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Transition at CpM


Betsy Burleigh (file photo)

This has been a year of celebration and transition for Boston’s historic, 80-voice Chorus pro Musica.  CpM’s season will conclude with Betsy Burleigh’s celebratory last appearance as director. On May 31st at Jordan Hall she will conduct two work: the “Great” Mass in C Minor by Mozart  featuring soprano Kristen Watson, mezzo-soprano Krista River, tenor David Won, baritone Andrew Garland and also The New England Philharmonic, followed by Peter Child’s Meditations Upon The Lamb for baritone [Andrew Garland], chorus, piano, harp and strings based on three texts: Blake’s “The Lamb,” Ted Hughes’s “Orf” and the liturgical Agnus Dei. Ticket information is here.

CpM’s transition will be to a new music director. “We found Jamie Kirsch to be a very talented and passionate young musician and conductor, and this was echoed in his stellar references,” stated President Drew Hammond. “In addition to his ability on the podium, Chorus pro Musica’s board was very impressed with his thoughtful and creative ideas about programming, audience development and fundraising. In his five years with the 130-voice Cambridge Community Chorus, he nearly doubled their operating budget.” BMInt looks forward to introducing him in the context of CpM’s community sings this August..

Betsy Burleigh will be leaving Boston,  having joined the faculty of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in January 2013 (she received her DMA in choral conducting and Bachelor of Music Education degrees from Indiana). Burleigh taught at Cleveland State University for 15 years while serving as the assistant director of choruses for The Cleveland Orchestra (1998-2009) before coming back to Boston, where she had received a master’s degree in choral conducting from the New England Conservatory. She will continue to serve as music director of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, which is the regular chorus of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Burleigh has led Chorus pro Musica since 2009, when she succeeded conductor Jeffrey Rink, who directed the ensemble for eighteen years. Rink has been recently appointed Chair in Orchestral Music at Northwestern Florida State College, following a long career at Longy.

Jamie Kirsch (file photo)
Jamie Kirsch (file photo)

The director of CpM works year-round,  rehearsing Monday evenings and leading four Boston concerts per season in Old South Church in Copley Square, and NEC’s Jordan Hall. The choir is also performs twice annually with local orchestras, such as in the notable March 2012 performances of Britten’s War Requiem [reviewed here]with the New England Philharmonic in Boston and Providence. Beginning their new season each year with summer sings in August, CpM is supported by a board and several professional staff, including a manager, a publicist, and a graphic designer.

Betsy Burleigh is also leaving another local position: she was the artistic director of the Providence Singers from 2011-2013, having succeeded Andrew Clark (now director of choral activites at Harvard). Christine Noel (director of choral activities at Clark University) is the new artistic director, conducting three concerts of Britten (November 2013), Haydn and Mozart (March 2014), and American choral works (April 2014) and appearing three times with the RI Philharmonic (The Planets in October 2013, Messiah in December 2014, and Ravel’s Daphis et Chloe in May 2014). She is the founder and artistic director of the Rhode Island Children’s Chorus, one of New England’s premier choral organizations for children, and earned her MM/DMA choral conducting degrees from Boston University.

Laura Prichard’s review of CpM’s previous concert is here.

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