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Distributed february 20, 2004
Contact Mary Jo Curtis

Brown Chorus to perform Bach’s Passion According to St. John March 5

The Brown University Chorus will perform Bach’s Passion According to St. John on Friday, March 5, 2004, at 8 p.m. at Central Congregational Church, 296 Angell St. Proceeds from the performance will support the choir’s concert tour of Russia and Finland in June.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Brown University Chorus will present one of J. S. Bach’s most beloved compositions, the Passion According to St. John, in a concert at Central Congregational Church on Friday, March 5, 2004, at 8 p.m. Proceeds from the concert will support the choir’s tour of Russia and Finland in June.

Frederick Jodry, director of the Brown University Chorus, will conduct the work. Charles Sherba, concertmaster of the Rhode Island Philharmonic, will serve as concertmaster for the Chamber Orchestra. Aaron Sheehan will sing the part of the Evangelist, and Aaron Engebreth will sing the role of Jesus.

During the last 12 years, Jodry and the Brown Chorus have made a specialty of the works of Bach, performing the B-minor Mass, The Magnificat, the Passion According to St. John and several cantatas; the single and double choir motets have also been a staple in their repertory. Musical settings of the crucifixion story were often performed on Good Friday in Germany in the 17th and 18th centuries. Bach, who died in 1750, composed five settings of the Passion for use in the churches in Leipzig. Not all five survive today, but those from the Gospels of Matthew and John are among Bach’s most beloved compositions.

“The texts are presented in oratorio fashion, in which a tenor narrator – or Evangelist – presents the Biblical story, with soloists taking the roles of Jesus, Pilate and Peter and other characters, and the chorus serving as the crowd,” said Jodry. “The richly scored arias offer theological commentary and personal reflection on the dramatic events which unfold.”

The Brown University Chorus, 55 singers drawn from nearly all academic areas within the University, is one of the oldest groups on the Ivy League campus. In addition to performing regularly in Providence and throughout New England, the choir has earned an international reputation over the last 20 years for the quality of its performances around the world. The group most recently performed on a tour of Costa Rica in 2002 and another of Italy in 1999. The 12-day tour planned in June will include concerts in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tallin (Estonia) and Helsinki. In Moscow, the choir will perform in a joint concert with the Moscow Oratorio Society.

The Brown University Chorus previously performed in a 1996 tour through Iberia, a 1993 tour of the Mediterranean that included concerts in Greece, Israel and Egypt, and a three-week concert tour of the U.S.S.R. and Scandinavia in 1990. The group has also performed throughout continental Europe and the Pacific Rim; the latter tour featured concerts in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong pand Singapore. In 1979, at the invitation of the People's Republic of China, the chorus became the first American collegiate performing group to tour China, with concerts that won praise from professional musicians in that country. In 1976 the group spent a month in India at the invitation of the Indian Government, presenting concerts for Prime Minister Indira Ghandi and Mother Teresa, as well as more traditional concert hall appearances in leading cities.

The choir has made numerous convention appearances, including the American Choral Directors Association conference and the Deutsche Sängerbund Festival, held every decade in Germany. The group made its Lincoln Center debut in 1980, debuted at Carnegie Hall in 1987, and returned to Carnegie Hall in 1990 to perform with the Dave Brubeck Quartet. The Brown singers have also performed under the baton of Aaron Copland and made numerous radio and network television appearances.

Tickets for the concert will be available only at the door at $30 for preferred seating, $20 for general admission, $15 for senior citizens and $5 for students. The Central Congregational Church is located at 296 Angell St., Providence. The public is welcome. For more information, call (401) 863-3234.


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