The American University Chamber Singers is a select student ensemble open to music majors as well as other students studying music within American University's tradition of outstanding liberal arts education. The organization was rekindled by the current director, Daniel Abraham, in spring 2000 as an auxiliary ensemble to the AU Chorus, at first rehearsing separately during the final fifteen minutes of Tuesday evening rehearsals, eventually moving to Sunday evening rehearsals, and now as a dedicated, thriving ensemble. Membership in the Chamber Singers usually ranges from 24-28 members admitted by auditions held at the beginning of each semester. Over the past seven years, the AU Chamber Singers have sung a variety of outreach programs including a May 2009 tour of Romania and Hungary. Other recent invitations have included programs for the 25th Anniversary of Mothers Against Drunk Driving at the Ronald Reagan Center, concerts at Christ Church in Winchester, Virginia, and programs with the National Philharmonic Orchestra. The American University Chamber Singers also provides rehearsal and performance opportunities for choral conducting student in the Department of Performing Arts.
Recently performed repertoire has included early music such as Bach's motets Jesu, meine Freude and Lobet den Herrn, Cantatas Christlag in Todes banden and Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (Actus tragicus), Handel's Dixit Dominus, Georg Philipp Telemann's Du aber, Daniel, gehe, ihn, and Vivaldi's Magnificat, plus works by Buxtehude, Byrd, Gesualdo, Josquin des Prez, Lotti, Monteverdi, Schütz, Sweelinck, Tallis, and Victoria.
Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary works recently performed by the American University Chamber Singers included the world premiere of The Tree by Greg Bartholomew, Brahms' Liebeslieder, Op. 52, Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb and Ceremony of Carols, Cary John Franklin's With a Poet's Eye, Haig Mardirosian's Fair Weather Carols, Jerzy Sapieyevski's Songs of the Rose, William Schumann's Carols of Death and Prelude for Voices, Vaughan Williams' Serenade to Music and Flos Campi, Schubert's Mass in G Major, Kim Sherman's Graveside, and works by Ysaye Barnwell, Margaret Bonds, Stephen Chatman, Rene Clausen, Matthew Harris, Sarah Hopkins, Robert Pearsall, Daniel Pinkham, R. Murray Schafer, Peter Schickele, Bruce Sled, Eric Whitacre, and Robert Young, plus many American spirituals and folk arrangements.
Info at a glance:
Course: AMERICAN UNIVERSITY CHAMBER SINGERS (PERF-143 section 001)
Rehearsals: Mondays & Thursdays from 2:35 to 5:00 PM
Office: Katzen Arts Center — Choral Office, Room 146 (phone: 202-885-3425)
Participants: AU Chamber Singers is open to all, but usually consists of undergraduate and graduate student members. The ensemble is highly select and generally limited to between 26 and 32 members. Repertoire includes works drawn from all periods of music and varies greatly from early music masterworks with ensemble, to contemporary a cappella literature.