Concert: Wartburg Choir

Wartburg Choir

The internationally-acclaimed choir of Wartburg College, Iowa, USA, give a concert in the Cathedral on Sunday 21 May 201 at 8:00pm. Admission is free.

The programme includes music by Pachelbel, Schütz, Philips, Jennings, Chesnokov, McGlynn, Whitacre and others.

About the Choir:

The internationally acclaimed Wartburg Choir performs sacred music from all historical periods and styles and often premieres new works of contemporary composers. Called a “mighty fortress of skill” by the Washington Post, the Wartburg Choir is one of three college musical ensembles that tour internationally on a triennial basis.

Beyond tours, the choir receives invitations for special appearances in the United States and abroad, most recently to participate in the December 2011 White House Holiday Concert Series. As part of that trip to Washington DC, the choir also sang at the National Cathedral’s Bethlehem Prayer Service, which was simulcast worldwide. In 2006, the choir performed with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in Prague at the invitation of Maestro Paul Freeman, CNSO music director and chief conductor, who had attended a Wartburg Choir concert at Orchestra Hall in Chicago.

During the past 20 years, the choir has appeared in such prestigious concert halls as the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC, Avery Fisher Hall of Lincoln Center, New York City, Carnegie Hall in New York City, Symphony Hall in Chicago, and Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. The choir competed in the International Trophy Competition in Cork on two separate occasions and is the only American choral group to win first-place honors. The Wartburg Choir has been invited to perform at two national and two divisional conventions of the American Choral Directors Association. In 2012, the choir was featured at the North Central ACDA convention spotlight concert, singing Stephen Paulus’ Holocaust oratorio, To Be Certain of the Dawn.

For 75 years, the Wartburg Choir has toured annually throughout the United States and the District of Columbia. Beginning in 1959, the choir has toured internationally every three to four years, performing in a total of 21 European countries, three Canadian provinces, Scandinavia, and South Africa.

The choir frequently performs with Simon Estes, a world-renowned opera star who also serves as distinguished professor and artist-in-residence at Wartburg College. Estes joined the choir on two international tours to South Africa, which included performances at the Simon Estes Music High School in Cape Town. Most recently, he joined the choir in a concert with special guest Madame Denyce Graves, an internationally recognized mezzo soprano and opera star.

Founded in 1937 under the direction of Dr. Edwin Liemohn, the choir became one of the first American college choral groups to tour Europe. Liemohn’s successor, Dr. James Fritschel, directed the choir from 1968 to 1984, expanding its reputation for excellence and international exposure. Dr. Paul Torkelson, director from 1984 to 2009, conducted the choir at nearly every major concert hall in the United States and led the group on numerous international tours. Dr. Lee Nelson, who became the Wartburg Choir’s fourth conductor in 2009, continues to build upon the choir’s 75-year tradition of choral excellence.