its 24th season, The Esoterics will cast its choral gaze upward, to consider the forces that propel us to greater heights of consciousness. This December, we welcome the transforming embrace of the celestial feminine in the songs of EXCELSIS.
The ensemble is excited to welcome two Philadelphia composers who were commissioned by The Esoterics to write works that will receive their world premieres in EXCELSIS. Andrea Clearfield’s Khandroma sets a Tibetan poem by Sienna Craig that honors the dakini, the ancient Buddhist spirits that dance across the sky. Kala Pierson composed Flung open, setting a poem of her own creation earlier this year, while on a residency at the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island. Pierson says about her commission:
“For me, one of the joys of writing choral music is finding fresh approaches to what I call the ‘secular cathedral piece’ – moving and powerful music that, without setting religious texts, still elegantly evokes the ‘cathedral-scale’ sacred music of the western choral tradition. As we feel in the best choral performances, the singers are in fact worshipping one another. And as any fan of The Esoterics knows, one couldn’t hope for better musicians to realize this concept. “
Both Andrea and Kala will join us in Seattle for the entire concert weekend to work with the ensemble and meet our audience. In addition to these two premieres, the group will perform Paul John Rudoi’s Spheres of influence, setting two cosmic poems by Tim Togeas and Sara Dailey about the astronomical forces that we find within each of us.
The centerpiece of EXCELSIS will be To touch the sky by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts. This nine-movement compendium of celestial feminine poetry includes texts by Sappho, Mirabai, Hildegard of Bingen, Amy Lowell, Emily Brontë, Edna St Vincent Millay, Christina Rossetti, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and Marie Howe. As a prelude to this cycle, the group will also perform If I were a swan, Puts’ elegant rendering of a poem by Fleda Brown.
“I love the music in this project,” says Chris Lewis, who has been singing with The Esoterics since 2010, “This concert is a great mix of gorgeous harmony, along with flashes of craziness. I’m digging it!”
Now in its twenty-fourth season, The Esoterics, Seattle’s most innovative chorus has drawn international praise for performing rarely-heard compositions of contemporary music for unaccompanied voices, for infusing elements of the literary, theatrical, and visual arts into the typical concert experience, and for performing settings of poetry, philosophy, and spiritual writings from around the world.
We hope that you can join us for this celestial concert series!
The Esoterics will offer three performances of EXCELSIS:
2 December 2017 | 800pm | Holy Rosary Catholic Church | 4142 42nd Avenue SW | West Seattle
1 December 2017 | 800pm | St Stephen’s Episcopal Church | 4805 NE 45th Street | Seattle
3 December 2017 | 700pm | Christ Episcopal Church | 310 North K Street | Tacoma
General admission ticket prices are $25 at the door ($22 in advance). Discounted admission ticket prices are $18 at the door ($15 in advance) for students, seniors, the un(der)employed, and the differently-abled. Active singers in other choral groups may also attend for $15.
Advance tickets are available online through BrownPaperTickets.