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Chorus, Mozart Mentors Orchestra Premiere Jenkins' Requiem May 3-4

Story posted April 30, 2012

The Bowdoin Chorus and Mozart Mentors Orchestra, under the direction of Anthony Antolini, will present the New England premiere of Karl Jenkins' Requiem on Thursday, May 3, and Friday, May 4, 2012, at 7:30 p.m. at Studzinski Recital Hall, Kanbar Auditorium. The concerts are open to the public free of charge and no tickets are required.

The theme of the concert is "Death and Heaven." In addition to the Jenkins Requiem the Chorus will perform four spirituals arranged by William Dawson about preparing to go to heaven or imagining what it will be like.

The decision to perform the Jenkins Requiem was made shortly after the catastrophic earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster hit Japan on March 11, 2011. The Jenkins work melds the traditional western Requiem text (a funeral service) with Japanese haiku on the subject of death. It will be performed as a memorial to those who lost their lives in that disaster.

Karl Jenkins is a Welsh composer who began his musical career as an oboist, then attended the Royal Academy of Music in London. For much of his early career he was known as a jazz-rock musician. He then became a successful composer of music for television advertisements.

His Requiem was composed in 2005. The haiku movements are sung in Japanese by a women's chorus and are accompanied by the shakuhachi, an ancient Japanese bamboo flute. Virtuoso shakuhachi player Ralph Samuelson of New York City will be the featured soloist.

Samuelson was trained in the classical tradition of the Kinko School under the tutelage of the late Living National Treasure Goro Yamaguchi, as well as by Shudo Yamato and Kodo Araki V. He began shakuhachi studies in 1969 as a graduate student in the World Music Program at Wesleyan University and studied traditional music in Tokyo in the 1970s under the guidance of the distinguished musicologist Fumio Koizumi.

Samuelson has performed in leading concert venues in New York, around the United States, and in Europe and Asia. He has been presented in live radio and television broadcasts in the United States and Japan and has recorded for Music of the World, Lyrichord Records, CBS Masterworks, Axiom, Tzadik, and other labels.

In 1991 and in 2008 he was the featured shakuhachi soloist in the New York City Ballet's production of Jerome Robbins' "Watermill" with music by Teiji Ito. In spring 2011 he was an artist-in-residence at the Lou Harrison House in Joshua Tree, California; and in fall 2011 he was a guest artist at the Seoul Institute of the Arts in Korea.

The Requiem is scored for chorus, female soloists, shakuhachi, two French horns, timpani, percussion, harp and strings.

The Bowdoin Chorus is composed of students, alumni, faculty, staff and Brunswick-area community members. The Mozart Mentors Orchestra is in its second season. It is made up of Maine string teachers and their top students, ranging in age from 10 to 18, who play alongside them.

For more information call 207-725-3347, go to bowdoin.edu/music or e-mail aantolin@bowdoin.edu.

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