April 25,2000

Rachmaninoff Festival Choir to Perform Liturgy on May 6
Event is Free and Open to the Public

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.¾Conducted by Anthony Antolini, the Rachmaninoff Festival Choir-a 100-voice choir combining the Bowdoin Chorus and the Down East Singers-will perform Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom" in the original Church Slavonic language on Saturday, May 6 at 7 p.m. The event will take place in Middlebury College's Mead Chapel on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125). The event is free and open to the public.

Appearing as bass soloist will be Dean Jorgenson, a Wisconsin native who now resides in Camden, Maine. He received his music education from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, Calif. Jorgenson studied opera under Dino Yannapoulos, Boris Goldovsky, and Michael Singher. He has performed opera for many years throughout Germany.

Anthony Antolini, a faculty member of the Bowdoin College music department, is a specialist in Russian choral music. He rediscovered the music to the long-forgotten Rachmaninoff Liturgy in 1984 and produced the first modern edition of the work. Antolini has performed this a capella piece throughout the United States and in major cities of the former Soviet Union. He is also the featured artist in "Rediscovering Rachmaninoff," an award-winning documentary written for public television and distributed internationally.

The Middlebury performance of "The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom" will employ the very distinctive deep bass solo chanting and extended choral responses characteristic of such music intended originally for use in the Russian Orthodox Church. Rachmaninoff asked that choruses sing a cappella since only the human voice was thought worthy to express the praises of God. By employing this singing technique, preserving the traditional word order of the liturgy, and using the heavily stressed syllabification of Slavonic, he created music which is at once characteristic of the rich heritage of Russian choral music and yet unique in its highly inventive and intensely beautiful interweaving of multiple vocal lines.

In 1996 the two Maine-based choirs collaborated under the direction of Antolini to record Rachmaninoff's Liturgy; it is available as a CD and is being distributed by Collegium Records.

The Bowdoin Chorus from Brunswick, Maine, is comprised of students, faculty, and area community members. The Down East Singers from Thomaston, Maine, is a community chorus. Antolini serves as director of both groups.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Karnes in the office of the Middlebury College Language Schools at 802-443-5685.
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