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Yale Schola Cantorum & Juilliard415 Perform Bach, Rameau, Reena Esmail

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Classical Movements is proud to announce that from March 12–19, 2017, two esteemed early music ensembles, Yale Schola Cantorum and Juilliard415, will be performing on their debut Indian tour. Under the expert baton of David Hill, Yale and Juilliard will combine forces to perform J.S. Bach’s first major liturgical composition on a Latin text, the Magnificat in D Major, as well as a brand new commission from Indian-American composer Reena Esmail, This Love Between Us: Prayers for Unity.

A graduate of both Yale and Juilliard — having studied with two composers commissioned by Classical Movements’ Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program, Christopher Rouse and Christopher Theofanidis, respectively — Esmail’s beguiling, East-meets-West work explores seven religions (Buddhism, Sikh, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Jainism, Islam) through seven scriptures (Danda Vagga, Guru Granth Sahib, the Bible, Pahlavi Rivayat, Isha Upanishad and the poet Kabir, Acharanga Sutra, Rumi’s poetry) in eight different languages: Sanskrit, Punjabi, Malayalam, ancient Persian, Hindi, Prakrit, Arabic and English.

This Love Between Us draws from each religious tradition’s teachings on unity,” says Esmail. “I’ve consulted 22 people to get to this point in the text and music, and it’s the most ambitious text I’ve ever compiled, between the subject and the languages. There are religious scholars, poetic scholars, speakers of each of these languages who have coached me in diction and pronunciation. It has been an incredible experience.”



In addition, Juilliard415 will perform Storms and Demons: Dances from the Operas of Jean-Philippe Rameau, an evocative instrumental suite culled from one of the most elegant composers of 18th-century France.

Founded by Simon Carrington in 2003, Yale Schola Cantorum is a chamber choir that performs sacred music from the 16th century to the present day in concert settings and choral services around the world. Conducted by David Hill, with Masaaki Suzuki serving as principal guest conductor, YSC is sponsored by Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music. Open by audition to students from all departments and professional schools across the university, the ensemble has a special interest in collaborative, historically-informed performance practice, most often with instrumentalists from Juilliard415.

Recent concerts have heard Yale Schola Cantorum under the direction of internationally renowned conductors such as Matthew Halls, Simon Halsey, Paul Hillier, Stephen Layton, Sir Neville Marriner, Nicholas McGegan, James O’Donnell, Stefan Parkman, Krzysztof Penderecki, Helmuth Rilling and Dale Warland. Performing regularly in New Haven, Connecticut and New York City, the ensemble tours and records, both nationally and internationally.

YSC’s live recording of Heinrich Biber’s 1693 Vesperae longiores ac breviores with Robert Mealy and Yale Collegium Musicum received international acclaim from the early music press, as have subsequent CDs of Bach’s rarely heard, 1725 version of St. John Passion and Antonio Bertali’s Missa resurrectionis. A commercial recording on the Naxos label of the Mendelssohn and Bach Magnificats was released in 2009. More recent releases include two albums from Delos Records, and recordings of Brahms, Fauré, Palestrina and Roderick Williams are forthcoming. On tour, Schola Cantorum has given performances in England, Hungary, France, China, South Korea, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Japan, Singapore, Russia, Estonia and Latvia.

Highlights of YSC’s 2016–17 season at home include: a chamber version of the Brahms Requiem with maestro Hill; music of mourning from Dresden with maestro Suzuki; premieres of works by Tawnie Olsen and Hannah Lash; Handel’s Occasional Oratorio.



Since its founding in 2009, Juilliard415, the school’s principal period-instrument ensemble, has made significant contributions to the musical life of New York and beyond, bringing major figures in the field of early music to lead performances of both rare and canonical works of the 17th and 18th centuries. Among the many distinguished guests who have led 415 are William Christie, Ton Koopman, Harry Bicket, Nicholas McGegan, Christopher Hogwood, Jordi Savall, Lars Ulrik Mortensen and Monica Huggett. In 2011, the ensemble made its Carnegie Hall debut, accompanying David Daniels and Dorothea Röschmann in a program of Handel arias — a concert the New York Times called one of the season’s best. 415’s performance of Handel’s Il Trionfo del Tempo, led by maestro Christie, earned this same distinction in 2012.

