With Choral Artists of Sarasota’s upcoming 41st season, there are at least two special anniversaries to celebrate: the 50th year since the founding of Earth Day, and the 90th birthday of composer Stephen Sondheim. The season, dubbed “Encounter!,” will also explore musical traditions of world religions and collaborate with other area arts groups, including Sarasota Contemporary Dance, Sarasota Young Voices, and the Venice Symphony’s percussion section, to give new life to Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, featuring original choreography by Leymis Bolaños Wilmott.
The six-concert season, under the artistic direction of Dr. Joseph Holt, commences Nov. 16 at First United Methodist Church with “One World, Many Voices,” showcasing hymns, chants and spiritual music from various faiths. Organist Ann Stephenson-Moe is joined by a professional instrumental ensemble as well as the choral group.
The holidays are celebrated with guest conductor Todd Craven leading the ensemble on brass and organ music including Christmas Cantata by Daniel Pinkham and the Sarasota premiere of Eja! Eja! by James Grant. That concert takes place Dec. 22 at Church of the Redeemer.
Broadway legend Sondheim receives his due with music from his hits including Company, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd and Sunday in the Park with George. Soloist Ann Morrison (handpicked by Sondheim for her role in the original production of his Merrily We Roll Along) is joined by Ben Pattison and Matthew Nall on Jan. 18 at the Riverview Performing Arts Center.
The Carmina Burana experience featuring that partnership with Sarasota Contemporary Dance, Sarasota Young Voices and Venice Symphony takes place Feb. 22 and 23 at Venice Performing Arts Center. Soloists Catherine Wethington, Luis Gonzalez and John Kaneklides join Choral Artists singers as well here.
The world premiere of composer James Grant’s choral cantata, Listen to the Earth, celebrates Earth Day, using texts inspired by the writings of astronauts and ecological writings by John Muir and Robert W. Service. The piece was commissioned by Choral Artists, which welcomes baritone soloist Marcus DeLoach to the Sarasota Opera House, April 19.
The traditional final concert of the season celebrates our country’s Independence Day with “choral fireworks” in “American Fanfare,” July 4 at the Sarasota Opera House.
For more information, visit choralartistssarasota.org or call 387-4900.