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Oriana Consort (Chamber Choir)

Founded: 1994 - Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

The Oriana Consort gradually evolved from several amateur choral groups that Walter Chapin directed in the 1970's and 1980's. In 1994, the group adopted the name "Oriana Consort" and began to increase its membership. From about 2002 to 2006 the group further evolved toward its present form: an a cappella chorale of about thirty singers, auditioned to very high standards, who rehearse and perform primarily without accompaniment, tuning only to their own voices. The group’s size is intimate enough for madrigals and motets, yet large enough for demanding choral works such as Samuel Barber's Agnus Dei, J.S. Bach's double-chorus motets, Aaron Copland's In the Beginning, Gabriel Fauré's Requiem, and Eric Whitacre’s eight-part Lux Aurumque.

The name "Oriana Consort" is actually a misnomer, for the group is not really a consort, but a chorale. It its founding year of 1994 it was an eight-voice ensemble that actually was a consort, in the Renaissance sense of voices and Renaissance-era instruments, and the name stuck.

Oriana prepares two programs each year and presents them in Cambridge, Boston, and a suburb. The group's eclectic repertory is drawn from the 15th through the 21st centuries - the seven centuries during which polyphonic choral music spread throughout Europe and, eventually, the Americas - hence the motto "choral music from seven centuries." Music of the Baroque or the early Classical era, accompanied by instrumentalists from greater Boston’s outstanding early music community, usually forms a part of Oriana's December programs.

Oriana has also performed on invitation: the group has participated four times in the Candlelight Concert Series of Old Ship Church in Hingham; twice in the "3rd Sundays @ 3" concert series sponsored by the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra; the Vanderkay Summer Concert Series of Blue Hill, Maine; the concert series at The Center for Arts in Natick; the Vox Humana series of Jamaica Plain; and the Lux Aeterna multi-chorus concert held in Boston in January of 2005 to benefit survivors of the tsunami in Southeast Asia.

In March of 2007 the Consort was one of four Boston-area chorales to participate in a master class presented by Peter Phillips, director of the world-renowned The Tallis Scholars. Oriana has participated several times in the Fringe Concert Series of the Boston Early Music Festival.

In late July and early August of 2013 the Oriana Consort undertook a four-concert tour in Germany, presenting music in Frankfurt am Main, Dietzenbach, and Leipzig. In the Thomaskirche in Leipzig - where J.S. Bach was Cantor from 1723 to 1750 - the Consort surrounded J.S. Bach’s tomb to sing two of his motets, and was the choir for a Sunday service there, singing music of J.S. Bach, Felix Mendelssohn, Samuel Barber, and Leonard Bernstein.

Oriana has premiered a number of significant choral works. The group did the premier performance in December 2012 of Ani Adonai (I, the Lord), a setting of the words of Isaiah, written by Boston-area composer Adam Jacob Simon and commissioned by the Consort. In the spring of 2014, the group did the East Coast premiere of The Waking, a setting of a Theodore Roethke poem by Abbie Betinis, a noted composer from the upper midwest. In December 2015, Oriana presented the Massachusetts premiere of The Longest Nights, a setting of seven winter poems by seven different poets by Timothy C. Takach, a composer also from the upper midwest. Oriana, together with one choir in each of forty-one other states of the USA, had the honor to participate in the joint commissioning of this work.


Laura Amweg, Melanie Armstrong, J. William Budding, Richard Chonak, Alex Conway, John T. Crawford, Katheryn Currie, Anand Dharan, Laura Frye, Adrienne Fuller, Gary Gengo, Caroline Harvey, Kristina Jackson, Paulina Jones-Torregrosa, Frank S. Li, Kathryn Low, Ashley Mac, Dennis O'Brien, Tami Papagiannopoulos, Anupama Pattabiraman, Christopher Pitt, Margaret Ronna, Irl Smith, Joshua Smith, Lauren Syer, James Tresner, Tyler Turner, Nic Tuttle, Matthew Wall, Sarah Zenir


Source: Oriana Consort Website; Photo 01-04: © Hendrik Broekman
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2016)

Walter Chapin: Short Biography | Oriana Consort | Recordings of Vocal Works

Links to other Sites

Oriana Consort (Official Website)
The Oriana Consort on Facebook
Orian Consort Channel on YouTube


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 16:20