• Thank you for helping make Unispace a stellar success!

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    Harold Rosenbaum leads The New York Virtuoso Singers while NASA video footage plays behind the choir.
    Photo by Ed Cody.

    On behalf of all of us at The Society for Universal Sacred Music, thank you to all those who came out to hear and see our free performance of Roger Davidson’s Unispace featuring video from NASA. Harold Rosenbaum led The New York Virtuoso Singers, organist James Adams, pianist Christopher Oldfather, and percussionists Thomas Mulvaney and Barry Centanni through the 70-minute masterwork while captivating video of Earth and space played overhead. Soloists Marie Mascari, soprano, Nicole Mitchell, mezzo-soprano, Andrew Fuchs, tenor, and Charles Sprawls, bass, brought stunning depth and diversity to the performance as we explored the universal value of working in and exploring outer space.

  • Join us for Unispace on Saturday, Sept. 21!

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  • Check out our latest newsletter, including pictures from our Gala!

    Click Here to view our Spring Newsletter, featuring news from our latest Gala Benefit, our Call for Scores, upcoming events and more! (Click the link to load a PDF in your browser, or right-click and save the PDF file.)

    Spring2013SUSM

     

  • New York Times review of Haydn’s Creation

    Thank you to everyone who helped make our presentation of Haydn’s Creation at Carnegie Hall a success! Here is our recent review from The New York Times:

    No Requiem for Earth, Only Celebration

    By Anthony Tommasini, published Dec. 24, 2012

    New York Virtuoso Singers with Katherine Wessinger and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall.

    The world did not end on Friday as the ancient Maya calendar foretold. But if any apocalyptic forces were kicking around the planet that day, they were combated by a performance that evening at Carnegie Hall of “The Creation,” Haydn’s astonishing oratorio that depicts God’s making of the world, presented by the New York Virtuoso Singers, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and a roster of vocal soloists, conducted by Harold Rosenbaum.

    Of course, as Maya experts have been saying for weeks, the doomsday talk was all a huge misreading of the Maya calendar. Friday was predicted to be just the end of a 5,125-year cycle and the start of a new one. This is certainly the view of the Society for Universal Sacred Music, which presented the performance of “The Creation” as a gesture of renewal and reverence for life.

    In any event, it was an inspired idea to perform “The Creation” on 12-21-12. Any chance to hear this late-period Haydn masterpiece is welcome. Mr. Rosenbaum is best known for his work as the founding director of the New York Virtuoso Singers, an ensemble that specializes in contemporary music (celebrating its 25th anniversary this season) and also Canticum Novum Singers, devoted to early music. He had only conducted Haydn’s “Creation” two decades ago with amateur ensembles. He drew a radiant and joyous performance of this 100-minute score from the top-notch St. Luke’s players and the skilled Virtuoso Singers, which usually perform with fewer than 20 choristers but was expanded for this occasion to 62.

    Mr. Rosenbaum had to contend with the unfortunate withdrawal of a soloist, the soprano Christine Brandes, who was ill and pulled out after a rehearsal on Wednesday. There are three demanding solo parts in “The Creation” for singers taking the roles of archangels. One, Gabriel, is for a soprano, though the singer usually doubles in Part III as Eve, in duets with Adam.

    On Thursday Mr. Rosenbaum asked two sopranos who often perform with the Virtuoso Singers to rehearse the solos with him, giving Gabriel’s music to Katherine Wessinger and Eve’s to Marie Mascari. They are both crack sight-readers, Mr. Rosenbaum said in a phone interview. Ms. Wessinger had performed one of Gabriel’s major arias. Otherwise both artists were new to the piece. By Thursday Mr. Rosenbaum was getting replies from management agencies with a potential replacement. He stuck with the singers from his chorus with whom he had worked so well.

    Ms. Wessinger’s light, clear voice was beautifully suited to Gabriel’s music. Understandably, there were some shaky moments in her singing. But she has a genuinely angelic voice and sang with charm and grace. Ms. Mascari brought rich sound and sensitive phrasing to Eve’s music. This was an admirable display of professionalism from both artists. The tenor Benjamin Butterfield was clarion-voiced and vibrant as the archangel Uriel. Nathan Berg’s muscular, earthy bass-baritone was ideal for Raphael and, in Part III, Adam.

    Haydn set to work on “The Creation” in 1796, having been inspired by hearing performances of Handel’s oratorios in London. The English text, which draws from Genesis, the Psalms and Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” was given to him by the impresario Johann Peter Salomon. Haydn had it translated into German before setting it to music. Both German and English versions were published. Haydn wanted the piece performed in English for English-speaking audiences, as was done here.

    The music wondrously animates the rich details of the biblical story. The orchestra overture depicts the “Representation of Chaos” in the cosmos through daring music that at times evades stable harmonic zones and is run through with passing dissonance, like stray motifs in search of cohesion. In a riveting recitative Raphael describes the Earth as being without form. The chorus, in hushed chords, sings “God said: Let there be light.” Still quietly, the chorus adds, “And there was light.” But at the word light, the choristers and orchestra burst into a C major harmony so shimmering and sunny you practically have to squint.

    Yet, when called for, Haydn the musical humorist comes through, as when cooing birds are evoked with warbling trills for the soprano soloist and orchestra, and the galumphing trod of heavy beasts is illustrated with bleating low brass.

    During whole stretches of this work the music comes across as agreeable and charming. But below the surface remarkably sophisticated things are happening. And in places where Haydn decides a lofty chorus is called for, this master responds with music of awesome depth and intricacy. The singing of the Virtuoso Singers under Mr. Rosenbaum was full-bodied, confident and nuanced.

