The Cleveland Museum of Art’s VIVA! & Gala Performing Arts Series presents one of Europe’s foremost vocal groups, Theatre of Voices led by Paul Hillier on Wednesday, February 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the museum’s Gartner Auditorium.
In a program entitled Arvo Pärt—Creator Spiritus, Theatre of Voices will feature the serenely beautiful choral music of prominent Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. Pärt’s spare and deeply moving sacred music appeared prominently in the west after the demise of the Soviet state, and yet sounds like music we have known for centuries. Pärt works in a style influenced by Gregorian chant and his musical compositions often have a slow and meditative tempo, exhibiting a minimalist approach to both notation and performance. Included in Creator Spiritus is a selection of music from other composers including Guillaume de Machaut, John Dunstable, Kevin Volans and Pelle Gudmundsen Holmgreen. The concert also prominently features organist Christopher Bowers-Broadbent as special guest artist.
Theatre of Voices, founded by Paul Hillier over twenty years ago, is recognized as a stellar vocal group that performs a wide variety of musical selections ranging from earlier works by artists like Perotin, a composer from the 12th century and John Dowland, an English Renaissance composer, to many of today’s most eminent composers like Berio, Pärt, Reich, Cage and Stockhausen. In the past few years, the group has toured extensively including Australia, the United States and throughout Europe. The group’s most recent CDs include Cries of London (English renaissance music), Stockhausen’s Stimmung (the Copenhagen version) and David Lang’s Little Match Girl Passion (received a Grammy Award in 2010 for Best Small Ensemble), and Stories (Berio et al).Theatre of Voices has also released Buxtehude’s Scandinavian Cantatas – a work exploring rarely heard works with texts in Swedish and La!
tin and the first in a series of five CDs.
Paul Hillier studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and throughout his career has engaged in singing, conducting, and writing about music. He was founding director of the Hilliard Ensemble, and subsequently founded Theatre of Voices. Hillier was Principal Conductor of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (2001-2007) and has been Chief Conductor of Ars Nova Copenhagen since 2003. In 2008 he became Chief Conductor of the National Chamber Choir of Ireland and was appointed artistic director of the Coro Casa da Música in Porto.
Hillier’s recordings which amout to over a hundred CDs including seven solo recitals, have earned worldwide acclaim and won numerous prizes. In 2007 he received the Order of the White Star of Estonia, and was awarded a Grammy Award for Best Choral Recording. He received another Grammy Award in 2010 for the David Lang CD The Little Match Girl Passion. Hillier is currently nominated (his seventh nomination in nine years) for a 2012 Grammy Award with Ars Nova Copenhagen and music by Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen. In 2006 he was awarded an OBE for services to choral music.
Recently, Hillier was artist in residence at Yale University’s Institute for Sacred Music, appeared at the Springfield Music Lecture at Rhodes College, Memphis, and performed at Lincoln Centre, the Royal Opera in Copenhagen, the Barbican Centre in London and the Perth International Arts Festival in Australia.
Hillier has authored books about Arvo Pärt and Steve Reich, in addition to numerous anthologies of choral music. He has taught in the United States at the University of California campuses at Santa Cruz and Davis, and from 1996-2003 was Director of the Early Music Institute at Indiana University.
Tickets to Theatre of Voices: Arvo Pärt—Creator Spiritus are $41, $37; CMA members $40, $36. Group and student rates are available. Pending availability, students may purchase “Pay What You Can” tickets at the door for any VIVA! & Gala performance. Tickets are available through the museum’s online box office or by phone at 216-421-7350 or 888-CMA-0033.