Performance Sunday, February 5, 2012 | 3 PM

The Carmina Burana Choral Project

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
A choir of New York City students joins conductor David Robertson and the Orchestra of St. Luke's for a definitive performance of Orff's Carmina Burana. In addition, three high school–aged composers have been selected to write new works for chorus and orchestra based on the musical themes of Carmina Burana. These new works will be premiered on the first half of the program.


  • Orchestra of St. Luke's
    David Robertson, Conductor
  • Celena Shafer, Soprano
  • Lawrence Brownlee
  • David Adam Moore, Baritone
  • Joe Miller
  • Leslie Stifelman
  • Dianne Berkun, Choral Preparer
  • S. Katy Tucker, Video and Projection Design
  • Nicole Pearce, Lighting Designer
  • Brooklyn High School of the Arts
  • Brooklyn Technical High School
  • Fordham High School for the Arts
  • Forest Hills High School
  • Fort Hamilton High School
  • Frank Sinatra School of the Arts
  • Mark Twain I.S. 239 for the Gifted & Talented
  • Scarsdale High School
  • Songs of Solomon


  • GABRIEL SMALLWOOD "Dies Irae" (World Premiere, commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
  • THOMAS REEVES "A Man's Life" (World Premiere, commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
  • ANTHONY CONSTANTINO "Thus It Was" (World Premiere, commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
  • CARL ORFF Carmina Burana


  • Orchestra of St. Luke's

    Now in its 37th year, Orchestra of St. Luke's (OSL) is one of America's foremost and most versatile ensembles. Dedicated to engaging audiences throughout New York City and beyond, OSL performs approximately 70 orchestral, chamber, and educational concerts each year-including an annual orchestra series at Carnegie Hall, an annual chamber music series at The Morgan Library & Museum and Brooklyn Museum, and summer concerts as orchestra-in-residence at the Caramoor International Music Festival. OSL's principal conductor is Pablo Heras-Casado.

    OSL collaborates regularly with the world's great artists, such as Renée Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, Jessye Norman, Anna Netrebko, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Mark Morris Dance Group, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Elton John, and many more. Committed to community building, OSL produces free concerts in each of the five boroughs through its annual Subway Series, and has engaged more than one million children in its arts education programs. OSL's stellar discography of more than 70 recordings includes four acclaimed releases on its own label, St. Luke's Collection, and four Grammy Award-winning recordings.

    In March 2011, OSL opened The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, its first permanent home, and New York City's first rehearsal and recording facility dedicated to classical music. Located at 450 West 37th Street, The DiMenna Center's building is also home to Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC). The Center has already hosted thousands of musicians from a wide range of ensembles and serves as the venue for OSL's new free concert series OSL@DMC, which connects the public to the artistic process of composers and musicians.

    David Robertson

    A consummate musician, masterful programmer, and dynamic presence, David Robertson has established himself as one of today's most sought-after American conductors. A passionate and compelling communicator with an extensive knowledge of orchestral and operatic repertoire, he has forged close relationships with major orchestras around the world through his exhilarating music making and stimulating ideas. In fall 2011, Mr. Robertson embarked on his seventh season as music director of the 132-year-old St. Louis Symphony, while continuing as principal guest conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, a post he has held since 2005.

    Highlights of Mr. Robertson's 2011-2012 season with the St. Louis Symphony include the world premiere of Steven Mackey's piano concerto Stumble to Grace, as well as the orchestra's eighth consecutive annual appearance at Carnegie Hall. His guest engagements in the US include performances with the Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle symphony orchestras, as well as with the New York Philharmonic. Internationally, Mr. Robertson's guest engagements include performances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, as well as several concerts with the BBC Symphony. In May, Mr. Robertson returns to the Metropolitan Opera to conduct Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd. In addition to his fresh interpretations of traditional repertoire, this season he also conducts world premieres of works by Graham Fitkin, John Cage, Klaas de Vries, Yann Robin, and Michael Jarrell.

    Born in Santa Monica, California, Mr. Robertson was educated at London's Royal Academy of Music, where he studied French horn and composition before turning to orchestral conducting.

