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Fox Point Lutheran Church welcomes the Milwaukee Choral Artists on April 14

March 27, 2012

The Milwaukee Choral Artists will present “Eastern Voyages” on Saturday, April 14th at 7:30 p.m. at Fox Point Lutheran Church, 7610 North Santa Monica Boulevard. For its final stop in this season called “All Directions Lead to MCA,” this celebrated twenty voice women’s vocal ensemble will offer its audience a concert of music ranging from folk songs of Eastern Europe to laments about recent devastation from Asian composers. A pre-concert lecture will take place at 7:00PM. Tickets are available by calling 262-628-5022 or online at www.milwaukeechoralartists.org. Admission is $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $15 for students.

The concert begins with “The Folk Tradition” and will feature songs from Slovenia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Russia. MCA will take its audience on a rare side trip to hear Igor Stravinsky’s Four Russian Peasant Songs in his arrangement for women’s voices and four horns. UWM Professor of Horn, Gregory Flint, will perform with three of his students. The mood will shift into the next section, “Great Loss: The Power of the Sea.” The compositions in this section are recent compositions. Japanese composer Kentaro Sato’s piece MAE-E (Forward), with its beautiful, heartfelt text, is dedicated to the victims of the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. Eliza Gilkyson’s Requiem is a response to the devastating effects of the 2004 Tsunami in the Indian Ocean. [Hear about the composition from the conductor of the choral ensemble, Conspirare http://conspirare.org/inspire/requiem/.]

The entire second half of the concert is sub-titled “Czechoslovakia,” and is dedicated to Anton Dvořák ’s Moravians Duets, (Opus 32, 1876). MCA will sing thirteen of this cycle of 23 Moravian folk poetry settings for two voices with piano accompaniment, composed between 1875 and 1881. In the autumn of the 1877 Dvořák enclosed this edition of Moravian Duets with his request for an Austrian State grant for "young, talented and poor artists". Johannes Brahms, one of the members of the Adjudicating Board in Vienna, wrote to his publisher, "You will find pleasure in them as I did, and, as a publisher you will be specially delighted with their piquancy. Dvořák is undoubtedly a very talented man – and poor besides. I beg you think it over.” He did. And the Moravian Duets’ popularity led to Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances, which established his international reputation.

Now in its fourteenth season, the Milwaukee Choral Artists (MCA) is Wisconsin's premier professional vocal ensemble, and one of only a handful of professional women’s choral ensembles in the country. With its signature lush sound, MCA brings a distinctive repertory of choral and vocal masterworks—including well-known pieces, new music, seldom-performed works, and music of diverse cultures and historical periods—to concert audiences throughout the region. Founded in 1998 as a chamber ensemble comprised of professional solo singers, MCA occupies a distinctive position of excellence in the city, state, and region. MCA has recorded two CDs. The latest is its first professionally produced CD “SKY-BORN Music, 10th Anniversary Commissions and World Premieres” on the Clarion label. This past summer, the Milwaukee Choral Artists was named a 2011 finalist in the American Prize Professional Choral Division, and was chosen as the recipient of a special citation from the American Prize for Unique Choral Programming for SKY-BORN Music. The other CD, released in October, 2009, is a live performance titled “Music for the Whole People of God” which was performed in August, 2009 at the Milwaukee Art Museum for the National Conference of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. Both are available on the Milwaukee Choral Artists’ website, www.milwaukeechoralartists.org. The Milwaukee Choral Artists is pleased to acknowledge its major funders this season: United Performing Arts Fund, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Wisconsin Arts Board, and Milwaukee County’s CAMPAC.

Dr. Sharon A. Hansen is Founder and Music Director of MCA for all of its fourteen seasons. Widely renowned as a conductor and master teacher throughout the United States and Europe, Hansen is also Professor and Director of Choral Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and chair of the Graduate Choral program. She is author of two books: Helmuth Rilling: Conductor – Teacher and On the Voice: ACDA, Teacher Preparation, and Voice Training in the Choral Classroom (1959-2009); and is a contributing author to a third book: Wisdom, Wit, and Will: Women Choral Conductors on their Art.

MCA performs three regular season concerts each year at historic venues throughout the Milwaukee area. Committed to presenting music from diverse cultures, the ensemble has performed music in thirty languages from more than forty world cultures since its inception.

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