February 8, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A PERFORMANCE OF HOPE AND LIFE
IN CELEBRATION OF A 40TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON
Angeles Chorale presents “The Gala,” featuring Dvorak’s Stabat Mater
The Azusa Pacific Oratorio Choir and Symphony join the Chorale
The Angeles Chorale celebrates its 40th Anniversary Season
With THE GALA,
Featuring Dvorak’s Stabat Mater
Shana Blake Hill, soprano; Rose Beattie, alto; Robert MacNeil, tenor; Ben Lowe, baritone
Azusa Pacific Oratorio Choir & Symphony join the Chorale
Sunday, March 29
Lake Avenue Church
393 North Lake Avenue
Pasadena CA 91101
$30 at the door/person
$20/students at door with valid ID
LOS ANGELES, Calif. If John Sutton, Artistic Director of the Angeles Chorale, were asked which facet of Antonin Dvorak’s masterwork, Stabat Mater, resonated within him more – the composition’s beauty or the moving human story behind it – he might have a difficult time choosing. Music lovers will have a chance to decide for themselves when the Angeles Chorale joins forces with the Azusa Pacific Oratorio Choir and Symphony to perform the work on Sunday, March 29 at 4 p.m. at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena.
“With this concert, a gala celebration of our 40th anniversary, we are honoring our heritage and returning to our original mission, which was to explore the repertoire of great choral masterworks,” explains Sutton. “Dvorak’s Stabat Mater seems the perfect choice because it is not only a big, festive, wonderful work of great beauty, sound, color and intensity, but it is also a transcendent human story of love and hope that persist despite great loss. Tell me, who won’t be touched by that?”
Sutton, who wrote his doctoral thesis on Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, found that the composer first set the piece for piano, chorus and soloists after the loss of his infant daughter. Within the next two years, however, Dvorak lost two more children.
“So in the span of two years, Dvorak and his wife lost three children,” says Sutton. “Dvorak pulled out the original Stabat Mater, extended it, fully orchestrated it, and it became the work we know today. When you hear the first 12 bars, you know something climactic has happened. The work then leads us through an amazing musical journey of loss, grief, faith and eternal hope, with a literally earth-shattering final movement.”
Soloists joining the Angeles Chorale and Azusa Pacific Oratorio Choir for the Stabat Mater are: soprano Shana Blake Hill, alto Rose Beattie, tenor Robert MacNeil, and baritone Ben Lowe.
While not very well known in the US until recently, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater has long been performed as much in England as Handel’s Messiah. It was also the work, along with the Slavonic Dances, that made Dvorak an international star in the 1890s, which led to his becoming the director of the New York National Conservatory of Music.
“We are part of a resurgence of interest in the work,” Sutton says. “For instance, Stabat Mater was the last work recorded by Robert Shaw, who basically said in an interview, I don’t know why it took us so long.”
Yet Sutton’s passion for the work is not merely academic. While conducting research in Prague, he visited a museum devoted to Dvorak, located near the composer’s country home.
“I was looking through the gates,” Sutton recalls, “and my driver said, ‘I found out that Antonin Dvorak III is alive. Your appointment with him is in 20 minutes.’ And there, opening the door for us to this very simple Communist era apartment, was Dvorak’s grandson, who was 78 at the time. What can I say? Here I am, connecting to this living flesh and blood of the composer I’m doing my doctoral thesis on.”
John Sutton, Artistic Director of the Angeles Chorale, and Antonin Dvorak III had gin and tonics together in the kitchen. They still are in touch.
Tickets for “The Gala” are available in advance for $25/person and, on the day of the concert, at the door, for $30/person. Student tickets may be purchased as well for $20 at the door with a valid ID. To purchase tickets or learn more about the Angeles Chorale, visit www.angeleschorale.org or call 818.591.1735. Lake Avenue Church is located at 393 North Lake Avenue in Pasadena, 91101.
The Chorale thanks the Los Angeles County Arts Commission for its help in supporting this performance.
ABOUT THE CHORALE
The Angeles Chorale is a 100-voice, auditioned, professional-level, volunteer choir rehearsing and performing in the Los Angeles area. Its mission is to engage, enrich and inspire our audiences, singers, and our diverse community by performing great choral music with a passionate commitment to excellence, and to increase access to and appreciation of choral music in greater Los Angeles.
The Chorale was founded in 1975 by Bill and Ada Beth Lee, who led the organization until 1987 when John Alexander assumed the mantle of Artistic Director. In 1996, Donald Neuen, Director of Choral Activities at UCLA, stepped to the podium and led the Chorale for the next thirteen years. Under his direction, the Angeles Chorale became best known for its productions of classical masterworks for chorus and orchestra. The 2014-2015 concert season, the Chorale’s 40th season and the fifth under the direction of Dr. John Sutton, will kick off with a rousing encore performance of Robert Ray’s Gospel Mass (September 13), followed by An American Christmas celebration (December 13), Dvorak’s Stabat Mater (March 29), and NEXT: A Preview of What’s To Come (June 13), featuring works by musicians ranging from Orff, Verdi, Gershwin, Mozart, Morten Lauridsen, and Eric Whitacre to Led Zeppelin, U2 and the Beach Boys.
