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LA Master Chorale Opens 49th Season with Panache

Location: California, USA
Choir type: Professional Choirs
Voicing: Mixed
The Los Angeles Master Chorale launched the 2012|13 season, its 49th, on Sunday, October 21, 2012, at Walt Disney Concert Hall, with a sublime organ and choral music extravaganza led by Music Director Grant Gershon that showcased the majesty and power of the venue’s iconic pipe organ and was capped by a glittering post-concert gala attended by 255 people that raised $275,000 for the Chorale’s artistic and education programs.  Special guests at the concert included organists Paul Meier and Kimo Smith and the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, under the direction of Anne Tomlinson.
The concert featured two West Coast premieres – Nico Muhly’s choral tapestry, A Good Understanding, performed with the Los Angeles Children's Chorus, and Judith Weir’s Ascending Into Heaven, a soaring journey into the clouds.  In addition, Gershon conducted a second Muhly piece, Bright Mass with Canons, which received its West Coast premiere by the Chorale in 2010.  Both Muhly works are featured on the Chorale’s CD A Good Understanding recorded in Disney Hall and released to tremendous critical acclaim by Decca in 2010. 
The repertoire also included mystic Arvo Pärt’s The Beatitudes, Tarik O’Regan’s Dorchester Canticles, Kurt Weill’s Kiddush, Gerald Finzi’s gloriously thundering God Is Gone Up, and Sr. David Willcocks’ Psalm 150 performed by the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC) and conducted by Tomlinson.  A pair of royal anthems rounded out the concert – British composer Hubert Parry’s I Was Glad, conducted by LAMC Associate Conductor Lesley Leighton, as well as noted contemporary Welsh composer Paul Mealor’s Ubi caritas, composed for the April 2011 nuptials of His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton.  The Telegraph proclaimed Meaolor’s motet “the real hit of the Royal wedding music.” 
For the 20th consecutive year, BNY Mellon sponsored the glamorous post-concert gala, which was held in BP Hall and featured musical entertainment by the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Tony Award-winning composer/pianist/playwright Jason Robert Brown.  The Chorale’s signature surround sing, in which Chorale members encircle guests and envelope them in song, included Gershon conducting Brown’s Music of Heaven, the 9th movement of Henryk Górecki’s Miserere, the hymn Unclouded Day arranged by LAMC Composer In Residence Shawn Kirchner, and Zion’s Wall, a revivalist song arranged by Aaron Copland.  Other event highlights included actress Jane Kaczmarek conducting a live auction for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to conduct the Hallelujah Chorus on stage at the Chorale’s beloved Messiah Sing-Along on December 17 for which Tom and Judy Beckmen made the winning bid of $4,500.  Guests dined on Ahi tuna towers, braised beef short ribs, farmer’s market vegetables and apple crumble tart with crème fraiche sherbet.
Giving a voice to Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Master Chorale is led by Music Director Grant Gershon.  The New York Times calls the choir “inspired,” and The New York Observer declares it “a superb vocal ensemble.”  The Chorale is currently in its 49th season as a resident company of The Music Center of Los Angeles County and its 10th as the resident chorus at Disney Hall.  Presenting its own concert series each season, it performs choral music from the earliest writings to the most recent contemporary compositions.  To date, the choir has commissioned 27 and premiered 76 new works, of which 44 were world premieres, and has been awarded three ASCAP/Chorus America Awards for Adventurous Programming as well as Chorus America’s prestigious Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence.  The Chorale has performed in more than 300 concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at both Disney Hall and the Hollywood Bowl and has also appeared at the Ojai Music Festival, the Great Performers series at Lincoln Center, and the Overture Center in Madison, Wisconsin, as well as in leading venues throughout the Southland.  Its discography includes five CDs under Gershon’s baton. The latest, released in September 2012 on Decca, features three works by Polish composer Henryk GóreckiLAMC previously released three CDs under Music Director Emeritus Paul Salamunovich on RCM, including the Grammy-nominated Lauridsen-Lux Aeterna.  The Chorale is also featured with Gershon on the soundtracks of such major motion pictures as Lady in the Water and License to Wed.  Serving more than 30,000 audience members of all ages annually, the Los Angeles Master Chorale also provides education outreach to some 6,000 students each year.