Mendelssohn Club Announces 2015-2016 Season

August 10, 2015
UPDATED September 18, 2015

Philadelphia’s Mendelssohn Club Chorus Embarks On A High Note
With New Artistic Director Paul Rardin
2015-2016 Season Announcement

PHILADELPHIA, October 18, 2015-May 1, 2016 – Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia opens its 2015-2016 season under new Artistic Director Paul Rardin. The ensemble’s 142nd season offers five commissioned World Premieres paired with thematically-related works by master composers past and present. The overall programming spans many cultures and geographic regions. Each program includes an enriching 20-minute pre-concert demonstration by Rardin titled MendelSounds.

“This group is dedicated, gifted, passionate, loyal, and fun – all of this was readily evident at our first summer rehearsal together,” Rardin commented about the start of his tenure with Mendelssohn Club. “My experience preparing Howard Shore’s The Fellowship of the Ring [performed July 23 with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Center] confirmed the sense I had when auditioning for the artistic director position: that Mendelssohn Club is serious about excellence and community. I eagerly look forward to working with this great choir.”

Rardin will conduct his first Mendelssohn Club performance on October 18, in which the featured work, Mozart’s unfinished Mass in C Minor, is “completed” with a newly composed Agnus Dei by Philadelphia composer Kile Smith. This performance also features a debut of renowned soprano Ah Young Hong, lauded “lone, blazing star” by The New Times.

For his inaugural season, one of Rardin’s goals is “to maintain the musical and creative standards Alan [Harler] has bequeathed.” To honor Harler – who directed Mendelssohn Club for 27 seasons and was hailed “a visionary in the field of choral arts” – the chorus presents four newly commissioned works in a series called Alleluias for Alan by distinguished composers Jennifer Higdon, Andrea Clearfield, James Primosch and Robert Maggio. These works will premiere in the Spring of 2016.

Looking ahead, the new artistic director envisions taking the ensemble further in finding fresh ways “to tap into the visceral, passionate singing that is sometimes the opposite of the concert experience.” For Rardin, answering the question What makes people ‘sing like they mean it’? means to examine “whether our concerts have the same passion we hear in soccer chants, Gospel choruses, Irish folk songs at the pub, and the impassioned singing of the National Anthem following 9/11. How can we tap into that passion when we sing together, and how can we create opportunities for our audiences to join us?”

The first step in this direction is Rardin’s newly launched pre-concert demonstrations, MendelSounds. These educational sessions will be complemented with live musical examples demonstrated by chorus members. MendelSounds helps answer the question “what should I listen for?” by bringing each program’s music to life in engaging and informal fashion.

In Rardin’s words: “Through creative programming, adventurous partnering, and educational collaboration, we can help make more palpable and real the passion we feel when we sing, and in doing so help better the lives of our singers and listeners.”


2015-2016 Season Schedule:

Sunday, October 18 at 4 PM (MendelSounds at 3 PM)
Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square

F. Mendelssohn: Psalm 98, Psalm 100, Psalm 43
Kile Smith: Agnus Dei*
W. A. Mozart: Great Mass in C Minor
with Symphony in C, Ah Young Hong and Barbara Berry, Sopranos, Paul Rardin, Conductor


Saturday, December 12 at 5 PM
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Chestnut Hill

Stephen Paulus: Jesu Carols
Seasonal spirituals and carols including African-American, Caribbean, and Celtic tunes.
With Michael Stairs, Organ and Adrienne Knauer, Harp.


Thursday-Saturday, December 17-19 at 7 PM, Sunday, December 20 at 2 PM
Verizon Hall – Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Mendelssohn Club collaborates with the Philadelphia Orchestra in the staple holiday program, led by Grammy Award-winning conductor, composer, pianist, and narrator Bramwell Tovey.


Saturday, March 5 at 7:30 PM (MendelSounds at 6:30 PM)
Temple Performing Arts Center

Zoltán Kodály: Missa brevis
Einojuhani Rautavaraa: Credo
Imant Raminsh: Ave verum corpus
Erikš Ešenvalds: O salutaris hostia
Andrea Clearfield: Alleluia*
James Primosch: Alleluia*
With Michael Stairs, Organ.


Sunday, May 1 at 4 PM (MendelSounds at 3 PM)
Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion, 2110 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia

Jonathan Dove: Passing of the Year
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Serenade to Music
Malcolm Pearce: Always It’s Spring
Benjamin Britten: Choral Dances from Gloriana
Robert Maggio: Alleluia*
Jennifer Higdon: Alleluia*
With Donald St. Pierre, Piano.

* World Premiere


Tickets/ Information: All Mendelssohn Club concerts: $10-42.


Click here to go to our main ticketing page. Tickets may also be purchased via phone: 215.735.9922.
For more information email
The Glorious Sound of Christmas: Tickets only at Ticket Philadelphia 215-893-1999 or at the Kimmel Center Box Office.



Media Contact
Inna Heasley


Press Release Hyperlinks (in order of appearance):

Paul Rardin –

Kile Smith –

Sarah Shafer –

Jennifer Higdon –

Andrea Clearfield –

James Primosch –

Robert Maggio –

Alan Harler –