Sunday, May 22, 2011

Commonwealth Youthchoirs Announces Seventh Annual Gala Concert


Contact: Ellie Armsby -

Commonwealth Youthchoirs Announces Seventh Annual Gala Concert

Philadelphia, PA, May 16, 2011Commonwealth Youthchoirs has announced that their Seventh Annual Gala Concert featuring the premiere choirs in Keystone State Boychoir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir, with special guest artist, bass-baritone David Pittsinger will be held at the Kimmel Center on June 17, 2011.

CY Executive Director Susan S. Ashbaker said, “We are thrilled to return to the Perelman once again and have many things to celebrate on this occasion.” The choirs will present their fourth commission, by composer Thomas Pasatieri, entitled CONVERGENCE: A Charm of Moonlight. Originally conceived for inclusion in the city wide Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts and performed as an experiential musical journey through the galleries of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the choirs will perform this opus as one of the highlights in the concert. In correspondence to Ashbaker, Pasatieri, well known not only for his work in the classical field, but for his film orchestrations for Hollywood hits such as Shawshank Redemption, Little Mermaid, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Angels in America among others, wrote, “I have enjoyed writing this cycle very much and hope they bring you as much pleasure performing them as they have brought me in their writing.” Mark Anderson, Music Director of Pennsylvania Girlchoir, and conductor of the world premiere performances at the museum added, “Mr. Pasatieri's subtle shifts in color and timbre made for a very special work. The music captured beautifully the essence of the texts - both in the individual movements, and as a complete journey from the first statement in the introduction to the Coda. Even if the listener understands not a word of French, the rise and fall of hope, loss, expectation, tension and regret are readily understood. The composition is a real gem.”

International opera star, Bass-Baritone, David Pittsinger, joins an impressive roster of gala guests when he performs with the choirs this June. Pittsinger is one of the most sought after artists of his generation. His appearances with the Metropolitan Opera have included broadcast performances as The Friar in Verdi’s Don Carlo, Trulove in The Rake’s Progress, Achilla in Giulio Cesare, Colline in La Bohème, and as The Speaker in the Met’s first HD broadcast of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Pittsinger’s 2009 season began with his Broadway debut as Emile de Becque in the Tony award-winning production of South Pacific, and his critically acclaimed performances of Enobarbus in Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra at Carnegie Hall. Of his Helen Hayes Award-nominated performance as Emile de Becque in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific at the Kennedy Center, the Washington Times wrote: “His brilliant, knife-clean bass-baritone voice, impeccable enunciation—even with a French accent—and his authoritative, passionate delivery provide the perfect mix of romance, passion, and traditional masculine bravado.” Audiences in Philadelphia will remember Pittsingers’ recent Emile de Becque in South Pacific at the Academy of Music. Roles with Opera Company of Philadelphia have included the title role in Don Giovanni, Blitch in Susannah, Mephistopheles in Faust, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte and the four Villains in Les Contes d'Hoffmann. Other past performers on the Gala Concert have included opera stars Frederica von Stade, Denyce Graves, Lauren Flanigan, and Broadway star Alison Fraser.

The June 17 Gala Concert at Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts marks the seventh such event for Commonwealth Youthchoirs ( Now in its tenth year, the organization provides exemplary choral music education and performance opportunities for over 300 young singers, aged seven through eighteen, representing five counties in the greater Philadelphia area, who sing with one of its two member-choirs, Keystone State Boychoir ( and Pennsylvania Girlchoir ( Tickets for the concert will be on sale at the Kimmel Center Box Office, Broad & Spruce Streets, by calling 215-893-1999, or by going to their website

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