The Angeles Chorale has performed with many local orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, and the American Youth Symphony.
The Chorale appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2012 under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel as he conducted Mahler’s 8th Symphony, the Symphony of a Thousand, at the Shrine Auditorium. That season, the Angeles Chorale also was honored to perform with Barbra Streisand at the Hollywood Bowl and with Julie Andrews at the annual Holiday Sing-Along at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, part of the LA Philharmonic’s “Deck the Halls” concert series. In summer 2014, 30 members of the Angeles Chorale returned to the Hollywood Bowl to appear with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a performance entitled “An Evening of Chinese Splendor,” featuring Song Zuying, one of China’s most prominent and best-established artists, and pop singer Wang Leehom. Additionally, the Chorale will again lead the LA Philharmonic’s annual Holiday Sing-Along at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on December 20, 2014.
For the past six years, the Angeles Chorale has worked with Immediate Music, one of the largest leasing libraries for movie previews and television commercials, as well as many other similar organizations. Chorale voices can be heard in many Hollywood movie trailers, including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Tangled, Meet the Parents: Little Fockers, and Prince of Persia.
ABOUT ARTISTIC DIRECTOR JOHN SUTTON
John Sutton’s professional choral career spans over four decades of work in the community, church, academic, and professional settings. From major choral and instrumental works, concert and chamber choirs, to music for television and movies, John is recognized for his work with children, youth, adults, and with amateurs and professionals alike. Today is one of the most active professional conductors in the nation, conducting over 400 singers and orchestra members weekly.
As a student, Dr. Sutton has studied with some of the most distinguished conductors in the field of choral music. John holds degrees from Northwest University (B.A. in Sacred Music and Biblical Literature), San José State University where he was a student of Dr. Charlene Archibeque (MA in Choral Conducting), and the University of California at Los Angeles, where his mentoring professor was Donald Neuen (DMA in Choral Conducting). He continues to actively study with both Dr. Archibeque and Professor Neuen.
Beyond his focused choral training in the university setting, John has studied and performed with notable choral luminaries such as Robert Shaw, Helmuth Rilling, Eric Ericson, Weston Noble, Frank Pooler, Howard Swan, Paul Salamunovich, Anton Armstrong, Eph Ely, Jerry Blackstone, and others. In addition, he has performed extensively throughout the United States and abroad in choral concert tours and recording projects which include performances at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and Constitution Hall. He has conducted international concert tours with church and university choirs thoughout Canada, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and South Korea. In 2011, Dr. Sutton led choirs on concert tours of Argentina and the Southern United States. In 2012, John prepared choirs from the United States and United Kingdom for performances at the Brittania Music festivities in Birmingham and London, England.
His enthusiasm for the choral art and his commitment to excellence has made him a popular choral clinician, festival conductor and adjudicator, leading workshops for the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association of Church Musicians, American Christian Schools International, Choristers Guild, the national Conference on Liturgy and Worship, the Mount Herman Summer Choral Camp, and many others. In January of 2010 he was the featured speaker at the National Association of Church Musicians, Mid-Winter Conference. In 2011, John was the featured clinician for the Lake Tahoe “Summer Sing,” and in June 2013, Dr. Sutton was the featured clinician and guest conductor at the Exultate Deo Choral Festival in Buenas Aires, Argentina. In 2014-’15, John will be conducting concerts, adjudicating choral festivals, and leading choral workshops throughout Texas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Since moving to Los Angeles in 2000, John has conducted choral music heard on weekly television series, and national ad campaigns for major motion pictures such as the Harry Potter series, the Spider Man series, The Divinci Code, Fantastic Four, and countless others. In 2005, he was appointed as the Music Director/Conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s annual Christmas Holiday Sing-a-Long. His relationship with the L.A. Phil has resulted in Hollywood Bowl performances with pop singer Barry Manilow (2009) the legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone (2009), Barbara Streisand (2012), and Walt Disney Concert Hall performances with Julie Andrews (2012-13). Most recently, Dr. Sutton prepared the Angeles Chorale for a Hollywood Bowl concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in an evening of music dedicated to the composers of China (July, 2014).
2010 marked Dr. Sutton being named as the Artistic Director of the Angles Chorale, and being selected as the Azusa Pacific University (APU) nominee for the national Arlin G. Meyer Award for Outstanding Musical Performance. In May, 2014, Dr. Sutton was the inaugural recipient of the Faith & Fine Arts Award, presented by the APU’s College of Music and the Arts.
John is an Associate Professor at APU in the College of Music and the Arts, where he leads and gives vision to the entire choral program as the Director of Choral Activities. He conducts the Oratorio Choir and the University Choir and Orchestra, in addition to teaching classes in conducting, and Church Music. He has served the students of APU since Fall, 2000. Dr. Sutton continues to lead and consult with the choral and worship programs at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, where he has served since Fall, 2000.
John resides in Altadena, California with his wife, Dr. Cecilia Patiño-Sutton.
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Publicist: Jenine Baines
Executive Director: Rae Macdonald
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