‘Tis the season

Music ensembles to present concerts throughout December

The Department of Music in Arts & Sciences will conclude its fall season with a host of December concerts.

The Concert Choir of Washington University — under the direction of John Stewart, director of vocal activities — will perform works composed across six centuries at 8 p.m. today in Graham Chapel. The performance will be dedicated to former choir member William R. Kohn, professor emeritus in the School of Art, who passed away Nov. 13.

Representing the Renaissance is Tomás Luis de Vittoria’s famed “O Magnum Mysterium,” followed by a contemporary setting of the same tune by American composer Morten Lauridsen.

Also in the concert are works by Baroque composers Thomas Weelkes and Antonio Lotti; by 19th- and 20th-century composers Charles V. Stanford, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Francis Poulenc and Joseph Canteloube; and a 2003 setting of “My Soul’s Been Anchored.”

At 8 p.m. Dec. 13, the music department will present a “Small Chamber Ensembles Concert” in Holmes Lounge. Elizabeth Macdonald, director of strings, will conduct the performance, which will feature a variety of small student-chamber ensembles. The program will include string quartet selections by Franz Schubert, Antonín Dvorák and Maurice Ravel; “Cries of London” for viols and voice by Thomas Weelkes; and tangos for cello, arranged by Macdonald.

Also at 8 p.m. that evening, the Washington University Flute Choir, directed by Jan Smith, will perform a concert in Graham Chapel.

The Washington University Opera, directed by Jolly Stewart and conducted by John Stewart, will present Mozart’s short comic opera The Impresario at 8 p.m. Dec. 17-18 in Karl Umrath Hall Lounge. The performance will also feature additional Mozart arias weaved into the story line.

Finally, the music department will host its annual sing-along of George Frideric Handel’s oratorio Messiah at 3 p.m. Dec. 19 in Graham Chapel.

The performance, which will last about an hour, will include the Christmas portion of Messiah as well as the “Hallelujah Chorus.”

Those who wish to may sit in special sections arranged according to voice type (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone), though those who choose not to sing are also welcome to attend. Copies of the music will be available for those who do not bring their own scores.

John Stewart will direct the performance; William Partridge will be the organist. Soloists will be all students or recent graduates of the music department’s Vocal Performance Program; they will include soprano Megan Higgins; mezzo-soprano Deborah Stinson; tenor Clark Sturdevant; and baritone Nathan Ruggles.

All concerts are free and open to the public. For more information, call 935-4841.