Slavyanka Chorus concludes its second San Francisco Festival of Russian Choral Music with works by four composers from the "Silver Age", in particular the music of Sergei Taneyev, and features three West Coast Premieres of his work. Widely considered as "Russia's Bach" and one of Russia's most prolific and influential composers, Taneyev was largely overshadowed by the achievements of his teacher (Tchaikovsky) and his students (Rachmaninoff and Chesnokov) despite his huge compositional output and direct influence on Russian music.
Slavyanka Chorus will open this concert with a selection of sacred works by Tchaikovsky and Chesnokov, and two secular pieces by Taneyev. Praised by Opera News as "spectacular," countertenor Andrej Nemzer will perform as soloist in chamber vocal works for voice and piano by Tchaikovsky, Taneyev and Rachmaninoff. Metropolitan Opera National Council winner (2012) Nemzer will be joined by a team of acclaimed performers including Slavyanka Chorus soloists Elena Stepanova-Gurevich and Litz Plummer (soprano) and Donna Stoering (piano). Nemzer and the Festival Orchestra will also perform the aria from cantata At the Reading of the Psalm led by guest conductor Eric Kujawsky, founder and Music Director of Redwood Symphony.
The major masterwork on this concluding festival program will be the West Coast Premiere of Taneyev's monumental and rarely-heard choral cantata Ioann Damaskin, performed by the Festival Chorus and Orchestra and conducted by Irina Shachneva. The concert ends with another West Coast Premiere, Sunrise one of Taneyev's 40 works for a cappella chorus. With authentic Russian bells and new orchestration by Slavyanka composer-in-residence Bettina Gray, this concluding piece is a rousing celebration of life and joy.