Kent Tritle is the Choral Director for the 2012–2013 National High School Choral Festival. He will be working with 160 high school singers and their directors over the course of the next year leading up to a performance of Mozart’s Requiem in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage on April 20, 2013, with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and conductor John Nelson. In advance of our application deadline on April 2, 2012, we caught up with Kent and asked him what he listens for when he hears a choir for the first time.
The first thing I listen for are the fundamentals—the Three Ts:
I listen for the warmth of sound, a well-supported foundation for the sound, and whether I can hear a column of air supporting the voice.
If a choir sings their material in tune, I get a sense of their priorities.
You can tell a lot by the rhythmic integrity of a choir: both that they are accurately singing the written music and that they have envisioned a larger musical whole with phrasing and energy.Once you have those three things in place, it’s ultimately about:
Choral music is one part sound and one part text. I want to hear the engagement of the imagination of the singers to the meaning of the text.These four fundamentals need to be there in order to get the power and the message of the music.
Don't forget to send in your applications by April 2, 2012!
Related Content:2012–2013 National High School Choral Festival
Photo by Jennifer Taylor.