Local musicians welcome the new season with song

by Michael Caruso
Posted 9/7/23

The opening of the 2023-24 season of classical music concerts will be highlighted by peerless vocal and choral singing offered by local musicians and ensembles.

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Local musicians welcome the new season with song


The opening of the 2023-24 season of classical music concerts will be highlighted by peerless vocal and choral singing offered by local musicians and ensembles such as The Crossing, Mendelssohn Chorus, the Academy of Vocal Arts, and Opera Philadelphia.

The Crossing, the Grammy Award-winning chorus founded by Donald Nally, will be among the first to perform in Chestnut Hill. The choir, which has specialized in promoting new choral music of the highest quality, will present “Crickets in Our Back Yard” on Wednesday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m. in the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, the ensemble’s longtime home base.

The program includes two world premieres: Tania Leon’s “Dogma or Doctrine” and a commissioned work by Ayanna Woods, the choir’s 2023 composer-in-residence. The concert’s final work will be Wang Lu’s “At Which Point.” The program will be repeated Sept. 18 at Yale University and Sept. 21 at Harvard University.

Speaking about the season, Nally said, “As in the past, our season has an overall theme that ties everything together into a loosely woven story. This season we are looking at the topic of ‘Sin Eaters’: Who sacrifices so that others do not have to?

“That name comes from David T. Little’s work on that topic, which begins with the ancient Welsh practice of a ‘poor rascal’ paid to ingest the sins of a deceased privileged person so that the latter may enter Heaven sinless.”

Nally described the season as featuring scores that focus on grief and loss, race and the history of slavery and its lasting trauma, and our society’s views of the individual in a capitalist world.

“All that sounds dire,” he said, “but these composers find ways to make us hopeful and to lift us – they remind us of our humanity and leave us with a sense that there is a better world out there inspired by our own actions.”

For more information about the 2023-24 season of The Crossing, visit

Mendelssohn Chorus

Dominick DiOrio, the artistic director and conductor of the Mendelssohn Chorus, has delighted local lovers of choral music by announcing a season that includes the choir continuing its longtime tradition of singing its Christmas concert at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill.

“A Feast of Carols” is set for Saturday, Dec. 9, at 2 & 5 p.m. The program includes world premieres by Margaret L.A. Garrett and DiOrio and features the Timberdale Brass and the church’s own organist, Andrew Kotylo.

The 150th season of the Mendelssohn Chorus is entitled “As We Live and Breathe.” It opens Saturday, Oct. 14, at 4 p.m. in the historic Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity on Rittenhouse Square in Center City Philadelphia. The program includes Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Mass in the Time of War”, “Seven Last Words of the Unarmed” by Joel Thompson, and “We Reply” by DiOrio.

The Chorus continues its season with “Love, Loss, Longing” on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, at 4 p.m. in the Episcopal Cathedral Church of the Savior at 38th & Ludlow Streets in the University City section of Philadelphia. The season comes to a close with “On the Horizon” on Saturday, April 27, at 5 p.m. in the Chapel of Girard College.

For more information visit

AVA Opera Season

The Academy of Vocal Arts will present a 2023-24 season that includes performances of three fully staged productions plus five recitals. The season opens with two of the latter: the “New Artist Recital” Oct. 3-5 at the school’s home at 1920 Spruce Street in Center City Philadelphia. It continues on Oct. 13 with the “Giargiari Bel Canto Competition” in the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater.

The three operatic productions are Gaetano Donizetti’s “Anna Bolena,” Nov. 11-28; Benjamin Britten’s “The Rape of Lucretia,” Feb. 17-24, 2024; and Gioachino Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia,” April 27 through May 12. The season also boasts a “Winter Recital” Jan. 9-13; “Jubilate: A Concert of Sacred Music” March 16 & 17; and the annual “Farewell Recital” May 17.

For more information call 215-735-1685 or visit

Opera Philadelphia

Opera Philadelphia will open its 2023-24 season with three challenging productions. Giuseppe Verdi’s rarely performed “Simon Boccanegra” will grace the stage of the historic Academy of Music from Sept. 22 through Oct. 1; “10 Days in the Madhouse” by Rene Orth and Hannah Moscovitch will play the Wilma Theater Sept. 21-30, and Karim Sulayman’s “Unholy Wars” will play the Suzanne Roberts Theater Sept. 23 through Oct. 1.

For more information visit

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