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  • Celena Shafer

    Utah native Celena Shafer launched her career at the Santa Fe Opera as Ismene in Mozart's Mitridate, re di Ponto, and has since appeared with opera companies and orchestras throughout North America and Europe, collaborating with the leading conductors of today. Ms. Shafer performs each season with the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, where she debuted as Adele in Die Fledermaus and returns this season as Gilda in Rigoletto. She also returns to the Phoenix Symphony to sing Handel's Messiah. Ms. Shafer made her Carnegie Hall debut with the Orchestra of St. Luke's in Mozart's Requiem and has returned as Magnolia in a benefit performance of Showboat, the roles of Fire/Princess/Nightingale in Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges with the New York Philharmonic, and most recently as the title role in Stravinsky's Le rossignol with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

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  • Lawrence Brownlee

    Lawrence Brownlee is lauded for his voice's beauty and effortless technical agility, along with his dynamic and engaging dramatic skills. Mr. Brownlee began the 2011-2012 season with Houston Grand Opera in his dazzling and noted interpretation of Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia. Further performances this season include debuts at Carnegie Hall and the Rheingau Musik Festival (Carmina Burana), Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Il viaggio a Reims), The Dutch Opera (Il turco in Italia), and Bavarian State Opera (La Cenerentola). He makes first appearances with the Russian National Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke's, and HR-Sinfonieorchester. Mr. Brownlee also offers recitals in Cleveland; San Sebastián, Spain; and Cape Town, South Africa, and makes returns to the Metropolitan Opera as Tonio in La fille du régiment, Vienna State Opera as Elvino in La sonnambula, and Tivoli Festival as Nadir in Les pêcheurs de perles. Mr. Brownlee has sung with the world's major opera companies and symphonies, including Teatro alla Scala, Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Washington National Opera, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Festspiele Baden-Baden, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. In addition to the bel canto roles with which he is most closely associated, his repertory ranges from Handel and Mozart to contemporary works by Daniel Catán and Lorin Maazel.

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  • David Adam Moore

    David Adam Moore's engagements this season include performances as Catesby and Rivers in Battistelli's Richard III (Grand Théâtre de Genève), Silvio in Pagliacci and in Carmina Burana (New Orleans Opera), and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte (Austin Lyric Opera). His recent operatic engagements include Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Teatro alla Scala); Maximilian in Candide (Teatro alla Scala, Théâtre du Châtelet, and Tokyo Opera); the title role in Billy Budd and Marcello in La bohème (Pittsburgh Opera); Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia (Staatsoper Hannover); Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles; Guglielmo in Così fan tutte (Seattle, Arizona, and Palm Beach operas); Prior Walter in Angels in America (Fort Worth Opera); Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas (Glimmerglass Opera); Ned Keene in Peter Grimes (New Israeli Opera); the title role of Don Giovanni (Staatsoper Hannover); Papageno in Die Zauberflöte (New York City Opera); and Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette (San Diego Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Utah Opera). Mr. Moore's concert engagements include performances as Jesus in The Apostles (Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra); Orff's Carmina Burana (St. Louis Symphony); Vaughan Williams's Dona nobis pacem (Utah Symphony); and as Carlos in The Stone Guest (American Symphony Orchestra).

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  • Joe Miller

    Joe Miller is conductor of the Westminster Symphonic Choir and the Westminster Choir-two of America's most renowned choral ensembles. As director of choral activities at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, he also oversees an extensive choral program that includes eight ensembles. His recordings with the Westminster Choir have garnered critical praise. His debut CD, Flower of Beauty, was hailed by American Record Guide; Noël, a collection of French Christmas music, earned five stars from Choir & Organ magazine. Dr. Miller is also founder and conductor of the Westminster Chamber Choir, a program that offers professional-level choral and vocal artists the opportunity to explore challenging works for two weeks each summer on the Westminster campus in Princeton.

