The internationally renowned Choir of Clare College of Cambridge, England, will premiere two works at a 7:30 p.m. performance Saturday, Sept. 25, in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas.
The new works, “Hubbub” and “The Word,” were commissioned by a St. Paul couple, Linda and Jack Hoeschler, to honor Father Dennis Dease, president of St. Thomas.
The text for the new works were written by Kevin Crossley-Holland, an English author and librettist who held the Ron Hubbs Endowed Chair in the Humanities and Fine Arts at St. Thomas from 1991 to 1995. The music was composed by Giles Swayne who teaches composition at Cambridge University and is composer-in-residence at Clare College.
Tickets for the concert are $20 and can be purchased online at the St. Thomas Alumni Association’s Web site or at the door that evening. Tickets for students are $10.
For more information about the St. Thomas concert, call the university at (651) 962-6431.
Over the past three decades Linda and Jack Hoeschler have commissioned about 80 works of music, many of them in honor of friends and family. They founded and for the past two decades have been members of the Minnesota Commissioning Club, a group of six couples who support the creation of new serious music in a variety of genres.
Jack Hoeschler’s work as a Twin Cities attorney has focused on real estate development and historic preservation. He served as president for many years of the St. Paul Riverfront Corp. and as a trustee for the Science Museum of Minnesota, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Guthrie Theater and the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts. He is currently on the board of the World Press Institute.
Linda Hoeschler served from 1991 to 2003 as executive director of the St. Paul-based American Composers Forum. Before joining the forum, she was an executive with Dayton Hudson, National Computer Systems and Landmark Investors. Over the years she has served on many business, arts, educational and charitable boards. She earlier served on the Executive Committee of the St. Thomas Board of Trustees, and currently serves on the university’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Advisory Board.
“We are great admirers of Father Dennis Dease and what he has accomplished as a priest, teacher and president of St. Thomas,” she said. “Commissioning these pieces is our small way of honoring his vision, hard work and achievements.”
The Hoeschlers decided to bring together the librettist, composer and choir for the project so they could collaborate in England, where all three are based.
Crossley-Holland already was well-known for his librettos and works of fiction and poetry when he wrote a prize-winning trilogy dealing with the Arthurian legend. The books have been published in 23 languages and have sold more than 1 million copies. A folklorist and radio and television broadcaster, he won the Carnegie Medal for his children’s book, Storm, and has taught in 10 countries as a British Council Visiting Author.
Swayne began composing at the age of 10 and won a composition scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he now resides. His 1980 piece for 28 amplified voices, “Cry,” is considered a landmark has been performed many times in Europe and America. He has a strong interest in Africa and African music and lived from 1990 to 1996 in Ghana.
The Choir of Clare College, founded in 1971, has an international reputation as one of the leading choral groups in England. While its primary role is to lead services three times a week at the college’s chapel, the choir has a busy schedule recording, broadcasting and touring internationally. It has performed throughout Europe and in Japan, China, Russia, the Middle East and the United States. Its Sept. 25 visit to St. Thomas will be the choir’s 17th and final performance on a three-week tour of Southern and Midwestern U.S. states.
Tim Brown, director of the choir, began his career singing with the Westminster Abbey choir and will retire as director following the St. Thomas performance. He has led Clare College’s mixed-voice choir for the past 31 years.
The Sept. 25 concert is being recorded by Minnesota Public Radio for later broadcast.