under Igor Stravinsky at Franz Waxman’s Los Angeles Music
Festival. It was the beginning of a close relationship that
continued until the composer’s death in 1971.
In June GSS made
their second appearance with Stravinsky at the LA Festival and
subsequently recorded Stravinsky’s Mass for Columbia
Records. This was followed by a tour of Europe that included the
Edinburgh, Salzburg and Darmstadt festivals. Rave reviews (“one
of the Edinburgh’s four great concerts”) and a Time
magazine article on the Darmstadt program led to an offer by
impresario Kenneth Allen to tour nationally.
national tour had 63 concerts from coast to coast. Allen continued
booking the Gregg Smith Singers for the next ten years.
The first of four
Everest recordings, “An American Tryptich,” contained
works by Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland and William Schuman. It had a
great impact on choral conductors who had not heard these works
before. The Singers also gave the world premiere of Stravinsky’s
The Dove Descending in their eighth Monday Evening Concert
Director of Columbia Masterworks, signed GSS to a long term contract
to record all the choral music of Charles Ives (four albums).
Gregg moved to the
East Coast (Ithaca College) in order to be near New York City which
had a far better climate for classical music than Los Angeles. At
the same time a great deal of recording with Stravinsky commenced
with the West Coast GSS, making Mr. Smith a very busy commuter. The
first of the Ives recordings, “General William Booth enters
into Heaven” was made in June.
With a great
college choir at Ithaca, Gregg was able to augment GSS for more
Stravinsky performances and recordings — Persephone
on the West Coast and the world premiere of his last major
composition, Requiem Canticles at Princeton. This was also
the year of GSS’ first Grammy (“General Booth”).
GSS joined E.
Power Biggs and George Bragg’s Texas Boys Choir for the
historic recordings made in San Marco in Venice, “The Glory of
Gabrieli.” Upon their return to the United States GSS joined
the Ithaca choir in Carnegie Hall to perform and record with Leopold
Stokowski Four Songs for Chorus and Orchestra by Charles
A big award year:
1) GSS’ second Grammy for “The Glory of Gabrieli”
recording, 2) a High/Fi Stereo “Record of the Year”
(Billings album) and 3) the Montreaux award for their participation
in Robert Craft’s “Schoenberg — Vol. VI”
Having moved to
SUNY Stony Brook, Smith organized an all-Stravinsky concert (Robert
Craft conducting) with the University Choir, GSS and his newly
formed community chorus, LISCA. Stravinsky attended the concert in
what was to be his last public appearance. During the summer, Smith
traveled to LA to prepare the West Coast GSS for the world premiere
of Lalo Schifrin’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich at
the Hollywood Bowl.
GSS toured and recorded Jack Beeson's delightful canon for CRI in 1969.