Press release for Russian Masterpieces Final
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Press release for Russian Masterpieces Final
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
SAN FRANCISCO, December 15, 2015
RAGNAR BOHLIN AND CAPPELLA SF OFFER
"RUSSIAN MASTERPIECES: VOICES STIR THE AIR”
January 17 Concert Features Selections from Rachmaninov’s Beloved All-Night Vigil
In Celebration of Russian “Old New Year”
Grammy Award winning choral director Ragnar Bohlin and his professional vocal
ensemble Cappella SF continue their second season with a concert of classics from the great
tradition of Russian choral music. “Russian Masterpieces: Voice Stir the Air” takes place in San
Francisco’s Mission Dolores Basilica on Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 5 p.m., three days
following the “Old New Year,” an ancient holiday tradition still observed by many Russians on
January 14. The chamber choir presents its winter production after an extraordinary
environmental collaboration with Food & Water Watch in November and the commercial release
of its debut recording. Issued on the Delos label, LIGHT OF GOLD: CAPPELLA SF
CHRISTMAS was featured on Itunes’ “Holiday Music” front page and praised in the December
issue of Gramophone magazine. “Russian Masterpieces” is produced with support from the
Consulate General of the Russian Federation in San Francisco.
“This program was designed to demonstrate the vast riches of Russia's choral literature to
our growing audience,” notes Ragnar Bohlin, founding artistic director of Cappella SF and
Chorus Director of San Francisco Symphony. “The music spans more than three centuries, from
Dmitri Bortnyansky, the 18th
century Orthodox kappelmeister to the Russian tsars, to Catholic-
inspired works by the late contemporary polystylist, Alfred Schnittke. We close the program
with a large segment of Sergei Rachmaninov’s spectacular All-night Vigil. With the superb
voices of Cappella SF as the vehicle for these treasures, audiences will experience an evening of
Deeply shaped by the Russian Orthodox Church, which forbade the use of instruments
and emphasized the clarity of textual rhythms in sacred music, Russian choral music is justly
celebrated for its solemn, majestic grandeur, unique in the literature. Cappella SF’s program
draws from this canon of liturgical music and mixes in recent compositions that, while not
strictly composed for the church, nevertheless reference this tradition. In addition to works by
Bortnyansky (1751-1825), Pavel Chesnokov (1877-1944), Alexander Tikhonovich Gretchaninov
(1864-1956), and Sergej Dimitriev Viluman (b. 1964), the program includes excerpts from
Psalms of Repentance, a celebration of one thousand years of Russian Christianity composed by
Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998) after his conversion to Catholicism. The evening concludes with
the first half of Sergei Rachmaninov’s All Night Vigil, Opus 37, (1873-1943). Sometimes (and
inaccurately) called the “Vespers,” Rachmaninov’s brilliant synthesis of his own peculiar 20th
century romanticism with the ancient chants, modal harmonies and textual accents promoted by
the Russian Nationalist Moscow Synodal School (where the work premiered in 1915) is often
considered the apex of the genre.
The concert takes place on Sunday, January 17 at 5 p.m. at Mission Dolores Basilica,
Street, San Francisco, CA 94114. Concert tickets are $55 VIP seating, $35 general
admission and $15 for students with ID. A reception follows the performance. Tickets may be
purchased at the door or online at www.cappellasf.org.
About Cappella SF
Cappella SF is a professional chamber choir founded by Artistic Director Ragnar Bohlin, Director of the Grammy
Award-winning San Francisco Symphony Chorus. Cappella SF was created to bring the magic of a cappella music
from all stylistic periods to the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond in performances at the highest artistic level.
Members of the ensemble are veterans of the leading professional chorus groups of the San Francisco Bay Area,
including Chanticleer, Philharmonia Baroque Chorale, American Bach Soloists and the choruses of San Francisco
Symphony and San Francisco Opera. Its members teach, lead ensembles and appear as soloists throughout the Bay
Area and beyond. The ensemble’s San Francisco debut performance in February drew standing ovations from a
capacity crowd, prompting a San Francisco Classical Voice critic to write, “I frankly was so captivated by the
performances — above all, the beautiful sound and clear articulation of the parts — that I barely noticed the change
from one composer to another.” The ensemble’s debut recording Light of Gold: Cappella SF Christmas is now
available at www.cappellasf.org, Itunes and Amazon.com.
About Ragnar Bohlin
Ragnar Bohlin was named Chorus Director of the San Francisco Symphony in 2007. He prepares the Chorus for
performances under internationally renowned conductors and has conducted Symphony performances of works
including Orff’s Carmina Burana, Handel's Messiah, Bach's Christmas Oratorio and B Minor Mass
and Poulenc’s Figure Humaine. His outstanding work has been recognized with a Grammy Award for Best Choral
Performance for Mahler's Symphony No. 8 with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony.
Guest conducting engagements have brought him to many parts of the world, including the Sao Paulo Symphony in
Brazil and the Malmö Symphony Orchestra in Sweden. Recent debuts include the Stavanger Symphony and the
Edmonton Symphony in Canada. He has served as guest music director with world renowned men's
ensemble Chanticleer and continues to lead choirs in Sao Paolo and Lund, Sweden.
In 2014 he founded the professional chamber choir Cappella SF in San Francisco, which has already recorded two
albums. Light of Gold: Cappella SF Christmas, the ensemble’s debut recording, is available on line.
In his native Sweden, Mr. Bohlin has worked frequently with The Swedish Radio Choir and conducted them on their
2010 tour of the United States. He has also appeared with the Ericson Chamber Choir and the Opera Chorus of
Stockholm. He was choirmaster of Stockholm's Maria Magdalena Church and appeared regularly on Swedish radio
with the Maria Magdalena Motet Choir and The Maria Vocal Ensemble. Mr. Bohlin toured internationally with his
Swedish choirs, earning prizes in international competitions and distinctions including the prestigious Johannes
Norrby Medal in 2006 for expanding the frontiers of Swedish choral music making.
Mr. Bohlin studied conducting with Jorma Panula and the legendary choir director Eric Ericson, piano with Peter
Feuchtwanger in London, and singing with the great Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda. He holds a masters degree in
organ and a diploma degree in conducting from the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm. Mr. Bohlin is on the
faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In 2013 he was awarded the Swedish America Chamber of
Commerce Cultural Award.
Cappella SF | RUSSIAN MASTERPIECES: VOICES STIR THE AIR
Ragnar Bohlin artistic director
Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 5:00 p.m.
Mission Dolores Basilica
and Dolores Streets
San Francisco, CA 94114
Tickets: $55 VIP/$35 general admission at the door or online
A reception follows the performance.
D.S. Bortnyansky Cherubic Hymn No. 7
P. Chesnokov Salvation is Created
S. Viluman Night, street, light, pharmacy
Grechaninov Our Father
A. Schnittke Psalms of Repentance Nos. 1, 2, 11, 12
S. Rachmaninov “All-night Vigil” Nos. 1-8