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A FIFTY YEAR CHRONOLOGY

A FIFTY YEAR CHRONOLOGY

The Gregg Smith Singers

2000-2009

  1. GSS had many millennium projects, including performing composers born at the turn of the 20th Century — Aaron Copland, Kurt Weill, Ernst Krenek and George Antheil. Three new CDs were released: Music of Lukas Foss, Like Shining and Music of Brian Schober. GSS again became an opera chorus, performing in the Berkshire Opera Company production of Bellini’s I Capuleti e I Montecchi (a version of Romeo and Juliet). The Singers acquitted themselves wonderfully and had splendid reviews.

  2. Gregg’s 70th birthday year. In May, GSS premiered Gregg’s children’s opera The Dreameater with Barry Solowey’s Central Park East Elementary Choir — the final project of a 5-year Annenberg grant. David Hancock, dear friend and long-time GSS recording engineer, died from Parkinson’s. The first concert of the 30th year of our New York Concert Series opened with Gregg’s poignant setting of Nancy Murphy’s text In Memoriam — 9/11/01.

  3. Our New York Concert Series continued to feature Gregg’s music. GSS made what was to be their last tour — several concerts in North Carolina.

  4. In March GSS began a long-awaited Ives project with sponsorship from the Charles Ives Society, recording several of Ives early church works from the 1890s when he was still a very young man. In May, St. Mary’s College, the sister college of Notre Dame awarded Gregg an honorary doctorate.

    Listen to: Charles Ives, Processional: Let There Be Light

  5. In March GSS sang the New York premiere of Gregg’s Emily’s Autumn, a cycle of five Emily Dickinson settings. In June Chorus America honored Gregg with the Louis Botto award for entrepreneurial spirit. In accepting this $5,000 award, Gregg said “I never thought of myself as being entrepreneurial, but I guess since the Gregg Smith Singers are nearly 50 years old, I must be!”

  6. GSS’ 50th Anniversary Year. Nearly 100 of our wonderful former singers re-united in November for a special weekend of celebration. We sang a concert of GSS “Signature works” with the current GSS and, in the 2nd half, with GSS past and present. Mendelssohn’s Heilig and Ives Psalm 90 were highlights. Of course we ended with Gregg’s Now I walk in Beauty.

    Listen to: Mendelssohn, Heilig

  7. Continuing the 50th Anniversary celebration, GSS presented a Concert of Commissions in January with ten new works written for GSS. In April we joined with LISCA, Gregg’s Community Chorus in a long-time GSS favorite, the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610. July marked the 34th and final summer of the Adirondack Festival of American Music.

  8. Based now exclusively in NYC, GSS Concert Series presented two concerts opening with Bach motets and featuring new American music. We recorded Ned Rorem’s NEA-commissioned 50th Anniversary Four Sonnets for Chorus and Piano which became the title work of GSS’ 2nd Living Artists CD “I Am In Need Of Music” released in November.

    Listen to: Ned Rorem, Four Sonnets: I. I Am In Need Of Music

  9. GSS received its largest-ever NEA grant — $70,000 which we miraculously matched — to present in April an American Masterpieces Festival called THE GREGG SMITH SINGERS LEGACY — Celebrating the American Masterpieces commissioned, recorded and performed over 50 years — a symbolic passing of the torch to choruses of today: Cantori New York, Saint Peter’s Church Choir, LISCA, and of tomorrow: Syracuse Children’s Chorus. These five choirs including GSS sang four concerts in three days.

  10. Our March concert was sung in memory of Lukas Foss, Gregg’s teacher at UCLA who had often written for GSS, and of Edmund Najera, long time singer/composer member of GSS. Thomas Schmidt became GSS’ associate conductor, sharing rehearsals and concerts with Gregg. In December GSS’ long-awaited Virgil Thomson CD will be released by Albany Records.