Announcing three outstanding programmes under the direction of new Artistic Director David Bowser.
Sunday, October 29, 2017
A programme of lush harmonies and rich textures including
Anton Bruckner - Te Deum
Johannes Brahms - Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny)
Ludwig van Beethoven - Choral Fantasy
- Monica Whicher, soprano
- Krisztina Szabo, mezzo-soprano
- Adam Luther, tenor
- Brett Polegato, bass-baritone
- Asher Armstrong, piano
- Toronto Mozart Players
- David Bowser, conductor
Saturday, December 16, 2017 & Sunday, December 17, 2017
An all-French programme featuring Francis Poulenc’s Gloria and music by Duruflé, Fauré and Gounod
- Andrea Núñez, soprano, winner of the 2016 Toronto Mozart Vocal Competition
- Daniel Norman, organ
- David Bowser, conductor
Die Schöpfung (The Creation) - Franz Joseph Haydn
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Danika Lorèn, soprano
Charles Sy, tenor
Olivier Laquerre, bass-baritone
Toronto Mozart Players
David Bowser, conductor
All concerts are at Grace Church on-the-Hill, 300 Lonsdale Road.
A message from David Bowser
It is my enormous pleasure to announce Pax Christi Chorale’s 2017-18 concert season. Joined by exceptional Canadian guest artists and the superb Toronto Mozart Players, Pax Christi Chorale continues to grow as an ensemble of high calibre and a cultural beacon in our city. Each of our three programmes offers an exhilarating concert experience and I invite you to share in the celebration of great choral music.
The first concert features the glorious Te Deum by Anton Bruckner. The composer himself considered this to be his finest work, and “the pride of his life.” I have cherished Bruckner’s Te Deum since my adolescence. The music is grand yet authentic and not performed often enough.
Next on the programme is Johannes Brahms’ Schicksalslied, or Song of Destiny. Brahms took nearly three years to complete this beautifully lyrical work for chorus and orchestra, as it seems he had trouble deciding how the piece should end. I find a certain poignancy in the final phrases for that reason. It remains a choral masterpiece, which foreshadows the expression of his German Requiem.
To end the concert, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy provides a celebratory finale with outstanding concert pianist Asher Armstrong as guest soloist. I first experienced this work as a chorister in my undergraduate years and recall an exhilaration that only Beethoven can inspire. A sort of blue-print for the last movement of his Ninth Symphony, Beethoven builds the composition gradually until chorus, orchestra and soloists combine in a rousing finale. It is quite simply great fun!
Pax Christi Chorale’s second programme, with concerts on December 16 and 17, is of great French choral works, beginning with Francis Poulenc’s festive Gloria. I find it a uniquely joyful work, alternating exuberance and serenity. Poulenc’s twentieth-century musical language is colourful with a rhythmic excitement that propels the music forward. Four Motets by Maurice Duruflé; Cantique de Jean Racine by Gabriel Fauré; Noël by Charles Gounod; and old Christmas carols from Québec and France, complete this sparkling programme.
The final concert of the season, on April 29, offers one of the greatest oratorios ever composed, Franz Joseph Haydn’s Die Schöpfung, or The Creation. During my studies in Vienna, I occasionally went to Haydn’s house, now a museum, where he composed this masterpiece. Just as it did more than two hundred years ago, his clavichord, a small keyboard instrument used for composing, sits beside his bed where he wrote much of his work. One can imagine strains of sublime melodies in the air. With marvellous musical depictions of light, stars, oceans and mountains, weather, plants, animals and birds, and all other creatures, The Creation is as captivating and moving to modern audiences as it was in 1798.
I look forward to sharing these beautiful concert programmes with you next season and thank you for your continued support of Pax Christi Chorale.
With warmest wishes,
Artistic Director Designate
About David Bowser, incoming Artistic Director
David comes to us with extensive and exciting experience as a choral and orchestral conductor, composer, and educator. He is Music Director and Conductor of the Hart House Chorus and the Oakville Choral Society, and teaches at McMaster University and conducts the McMaster Chamber Orchestra. His lengthy and varied career includes conducting for ballet, opera, film, television and the concert stage in countries around the world.
Pax Christi is particularly excited to collaborate with The Mozart Project where David is founder and artistic director. The Mozart Project operates the Toronto Mozart Players and the Toronto Mozart Vocal Competition, in which talented young singers from across Canada and the United States compete for top prizes and the opportunity to perform with professional orchestra.
“Mozart’s music challenges the best professionals and initiates the youngest musicians,” he says.
David believes that singing Mozart can make you a better singer. “He was essentially a vocal composer — everything he wrote has emotional depth and breadth. And beautiful lines!”
In addition to a Doctor of Musical Arts degree, David Bowser also holds a Master of Music degree in Composition from the University of Toronto.
His latest work, Farewell to a Soul Ascending, is for solo violin and string orchestra. David describes it as “lyrical and tonal with harmonic mixture and contrast. The violin often soars above the orchestra. I composed the work to express a personal loss.”
In March 2017, David will conduct the premiere performance of Farewell to a Soul Ascending as the opening work in a concert with The Toronto Mozart Players the Hart House Chorus, and Andrea Nunez, winner of the 2017 Mozart Vocal Competition. Watch for Andrea in Pax Christi's 2017-18 season!
“David’s professional credentials and his vision for the choir are outstanding. He is an excellent fit with our commitment to artistic excellence and our goals for growth. We look forward to the many valuable synergies between David’s community and our own.” - Carol Ringer, Pax Christi Chorale Board Chair
We know you'll join us in welcoming David. Visit this page again in just a few weeks when we announce David's inaugural season.