Kantorei is thrilled to announce that it has named Joel M. Rinsema as its new Artistic Director. The national search was led by a 9-person committee that included several founding members of the ensemble, and was the result of the retirement of founding Artistic Director Richard Larson.
“The search committee is wholly excited by the many strengths that Joel will bring to the role of Artistic Director of Kantorei,” said Search Committee Chair, Kevin Gunnerson. “We were impressed with Joel’s artistic merits and found him to be a natural fit into the community spirit that makes Kantorei so unique. We are thrilled to have him leading the ensemble into the future."
Rinsema has served as the Assistant Conductor and President & CEO of the Grammy-winning Phoenix Chorale for the past 14 years. He first joined the Phoenix Chorale as a singer in 1992. A frequent featured tenor soloist, Rinsema has appeared on all of the Phoenix Chorale recordings, which have earned the Phoenix Chorale a total of eight Grammy nominations and two Grammy wins. The Phoenix Chorale is led by internationally renowned Conductor & Artistic Director Charles Bruffy. As Assistant Conductor, Rinsema assisted in all aspects of artistic planning and leadership, leading rehearsals and conducting the Chorale in Bruffy’s absence, and helping program the repertoire each season.
“It is an honor to be offered this opportunity, and I am excited to be leading a choral ensemble of Kantorei’s artistic caliber,” said Rinsema. “They have experienced great artistic success over the past 17 years, and I look forward to building on that success to create a bright future for the entire organization.”
“We see in Joel an ability to take Kantorei to the next level artistically while using his vast experience to help us mature as an organization,” said Kantorei Board President, Brad Larson. “We are extremely excited to have him on board.”
Rinsema will commute weekly from Phoenix where he will continue in his role as President & CEO of the Phoenix Chorale, but relinquish his artistic duties as Assistant Conductor and singer for the ensemble. Kantorei’s contract with Rinsema is for an initial three-year term, taking him through the ensemble’s 20th Anniversary Season in 2017. His debut with Kantorei will be on their May 2014 concerts, and he will commence his position effective July 1, 2014.
Kantorei joins Musica Sacra Chamber Orchestra once again for a peek at Eternity, through the music of American composer Morten Lauridsen. "Lux Aeterna," Lauridsen says, was the single most difficult piece he ever wrote, working through the pain of losing his mother. But great beauty is always born through great struggle, a solemn and powerful thought when pondering Eternity. Both Kantorei and Music Sacra Chamber Orchestra will be featured separately, then join together for the wonderful "Lux Aeterna," light eternal.
Tickets for the performance are $24 Adults, $15 Seniors, $15 Students, and $8 for children ages 5-12. All tickets may be purchased online through the Augustana Arts website, or at the door the night of the concert.
We look forward to sharing this wonderful evening with you!
Kantorei ushered in the holiday season with its concert series titled "Northern Lights", performed in front of wonderful and enthusiastic audiences at Saint John's Cathedral and Christ the King Catholic Church. The perfomance featured several beloved carols in addition to a new composition, "Northern Lights" -- an ethereal, beautiful, and magically-written work by Eriks Esenvalds.
TheScen3.org reviewer Robin McNeil was on hand and wrote of the performance, "The blend of the choir, influenced by the scattered placement of different voices throughout, was excellent. The dynamic range that [Interim Conductor Sarah Harrison] achieved from this fifty-two voice choir was superb."
In the featured work "Northern Lights", Latvian-born and internationally awarded young composer Eriks Esenvalds sets the music to depict the experience of witnessing the stunning and breath-taking aurora borealis first-hand. Of the work, McNeil writes that the piece "was absolutely outstanding...This is a very descriptive piece, and Justin Kerr, the tenor soloist from the choir, was spectacular in performance. "
Thank you to all who shared these performances with us, and to reviewer Robin McNeil for your kind words about the performance. All of us at Kantorei wish you the happiest of holiday seasons! See you in 2014!
Tuesday, December 10th was Colorado Gives Day! Colorado Gives Day is an initiative to increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. Presented by Community First Foundation and FirstBank, Colorado Gives Day took place during a 24-hour period on Tuesday, December 10, 2013. Donations will still be accepted through ColoradoGives.org with a goal to inspire and unite Coloradans in supporting hundreds of local nonprofits.
Colorado Gives Day is an annual event that asks you to give to your favorite charities through the website ColoradoGives.org, an online giving resource featuring every nonprofit participating in Colorado Gives Day. On this website we share our goals, accomplishments and much more. While the focus occurs on Colorado Gives Day, the site can accept donations year round.
Donate online at www.ColoradoGives.org/Kantorei.org any time to “give where you live!” We thank you for your support of Kantorei and the choral arts in Denver!
Kantorei is thrilled to announce the selection of Sarah Harrison as Interim Director for the 2013-2014 concert season. Harrison, a former Kantorei member, is also the conductor of the Cherry Creek High School Meistersingers, a group with significant ties to Richard Larson, Kantorei, and several of its founding members. Harrison follows Larson as Kantorei's second conductor; Larson also taught at Cherry Creek from 1982 to 1995, where he conducted the Meistersingers for 13 years and first taught several of the founding members of Kantorei.
Ms. Harrison is in her eighth year teaching choir and AP Music Theory at Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village. Under her direction, choirs have appeared at several regional and state conventions. Prior to Cherry Creek, Harrison opened and spent five years at Silver Creek Middle/Senior High School in Longmont, CO. Harrison will conduct Kantorei for the entirety of the 2013-2014 concert season, while the group completes a search for a permanent Artistic Director and Conductor to begin in July, 2014.
In a significant and emotional farewell performance, former Kantorei Artistic Director and Conductor Richard Larson led his final performances with Kantorei May 17th and 18th in Denver. The concert featured a heart-felt program featuring serveral of Larson's personal favorite choral works over the years, works written by some of his closest friends and the world's most prolific composers, including Eric Whitacre, René Clausen, and Morten Lauridsen. Highlights from the program included two of Clausen's pieces: Tonight, Eternity Alone and Prayer; Whitacre's Alleluia; and Lauridsen's La Rose Complete and Dirait-On.
Kantorei members pay tribute to Dick Larson and discuss what he has meant to them and to the choir
Throughout the concert, Kantorei members old and new spoke about Larson and the enduring legacy he leaves for the choir. Several of Larson's peers in the choral music world shared their well wishes remotely, with letters read from René Clausen, Eric Whitacre, Philip Brunelle, Anton Armstrong, Simon Carrington, Bradley Ellingboe, and Eric William Barnum.
At the conclusion of the performance, Larson was named Artistic Director and Conductor Emeritus by the Kantorei Board of Directors. Kantorei alumni were invited to the stage, and Larson completed his tenure by conducting Gustav Holst's Nunc Dimittis, a signature piece for the group for several years.
To our founding conductor, Richard Larson: thank you for endless passion and tireless dedication to making music at the highest levels. You have made Kantorei the ensemble and family it is today. We will miss you dearly, and count ourselves lucky to continue to call you friend and mentor.