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  • Leslie Stifelman

    Leslie Stifelman is the music director and conductor for Chicago, the longest-running American musical in Broadway history. A distinguished performer and entertainment executive in both the non-profit and for-profit arenas, Ms. Stifelman has a diverse career as an executive director, executive producer, music director, conductor, pianist, producer, and consultant; her work spans the world of music through performances, recordings, television, and films, extending from the concert hall to Broadway. Her projects have been awarded the highest honors in the arts and media, including the Peabody, Grammy, and Tony awards, and her concert and recording career spans more than three decades, including collaborations with some of the world's most esteemed orchestras, performers, choreographers, directors, and recording companies. She is further distinguished as a prolific creator of award-winning music-education initiatives and community partnerships for HBO, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Concordia Orchestra, and many other non-profit organizations that include concert and television programming, recordings, master classes, professional development programs, community engagement partnerships, and arts and education resource assessments. Ms. Stifelman is in her third year of supervising the student choirs for the Weill Music Institute's creative learning projects.

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  • Dianne Berkun

    Dianne Berkun is the founder and artistic director of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus (BYC). Ms. Berkun has prepared choruses for performances with acclaimed orchestras and conductors, including Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Marin Alsop, James Levine, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Under her leadership, BYC performed with the New York Philharmonic in the world premiere and recording of John Adams's On the Transmigration of Souls, which won a Grammy Award in 2005. Ms. Berkun has also prepared BYC for performances and recordings with artists such as Sir Elton John, Lou Reed, Philip Glass, Grizzly Bear, John Legend, Natasha Bedingfield, and Alicia Keys. Ms. Berkun is active as a guest conductor and clinician for organizations such as the New York Philharmonic, New York University, NYSSMA, American Choral Directors Association, and the New York City Department of Education. She is the co-creator of BYC's groundbreaking Cross-Choral Training program, an innovative approach to group voice and musicianship training. Ms. Berkun earned her bachelor's degree from New York University. She studied conducting and theory at Mannes College The New School for Music, holds a diploma in the Kodály Concept from the University of Calgary, and earned an artist-teacher diploma from the CME Institute.



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  • S. Katy Tucker

    S. Katy Tucker has designed video and projections previously at Carnegie Hall for Show Boat directed by Francesca Zambello. Her most recent projects are Götterdämmerung for Ms. Zambello's Ring cycle at San Francisco Opera, and Paul McCartney and Peter Martins's Ocean's Kingdom for New York City Ballet. Ms. Tucker began her career as a painter and installation artist. Her work has grown to span other disciplines, including opera, theater, and dance, at such venues as the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC, Artist's Space in New York, Wolf Trap Opera, Brooklyn Academy of Music, North Carolina Opera, The Kitchen, and Joyce Theater, as well as collaborations with musicians such as John Zorn, Paola Prestini, Felipe Perez Santiago, and Jeffrey Ziegler. Ms. Tucker gratefully acknowledges the role James Marvel played as a dramaturgical advisor for this performance.



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  • Nicole Pearce

    Lighting designer Nicole Pearce has worked on productions at Cherry Lane Theatre, LAByrinth Theater Company, The New Group, Ma-Yi Theatre Company, The Mint Theater Company, The Play Company, 37 Arts, and Williamstown Theatre Festival, collaborating with such directors as Edward Albee, Trip Cullman, Leigh Silverman, Maria Mileaf, and B. J. Jones. Her dance projects have included 10 works with Mark Morris, six works with Aszure Barton, and collaborations with Robert Battle, Jessica Lang, Larry Keigwin, Andrea Miller, David Parker, Hinton Battle, and Christopher Huggins, as well as with the Joffrey Ballet, Boston Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Philadelphia Dance Company, Introdans, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Netherlands Dance Theater.

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  • Brooklyn High School of the Arts | Avid Williams, Choral Director

    The Brooklyn High School of the Arts vocal department is designed to develop the singer as a complete artist who can audition for any arts university in the world. Students participate in a rigorous course of study that combines music theory and vocal production. Repertoire includes classical, ethnic, folk, and pop music styles. There is an emphasis on choral music, with additional studying of solo singing in Italian, French, German, English, and Russian. The chorus received first place in the 2011 Brooklyn Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble Festival and a gold medal at the 2010 NYSSMA Festival. It has performed at Shea Stadium, Boston's Heritage Festival, the National Chorale High School Choral Invitational, Bronx Zoo, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and the Museum of Modern Art. Its guest conductors have included René Clausen, Jeffrey Redding, and Lillian Roberts-Ogbuefi. Through the leadership of Avid Williams, graduates of this program have studied music at Morehouse College, Nyack College, SUNY Plattsburgh, University of Bridgeport, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Upcoming performances include the chorus's Brooklyn Philharmonic debut and the first annual Urban Choral Music Symposium in Philadelphia.

