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Brahms Masterpiece A German Requiem Is Performed by SUNY Choirs

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NEW PALTZ -- Image available at Dr. Edward Lundergan, Director of Choral Activities at SUNY New Paltz, will conduct the combined voice of the Concert Choir and the College-Community Chorale in performance of Brahms' choral masterpiece A German Requiem on Tuesday, May 8 at 8pm. The performance will be presented off campus at St. Joseph's Church located at 35 South Chestnut Street in New Paltz.

Soloists for the concert are soprano Anne Cohen, and baritone Michael Hanko. Ms. Cohen recently relocated to the Hudson Valley from Minnesota. This concert marks only her second performance in the region, the first being the role of Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus for Gilbert & Sullivan Musical Theatre Company. Mr. Hanke is regularly featured in operas, recitals, and musical theatre productions throughout the Hudson Valley. He also sings with the a capella group Kairos: A Consort of Singers. Lee Dettra, considered to be the leading organist in the region, accompanies the Requiem. Mr. Dettra is Choirmaster and Organist of Christ Episcopal Church, Poughkeepsie, New York.

A German Requiem is one of the major landmarks of the choral repertoire and the most ambitious project Dr. Lundergan has undertaken during his tenure at New Paltz. Brahms considered it to be a human requiem with a universal statement, one that comforted the living as well as mourned the dead.

Written in 1866, the Requiem received its first full performance in 1869. It is a work identified with the Romantic performance practices of the nineteenth century, and was strongly influenced by Brahms' great interest in the Renaissance and Baroque polyphony of his German musical forebears - especially the work of Schütz, Bach and Handel.

Brahms' four symphonies are considered among the greatest in symphonic music. Other well-known works are the Violin Concerto in D (1878), and the Piano Concerto in B Flat (1878-81). He composed in almost every genre except opera, devoting special attention to chamber music and song. His lieder and other choral works such as the Ein Deutsches Requiem ("A German Requiem") and the Alto Rhapsody (1869) are worldwide favorites.

Tickets to A German Requiem are available at St. Joseph's Church on the evening of May 8 beginning at 7:00 p.m., one-hour before the concert begins. Tickets are $5 general admission, $4 senior citizens (65+) and SUNY staff, and $3 for students. For further information call 257-3872. For information on upcoming arts events at SUNY New Paltz, visit the online calendar of events at Artist Biographies:

Edward Lundergan, Director of Choral Activities at SUNY New Paltz, conducts the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and College-Community Chorale and teaches music history and conducting. He is Artistic Director of Kairos, a vocal ensemble based in New Paltz and specializing in unaccompanied choral music from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. He has been Music Director for several productions with the Gilbert and Sullivan Musical Theatre Company, including most recently Menotti's The Medium and the current production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers. He has appeared as guest conductor with Cappella Festiva, the Music in the Mountains Festival and the Poné Ensemble.

Dr. Lundergan holds degrees in conducting from the University of Michigan and the University of Texas. His dissertation on the War Requiem of Benjamin Britten received the Julius Herford Award as the outstanding dissertation in the field of choral music in 1991. He is a frequent contributor to the Choral Journal, the official publication of the American Choral Directors Association.

Image available at Cohen, soprano, is a relatively new resident of the Hudson Valley, relocating here from the Twin Cities, where she was a frequent performer with Minnesota Opera. She has also performed with OperaColumbus, JacksonOpera, Twin City Opera, Anoka Opera Company, the Ohio Dinner Theatre, and various touring companies in productions such as Tartuffe (Marianne); Cosi fan Tutte (Despina); Adina (Elixir); Silverklang (The Impresario); Die Fledermaus (Adele and Rosalinda); and other soubrette roles. Having just graduated into the Wagnerian repertoire, Ms. Cohen is delighted to be singing something as fresh and vibrant as Brahms' Requiem.

Image available at Hanko, baritone, performs frequently throughout the Hudson Valley as a soloist in operas, oratorios, recitals, and musical theater productions. He is also a member of Kairos: A Consort of Singers. In March 2001, Mr. Hanko appeared in concert at the Holy Cross Church in Kingston, New York with pianist Joel Flowers and Anima Rising, the New York City-based vocal quartet he co-founded in 2000 with soprano, and Saugerties native, Danielle Woerner. Mr. Hanko graduated from Princeton University with a degree in music, then studied voice and performance in Germany for eight years before returning to the United States in 1994. He recently moved to New York City to train as a teacher of the Alexander Technique.

Image available at Dettra, organist, maintains a career as a choral conductor, organist, and pianist. He is presently Choirmaster and Organist of Christ Episcopal Church, Poughkeepsie, New York, Instructor in Organ at SUNY New Paltz; and Accompanist of Masterwork Chorus, Morristown, New Jersey. Mr. Dettra has been on the staff of churches and colleges in Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. He founded and conducted the Center City Chorale of Wilmington, Delaware. For 15 years he presided at the largest church organ in the world as Choirmaster and Organist of the Cadet Chapel at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He has presented organ recitals and has accompanied in the United States and in Europe.

A graduate of Westminster Choir College, he earned the Master of Sacred Music degree from Union Theological Seminary, New York City. Mr. Dettra holds the Fellowship and Choirmaster diplomas of the American Guild of Organists. he has made several CD's and has recorded for American and British television. An anthem of his is to be published shortly. He and his wife Janet have three married children and a granddaughter.

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