Yale Russian Chorus takes the stage at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts


The acclaimed Yale Russian Chorus, one of the country's premiere ensembles dedicated to Slavic music, will offer an intriguing program of sacred and secular music on Saturday, Jan. 24, at 8 p.m. at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The concert is part of the ongoing Russian Arts and Letters Festival, which includes a display of Russian icons and musical instruments in the Wien Experimental Theatre and a new exhibit of Russian costume and stage design in the Walsh Art Gallery.

A 20-member tenor-bass ensemble comprised of Yale University students, the a cappella chorus celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2003. Over its illustrious history, the group has received critical acclaim for its recordings and performances at Carnegie Hall, the Smithsonian Institute and at the White House for President Bill Clinton.

Its latest recording, 1996's "Chants and Carols" landed on year-end critic's choice lists in Performance Today, Billboard Magazine and The New York Times. A reviewer for InTune Magazine called it "an eye-bulging work of art.

"In balance, timbre, and intonation, the 20-member choir is stunning," the critic wrote.

"Chants and Carols" is the ensemble's first recording under the direction of Mark Bailey, who will lead the chorus in its Quick Center appearance.

Founded by then-student Denis Mickiewicz in 1953, the Yale Russian Chorus boasts a repertoire than spans from the 12th through the 20th century, including a variety of chants and cultural songs. The group also performs works by Tchaikovsky, Bortnyansky, Kedrov and Chesnokov, among others.

Performances in the last few seasons have included stops at the Russian Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., and the Winter Garden Theater in New York City and tours through the United States and Ukraine.

The chorus has recorded three other albums, "Red Album," "Blue Album" and the "40th Anniversary Album." The 40th anniversary album was conducted, in part, by Mickiewicz, who returned to Yale's Woolsey Hall last October to conduct the 50th anniversary gala concert.

The concert is one of more than 20 events taking place on campus during the Russian Arts and Letters Festival. While the icon exhibit is closing after the Jan. 24 choral performance, "A World of Stage: Russian Costume and Stage Design from the George Riabov Collection of Russian Art" runs at the Walsh Art Gallery through Sunday, March 21. The gallery is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Upcoming festival highlights include film screenings; live music by the Amadeus Trio and other ensembles; a version of Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" by The Salzburg Marionettes; readings of Chekhov, Dostoevsky and Gogol; and the Moscow Festival Ballet's "Giselle."

Tickets to the Yale Russian Chorus concert are $15 and $20. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at 203-254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit the website, http://www.quickcenter.com/.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 9, 2004

Vol. 36, No. 150