Juilliard in Aiken Festival to feature Saint Matthew Passion
A Grammy-nominated conductor and choir. Some of the world’s most accomplished musicians. The greatest music ever written, telling the greatest story ever told.
It’s the kind of powerhouse combination that few people outside of the world’s major cities expect to experience. And yet all of those superlatives come together in Aiken on March 14, 2014, when the centerpiece of Juilliard in Aiken’s sixth annual Performing Arts Festival and Outreach Program – Johann Sebastian Bach’s monumental Saint Matthew Passion – is performed.
“It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of us in this area,” said Betty Ryberg, president of Juilliard in Aiken. “This will be the debut performance of a joint production by the famed Juilliard School and Trinity Wall Street Choir, which is one of the most acclaimed choral groups anywhere. And the performance will take place in the weeks leading up to Easter, so the timing could not be more perfect.”
The Passion, as it is known, will be the final concert of the Juilliard in Aiken Festival, which will run March 9 – 14. Composed in 1727 for solo voices, double choir and double orchestras, the piece recounts the story of Christ’s final days. It is widely considered to be the most important single work in Western music. The Passion will be performed at First Baptist Church in Aiken at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 14.
The Trinity Wall Street Choir, based at Trinity Church in Manhattan, is one of the country’s most acclaimed professional vocal ensembles. It is especially known for its world-class performances and recordings of Bach’s music. In 2013, the choir was nominated for a Grammy, as was its conductor, Julian Wachner. In 2012, the Trinity Choir was selected by the Rolling Stones to perform at the final concert of their 50th anniversary tour and sang “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” with the legendary rock band.
Joining the Trinity Choir in this new production of the Passion will be instrumentalists from Juilliard 415, Juilliard’s renowned historical performance ensemble, and soloists from Juilliard’s vocal program.
Ryberg noted that it was a significant honor for Juilliard to select Aiken as the site of the production’s premiere. She attributed the honor to “the existence of Juilliard in Aiken, the success of past festivals, and the warm welcome that Juilliard has found here, as well as the Juilliard students’ fondness for Aiken.” Thanks to private funding, the production will travel to Atlanta following its Aiken debut. The final performance will take place in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York.
Juilliard in Aiken is inviting local choral groups to participate in a citywide celebration of the Passion in the months leading up to the performance. Groups from area churches, schools and other organizations will take part in a variety of ways. A Choral Celebration in February will showcase the talents of area choir directors and singers, and in March, Wachner will work with participating choirs in a special Juilliard-in-Aiken Choral Workshop.
In addition to the Passion, the 2014 Festival schedule will include other public performances and an extensive program of outreach to area schools. Last year, the Festival reached more than 5,000 students. During the summer of 2013, Juilliard in Aiken also sponsored a Jazz Camp at USC Aiken.
About Juilliard in Aiken
Juilliard in Aiken was founded in 2009 after Aiken authors Greg Smith and Steven Naifeh bequeathed their home, Joye Cottage, to The Juilliard School as an out-of-town residence for Juilliard artists. The nonprofit organization receives no funds from The Juilliard School and depends on local fundraising and grants to present its Festival performances and educational outreach programs.
For more information, visit www.juilliardinaiken.com.
Via: Juilliard in Aiken