Concert Choir of Washington University to perform Arthur Honegger’s King David April 2

The Concert Choir of Washington University will perform King David, the dramatic oratorio by Swiss composer Arthur Honegger (1892-1955), at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 2, in Graham Chapel.

Described by Honegger as a “symphonic psalm,” King David is divided in 27 brief sections that together revisit a series of familiar Biblical stories. These range from David’s early life as a shepherd and his relationship with Saul, the first king of Israel, to the famous battle with Goliath, David’s own rise to power and his lust for the married Bathsheba.

Commissioned in 1921, Honegger’s King David began as incidental music to accompany an epic play of the same title by René Morax (1873-1963). Given mere months for its composition, Honegger — a relative unknown at the time — responded with a dramatic score that cemented his reputation. Two years later, the composer reworked the piece into its current form, combining his music with a new libretto by Morax.

The Concert Choir is led by John Stewart, director of vocal activities in the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences. Craig Monson, professor of music, will serve as narrator. Jolly Stewart, who recently retired as director of the Washington University Opera, will deliver the Incantation of the Witch of Endor.

Soloists will be soprano Caetlyn Van Buren and tenor Anthony Heinemann, both graduate students in vocal performance; and mezzo soprano Debra Hillabrand, a 2005 alumnus who now teaches voice in the department.

University organist William Partridge, Jr., will be joined by organist Sandra Geary, teacher of applied music, as well as St. Louis percussionist Chris Treloar.

The performance is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences. Graham Chapel is located just north of the Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

For more information, call (314) 935-5566 or email

Calendar Summary

WHO: The Concert Choir of Washington University

WHAT: King David by Arthur Honegger

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, April 2

WHERE: Graham Chapel, just north of Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

COST: Free

INFORMATION: (314) 935-5566 or email

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