    Against Haydn on this night, the apocalypse did not have a chance.

     

  • Download Our Autumn 2012 Newsletter Today!

    Find out all of the latest news from Society for Universal Sacred Music including a wrap-up of our recent Scandinavian Tour, an introduction for our new Office Manager Melissa Arnold-Perelson and more!

    Click Here to view or save the PDF. 

    Want to receive the newsletter by mail or email? Contact Melissa at m.perelson@susm.org to sign up!

  • A Scandinavian Success!

    Earlier this month, Society for Universal Sacred Music took its first ever International Tour with SUSM Artistic Director and Conductor Harold Rosenbaum leading The New York Virtuoso Singers in performances in Denmark and Sweden. The program featured new American sacred works by Roger Davidson, as well as traditional American spirituals and others. While not singing, the choir and the SUSM support team had a chance to take in the sights of these beautiful countries.

    Den lille havfrue ( The Little Mermaid)

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Serenity

     

     

    NYVS at St Petri Kyrka, Malmo, Sweden

     

     

     

     

     

    NYVS at Helligandskirken, Coppenhangen, Denmark

     

     

     

     

     

     

    For more pictures from the tour, please visit our Facebook page. The stateside reprise concert was held at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park, New York City,  as part of Make Music New York’s citywide music celebration. Read what the New York Times had to say about us:

    “…Harold Rosenbaum and his New York Virtuoso Singers performed “Greetings to Denmark,” a program they had sung in Denmark and Sweden a couple of weeks before, much of it skillfully composed by Roger Davidson, the founder and president of the Society for Universal Sacred Music, which presented the concert.

    Here the chorus proved heroic, holding forth in direct sunlight and blistering heat…”.

    This appeared in the Friday, June 22nd music review section of the New York Times.

     

  • Our Scandinavian Tour: Premiering New American Sacred Music in Denmark and Sweden!

    The New York Virtuoso Singers with Harold Rosenbaum, conductor and artistic director

    This month, Society for Universal Sacred Music headed to Scandinavia for a tour of Denmark and Sweden to perform new American works by Roger Davidson based on Danish texts. SUSM Artistic Director and Conductor Harold Rosenbaum lead  The New York Virtuoso Singers in performances of Davidson’s Hilsen Til Danmark (“Greetings to Denmark”) as well as selections from recent SUSM performances in the U.S., and a set of three classic American spirituals.

    The concerts in both Denmark and Sweden were very well received. We impressed everyone with our Danish pronunciation of the Hilsen Til Danmark music!

    For more information including bios and program texts, download our Danish or Swedish concert programs! (Programs include English translations.)

    Click Here for a PDF the Danish/English program. Click Here for the  Swedish/English  program.

    Click “Read More” below to see Roger Davidson’s introduction letter from the Scandinavian concert programs.

    Read more >

  • Shots from our soirée!

    Friends and singers came together at the elegant Le Château Restaurant in South Salem, New York, on Sunday, April 15, 2012 to celebrate and support the society’s mission during our Second Annual Gala Benefit and Silent Auction!  Our Honoree was Chris Farrell, the first Executive Director and current Archivist/Librarian for the society. The night was a smashing success! The warm, sunny spring evening provided a great break between bouts of bidding during the cocktail hour, and an array of entertainment which included The New York Virtuoso Singers, Harold Rosenbaum, conductor, David Finck, Pablo Aslan and Roger Davidson.
    A big thank you to everyone who joined us for the evening, and for making it such a great event!

     

    Sister Dorothy Steinfeld, Board Member, Deepak Pareek, guest and composer/musician, and Harold Rosenbaum, Artistic Director

    Elizabeth Hupper, assistant, Babs Meade, guest and Robert Pape, assistant to the Executive Director

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Latin Grammy winner bandoneonist Raúl Jaurena, SUSM Board member and bassist extraordinaire Pablo Aslan, and Roger Davidson, our Founder and President AND incredible musician/composer!

    Clark B Hall, Fairfax Group and guests

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Chris Farrell, Honoree, and Roger Davidson

    Harold Rosenbaum and the New York Virtuoso Singers

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Chris Farrell, Honoree and Amy Farrell, artist and lovely wife!

     

    Edie Rosenbaum

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    "Like the sunflower, always follow the light!"

     

     

    Edith Rosenbaum, Executive Director and Edith Parkis, Office Manager

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Raúl Jaurena

    Bidding in action!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • 2012 Gala Benefit and Silent Auction

    Its that time of the year again! The Society for Universal Sacred Music will have their 2nd  annual Gala at the elegant Le Chateau in South Salem, NY.

    April 15th, 2012 at 5 p.m.

    Entertainment by

    The New York Virtuoso Singers, Harold Rosenbaum, conductor

    And

    Roger Davidson and David Finck playing romantic French film music by

    Michel Legrand from their album “Umbrellas and Sunshine”.

    Honorary Gala Chair: Sue Graves

    Vice President of the Society’s Board of Directors and an experienced homeopathic and nutritional consultant.

    Gala Honoree: Chris Farrell

    The Society’s First Executive Director and current Archivist and Librarian, as well as a composer, pianist, and the founder of “Sounds of Peace”.

    If you are interested in attending, please contact Edie Rosenbaum, Executive Director, at e.rosenbaum@susm.org.

    We hope to see you there!

  • Our Winter Newsletter: Available to Download Now!

    Welcome to our first newsletter of 2012!

    We continue to work hard to bring works of universal sacred music to audiences far and wide, in person and through the internet, to help us all move toward unity of spirit — and therefore lasting peace.

    May the unconditional love of God be with each of us as we carry on our work to create a better world through music.

    - Roger Davidson

    Click Here to download the newsletter!