I am delighted to announce that Ensemble Concept/21 has invited the Euclid Quartet, Kosmologia, and the Notre Dame Children’s Choir to premiere the oratorios The Tower and the Garden by Gregory Spears and Beatitudes by Jorge Muñiz, under my direction, next Friday, May 10, at 7 pm, in the Campus Auditorium of Indiana University South Bend. This project joins together two important sponsors of creativity in this country– The New Frontiers Program at Indiana University, and the Ann Stookey Fund For New Music.
The Ann Stookey Fund for New Music is well on its way to becoming one the historic sponsors of great choral music in the United States. It supported the creation of American composer Robert Kyr’s oratorio Paradiso, commissioned and premiered by Notre Dame Vocale for their 2016 sacred music drama “Journeying La Divina Commedia”, and it has more recently supported the creation of a new oratorio on texts by Catholic poets, by American composer Gregory Spears. Titled The Tower and The Garden, the work was commissioned by a consortium composed of Grammy-winning conductor Donald Nally, (and his ensemble The Crossing), Mark Shapiro (Cantori New York), Robert Geary (Volti San Francisco) and myself for Notre Dame Vocale. In The Tower and The Garden, Gregory Spears collects the words of several Catholic poets to remind us that we are destroying the garden that was bestowed upon us by God.
As a companion to The Tower and The Garden, Jorge Muñiz composed hi oratorio Beatitudes, a response consisting of teachings and consolations collected in the Sermon of the Mount, as stated in the Gospel of Matthew, with commentaries supplied by some of the many organizations doing social work in the South Bend and Michiana area. Jorge Muñiz comes to the project after the wonderful success of his opera Fuenteovejuna in Spain.
The participating artists have co-created an interdisciplinary concept, including choreographer Colin Raybin, projections designer Camilla Tassi, and lighting designer Noch Sikorki, to offer an immersive and beautiful musical meditation on the challenges of our times and the hopes for the future of our children.