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Press Releases

PostClassical Ensemble Named Ensemble in Residence at Washington National Cathedral

July 10, 2017 | By Bucklesweet Media

PostClassical Ensemble is pleased to announce that it has been named the new ensemble in residence at the Washington National Cathedral. This is the first time since its founding in 2003 that the itinerant PostClassical Ensemble (PCE) will have a dedicated performance space. United in the conviction that music is an instrument for human betterment and enlightenment, PCE and the Cathedral will present an inaugural season that contextualizes music throughout history, beginning with musical responses to World War II in a Pearl Harbor Day Concert on December 7, 2017. Other performances explore the “cultural Cold War” between the United States and Soviet Union, and music of African American composer/singer Harry Burleigh, a forgotten hero of American music that elevated spirituals as art songs. More information about PostClassical Ensemble can be found at “We are thrilled to partner Mike McCarthy and the National Cathedral in creating a cutting-edge venue for music of national significance,” said PCE Music Director Angel Gil-Ordóñez and Executive Director Joseph Horowitz in a joint statement. “We draw inspiration from New York City’s Park Avenue Armory, which has capitalized on the possibilities of creatively deploying a vast space, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which has innovatively pursued fresh formats and repertoire for an adventurous audience.” It was PCE’s February 2017 concert at the Cathedral, “The Trumpet Shall Sound,” that motivated Cathedral Music Director Michael McCarthy to approach PCE founders Angel Gil-Ordóñez and Joe Horowitz about an artistic partnership. The Cathedral Choir joined PCE instrumentalists and PCE Resident Artist Kevin Deas in a performance that juxtaposed spirituals and religious arias. The nave was packed by an exuberant inter-racial, intergenerational audience. The potent experience made it clear that PCE could complement the Cathedral’s broad educational mandate, and help it to be at the center of productive, meaningful cultural conversations. “I have long been an admirer of the philosophy behind PostClassical Ensemble—presenting forward-looking music that probes and educates. Having worked with Joe and Angel, I realized how much that philosophy could align with the Cathedral,” said McCarthy. “For centuries, churches have played a key role as custodians of the arts. Moving forward with PCE I am excited to present cutting-edge art in a truly unique setting.” Through the partnership, PCE will use the Cathedral’s many performance spaces, from the nave to intimate chapels, singularly atmospheric and inspirational, for its hallmark immersive concerts. They mutually envision a radically different performance venue for Washington, D.C., in a space commonly associated with Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s St. John Passion, and classical choral works that will now be infused with diverse composers such as Shostakovich, Schoenberg, Hanns Eisler, and the aforementioned Harry Burleigh, in a markedly contemporary line of programming. All three concerts will coincide with exhibits and lectures at the Cathedral. Inaugural PostClassical Ensemble concerts at the Washington National Cathedral are: • Music in Wartime: A Pearl Harbor Day Commemoration on Thursday, December 7, 2017 • Deep River: The Art of the Spiritual on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 • Secret Music Skirmishes of the Cold War: The Shostakovich Case on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 PCE joins the Cathedral’s quartet in residence, New York-based Diderot String Quartet.




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