Big Apple is a wonderful town for York’s singers

Building on the success of their 2009 appearance at Carnegie Hall, the York University Singers are once again performing in the Big Apple.

Tonight they will grace the stage of Alice Tully Hall at New York City’s Lincoln Center, one of the world’s most prestigious concert venues. York music professor and renowned choral conductor Lisette Canton assembled the ensemble and is conducting their performance of Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore, K.339.

An outside view of the Alice Tully Hall at New York City's Lincoln Center
Above: The Alice Tully Hall at New York City’s Lincoln Center

The concert is part of the Choral Spotlight Series of MidAmerica Productions, one of the country’s foremost independent producers of classical concerts. Canton and the York University Singers join the ranks of some 700 conductors, 1,000 soloists and 3,500 ensembles from the US and abroad to perform in MidAmerica’s New York City series since the company launched in 1984.

Artists are invited to participate in the series based on audition or the recommendation of a noted authority. Concert engagements include a five-day residency in New York, with intensive rehearsals as well as opportunities to explore the city’s cultural life.

“I’m very pleased that MidAmerica has invited us back and that the relationship continues to flourish and potentially open more doors to York singers in the future,” said Canton. “It’s a testimonial to the excellence of our music program and the outstanding vocal talent here at York. I’m proud to share Lisette Canton head shotthe stage in this legendary venue with our fine young artists.”

Left: Lisette Canton

The ensemble includes graduate students Marko Iskric and Ana Luisa Santo, who are pursuing master’s degrees in musicology focusing on choral conducting and classical vocal performance, respectively, and undergraduate students Danielle Aaron, Samantha Anderson, Rachel Appadurai, Celina Belanger, Christina Campsall, Amanda Chin, Victoria Gamble, Sarina Masih, Jessika Monea, Chantelle Morgan-Hagner, Alessia Naccarato, Jessica Ng, Julia Obermeyer, Erica Poirier, Francesco Tropiano and Rachel Wood.

Rounding out the chorus are freshly-minted alumni Marc Caporiccio, Matt Di Carlo, Ryan Moilliet and Giancarlo Pecchia, all from the class of 2011, and Doug Hammond (BFA Spec. Hons. ‘07, MA ‘11).

They will be joined on stage by four professional US-based singers in the solo roles – soprano Marcy Richardson, mezzo soprano Valérie MacCarthy, tenor Blake Friedman and bass Nathan Resika – plus the South Brunswich High School Concert Choir from Monmouth Junction, New Jersey and the Emmaus High School Chorale from Emmaus, Pennsylvania, all led by Canton. The choirs will be accompanied by the New England Symphonic Ensemble under the artistic direction of Francesco TropianoVirginia-Gene Rittenhouse.

Right: Francesco Tropiano

Tropiano, who lends his tenor voice to three classical choirs at York , is thrilled to be making his Tully Hall debut. “Planting that first step onto the stage will be so exhilarating!” he said. “I’m ecstatic to have the privilege of performing in such a famous New York venue with professional musicians.”

Tropiano sees the opportunity as an invaluable opportunity for his personal development as an artist. “It’s allowing me to further develop my ensemble skills, working with the rest of the choir and the orchestra to effectively recreate what the composer envisioned. The teamwork between conductor and ensemble has been the most rewarding thing throughout this experience.”

The York University Singers’ Lincoln Center concert comes hot on the heels of the Carnegie Hall debut of the Ottawa Bach Choir (OBC), the internationally acclaimed ensemble Canton founded in 2002 and has directed ever since. The OBC’s Carnegie concert on May 23 concluded a New York visit where the 26-member ensemble also performed at the Consulate General of France and Park Avenue Christian Church.

The New York Times heaped praise upon the Carnegie program, which critic Steve Smith felt showcased the choir’s “chief assets: a bright, clear and transparent sound; a springy feel for rhythm; beautifully shaded dynamics; and exemplary diction,” adding “Ms. Canton’s conducting was animated, precise and detailed.”

As head of choral conducting in York’s Department of Music, Canton directs the York University Chamber Choir, Concert Choir and Men’s Chorus, and oversees graduate studies in choral music. She taught and conducted at the University of Ottawa, McGill University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Carleton University before joining York in 2004.