Together with Juilliard’s Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts, every year, 415 presents fully-staged operas and full-scale oratorios. Recent offerings include Handel’s Radamisto, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, both Passions and the Magnificat of Bach and Cavalli’s La Calisto. Recently, in a joint venture with the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Jane Glover conducted 415 in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide.

Touring extensively nationally and internationally, too, 415 has performed all along the East Coast and throughout Italy, Japan, Southeast Asia and the U.K., where a concert with its closest musical partner, the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. Other 2016–17 tours find the group in Holland with the Royal Conservatoire of the Hague for Bach’s Mass in B minor, Ton Koopman conducting, and in New Zealand with Bach specialist Masaaki Suzuki for a 10-concert span.

Domestic highlights of 415’s 2016–17 include: a celebration of the Italian concerto led by Rachel Podger on the “Music Before 1800” series; symphonies of Haydn with maestra Huggett; fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout leading Mozart symphonies and concerti; an all-Rameau program with William Christie and Paul Agnew; Handel’s Agrippina, conducted by Laurence Cummings in his Juilliard debut.



David Hill has a long and distinguished career as one of the leading conductors in Europe. His talent has been recognized by appointments as chief conductor of the BBC Singers, musical director of the Bach Choir, chief conductor of the Southern Sinfonia, music director of Leeds Philharmonic Society and associate guest conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. In 2002, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Southampton, in recognition of his services to music. In 2007, he received an honorary fellowship of the Royal School of Church Music, and in 2010 an honorary membership to the Royal Academy of Music.

Previously, Hill was Master of the Music at Winchester and Westminster Cathedrals, music director of the Waynflete Singers, artistic director of the Philharmonia Chorus and director of music at St. John’s College, Cambridge. Guest conducting credits include many of Europe’s well-known ensembles: London Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Choir and RIAS Kammerchor, Berlin. David Hill also maintains an active career as organist and pianist in recitals worldwide.

With over 100 recordings to his credit, from Gregorian chant to Renaissance polyphony, from baroque oratorios to modern masterpieces for chorus and orchestra, Hill has performed virtually every style and period in the choral repertoire. He has commissioned dozens of works from leading composers of today, including Judith Bingham, Francis Pott, Patrick Gowers, Sir John Tavener, Philip Wilby and Jonathan Dove. At Yale, Hill serves as principal conductor of Yale Schola Cantorum and participates in the training of choral conducting majors with Marguerite L. Brooks and Jeffrey Douma.



Reena Esmail enjoys working in both the Western and Hindustani (North Indian) classical music idioms. She holds a bachelor’s degree in composition from the Juilliard School and a master’s degree from the Yale School of Music, where her primary teachers have included Aaron Jay Kernis, Christopher Theofanidis, Martin Bresnick, Christopher Rouse and Samuel Adler. Esmail has won numerous awards, including the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (with forthcoming publication of a work by C.F. Peters) and two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. She is currently a post-residential doctoral candidate at the Yale School of Music.

As the recipient of a 2011–12 Fulbright-Nehru grant, Esmail studied Hindustani vocal music in New Delhi, India and was selected to speak about her work at the INK/TED Conference in Jaipur, with additional speaking engagements in Chennai, Delhi and Goa. For the 2010–11 season, she was the conductor and arranger for Yale’s Hindi a cappella group, Sur et Veritaal. Esmail’s doctoral thesis, “Finding Common Ground: Uniting Practices in Hindustani and Western Art Musicians,” explores the methods and challenges of that collaborative process. Her most recent Hindustani vocal studies have been with Srimati Lakshmi Shankar and Saili Kalyanpur in Los Angeles, California. Recent commissions include: Teen Murti for string orchestra, commissioned by the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Mei-Ann Chen; Curiosity for the Pasadena Master Chorale; Tuttarana for Mount Holyoke Glee Club; Vishwas for the Albany Symphony and bharatanatyam dancer Sisira Gorthala. Recent film work includes scores for Kali Juger Kumbh, a Bengali film by Ashish Avikunthak, and Rupeshi Shah’s Radha.

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