Conspirare's Grammy® award-winning Artistic Director & Conductor Craig Hella Johnson debuts his groundbreaking contemporary oratorio. Following a 2014 Grammy for Best Choral performance, and a recent nomination in the same category, the incomparable singers of Conspirare will deliver a poignant concert experience, inspiring
hope, compassion and empowerment.
In October 1998 a shocking hate crime was committed against Matthew Shepard who was brutally beaten and left tied to a fence to die. Shepard's story haunted Johnson for years and finally impelled him to compose a musical response to this tragedy. "The entire process has been about asking questions, particularly this enduring question of whether or not love itself is part of our essential nature, even amidst the many painful and confounding realities of our existence," said Johnson.
An ensemble of 29 singers and eight instrumentalists, including Johnson on piano, will lead the listener through a tapestry of musical textures and styles of this contemporary oratorio. "It began as a passion setting and expanded from that into a fusion oratorio with a breadth of musical styles such as chant, choral movements, arias, folk songs and theater songs," said Johnson.
Each performance will commence with a pre-concert talk by author Elizabeth Neeld and Austin concerts will conclude with a post-concert conversation with prolific composer Robert Kyr, Jason Marsden, Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and Craig Hella Johnson.
This work will be recorded for a fall 2016 album release on Harmonia Mundi.
Saturday, February 20, 2016 8pm
Sunday, February 21, 2016 4pm
AISD Performing Arts Center
1500 Barbara Jordan Blvd.
Austin, TX 78773
Saturday February 27, 2016 8pm
First Congregational Church of Los Angeles
540 S. Commonwealth Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90020