Momenta Quartet to play faculty compositions, College Choir offers seasonal program

The Momenta Quartet.

Three concerts at Bates feature choral music for the holiday season, and compositions by Bates faculty played by a visiting string quartet.

The Bates College Choir performs a holiday program including Benjamin Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols” at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

Presented by the Olin Arts Alive music series and the Bates College Museum of Art, the renowned Momenta Quartet performs new music by two Bates composers at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4.

Both concerts take place in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall, 75 Russell St.

Admission to the choir concerts is free, but tickets are required. Admission to the Momenta Quartet event is $12 and tickets are available at batestickets.com. Free tickets are available to the first 100 seniors and students; please reserve by calling 207-786-6163. For more information, please call 207-786-6135.

Bates College Choir

Directed by John Corrie, the choir presents a program featuring Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols” and Eric Whitacre’s “Five Hebrew Love Songs.”

John Corrie conducts the Bates College Choir.

John Corrie conducts the Bates College Choir.

An internationally esteemed 20th-century English composer, Britten composed operas, orchestral music, vocal and choral works, and chamber music. Scored for three-part chorus, solo voices and harp, “Ceremony of Carols” marked Britten’s return from America to wartime England in 1942.

Each of Whitacre’s five songs captures a moment that he and his wife, soprano Hila Plitmann, shared, and which she rendered as poems that he set to music.

Momenta Quartet

The Momenta program includes the premiere of Bates composers Miura and William Matthews, as well as music by Debussy, Kee Yong Chong and Jason Kao Hwang.

Praised by The New York Times for its “focused, fluid performance” and by contemporary music website Sequenza 21 for its “fire, fantasy and absolute musical commitment,” the Momenta Quartet has premiered more than 50 works in the past seven years and has collaborated with more than 80 composers.

Based in New York City, the quartet performs nationally and internationally. The quartet’s repertoire ranges widely from the classics to contemporary. The members of Momenta are violinists Emilie-Anne Gendron and Adda Kridler, violist Stephanie Griffin and cellist Michael Haas.

Inspired by the current Bates College Museum of Art astrophotography exhibition Starstruck, Miura’s “Singularity” adapts cosmic radiation readings to serve as the harmonic basis for his piece.

The imagery in “Mare Tranquillitas,” a musical and video piece composed by William Matthews, Alice Swanson Esty Professor of Music at Bates, incorporates astrophotographs from “Starstruck” and photographs of Momenta’s instruments.

The Momenta Quartet will also offer a critique of music by Bates student composers at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5, in Olin Concert Hall. This workshop is free and open to the public.

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