GENESEO, N.Y. – Leah McGray will debut as the new Geneseo Symphony Orchestra principal conductor when the symphony joins the Geneseo Festival Chorus and the Genesee Valley Children’s Choir in presenting Carl Orff’s 20th century masterpiece “Carmina Burana” Nov. 19 at 3 p.m. in Wadsworth Auditorium.
McGray, who earned her doctorate in musical arts at Northwestern University, joined the Geneseo faculty this semester as director of instrumental activities. She also directs the Geneseo Wind Ensemble.
“The welcome I have received upon coming to Geneseo has been absolutely incredible,” said McGray. “I’m so excited to be able to join such fantastic musicians of all ages in what is a truly epic piece of music. ‘Carmina’ brings together all of my favorite things – simultaneously exquisite and powerful music, gorgeous writing for instrumental parts, exhilarating choir and soloist singing, and the whole musical community engaged in creating art!”
The Festival Chorus, a combination of student and community singers, is under the direction of Gerard Floriano, professor and chair of the Department of Music. Department lecturer Amy Cochrane directs the Genesee Valley Children’s Choir.
The concert will feature three accomplished soloists: soprano Keely Futterer; baritone Alan Cline; and tenor Jeffrey Tabor, a Geneseo alumnus and member of the Geneseo Chamber Singers.
“This powerful choral masterwork never gets old, and we’re pleased to bring together some of the finest vocal and instrumental talent in the area to present ‘Carmina Burana,’ said Floriano. “It’s always a joy having the children’s choir join us in performing, and the vocal soloists are all outstanding in their own right. They will impressively showcase Orff’s classic piece.”
“Carmina Burana” is Orff’s best-known work, which he composed in 1935-36. The cantata is based on 24 of the poems found in the medieval collection by the same name. The concert is free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted to support the Barbara and James Walker Scholarship Fund in Instrumental Music.