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Podcast: Mozart’s spirit pervades students’ monumental performance of Requiem

April 22, 2009

  • Director of Choral Activities Katherine FitzGibbon
  • Cappella Nova
  • Women's Chorus

Evans Hall

In a musical collaboration unlike anything seen at Lewis & Clark in recent decades, two choirs and the orchestra will together perform a concert including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s final masterpiece, the Requiem, in two concerts this weekend.

Following a year of tremendous choral growth, with student participation more than doubling, the Requiem performances will bring together approximately 140 vocal and instrumental performers, including four professional vocal soloists.

Learn more about the growth of the choir in this interview (mp3).

“The Mozart Requiem is one of the great masterpieces of choral-orchestral literature,” Director of Choral Activities Katherine FitzGibbon said. “Orchestra Director George Skipworth and I started talking about building a collaboration like this last year, when I interviewed for this position. We felt that doing the Requiem would provide the right level of challenge for students, where it would stretch them as musicians and yet still be attainable.”

Learn more about the decision to perform the Requiem in this interview (mp3). 

For student musicians, who will perform the Requiem both on campus and in downtown Portland, the challenge is part of the appeal. One reason the choir has grown this year is because of students’ interest in pushing themselves musically, FitzGibbon said. Another draw, according to students, has been FitzGibbon’s passion and the energy she has brought to her first year as choral director.

Hear from a student and listen to rehearsal in this file (mp3). 

“I’ve never been as challenged in a choir,” said junior Ben Larsen, a music performance major and member of the Cappella Nova choir. “The first word that comes to mind when I think of the Requiem is ‘epic.’ When we started it, I thought Kathy was out of her mind, but as the semester progressed, that attitude flew out of the window.”

Mozart’s spirit has pervaded the Department of Music this spring; in addition to the choir and orchestra rehearsals, Mozart has been the focus of Professor of Music Nora Beck’s Exploration & Discovery course this semester. Beck’s students have studied biographies of the composer and discussed the cultural and historical contexts of his work. Beck also encouraged her students to extend their learning experience by getting involved in the production.

Learn more about the history of the Requiem in this story (mp3) from FitzGibbon.

In addition to the Requiem, the concert will also feature Brahms’s Music for Women’s Chorus, Harp, and Two Horns as well as Mahler’s Adagietto. Performances will take place April 24 in Evans Auditorium and April 26 at the First United Methodist Church in Portland. For more information, including ticket prices, please visit the event website.

For more information:

Emily Miller
Public Relations Coordinator
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