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  • Brooklyn Technical High School | Jim DiBenedetto, Choral Director

    Opened in 1922, Brooklyn Technical High School has always maintained its status as one of New York's most prestigious public high schools. Continuing its long and distinguished history (including two Nobel laureates among its alumni) into the 21st century, its mission is to inspire and challenge its students to maximize their talents for the benefit of society. In addition to its renowned training in engineering, technology, science, and mathematics, Tech places significant emphasis on the humanities. Under the direction of Jim DiBenedetto since 1985, the Tech choral program, involving over 250 students each semester, has performed both large-scale classical choral masterworks (including those of Haydn, Mendelssohn, Handel, Brahms, Mozart, Fauré, Vivaldi, and Dvořák) and smaller works from all periods and styles. The Select Chorus had a previous Carnegie Hall engagement in 2008, singing Ives's General Booth Enters Into Heaven with the New York Youth Symphony Orchestra. Other collaborations have included appearances with singer-songwriter Peter Yarrow in 2009. The Select Chorus has won 10 consecutive level-six Gold Medals at the annual statewide NYSSMA Festival. The chorus has been featured on NY1 and WB11.

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  • Fordham High School for the Arts | John Irving, Choral Director

    Fordham High School for the Arts is a school community whose focus on the performing arts assists students in meeting both their creative and academic goals. Located in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx, FHSA recognizes the demand for artistically talented students to attend a local high school that offers a strong instructional program in vocal music, instrumental music, dance, drama, and the visual arts. Students complete a four-year, standards-based program designed to prepare them for pursuing the arts or any other academic discipline at an institution of higher learning. The award-winning vocal music program, under the direction of John Irving, consistently receives superior ratings at the NYSSMA Festival and performs regularly in the community, having participated in past creative learning projects of Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute.

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  • Forest Hills High School | Robert Koch, Choral Director

    Forest Hills High School was dedicated in 1937. In June 1998, President Bill Clinton cited FHHS's "academic and extra-curricular excellence"; it became one of only 124 "Blue Ribbon" schools nationwide. Commonly known as Rock 'n' Roll High, Forest Hills has also been a home for such musical icons as Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, Tatiana Troyanos, Ronnie Earl, The Ramones, Leslie West, and Burt Bacharach. The Performing Arts Academy was introduced six years ago to continue the legacy of outstanding graduating musicians, stressing the need for equally high academic success, citizenship, leadership, and personal integrity. The vocal program within the Performing Arts Academy begins with two freshman pedagogy classes, a women's chorus, and the concert choir performing today. The concert choir has strong working relationships with the National Chorale, Lincoln Center, and Queens College (CUNY), and is excited to add Carnegie Hall to that list.



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  • Fort Hamilton High School | Robert Lanaghan, Choral Director

    The Fort Hamilton High School Concert Chorus, under the direction of Robert Lanaghan and with the support of Principal Jo Ann Chester, sings a varied repertoire of music, from large scale choral works to Broadway show tunes. The Concert Chorus annually participates in Festival Disney, where it received a "superior" rating last year. The ensemble has also received a gold medal at the NYSSMA Festival. The Concert Chorus has a close relationship with the National Chorale, participating in its yearly High School Choral Festival. The National Chorale also sponsored the Concert Chorus in a grant-funded after-school program from the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development. The Concert Chorus has performed Mozart's Requiem and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, both with Brooklyn College. They were also the chorus in a production of Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, performed by the Remarkable Theater Brigade. The Concert Chorus is no stranger to new music, having premiered original works by Christian McLeer.

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  • Frank Sinatra School of the Arts | Heidi Best, Choral Director

    The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts is a public school founded by singer
    Tony Bennett. Under the direction of Heidi Best, the FSSA Concert Choir has proudly shared the stage with Mr. Bennett and has performed in many venues around New York City, including Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, Alice Tully Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History. The group also has performed for the Governor's Arts Awards, Americans for the Arts ceremonies, the Dave Matthews Band's Central Park Concert, morning news programs, and The Tyra Banks Show. Several FSSA students have performed in the NYSSMA All-State Choir, have been finalists in several young artists competitions, and have participated in the New York City Opera Acting for Singers seminar. Many FSSA singers participate in The Collegiate Chorale's Side-by-Side program, performing large choral masterworks with internationally renowned singers, conductors, and orchestras on domestic and international stages.



