GREGORY GEEHERN, CONDUCTOR
Works by two giants of Baroque music make a compelling program for this year’s concert by the Princeton Festival Baroque Chorus and Orchestra. Buy your tickets early – it’s sure to sell out.
The magnificent music of J.S. Bach and Antonio Vivaldi will be played and sung in authentic style, following Baroque performance practices. In addition, the orchestra uses period instruments to produce the kind of sound that Bach, Vivaldi, and their audiences would have expected to hear.
General Admission $35 - $40
Free "Meet the Artists" Reception follows the performance
Antonio Vivaldi’s motet Nulla in mundo pax sincera (“There is no true peace in the world”) moves from pure, sublime emotion to vivid tone painting, ending in exuberance.
J. S. Bach’s exquisitely expressive Missa brevis (“short Mass”) engages and elevates the listener. The words are set to music of amazing variety that emphasizes their meaning and emotional content. The chorus sings with a smaller instrumental group in the opening “Kyrie,” then is joined by the full orchestra for the opening of the “Gloria.” A bass voice sings solo over strings in the gently rocking third movement, “Gratias agimus tibi,” after which soprano and alto sing a meditative duet. The fifth movement is a song of praise sung by tenor accompanied by an oboe. The chorus and orchestra return in the spirited conclusion.
Vivaldi’s upbeat, joyous setting of the Magnificat opens with a subdued choral passage that quickly transitions to a lively, up-tempo declaration of exuberant acceptance. Contrasts of color, rhythm, and voice combinations keep the listener involved throughout nine short movements. There are exclamatory passages, buoyant melodies, anthemic declamations, and the occasional solemn statement. It’s all lively, bright, and uplifting.
Gregory Geehern is a young conductor acclaimed for using creativity and innovation to bring choral music to a new generation of audiences. A multi-talented choral conductor, pianist, baritone/tenor and scholar, Dr. Geehern has been called a “gifted new presence” for his work with full choirs, opera choruses and chamber ensembles in repertoire from the Middle Ages to the present day.
For The Princeton Festival, Dr. Geehern is the year-round Assistant to the Princeton Festival Artistic Director and has served as assistant conductor and chorus master of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Beethoven’s Fidelio, Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes, and Richard Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer. He has also served as assistant conductor of George Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. He is currently a member of the artistic team preparing the festival’s 2019 production of Nixon in China by John Adams.