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Bethlehem, Pa., April 8, 2008—The Moravian Choir will perform the music of Anton Bruckner on Sunday, April 20, at 4 p.m. in Foy Concert Hall. The program will include his Mass in E minor, a beautiful and passionate setting of the Latin Mass for 8-part chorus and orchestra, as well as repertoire from the Moravian Choir European tour that will commence this May.
Members of the Moravian Choir will be touring Germany, Austria, and Italy and will be singing in several cathedrals, including St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. Repertoire for performances in large cathedrals, such as St. Mark’s, is traditionally unaccompanied. The tour group will perform four of the a cappella pieces they have prepared as part of Sunday’s concert.
Anton Bruckner was born in 1824 in upper Austria. His parents were his first music teachers and performed in the local parish church: his father was an organist and his mother was a singer. Bruckner showed signs of great musical ability as early as the age of four, but the depth of his ability did not appear until well into the fourth decade of his life, and he did not become a renowned organist and composer until his 50s and 60s. Bruckner died quietly of natural causes in his home in Vienna in 1896, leaving his ninth symphony unfinished.
Although he is mostly known for his symphonies, Bruckner wrote many beautiful small-scale religious works for organ and for chorus and three large choral-orchestral masses. His second mass, the Mass in E minor, was completed in 1866 and performed outside the Linz Cathedral in September 1869. The Mass is unique in its scoring and musical style and unlike Bruckner's other masses, its eight-part mixed chorus is accompanied by a wind ensemble. In addition, the Mass demonstrates an unusual musical style, combining the delicate, multi-voiced vocal writing of the Italian Renaissance with the rich harmonic language of the 19th century.
The Moravian Choir is under the direction of Paula Zerkle, who joined the College music department as an assistant professor in August 1994. In addition to directing the choral ensembles, Zerkle teaches conducting, women in music, musicianship, and vocal techniques and is a frequent guest conductor and clinician for choral festivals and workshops in Pennsylvania and surrounding areas. She is also the faculty advisor to Delta Omicron, an international music honors fraternity. Zerkle is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with a B.A. in Music and French. She received two M.M. degrees in choral and orchestral conducting from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and has a doctorate in choral music from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
Concert admission is $15/$10 and the public is welcome. Foy Concert Hall is located on Moravian College’s Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus, near Main and Church Streets in historic downtown Bethlehem, Pa. For more information, call the Music Department at 610 861 1350.