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The New York Philharmonic CONTACT Series Begins, MMArtists in Concert Performs, and Christmas Concerts Feature Chanticleer, Lionheart, Burning River Brass, Quartetto Gelato, and Inspirational Voices of the Abyssinian Baptist Church

For tickets, call the Concerts & Lectures Department at 212-570-3949, or visit www.metmuseum.org/tickets, where updated schedules and programs are available. Tickets are also available at the Great Hall Box Office, which is open Tuesday-Thursday 10-5:00, Friday and Saturday 10-7:00, and Sunday noon-5:00. Student and group discount tickets are available for some events; call 212-570-3949. Tickets include admission to the museum on day of performance.

Monday, November 30, 2009, at 6:30 & 8:30 p.m. - "A Chanticleer Christmas"
Tuesday, December 1, 2009, at 6:30 & 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 3, 2009, at 6:30 & 8:30 p.m.

Chanticleer performs "A Chanticleer Christmas," a program of traditional carols, medieval and Renaissance sacred works, and contemporary holiday songs. These concerts take place in the Medieval Sculpture Hall in front of the Metropolitan Museum's Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche. The exhibit of the crèche is made possible by gifts to The Christmas Tree Fund and the Loretta Hines Howard Fund.
Called "the world's reining male chorus" by the New Yorker magazine, and named 2008 Ensemble of the Year by Musical America, Chanticleer will perform more than 100 concerts in 2009-2010, the Grammy Award-winning ensemble's 32nd season. Chanticleer will tour to 21 states in the U.S. and 12 foreign countries this season, including appearances at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Vienna's Musikverein, and Prague's Rudolfinum. In 2009 Chanticleer made debut appearances in Ireland and the People's Republic of China and will return to the latter in June for Expo 2010 in Shanghai. In 2009-2010 Chanticleer will release a new recording, "Best of Chanticleer," and a new DVD, "Fireside Christmas with Chanticleer."
Chanticleer is known for its vivid interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance to jazz, and from gospel to venturesome new music. With its blend of 12 male voices, ranging from countertenor to bass, the ensemble has earned international renown as "an orchestra of voices." Chanticleer was founded in 1978 by tenor Louis Botto, who sang with the group until 1989 and served as Artistic Director until his death in 1997. Artistic Advisor Joseph Jennings joined the ensemble as a countertenor in 1983, and shortly thereafter assumed the title of Music Director, which he held until 2008. A prolific composer and arranger, Mr. Jennings has provided the group with some of its most popular repertoire, most notably spirituals, gospel music, and jazz standards. In 2008, tenor Matthew Oltman was named Music Director.
Collaborations between Chanticleer and the Metropolitan Museum include a PBS Great Performances program, "Christmas with Chanticleer," taped in the Metropolitan Museum's Medieval Sculpture Hall. And Chanticleer's 2002 recording of Sir John Tavener's Lamentations and Praises, a work co-commissioned by the Museum, won a Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance.
Medieval Sculpture Hall
Tickets: $70

Thursday, December 10, 2009, at 6:30 & 8:30 p.m. - Inspirational Voices of the Abyssinian Baptist Church – Christmas Concert
This choral group from the famed church in Central Harlem performs a holiday program of gospel music, spirituals, and Christmas carols.
These concerts take place in the Medieval Sculpture Hall in front of the Metropolitan Museum's Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche. The exhibit of the crèche is made possible by gifts to The Christmas Tree Fund and the Loretta Hines Howard Fund.
Medieval Sculpture Hall
Tickets: $60

Saturday, December 12, 2009, at 2:30 p.m. -The Blue Hill Troupe – Family Concert
The Blue Hill Troupe returns to the Museum to perform a family concert of Gilbert & Sullivan repertoire featuring appearances by some of the most beloved G&S characters.
The Blue Hill Troupe was launched in 1924, when Dr. and Mrs. Seth Milliken's schooner, Shawna, anchored near a yacht club in Blue Hill, Maine, became the H.M.S. Pinafore for one shaky community performance. The four founding families – the Millikens and their friends the Pattersons, the Boardmans, and the Sullivans – persevered, even after a midsummer night's storm soaked the following year's performance of The Mikado. The Blue Hill Troupe moved to New York in 1926 and, with the exception of an August 1927 production of The Pirates of Penzance in Blue Hill, has been in New York ever since, performing a G&S operetta every year except 1929. In 1930, one-night stands expanded to two performances, and thereafter by steps to the present eight performances. The initial floating musical accompaniment of piano and a few strings was gradually expanded until the troupe achieved a full orchestra in the 1940s. The troupe has produced all 13 G&S operettas at least three times during its history; the more popular ones have been performed more often. The troupe's presentations now also include productions of such Broadway shows as She Loves Me, A Little Night Music, and Cabaret.
Tickets: $25

