Brooklyn Youth Chorus in Bloom!

Two New York Times Reviews and Three Major Symphonic Events Ahead

April 21, 2014

Brooklyn Youth Chorus burst into spring with back-to-back rave reviews from The New York Times for its collaborative performances with sax legend Colin Stetson at the Ecstatic Music Festival and with Kronos Quartet at their 40th Anniversary Concert. Praised as “a consistently bold organization,” with an “unusually broad stylistic range” and singers that are “wonderfully talented children,” Brooklyn Youth Chorus didn’t wait for the weather to catch up before taking off on the wings of spring. 

The coming months are full of exciting events for the Chorus including the New York premiere of Christopher Rouse’s Requiem and Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with the New York Philharmonic, Britten’s War Requiem with the Atlanta Symphony, a gala event honoring Bryce Dessner, and a brilliant new collaboration with Brooklyn songstress Julianna Barwick. 

In his March 24 review of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus’s Ecstatic Music Festival performance with saxophonist Colin Stetson, The New York Times’ Steve Smith praised the Chorus as “a consistently bold organization that regularly commissions works from composers representing an unusually broad stylistic range.” Stetson is also a famous musical shapeshifter, renowned equally for his avant-garde artistry and indie rock chops. On this program, the Chorus showed off its range on a world premiere choral piece by Stetson, co-commissioned by BYC and the Ecstatic Music Festival, as well as on new arrangements of songs originally written by Stetson for Bon Iver and of Sarah Neufeld of Arcade Fire’s spectral Breathing Black Ground. The review called out the singers’ “coolly harmonized voices” and artistic director Dianne Berkun, who “deftly coordinated her singers through Ms. Neufeld’s seesawing arcs.”

Just one week later, as part of her review of Kronos Quartet’s 40thAnniversary Concert at Carnegie Hall on March 28, The New York Times’Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim wrote about the “wonderfully talented children” of Brooklyn Youth Chorus before offering this delightful description of their performance: “Aleksandra Vrebalov’s Bubbles opened with the singers emitting ghostly little yelps that ricocheted off the quartet’s stringent harmonies while a vibraphone […] added splashes of bright colors. The texture grew gradually more complex until the tension burst in a chorus of laughter.” The concert was a celebration of Kronos’s unparalleled commissioning legacy, and featured the group’s favorite composers and collaborators.

The coming months are packed with exciting events where the Chorus will link up with new artistic partners like Brooklyn songstress Julianna Barwick and reconnect with some of our favorites including Bryce Dessner and the New York Philharmonic, among others, for beloved masterworks and adventurous new pieces:

  • On April 30, Brooklyn Youth Chorus joins Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony at Carnegie Hall for Britten’s towering choral masterpiece, War Requiem. This comes on the heels of the Chorus’s November 2013 performance with the New York Philharmonic of Britten’s Spring Symphony that was called “a highlight of the Britten year” by The New York Times.
  • The singers reconnect with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic on May 5 to kick-off of the 2014 Spring for Music Festival at Carnegie Hall. They’ll be performing Christopher Rouse’s Requiem, which The Los Angeles Timesdeclared “the first great traditional American Requiem.”
  • Again with the New York Philharmonic, Brooklyn Youth Chorus will perform Mahler’s epic Third Symphony on May 15, 16 & 17 at Avery Fisher Hall under the baton of the legendary Mahlerian, Bernard Haitink.
  • On May 20, the Chorus holds its annual Spring Gala where revelers will be amongst the first to hear excerpts of the ambitious new work co-commissioned by BAM and Brooklyn Youth Chorus for the 2014 Next Wave Festival, alongside works in progress by Nico Muhly, Caroline Shaw and Richard Reed Parry and a performance with artistic honoree, Bryce Dessner.
  • Brooklyn Youth Chorus celebrates its talented young singers at Roulette on June 6 & 7 through its annual training recital series Spring Sings!
  • A new collaboration with Julianna Barwick, one of Brooklyn’s most imaginative singers and a celebrated architect of ethereal soundscapes, caps off the season on June 7 at Roulette. The Chorus will premiere a number of new works written for the occasion by Ms. Barwick, who will also appear as a performer for arrangements of some of what Pitchfork calls her “cathedral-ready songs.”

With another busy season ahead, we look forward to seeing you out there in the brave new world of music, in Brooklyn and beyond!