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  • Mark Twain I.S. 239 for the Gifted & Talented | Jeanne Cascio, Choral Director

    Located in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, Mark Twain Intermediate School 239 for the Gifted & Talented opened as a magnet school in September 1975. Its mission is to empower students as life-long learners, where faculty, students, and families are engaged in the educational process. Incoming students test for a particular talent area, which is considered a major subject. Both experienced and beginner students are admitted to the school based on the aptitude tests. The school boasts 12 talents, ranging from visual and performing arts to academic talents and athletics. Taught by Jeanne Cascio since 2008, the Vocal Talent classes focus on musicianship skills, vocal technique, and performing a variety of repertoire. Students have studied and performed pieces by Mozart and Mendelssohn, as well as The Beatles and South African folk music. The school's Concert Choir received a gold medal at the NYSSMA Festival. The students are thrilled to be making their Carnegie Hall debuts.

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  • Scarsdale High School | John Cuk, Choral Director

    Scarsdale High School Chamber Choir, now in its 11th year of existence, has performed at such diverse venues as Carnegie Hall, Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki, Teatro Rivoli in Sicily, the International Youth Orchestra Festival in Lucca, and Música sin Edad in Buenos Aires. It has performed in Italy, Argentina, Russia, Finland, and Estonia. At home, the choir has garnered festival awards, with repertoire that varies from the early Renaissance to contemporary works. The members of the choir are selected from the larger choirs at Scarsdale and boast alumni at some of the most prestigious music schools and universities throughout the United States. John Cuk, conductor, has been the director of choirs at Scarsdale for 11 years, and director or assistant director of the orchestra for 10 years. He is also the choral conductor at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. Mr. Cuk is in demand as a conductor, coach, pianist, and recitalist. He performs frequently with singers from the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera, and instrumentalists in chamber music recitals.



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  • Songs of Solomon | Chantel Wright, Choral Director

    Songs of Solomon: An Inspirational Ensemble, founded in 2001 by veteran conductor Chantel Wright, remains true to its mission to serve the world community through its music. Professor Wright is a firm believer that arts education stimulates children spiritually and intellectually, and builds the family through its commitment to a child's development. Songs of Solomon's membership bridges all ethnicities from the tri-state area, being a safe haven in which all young people can flourish. For the past four years, 100% of its members have entered college and 50% are now pursing advanced degrees in the arts. Songs of Solomon has performed with Earth, Wind & Fire; Carole King, Sir Elton John, and Aretha Franklin, and recently participated in the National High School Choral Festival at Carnegie Hall. The ensemble's repertoire spans opera to contemporary gospel. It has won numerous competitions in the metropolitan area, and continues to serve in churches, corporate settings, and major performance venues.



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At a Glance

Carmina Burana is one of the most cherished choral works in the repertoire, and its thunderous percussion and stirring melodies make it an ideal piece for young choirs. This year’s Carmina Burana Choral Project is the latest collaboration between Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute and students from around the New York City area. More than 400 student singers—including, for the first time, 35 middle schoolers—perform during today’s performance of Carmina Burana and three new related works commissioned by Carnegie Hall from some of the country’s brightest high school composers.

The Carmina Burana Choral Project was designed with the help of maestro David Robertson, who leads the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in this afternoon’s concert. As with other creative learning projects, including last year’s Too Hot to Handel: The Gospel Messiah and 2008’s Bernstein Mass Project, the goal is to raise student performances to a professional level with the assistance of professional orchestras, conductors, soloists, and production staff. The Carmina Burana Choral Project also includes original video projections by artist S. Katy Tucker, who fulfills Orff’s desire for his Carmina Burana to be a true spectacle of music and art.
Program Notes
The Carmina Burana Choral Project is generously underwritten by Martha and Bob Lipp.

Made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts.

The Carmina Burana Choral Project is also made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for choral music established by S. Donald Sussman in memory of Judith Arron and Robert Shaw.