Seraphic Fire looks to the past and the future in 20th anniversary season

By Lawrence Budmen

Patrick Quigley will open Seraphic Fire’s 2022-23 season November 3-6 with a program titled “Love / War.”

Seraphic Fire will celebrate its 20th anniversary season in the 2022-2023 season. The Miami-based chamber choir will present seven thematically diverse programs in multiple venues plus a special performance with the New World Symphony. 

In a released statement, artistic director Patrick Quigley noted that “Over two decades Seraphic Fire has morphed from your friendly neighborhood singing group to a nationally recognized classical music institution.”

Quigley will lead the season-opening program “Love/War” on November 3-6 features Paul Crabtree’s When David Heard, which contrasts the Biblical story of David sending his son to war with the comments of the disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law after meeting with Catholic victims of abuse. Tu Paz Mia by Illeana Perez Velazquez, a Seraphic Fire commission, will receive its world premiere. Monteverdi’s Madrigals of Love and War completes the program.

Associate conductor James Bass leads the popular annual Seraphic Fire Christmas concerts December 4-18. A new recording of Christmas music both familiar and rare will be taped.

Guest conductor Jason Max Ferdinand takes charge for “Old/New” January 19-22. Aaron Copland’s Old American Songs shares the bill of fare with traditional melodies and text settings by Moss Hogan, William Dawson and Hal Johnson.

Two programs comprise the now-annual Enlightenment Festival centered around the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. “Life/ Death” February 16-18 features countertenor Reginald Mobley singing Bach’s Cantata No. 170 Vergnὓgte Ruh. Cantatas 105 and 131 share the program with works by Buxtehude and Vivaldi. Members of the group’s UCLA Ensemble Artist Program join the choir for “Beginning/ End” February 23-26 featuring two cantatas from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and a rare performance of the Ascension Oratorio. Quigley directs both programs.

Maria Guinard, director of the Schola Cantorium de Venezuela, is on the podium March 22-26 for “Sacred/ Profane.” The deep spiritual faith of Bach’s “Jesu, meine Freude” plays counterpoint to Spanish Renaissance and contemporary songs of humor, desire and the sea.

Quigley concludes the season April 27-30 with “First/ Last.” The choir’s beginnings are celebrated with colonial era American composer William Billing’s Invocation, which was on Seraphic Fire’s very first concert. (The choir takes its name from the line “Majestic God, our Muse inspire and fill us with Seraphic Fire” in Billing’s hymn.) Excerpts from The Road to Hiroshima by Shawn Crouch, Seraphic Fire’s first commissioned work, will be performed with the University of Miami’s Ensemble Ibis under Crouch, now a UM faculty member. World premieres of commissioned scores by Alvaro Bermudez, Sydney Guillaume and Tawnie Olson will preview the ensemble’s future. Thomas Tallis’s forty voice motet Spem in alium completes the program. The choir will be joined by singers from the UCLA program and the University of Miami Ensemble Artist Program.

Performances take place at venues in Miami, Coral Gables, Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Cutler Bay, Boca Raton and Naples.

In addition to its regular series, Seraphic Fire will join the New World Symphony on January 14 at the Arsht Center with Quigley conducting. Sixteen solo voices perform Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music. The choir will be joined by singers from the choral programs at the University of Miami, Florida International University, Florida Memorial University and Miami-Dade College for Carl Orff’s blockbuster Carmina Burana. The program also features pianist Isata Kanneh Mason soloing in Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto.

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Mon Mar 14, 2022
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