Tuesday, December 15, 2009, at 6:30 & 8:30 p.m. - Quartetto Gelato – Christmas Concert
Quartetto Gelato – Kornel Wolak, clarinet; Peter DeSotto, tenor and violin; Alexander Sevastian, accordion and piano; and Carina Reeves, cello – performs a holiday program of both traditional and contemporary songs and carols including opera arias, tangos and gypsy music, and folk songs.
These concerts take place in the Medieval Sculpture Hall in front of the Metropolitan Museum's Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche. The exhibit of the crèche is made possible by gifts to The Christmas Tree Fund and the Loretta Hines Howard Fund.
Classical in training, eclectic by design, Quartetto Gelato (QG) boasts a repertoire that includes classical masterworks, operatic arias, tangos, and gypsy and folk songs, the group's theatrical stage presence and relaxed humor establishes an intimate rapport with audiences worldwide. QG has won the title of NPR Performance Today's Debut Artist of the Year, and in 2007, the group's first DVD, Quartetto Gelato: A Concert in Wine Country!, was broadcast by PBS throughout the U.S. Recent concerts have included performances with the Toronto and Quebec symphonies, as well as engagements at the Toronto Luminato Arts Festival, the Calgary Moziac Festival, and the "4X4" Festival in Binghamton, NY.
Medieval Sculpture Hall
Tickets: $60

Thursday, December 17, 2009, at 6:30 & 8:30 p.m. - Burning River Brass – Christmas Concert
Burning River Brass, the brass and percussion ensemble, performs a program of traditional carols, including "O Come all Ye Faithful," "Silent Night," "Coventry Carol," "Gabriel's Message," "Christmas 'Toons"; Wills's "A Prelude & Fugue for Christmas"; and selections from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker.
These concerts take place in the Medieval Sculpture Hall in front of the Metropolitan Museum's Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche. The exhibit of the crèche is made possible by gifts to The Christmas Tree Fund and the Loretta Hines Howard Fund.
Burning River Brass made its debut in September of 1996 in Tremont, Ohio, under the auspices of Arts Renaissance Tremont, and by 1998 was touring nationally. In 1999 the ensemble was offered a recording contract by Dorian Recordings and shortly thereafter recorded its first CD, Of Knights and Castles. The disc was followed by the release of Russian Carnival in 2000 and the group's latest CD, Romanza Espana—Spanish Masterworks for Brass, released in the fall of 2004. In 2005, BRB recorded a Christmas CD titled Christmas around the World. All of the discs have been praised for their energy, sound, and style. Burning River Brass has been heard on NPR's Performance Today and Sunday Baroque as well as radio stations throughout the United States and abroad.
Medieval Sculpture Hall
Tickets: $60

Friday, December 18, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. - MMArtists in Concert
Superlative adjectives are routinely used by critics to refer to the MMArtists in Concert, among them, "excellent," "outstanding," "sterling," and "top-notch," and the New York Times offered definitive praise in December 2008, describing the group's concerts as "the most consistently satisfying chamber-music series in New York."
Edward Arron, the group's artistic coordinator, has assembled two programs for 2009-2010, the group's seventh season, featuring the ensemble's usual mix of classic and contemporary repertoire; a work by Sofia Gubaidulina will be performed on each program. This second program of the season features Colin Jacobsen, violin; Nicholas Cords, viola; Edward Arron, cello; Jeremy Denk, piano; and Jeewon Park, piano, performing two works by Mendelssohn arranged for piano four-hands, violin, and cello: The Hebrides Overture, Op. 26; and Ruy Blas, Op. 95; Gubaidulina's String Trio; and Fauré's Piano Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 15.
The MMArtists in Concert ensemble, formed in 2003 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Metropolitan Museum Concerts series, has received consistent critical acclaim not only for "bring[ing] solo quality to ensemble playing," but for the inviting nature of the events: "Connections play an important part in this fine ensemble's programs," noted Steve Smith in The New York Times, and "so do communication and enthusiastic advocacy."
Cellist Edward Arron is rapidly gaining recognition worldwide for his elegant musicianship, impassioned performances, and creative programming. In addition to maintaining an active performing schedule, Edward Arron will, starting this fall, succeed Charles Wadsworth as the artistic director, host, and resident performer of the Musical Masterworks concert series in Old Lyme, Connecticut, as well as concert series in Beaufort and Columbia, South Carolina. He is also the artistic director of the Caramoor Virtuosi and of the Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival in Summit County, Colorado.
Tickets: $40

