Connecting Chords Music Festival

Schola Antiqua

The "richly intertextual, cross-pollinating "Middle Ages" of Jerusalem" is the inspiration for a concert by Schola Antiqua of Chicago at 4 pm on Sunday, Nov 17 at First Congregational Church, presented by the Connecting Chords Music Festival.  Cara Lieurance talked to managing director Matthew Dean about the upcoming concert and the traditions from which it draws.


Austin Colbert

From Friday, Oct 18 through Sunday, Dec 1, the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music will present the 2019 Connecting Chords Music Festival, a series of 20 events that reveal traditions of faiths around the world. In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, festival director Elizabeth Start and performer Carolyn Koebel talk about the master musicians who will be visiting the community to perform, and ways community members can become participants in activities like Taiko drumming, sacred singing, and African drumming and dance. 

Some of the prominent artists include multi-instrumentalist Samite of Uganda, early music group Schola Antiqua, oud master Rahim Alhaj, and Japanese-American Taiko drummer Ken Koshio

In particular, Start and Koebel detail the work of the Tibetan Buddhist Monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery.  From Nov 6 - Nov 10, the monks will create an intricate mandala, or sand-painting. The public can observe its creation from 9 am - 5 pm at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. The monks will also offer a concert of song and dance featuring rare instruments and costumes, at 7:30 pm Friday, Nov 8 at Comstock Auditorium.


Detroit Historical Society

Festival favorites Tapestry are returning to the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music's Connecting Chords Music Festival, to perform separate programs on Thursday, Nov 8 and Friday, Nov 9 at 7:30 pm at the First Baptist Church of Kalamazoo. Soprano Christi Catt has been singing with Tapestry since it was created, in 1995, as a vehicle for three female voices to explore centuries of vocal music and traditions. Their programs often blend the new and the ancient, with help from instrumentalist Shira Kammen, who plays the medieval vielle and other instruments. 

Catt talks to Cara Lieurance about Thursday's program, “Lessons of Darkness,” which commemorates the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I. Tapestry will present works of composers affected by the war, and special guest pianist Arsentiy Kharitonov will intersperse the program with selections from Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin.

On Friday, Catt says the program will look skyward, in a program first created to be performed at the famous Mount Wilson Observatory in Pasadena, CA. The program will feature works by Hildegard von Bingen, Alan Hovhanness, Claude Debussy, Patricia Van Ness and more.

fifth-house.com

Flutist Melissa Ngan, a member of the Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble, tells Cara Lieurance about the innovative directions this modern chamber group has taken to give audiences visceral experiences with live music. Fifth House Ensemble will perform a program called "Degenerate Art" at the Connecting Chords Music Festival on Sunday at 7:30 pm, in the Dalton Theater of the Light Fine Arts Center at Kalamazoo College.

Delving into music that was censored, banned, and propagandized as “degenerate,” Fifth House Ensemble will shed new light on works by artists facing oppression under three different oppressive regimes: Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and the dark days of McCarthyism right here in the United States where individuals, ideas, and art were deemed un-American. Ngan discusses works of Schulhoff and Messiaen, Shostakovich, and Harold Arlen.