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Mahler done right for San Diego

Andrew Megill
Andrew Megill

Some unavoidable conflicts thwarted my plans to go to Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 on Saturday, April 22. By all accounts, it was a lovely performance. Yet, at the end of the day, it is still Mahler’s Fourth. Of all the fourths that are in the standard repertoire, Brahms, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Bruckner, Mahler’s is in last place. I think it comes down to the fact that I’m just not buying Mahler’s optimism. His Sixth? Yes. The Ninth? One hundred percent. The Second? For sure and I just came across some interesting news about The San Diego Symphony’s performance of the Second in the fall.

According to The San Diego Symphony website, there are chorus auditions coming up in May for the performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 in November. This is a significant development. According to the website, there are two categories of choristers. There are the volunteers and there are the paid professionals. The audition requirements are different for both categories.

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The professionals will be paid an honorarium of $650. The time commitment, including the performances, is not expected to exceed 22 hours. The rehearsals have been condensed into a one-week window which could attract some choral talent from Orange County and Los Angeles. The deadline to submit your information is Monday, May 1.

Video:

Mahler: "Resurrection"

If you’ve read this column for any length of time, then you know I have consistently criticized The San Diego Symphony for using choruses that are not in line with the artistic aspirations of the conductor or the orchestra.

The San Diego Symphony is taking action in a big way. The chorus master for Mahler’s Second is Andrew Megill. He was recently named Professor of Conducting and Director of Choral Organizations at Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music. The following comes from the Northwestern website.

“Megill is recognized as one the leading choral conductors of his generation, admired for both his passionate artistry and his unusually wide-ranging repertoire, which extends from early music to newly composed works. He is currently professor and director of choral activities at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), where he leads the oldest doctoral program in choral conducting in the United States. In addition, he leads Music of the Baroque (Chicago), the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Chorus, the Carmel Bach Festival Chorale, and Fuma Sacra. Prior to his appointment at the University of Illinois, he taught at Westminster Choir College for more than 20 years.”

Dr. Megill has prepared choirs for, The Cleveland Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonie, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and Venice Baroque Orchestra for conductors including Pierre Boulez, Charles Dutoit, Joseph Flummerfelt, Alan Gilbert, Neeme Järvi, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Kent Nagano, and Rafael Payare.

That is a resume that is in line with what The San Diego Symphony is trying to accomplish with these November concerts of Mahler. These concerts will also be the first to utilize the Choral Terrace in the renovated Jacobs Music Center.

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Andrew Megill
Andrew Megill

Some unavoidable conflicts thwarted my plans to go to Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 on Saturday, April 22. By all accounts, it was a lovely performance. Yet, at the end of the day, it is still Mahler’s Fourth. Of all the fourths that are in the standard repertoire, Brahms, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Bruckner, Mahler’s is in last place. I think it comes down to the fact that I’m just not buying Mahler’s optimism. His Sixth? Yes. The Ninth? One hundred percent. The Second? For sure and I just came across some interesting news about The San Diego Symphony’s performance of the Second in the fall.

According to The San Diego Symphony website, there are chorus auditions coming up in May for the performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 in November. This is a significant development. According to the website, there are two categories of choristers. There are the volunteers and there are the paid professionals. The audition requirements are different for both categories.

Sponsored
Sponsored

The professionals will be paid an honorarium of $650. The time commitment, including the performances, is not expected to exceed 22 hours. The rehearsals have been condensed into a one-week window which could attract some choral talent from Orange County and Los Angeles. The deadline to submit your information is Monday, May 1.

Video:

Mahler: "Resurrection"

If you’ve read this column for any length of time, then you know I have consistently criticized The San Diego Symphony for using choruses that are not in line with the artistic aspirations of the conductor or the orchestra.

The San Diego Symphony is taking action in a big way. The chorus master for Mahler’s Second is Andrew Megill. He was recently named Professor of Conducting and Director of Choral Organizations at Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music. The following comes from the Northwestern website.

“Megill is recognized as one the leading choral conductors of his generation, admired for both his passionate artistry and his unusually wide-ranging repertoire, which extends from early music to newly composed works. He is currently professor and director of choral activities at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), where he leads the oldest doctoral program in choral conducting in the United States. In addition, he leads Music of the Baroque (Chicago), the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Chorus, the Carmel Bach Festival Chorale, and Fuma Sacra. Prior to his appointment at the University of Illinois, he taught at Westminster Choir College for more than 20 years.”

Dr. Megill has prepared choirs for, The Cleveland Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonie, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and Venice Baroque Orchestra for conductors including Pierre Boulez, Charles Dutoit, Joseph Flummerfelt, Alan Gilbert, Neeme Järvi, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Kent Nagano, and Rafael Payare.

That is a resume that is in line with what The San Diego Symphony is trying to accomplish with these November concerts of Mahler. These concerts will also be the first to utilize the Choral Terrace in the renovated Jacobs Music Center.

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