CCM’s Chamber Choir and Philharmonia Chamber Orchestra combine for an unforgettable performance of Bach’s supreme choral-orchestral achievement, Mass in B Minor. The monumental work will be presented at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 28, at Christ Church Cathedral under the direction of Earl Rivers and in conjunction with the Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts.
A great and challenging undertaking, Bach’s Mass in B Minor represents Bach’s supreme achievement of universality, assembling a monumental setting of the Ordinary of the Mass that presents a breadth of musical styles greater than any other choral-orchestral work in the Western canon. Of the 27 movements, “some look backwards to the Renaissance period,” explains conductor and Director of Choral Studies Earl Rivers, “while others are as current as they could have been and come right out of the Dresden opera house.”
Rivers programmed the Mass in B Minor knowing that it offered CCM students the opportunity to learn and perform one of the grandest, most difficult and most fulfilling repertory works ever composed. “It’s a work our students need to know,” Rivers says of the Mass in B Minor, which CCM’s choral and instrumental students will likely perform throughout their musical careers. “We have superb forces here at CCM. We have a fabulous choir and soloists, and the orchestral students have such technical polish and such virtuosity.” The piece features the solo talents of CCM student vocalists, as well as many instrumental soloists, some even performing on oboe d’amores characteristic of the Baroque period.
The concert will be performed at the magnificent setting of Christ Church Cathedral, which enjoys a long tradition of great choral music. In 2010, the CCM Chamber Choir and Philharmonia Orchestra presented the 400th Anniversary of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 at the downtown location, and the Cathedral presents a wide variety of performances throughout the year.
About Earl Rivers
Earl Rivers’ graduate conducting program at CCM has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as among the top five programs in the USA, and CCM’s Choral Program holds the Dale Warland Singers Score Library and Archives, the most significant collection of contemporary choral music in the country.
Music director and conductor of the professional chamber choir Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati (VAE) from 1988-2008, Rivers and VAE received two ASCAP-Chorus America Awards for “Adventuresome Programming of Contemporary Music.” With VAE, he championed new works, hosted visiting composers and developed ongoing partnerships with regional children’s, high school and youth choirs. Rivers has also conducted CCM’s choral and orchestral forces in acclaimed university and regional premieres of John Adams’s On the Transmigration of Souls, Tan Dun’s Water Passion after St. Matthew, Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 5, Penderecki’s Credo and Bastian Clevé’s film, The Sound of Eternity(with J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor).
Last season, Rivers conducted J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in a unique staged performance at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral in collaboration with CCM’s Opera Department and the complete Bach Christmas Oratorio at Knox Presbyterian Church. Rivers has led the CCM Chamber Choir and Philharmonia Orchestra in the cycle of J.S. Bach’s choral/orchestral masterworks—Mass in B Minor, Christmas Oratorio, St. John Passion and St. Matthew Passion—on a concert tour of Portugal and before National and Central Division Conventions of ACDA (American Choral Directors Association).
His recent guest conducting engagements include the Festival of the Aegean in Syros, Greece; the Korean premiere of Arvo Pärt’s Berliner Masswith South Korea’s Incheon City Chorale; Haydn’s Nelson Mass; Mozart’s Coronation Mass and John Rutter’s Requiem in Carnegie Hall, as well as a residency (including a concert and teaching engagement) at the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu, China.
Rivers has taught conducting and led master classes at the Taipei International Choral Festival in Taiwan, in Seoul, South Korea, and at The Juilliard School. He was an Adjudicator and Lecturer at the World Choir Games in Shaoxing, China in 2010 and served as Artistic Director for the Cincinnati Organizing Committee of the 2012 World Choir Games, which were held in Cincinnati this past July.
Rivers is a recipient of Choral America’s “Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Choral Art,” honoring a lifetime of significant contributions to the professional choral art. Rivers is a long-time member of the Board of Directors of Chorus America, the national service organization to develop and promote professional, volunteer and youth choruses.
About the Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts
The Constella Festival was created to showcase the depth and breadth of musical and artistic life in Cincinnati. The festival presents unique collaborations between international artists of the highest caliber in partnership with local performing arts organizations, enabling a position of shared intent and strengthening the future of the arts in Cincinnati. This season, the festival presents 37 events in 38 days, including concerts by Lew Soloff, Anne Akiko Meyers and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. More information about the Constella Festival can be found atwww.constellafestival.org.
5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28
Christ Church Cathedral, Fourth & Sycamore Streets
Tickets to J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor are $15 general admission, $10 for non-UC students and FREE for UC students with valid ID. Concert flex ticket packages are also available.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice. Tickets will also be available beginning at 4 p.m. on the day of performance at Christ Church Cathedral; cash only at the door.
Parking and Directions
Christ Church Cathedral is located at the corner of Fourth Street and Sycamore in downtown Cincinnati. More information about the cathedral can be found at http://christchurchcincinnati.org.
Queen City Square garage is open for parking for all cathedral services and events. You may enter the garage from Fourth or Sycamore. The garage located at 303 Broadway is connected, so you may also enter the Queen City garage from Broadway street.
CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation