Santa Fe Desert Chorale | Summer 2021 Season |

Santa Fe Desert Chorale Announces Summer 2021 Programming Details, Including a Commission by Composer Reena Esmail.

2020 Programming Theme, Unlikely Partners, Continues with Eleven Performances of Three Distinct Concert Programs, conducted by Artistic Director Joshua Habermann. Tickets on Sale Beginning May 17, 2021.

More good news for lovers of live musical performances! The Santa Fe Desert Chorale (SFDC) announced programming details for the all-professional chorale’s 39th year. Following postponements of its 2020 summer and winter festival programming due to COVID-19, SFDC continues its theme of Unlikely Partners in 2021. The Santa Fe Desert Chorale 2021 Summer Festival runs July 18 – August 6 and features three programs: The Jew and the Gentile: Salamone Rossi and Claudio Monteverdi, Roaring ‘20s, and East Meets West. All concerts will be held at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and will be presented in accordance with New Mexico public health orders (click here for Safety Protocols).

The Jew and the Gentile: Salamone Rossi and Claudio Monteverdi is sponsored by Stephen and Jane Hochberg. This program explores the compositions of Jewish composer Salamone Rossi (1570-1630) and his Christian counterpart Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Both employed at the Court in Mantua, Monteverdi and Rossi came from different backgrounds, but they shared a common musical language. Excerpts from Rossi’s Hashirim Asher Li-Sh’lomo and Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 demonstrate that our common shared artistic heritage is greater that our cultural divisions. Sixteen of the Desert Chorale’s Early Music specialists will be joined by period instrumentalists: Maxine Thévenot, Organ; Stephen Redfield, Violin; Lorenzo Colitto, Violin; and Katie Rietman, Cello. Pre-recorded pre-concert lectures given by Kerry Ginger DMA will be free to the public and available to view at beginning July 15, 2021. Opening night, July 18, is sponsored by Catherine and Guy Gronquist.

Roaring ‘20s is sponsored by Suzanne M. Timble. With this program, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale looks back 100 years and compares works by classical and popular composers of the 1920s. Representing the classical genre, Lili Boulanger’s Hymne au Soleil, Claude Debussy’s Salut Printemps, excerpts from Francis Poulenc’s Sept Chansons, and movements from Frank Martin’s Mass for Double Choir contrast with American Songbook arrangements by Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Jerome Kern. Popular Los Alamos native Nathan Salazar will be the collaborative pianist. Pre-recorded pre-concert lectures given by Gregory Grabowski DMA will be free to the public and available to view at beginning July 15, 2021. The July 25 concert is sponsored in memory of Sharon Cooper by Allegra & Jim Derryberry, Catherine & Guy Gronquist, and Phyllis Lehmberg.

East Meets West is sponsored by Elaine Wang Meyerhoffer. Contrasting musical styles by composers representing China, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines are featured on this multi-cultural program. The Santa Fe Desert Chorale will premiere a commissioned work titled “The Tipping Point” for mixed chorus and tabla by its first female composer-in-residence in over a decade, Indian-American musician Reena Esmail. Pre-recorded pre-concert lectures given by Robert Kyr PhD will be free to the public and available to view at beginning July 15, 2021. Dr. Kyr’s lectures are sponsored by Janusz and Brahna Lauger Wilczynski.

2021 Santa Fe Desert Chorale Summer Schedule by Date:

All performances will be held at Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, 131 Cathedral Place, Santa Fe.

Sunday, July 18, 2021, 4 p.m.: The Jew and the Gentile 

Friday, July 23, 2021, 8 p.m.: Roaring ‘20s

Sunday, July 25, 2021, 4 p.m.: Roaring ‘20s 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021, 8 p.m.: The Jew and the Gentile 

Friday, July 30, 2021, 8:30 p.m.: East Meets West 

Saturday, July 31, 2021, 8:30 p.m.: Roaring ‘20s     

Sunday, August 1, 2021, 4 p.m.: East Meets West

Tuesday, August 3, 2021, 8 p.m.: East Meets West

Wednesday, August 4, 2021, 8 p.m.: The Jew and the Gentile 

Thursday, August 5, 2021, 8 p.m.: Roaring ‘20s

Friday, August 6, 2021, 4 p.m.: East Meets West

Tickets: Limited pre-sale tickets will be available to Desert Chorale Circle members and patrons who donated or exchanged the value of their 2020 tickets beginning May 17, 2021. Tickets will be available to the general public beginning June 1, 2021 at or by phone at (505) 988-2282. Summer 2021 tickets range from $30 to $100.

About the Santa Fe Desert Chorale: Founded in 1982 by Lawrence “Larry” Bandfield, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale is one of the longest-running professional music organizations in New Mexico, as well as one of the most distinguished. In his 2020 review of the ​Strength and Refuge: A Joyous Exploration of the Psalms​ program at Highland Park United Methodist Church (Tower Arts Series), Scott Cantrell of the ​Dallas Morning News​ remarked that, “The Santa Fe Desert Chorale [is] a top-notch, 24-voice group… comprising the crème de la crème of professional choral singers from coast to coast. The singing throughout was boldly projected, finely finished and expressed and, where necessary, quite nimble.”

Artistic Director Joshua Habermann, now in his thirteenth season, leads the chorale in repertoire spanning seven centuries, from early polyphony to contemporary works. The composition of the chorale is truly national in scope and the ensemble is recognized as one of the finest American chamber choirs. Now in its 39th year, the Desert Chorale Summer Festival season is a centerpiece of the cultural life of Santa Fe, and among the nation’s most significant choral events.

The chorale’s first commercial release, The Road Home, launched at No. 3 on the Billboard Classical Chart following a sold-out CD launch program in Santa Fe. Another recent highlight was an invitational appearance at the 2015 American Choral Directors Association National Conference, which was later broadcast by Minnesota Public Radio. In the 2017-2018 season, the chorale presented three concerts in the Dallas area, and performed for regional ACDA conferences in Los Angeles and Chicago. In the 2018-2019 season, the chorale toured to Dallas and presented regular winter and summer seasons in New Mexico, and in February 2020 the Chorale returned to Dallas as part of the Tower Arts Series of the Highland Park Methodist Church.

Throughout its history, the chorale has maintained a commitment to give voice to music from Hispanic and Native American communities. Dedicated to advancing the composers of our time, the chorale has commissioned 25 works by 21 composers; three-quarters of the composers commissioned have been American. In addition, another seven works have been given their world or American premieres by the Santa Fe Desert Chorale. SFDC’s Commissioning Club selects and funds a new commission annually.

The ensemble performs at historical sites in Santa Fe such as the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and Cristo Rey Catholic Church, as well as other venues throughout the Southwest and across the nation. The Desert Chorale prides itself on its strong relationships within the community of Northern New Mexico, and enjoys collaborations with the Center for Contemporary Arts, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, The Jewish Film Festival, Museum of International Folk Art, and galleries throughout Santa Fe, among others.

Through its community engagement programming, the chorale partners with other musical, artistic, social service, and educational organizations in Santa Fe and beyond. The Hearts in Harmony partnership with the Interfaith Shelter, now in its fourth year, is an example of the chorale’s commitment to strengthening our community through song.

This article was posted by Cheryl Fallstead

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