Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia Receives $40,000 from The Presser Foundation

CONTACTS:

January 29, 2014
Janelle McCoy, Executive Director                                                                                                      Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia
215.735.9922

Edward McNally, Above The Fold
404.281.6419

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia Receives $40,000 from The Presser Foundation to Present the North American Premiere of the Historic
Bach-Mendelssohn St. Matthew Passion

(PHILADELPHIA) Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia is proud to announce that they have received an award of $40,000 from The Presser Foundation.  The 140-member symphonic chorus, founded in 1874 and named for 19th century composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), will use the funds to produce the North American premiere of the composer’s 1841 revision of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.  Mendelssohn Club will present this historic concert during March 2015.

The concert will serve as a fitting tribute to the namesake of one of the nation’s oldest symphonic choruses as well as a final celebration of Mendelssohn Club’s fifteen decades of performing.  With this North American premiere, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia hopes to validate and celebrate Felix Mendelssohn’s critical role in preserving Johann Sebastian Bach’s original dramatic masterpiece and restoring Bach’s position in the classical music pantheon.

Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (1727) is universally acknowledged to be one of the world’s supreme musical masterpieces. Yet in the years after Bach’s death it was forgotten by all but a small number of his pupils and admirers. The public rediscovered it in 1829 when Felix Mendelssohn conducted the work before a glittering audience of Berlin artists and intellectuals, Prussian royals, and civic notables. The concert soon became the stuff of legend, sparking a revival of interest in and performance of Bach that has continued to this day.

Mendelssohn went on to further revise the score for a performance he conducted in Leipzig in 1841. It was a case of one musical genius working to enhance and celebrate the work of another, and in doing so, restoring respect to the entire Bach canon around the world. By closely following the precise handwritten directions that Felix Mendelssohn wrote on his own copy of the score, Mendelssohn Club will be able to recreate the historic 1841 concert next year in Philadelphia.

Long time artistic director Alan Harler, who flew to Oxford University last year to study the original scores, puts the Bach-Mendelssohn St. Matthew Passion in a special historical perspective for the chorus. “We can’t think of a better work to research and present, especially considering how much of our own history is reflected in the original performances of this particular score.”  Harler explains, “Not only did Felix Mendelssohn spark a Bach revival with his performances of his revised St. Matthew Passion, but the beloved composer – conductor also energized community singing in a very large ensemble format.  In the years following the extremely popular 1829 and 1841 concerts, Mendelssohn Clubs, Choruses and Societies were founded all over Europe and North America, including our own chorus right here in Philadelphia 140 years ago.”

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The Presser Foundation

 

The Presser Foundation

The Presser Foundation was established in 1939 under the Deeds of Trust and Will of the late Theodore Presser. It is one of the few private foundations in the United States dedicated solely to music education and music philanthropy. The Presser Foundation supports music performance and education through undergraduate and graduate scholar awards, operating and program support for music organizations, capital grants for music building projects, and assistance to retired music teachers.  Much of the grant making focus on the Foundation is on organizations and institutions in the 100-mile radius surrounding Center City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  For more information: www.presserfoundation.org

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia

Since its founding fifteen decades ago, Mendelssohn Club Chorus has been devoted to sharing great choral music as a way to connect artists, audiences and communities.  Mendelssohn Club, one of America’s oldest choruses, continues to expand its repertoire in the 21st century by collaborating with a wide range of musical organizations, each of which is devoted to representing, or reaching out to, new audiences in innovative ways. Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia performs choral music to create a shared transcendent experience among its singers and audiences. Through the excellence of its adventurous performances, Mendelssohn Club advances the development of choral music as an art form.

“With a passionate commitment to artistic excellence, repertoire diversity, audience engagement, and commissioning new works, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, under the direction of Maestro Alan Harler, continues to be a dynamic, vibrant, and relevant choral ensemble in the greater Philadelphia community.”

Rollo Dillworth, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Chorus America

For information about Mendelssohn Club’s concerts and programs, or to order tickets for the 2013-14 season, visit www.mcchorus.org.

You can also find Mendelssohn Club on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mcchorus.

