Award winning London-based choir Tenebrae to perform with BYU choir


Described as angels of the choral world, Tenebrae, a world-renowned choir, comprises 20 singers who give audiences a glimpse into the power and intimacy of the human voice.

Tenebrae sings with precision and clarity and utilize the unique acoustic and atmosphere of each venue in which they perform with movement and light, often using candlelight as the sole means of illumination.

[media-credit name=”Tenebrae” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]The BYU Singers and the Concert Choir will perform one piece each with Tenebrae on Thursday night. This will be the first time Tenebrae has allowed a college choir to perform with them in concert.

Dr. Ron Staeli, conductor of the BYU Singers, considers this concert to be an opportunity of a lifetime for the BYU choir program as well as the university as a whole.

“(Tenebrae) is easily one of the world’s best choirs,” Staehli said. “They simply do not invite local choirs to sing with them, so we are thrilled that our choirs are joining them on one piece each.”

The BYU music department has been trying to get Tenebrae to perform at BYU for two years. Jeff Martin, an arts administrator, has anticipated Tenebrae’s performance at BYU and is excited that the opportunity is finally here.

“(Tenebrae) is starting a tour in seven cities around the United States,” Martin said. “BYU is the first stop in the tour, and the rest of  the performances are back east so this is a pretty big deal for us.”

Founded in 2001 and directed by former King’s Singers member Nigel Short, the group is critically acclaimed for blending the passion of a large cathedral choir with the precision of a chamber ensemble to create a unique and enchanting sound, one which resembles the voices of “angels.”

“They have such a beautiful sound, talk about listening to angels,” Staheli said. “This is as close as you get on earth to true angelic singing. … It’s truly heavenly music.”

The choir will perform works by Rachmaninoff, Chesnokov, Tchaikovsky, Kalinnikov, Pärt, Kedrov and Paul Mealor. The BYU Singers will join Tenebrae for “Ave Maria” by Rachmaninoff. Later in the performance the Concert Choir, directed by Rosalind Hall, will share the stage with them for “Salvator mundi” by Paul Mealor.

Tenebrae, will travel back east after the performance at BYU. When they toured in 2011, The New York Times praised the London-based choir and their unique sound. Writer, Nick Kozinn, was enchanted by their  performance at Church of St. Mary the Virgin in New York.

“Tenebrae creates shimmering, tantalizingly unbalanced textures,” Kozinn said. “That invariably resolved into sumptuous consonance that flatters the voice and seduced the ear.”

Music lovers throughout Utah will attend the concert on Thursday, and BYU students are encouraged to attend.

“I encourage all students to take advantage of this,” Staheli said. “It will open up a whole new world for them.”

Tenebrae will perform Thursday, Nov. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in Brigham Young University’s de Jong Concert Hall and will be joined by the BYU Singers and Concert Choir. Tickets are available through the Fine Arts Ticket Office or online at General seating tickets are $19, with discounts available to students, alumni and senior citizens.

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