Saturday, December 19, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. - CONTACT: The New York Philharmonic's New Music Series
Magnus Lindberg, Conductor
New York Philharmonic Composer-in-Residence Magnus Lindberg conduct this program, part of the orchestra's CONTACT new music series, consisting of four New York Philharmonic commissioned works, each written for an ensemble of 15-20 musicians, in their world premiere engagements: Game of Attrition by Arlene Sierra; Macunaíma by Arthur Kampela; Melodia by Marc-André Dalbavie, and Verge by Lei Liang. The composers will be present to discuss their compositions. Arlene Sierra's Game of Attrition is written for 20 players; strings, winds, brass, percussion, and piano. Sierra says that Darwin's theories of evolution were on her mind when she wrote the work, which she describes as "a series of competitive duos": "there are also games of attrition in nature, the goal of which is to show power, and scare your opponents without killing them." Arthur Kampela's Macunaíma is based on a book by Mario de Andrade, who was a leader of the Modernist movement in Brazil: "For me, Macunaíma is a character who questions everything. … [The audience] will hear a work of new music and invention. They are not going to hear a style – minimalism or spectralism. They will hear a lot of fun rhythms, interactions, harmonies and melodies. I will take that sound that is characteristic of the orchestra and turn it into a huge percussive instrument."
Marc-André Dalbavie's Melodia is written for flute, two clarinets, horn, percussion, and strings: "The piece start with just noise – timbre. As we move through the piece the sound becomes more harmonic and the line becomes a melody. It's about the idea of metamorphosis." And Lei Liang's Verge was written on the "verge"of the birth of his son, Albert, whose name "translated into musical notation…asserts itself in different configurations as the basic melodic material. It's a very personal piece; a way to make a musical amulet and put all my wishes for this little boy into this piece. My wife is a Japanese harpsichordist and her name, Take Ohnishi, is also in the piece. Their names blend together."
Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic are launching CONTACT, the New York Philharmonic's new-music series, in the 2009-2010 season. The programs will consist exclusively of world premieres, for which the New York Philharmonic has commissioned works from a diverse list of composers. The second program, to take place at the Metropolitan Museum on April 17, 2010, features new works by Sean Shepherd, Nico Muhly, and Matthias Pintscher.
Tickets: $25

Tuesday, December 22, 2009, at 6:30 & 8:30 p.m. – Lionheart – "Tydings Trew: Feasts of Christmas in Medieval England"
Lawrence Lipnik, countertenor; John Olund and Michael Wenger, tenors; Jeffrey Johnson and Richard Porterfield, baritones; and Kurt-Owen Richards, bass – return to perform "Tydings Trew: Feasts of Christmas in Medieval England," featuring carols, chants, and motets for the Christmas season as it was celebrated in the cloisters, castles, and streets of England in the 15th and 16th centuries.
These concerts take place in the Medieval Sculpture Hall in front of the Metropolitan Museum's Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche. The exhibit of the crèche is made possible by gifts to The Christmas Tree Fund and the Loretta Hines Howard Fund.
Lionheart is one of America's leading ensembles in vocal chamber music. Acclaimed for its "smoothly blended and impeccably balanced sound" (Allan Kozinn, The New York Times), Lionheart (Jeffrey Johnson, Lawrence Lipnik, John Olund, Richard Porterfield, Kurt-Owen Richards, and Michael Ryan-Wenger) is best known for its interpretation of medieval and Renaissance a cappella music, with Gregorian chant as the keystone of its repertoire. The ensemble also collaborates with instrumental ensembles, dance companies, and contemporary composers. For its most recent recording on Koch International Classics, El Siglo de Oro, Lionheart was hailed by Early Music America for their "rich, true tones and flawlessly blended harmonies…their superb articulation and impeccable sense of rhythm." The ensemble's CD of the music of Palestrina and his contemporaries and its CD, Tydings Trew, also garnered much critical praise and were released by Koch International Classics. Lionheart also released two CDs on the Nimbus label: MyFayre Ladye: Tudor Songs and Chant (1997) and Paris 1200: Chant and Polyphony from 12th Century France (1998).
Medieval Sculpture Hall
Tickets: $60

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November 9, 2009

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