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Press Releases

The Cecilia Chorus of New York Presents North American Co-Premiere of Dame Ethel Smyth’s The Prison and Mozart’s Requiem, May 11 at Carnegie Hall

May 9, 2018

The Cecilia Chorus of New York, Mark Shapiro, Music Director, will present the North American co-premiere of Dame Ethel Smyth’s The Prison and Mozart’s Requiem (Levin completion), Friday, May 11 @ 8:00 PM at Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, 57th St. and 7th Ave in Manhattan. The concert will be performed by soloists, chorus and full orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Shapiro.  This performance of The Prison by The Cecilia Chorus of New York is the second phase of a joint initiative; the Johnstown Symphony performed The Prison on April 7.

See a mini-documentary about The Prison and The Cecilia Chorus of New York’s performance at

The Prison (1930) is Dame Ethel Smyth’s (1858-1944) last large-scale work, for soprano, baritone, chorus, and orchestra.  Never before heard in the U.S. in its full orchestral setting, it uses an impassioned text created for the composer by her great soulmate Harry Brewster.  Written in a deeply personal and impeccably controlled musical voice, The Prison calls out the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves, deploring the vanity that imprisons us, and urges us to grasp the searing truth that can be our only sure path to immortality. Learn more Dame Ethel Smyth here and here.

Mozart’s Requiem, written as he lay dying, will close the Cecilia Chorus’s 2017-18 season.  Robert Levin’s elegant completion offers a distinctively graceful alternative to other versions. About the program, Music Director Shapiro observes “Composers, like any of us, engage in soul-searching later in life. An artist’s ‘late style’ typically entails both a summing up and a concentrated seeking that are charged with the wisdom and perspective earned through a lifetime of art-making. All of us are deepened — our lives become fuller and more joyful — when we are confronted with the inevitability of our own mortality and that of those we love. Artists especially can invoke and communicate this deepening and lead us to experience it ourselves in a beautiful, exhilarating way.”

Soloists for the May 11 performance of The Prison will be Chelsea Shepherd, soprano and Tobias Greenhalgh, baritone, in his Carnegie Hall debut.  Soloists for the May 11 performance of Mozart’s Requiem will be Danielle Beckvermit, soprano, Kathleen Reveille, mezzo-soprano John Noh, tenor and Paul Whelan, bass, who will be making their Carnegie Hall main stage debuts.

Single tickets range from $25 to $85 and are available online at, by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or visiting the box office at 57th Street and 7th Avenue.  For more information about this concert, visit or call 646-638-2535. For MTA transportation information, visit

The Cecilia Chorus of New York is the 2015 winner of the ASCAP/Chorus America Alice Parker Award.  New York City's Department of Cultural Affairs recently awarded them a generous grant to support several consecutive seasons.  The chorus was founded in 1906 and has evolved into one of the finest avocational performing arts organizations in New York City, described as “reliably venturesome” (The New Yorker, 2017) and “admirable,” (New York Times, 2017). Recent performance highlights have included the commission and premiere of Oedipus the King (2017) by the Brothers Balliett, featuring two-time Tony Award®-winning actor Stephen Spinella, the commission and premiere of Tom Cipullo’s Credo for a Secular City at Carnegie Hall in 2014, the New York Premiere of the Mass in D (1892) by Dame Ethel Smyth in 2013 as well as the Chorus’s first-ever commission/premiere for Carnegie Hall, Divis Cetera by Raphael Fusco in 2012. The Chorus’s 2016-17 season included three newly commissioned works, while this season incudes two U.S. premieres: Messe Romane, by Thierry Escaich, and The Prison.  Much more about them at

Mark Shapiro was appointed the seventh Music Director of The Cecilia Chorus of New York in 2011. Music Director of The Prince Edward Island Symphony and Artistic Director of Cantori New York, he is one of a handful of artistic leaders in North America to have won a prestigious ASCAP Programming Award six times, achieving the unique distinction of winning such an award with three different ensembles.  The New York Times has characterized his conducting as "insightful" and acknowledged its “virtuosity and assurance,” and “uncommon polish.”  His artistic leadership was characterized by New Jersey’s Star-Ledger as “erudite and far-reaching.” His bio is at



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