Marc-André Bougie conducts the New York premiere of his “Requiem” at Carnegie Hall to open the 39th season of MidAmerica Productions
On Saturday March 19, Marc-André Bougie will conduct the New York premiere of his own Requiem. This premiere will take place at MidAmerica Productions’ first concert at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage since 2019.
“We are beyond thrilled to be back on stage at Carnegie Hall!” wrote Dr Bougie. “This will be our fourth Carnegie Hall tour through MidAmerica Productions, and my third appearance as a guest conductor. This time will be special, however, because of the very nature of the music and the added challenge of presenting a work original. on the most famous stage in the world.”
The Requiem is also known as a Mass for the Dead, a special liturgy in the Roman Catholic tradition that is offered for the repose of the souls of the deceased. It is the basis of myriad musical works – some notable Requiems having been composed by Verdi, Mozart and Fauré, to name a few – and sometimes the text of the Requiem is set to music without l intend that it never be used for religious purposes. purposes. For example, Disney composer Alan Menken makes heavy use of the Requiem text during the dramatic climax of the film and stage adaptations of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In the case of Dr. Bougie, work on his Requiem began many years ago and was indeed inspired by the prayers themselves and the meaning they have.
“As a conductor, I had the privilege of conducting many different Requiems, and thus I became familiar with the musical possibilities offered by the text”, explained Dr. Bougie. “Latin liturgical texts have also always had meaning for me, from a religious point of view first, but also from a philosophical point of view of linguistic unity through the ages. I believe that words contain themselves music, and that composing music to ancient texts brings together those centuries of musical expression through words. For me, there is a place in eternity where those prayers rest, and I wanted to see if I could plug in. More than anything else, it inspired me.
The Requiem was completed and first performed at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Texarkana, Texas. Its first performance was as part of a Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form in 2020, at the height of the COVID pandemic. For Dr. Bougie, the pandemic has given added weight to the sense of composition, as it has become a meditation on loss and rest.
“I felt a strong sense of loss during the pandemic,” he writes, “but also a sense of rest. We were all forced to stop, or at least slow down, and realize the reality at this precise moment. The essential meaning of the word Requiem is that of rest, and so I began a deep reflection on the concept of this eternal rest beyond the temporal human rest.”
Alongside Marc-André Bougie on stage, vocal soloists Ariana Wehr, soprano; Daniel Sutin, baritone; and a mass choir made up of seven ensembles, two of which were directed by Dr. Bougie himself: the Shreveport Chorale and the Texarkana Regional Chorale. The other five choirs will be:
- Albany Chorale, Albany, Georgia (Travis Kern, director)
- Grambling State University Choir, Grambling, Louisiana (Natorshau Davis, director)
- Huntington High School Choir, Shreveport, La. (Arnese Brass, director)
- Lee County High School, Leesburg, Georgia (Bradly Bunce, principal)
- Valdosta State University Chamber Singers, Valdosta, Georgia (Clell Wright, manager)
Bringing the new Requiem to the iconic Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall will herald a new beginning for Dr. Bougie and his choir. Anticipating their triumphant return to Carnegie Hall, he said: “The past two years have been an incredible whirlwind of emotions in the performing arts. For us, this performance will be a new beginning and a chance to celebrate the life and power of music. in all its glory.”
Headlining the New England Symphonic Ensemble (Preston Hawes, Artistic Director), the Requiem will be preceded in the first third of the concert by a rendition of Poulenc’s Gloria, conducted by Clell Wright and performed by the aforementioned seven choirs with Eilana Lappalainen as soprano soloist.
After a brief break in the program, Mark Hayes’ Te Deum under the direction of Gary Packwood and Serenade to Music by Vaughan Williams under the direction of Bradley Vogel. Packwood and Vogel will conduct a choir composed of singers from the ensembles they lead – Mississippi State University State Singers and McPherson College Choir, respectively – as well as voices from a third group, Wagner College Choir, Staten Island, NY (Thomas Juneau, director). They will be joined by vocal soloists Ariana Wehr, soprano; Alison Bolshoi, contralto; Michael Boley, tenor; and Daniel Sutin, baritone.
A “Concert of Negro Spirituals” will be the last of three parts of the March 19 concert program, and the only third that will be after the intermission. This portion of the concert will be conducted by Paul T. Kwami, who will be joined by three choirs from Nashville, Tennessee – the Fisk Jubilee Singers which he directs; the Harpeth Hall Chamber Choir, conducted by Esther Ting; and the Montgomery Bell Academy Choir, conducted by Michael Colavita – along with two others:
- Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers, Ithaca, NY (Baruch Whitehead, director)
- Wilkes Central High School Chamber Singers, Wilkesboro, NC (David Brooks, principal)
To buy tickets
Tickets for this concert at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage are $20, $50, $75, $100, or $150. They can be obtained by contacting CarnegieCharge at (212) 247-7800, by visiting the Carnegie Hall Box Office at 57th Street and Seventh Avenue in New York, NY, or by going online at www.carnegiehall.org.
ABOUT MARC-ANDRÉ BOUGIE, composer and conductor
Praised for his visionary musical leadership and captivating performances, Marc-André Bougie is a highly sought-after conductor, composer and educator in North America and abroad. He is now in his 18th season as Music Director and Conductor of the Texarkana Regional Chorale & Orchestra, and his 15th year as an Associate Professor of Music at Texarkana College. He was also the musical director and founding conductor of the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra, which he led for twelve seasons. He has conducted the Orquesta Sinfónica de Falcón (Venezuela), the Pleven Philharmonic (Bulgaria), the Cantelli Orchestra (Italy), the Orchester des Sources (Canada) and the Shreveport Symphony, the Shreveport Opera and the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet. He made his debut as a conductor at Carnegie Hall in 2010 with MidAmerica Productions.
Marc-André is married to soprano Candace Taylor with whom he collaborates as a composer, pianist and conductor. In 2015 they worked on an album containing one of their new compositions, Ave Maria. He won the 2001 MTNA National Composition Competition and holds a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Marc-André received the 2016 Texarkana College Chair of Excellence in Teaching. He was also a National Finalist for the 2021 American Award – Choral Composition Division for his Requiem.
ABOUT MIDAMERICA PRODUCTIONS AND MIDAM INTERNATIONAL
Peter Tiboris created and conducted his first concert in New York on January 7, 1984 at Lincoln Center, with the American Symphony Orchestra, soloists and three choirs, the Louisiana Chorale of Acadiana, the Camerata Singers of Baton Rouge and the Collegiate Chorale of New York.
For 39 years, MidAmerica Productions has brought together conductors, soloists, and choral and orchestral ensembles from the United States and abroad to perform at New York’s finest venues, including Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Weill Recital Hall and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall; and Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall (now David Geffen Hall) at Lincoln Center. In addition to presenting orchestral and choral works, MidAmerica Productions championed contemporary composers with 98 world premieres, 38 US premieres and 121 New York premieres.
Additionally, MidAmerica Productions has presented concerts in many US cities and countries around the world, including Greece, England, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Italy, France, Portugal , Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia and Mexico.