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Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia 2013-14 Season

remaining concerts…

The Sound of Spirit: Pärt/Haydn
with The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia

February 23, 2014 | 4 pm
Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square
1904 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
$28 & $38 online | $30 & $40 at the door 

Despite being separated by over two centuries of music, Arvo Pärt and Joseph Haydn both sought to make sense of the lengthy wars of their times. Each composer was impacted by the grim realities of war and each responded in their own way through their musical composition. Written during the incessant French aggression against the Austrians, Haydn’s Mass in Time of War embodies the sounds of battle juxtaposed to prayers for peace.  Similarly, Pärt sought to find common ground as a way to bridge warring factions through his music. This program will include an encore performance of Arvo Pärt’s Adam’s Lament, praised by critic David Patrick Stearns as “seethingly passionate” and “harmonically explosive.” Two shorter works by Pärt, including the North American premiere of his Estonian Lullaby and Salve Regina, complete the program.

Anthracite Fields by Julia Wolfe
with Bang On a Can All-Stars
April 26, 2014 | 4 pm & 7:30 pm
April 27, 2014 | 4 pm & 7:30 pm

The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral
13 South 38th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Tickets $28 online | $30 at the door

Experience the mining lore of the anthracite coal fields of central Pennsylvania through this new, folk-classical hybrid by composer Julia Wolfe, runner-up for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in music. The sound and lyrics of Anthracite Fields is inspired by Wolfe’s personal research and her interviews with miners and their families.  The premiere performances will incorporate the architecture of The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral’s sanctuary as a dramatic backdrop. Mendelssohn Club joins forces with the internationally renowned Bang on a Can All-Stars for this very special series of four concerts over two days.

Anthracite Fields was commissioned through Meet the Composer’s Commissioning Music/USA program, which is made possible by generous support from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Helen F. Whitaker Fund. Additional support was made possible through the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia Alan Harler New Ventures Fund; The Presser Foundation; The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage; the National Endowment for the Arts; The Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia; and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.

Visit www.anthracitefields.com to view videos that trace the development of this new Julia Wolfe work

Beethoven Symphony No. 9
with the Philadelphia Sinfonia

June 8, 2014 | 4 pm

Verizon Hall
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
300 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Tickets available through Philadelphia Sinfonia at www.philadelphiasinfonia.com

 

Don’t miss a wonderful opportunity to hear all 140 voices of the magnificent Mendelssohn Club Chorus along with some of Philadelphia’s most talented young musicians. Mendelssohn Club joins the Philadelphia Sinfonia in Beethoven’s monumental Ninth Symphony with Maestro Gary White conducting.

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia

For the past 140 years, Mendelssohn Club Chorus has been devoted to sharing great choral music as a way to connect artists, audiences and communities.  Mendelssohn Club, one of America’s oldest choruses, continues to expand its repertoire in the 21st century by collaborating with a wide range of musical organizations, each of which is devoted to representing or reaching out to new audiences in innovative ways. Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia performs choral music to create a shared transcendent experience among its singers and audiences. Through the excellence of its adventurous performances, Mendelssohn Club advances the development of choral music as an art form.

Earlier this year, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia received the prestigious Chorus America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, which recognizes choruses that demonstrate a commitment to fostering and promoting new music.

“With a passionate commitment to artistic excellence, repertoire diversity, audience engagement, and commissioning new works, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, under the direction of Maestro Alan Harler, continues to be a dynamic, vibrant, and relevant choral ensemble in the greater Philadelphia community.”

Rollo Dillworth, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Chorus America

 

Alan Harler, Artistic Director

Artistic Director Alan Harler, who received the Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art, is known for pairing new works with the masterworks. During his twenty-five year tenure with Mendelssohn Club, he has commissioned over 55 new compositions, including David Lang’s battle hymns (2009), Jennifer Higdon’s On the Death of the Righteous, and Pauline Oliveros’ Urban Echo: Circle Told (2008). Maestro Harler conducted Mendelssohn Club in a critically acclaimed recording of the Moran Requiem for Argo/London Records in 1994.

For information about Mendelssohn Club’s concerts and programs, or to order tickets for the 2013-2014 season, visit www.mcchorus.org  You can also find Mendelssohn Club on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mcchorus.

 

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