BCE’s annual holiday concert in Old South Church, Boston, 2018.

Boston Choral Ensemble

In the fall of 2011 Andrew Shenton became the third Artistic Director of Boston Choral Ensemble, one the nation’s most innovative and highly regarded choirs. BCE is a chamber choir that seeks to enrich the choral art through innovative programming, artistic excellence, and creative collaboration. BCE is dedicated to performing a wide range of repertoire with stylistic integrity, promoting new music, and educating its audience and singers.

BCE is an auditioned choir of about 40 mixed-voices. Our programs are varied and engage membership and audiences both intellectually and emotionally. In November 2013 we were voted one of Boston’s Best Choirs by CBS news. See the article here.

During Dr. Shenton’s tenure the choir has sung at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, held a series of concerts in the Hayden Planetarium in the Museum of Science (which resulted in a collaborative and interactive video which can be seen here [flat version for fixed screen] or here [interactive version for tablet]), continued an annual commission competition, sang numerous world premieres and North American premieres by composers such as Judith Weir and Arvo Pärt, and held concerts in diverse venues such as Mission Church, Lilypad in Cambridge, and Oberon (a stage of the American Repertory Theater). Our annual holiday concert in Old South Church is one of the highlights of the calendar and is always a popular concert.

2019-2020 SEASON:

1.        Annelies

This concert is presented in partnership with Vilna Shul, a cultural center celebrating Jewish culture and its intersection with other cultures, located on Beacon Hill.

Vilna Shul, Boston
Friday 8 November 2019 at 8:00 PM
Sunday 10 November 2019 at 3:00 PM

This full-length work, with music by James Whitbourn and a libretto by Melanie Challenger, is based on The Diary of Anne Frank. Composed for soloist, mixed voiced choir, and chamber ensemble this work has been growing in popularity since its first performance in 2005. This work is presented with Vilna Shul’s Shabbat service on Friday night and in a Sunday matinee.

2.         Holiday Concert

Old South Church, Boston
Saturday 14 December 2019 at 3:00 PM

Pre-concert organ recital by Andrew Shenton at 2:30 PM

Our annual holiday concert in Old South Church will include the world premiere of a new composition by Nell Shaw Cohen, a composer, librettist, and multimedia artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Nell is the winner of our 2019 commission competition, and her piece is a three-movement work for winter entitled Blue Shadows, Silver Sunlight, based on poems by Margaret Widdemer, Sara Teasdale and Amy Lowell. The concert will include Arnold Schoenberg’s Friede auf Erden, an early romantic work calling for peace on earth, in addition to holiday carols old and new, for both choir and audience.

3.         Body | Mind | Soul

Old South Church, Boston
Friday 27 March 2020 at 8:00 PM

In an age where it is too easy for people to feel tethered to technology and disconnected from others, for our third concert we invite you to join us for an interactive program designed to connect with the senses, with others, and with physical spaces. Entitled “Body, Mind, Spirit,” it will include movement and meditation (for those who want to participate), and is full of relaxing music to cleanse the body and soul. It will include works by Gustav Mahler, Hugo Wolff, and Edward Elgar, along with excerpts from The Sealed Angel by Rodion Shchedrin, and works by contemporary British composer Roxanna Panufnik. Come to our candlelit sanctuary and immerse yourself in an original contemplative experience.

4.         Commission Concert / Byrd Four-part Mass

First Church, Cambridge
Friday 29 May 2020 at 8:00 PM

BCE has been commissioning music for several years and our fourth concert includes the world premiere of You have a Name and a Place by Lansing McLoskey, winner of our commission competition in 2018. The concert will include some other works the Ensemble has commissioned as we prepare to professionally record them at the end of the season. We will be complementing these contemporary works with most of the most important and influential mass settings from the renaissance: the Mass for Four Voices by William Byrd. Composed around 1592, this setting is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful and important examples of Tudor polyphony.

For more information, including the program, program notes, texts and translations, please visit the BCE web site.

You can also visit our YouTube page, and stream our Christmas recording Still, still night.

Concert in the Hayden Planetarium, Boston, May 2014.

BCE concert in the Hayden Planetarium, Boston, May 2014.

BCE performing with Barry Manilow at the TD Garden, Boston, June 2015.

 

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