2012 ChoralFest to Honor Composer and Conductor René Clausen
Washington and Lee University’s Department of Music will present the 2012 ChoralFest on March 28 and 29 to honor world-renowned composer and conductor René Clausen. The many activities include a lecture on Clausen and music rehearsals, workshops and the Festival Concert.
The lecture and the Festival Concert are free and open to the public but seating is limited for the Festival Concert and is on a first come-first serve basis.
The lecture, to be given by Shane Lynch, director of choral activities at W&L, will be on Wednesday, March 28, at 8 p.m. in the Wilson Concert Hall. Lynch will talk about Clausen’s place in contemporary American choral music. The lecture will feature the Washington and Lee Chamber Singers as the demonstration choir.
On Thursday, March 29, after a full day of music rehearsals and workshops, the ChoralFest will close with the Festival Concert at 8 p.m. in Jackson Hall on the VMI campus.
Following the individual performances, Clausen will take the podium and conduct the 250-voice Festival Mass Choir.
Highlighting Clausen’s eclectic and far-reaching compositional output, the concert will feature performances by groups from high school to college to community as well as a solo by professional tenor Powell Leitch. Each participating choir, including Fredericksburg Christian Schools’ Savior’s Echo, directed by Kathryn Kulp; the Rockbridge Choral Society Chamber Singers, directed by William McCorkle; the Southern Virginia University Concert Choir, directed by La Rae Carter; and the Washington and Lee Chamber Singers, directed by Shane Lynch, will perform for 15 minutes and will include one Clausen work in their set along with other choral classics.
The Festival Mass Choir will perform Clausen new work Lux Aeterna, commissioned by the Washington and Lee choral program for the 2011-12 season. The mass choir will close the concert singing James Erb’s traditional Shenandoah.
“The chance to work with a conductor and composer of René Clausen’s ability is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of the singers involved. Dr. Clausen’s prolific contributions and esteem in the American choral world are unmatched,” said Lynch. Clausen is currently celebrating his 25th year at Concordia College, as artistic director of the award-winning Concordia Christmas Concerts and conductor of the acclaimed Concordia Choir.
Clausen is a renowned composer and arranger, having written dozens of commissioned compositions for famed performances, including Memorial and Crying for a Dream for the American Choral Directors Association. He is also a frequent guest conductor, composer and lecturer.
Clausen has conducted such works as Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Brahms’ Requiem and several of his own works including Gloria – in three movements – performed at Carnegie Hall in New York. In 1998, he created the René Clausen Choral School, an intensive five-day program for choral conductors, and is the founder of the René Clausen Music Company.