The Prairie – a Lukas Foss Cantata

Laurie, one of my childhood girlfriends (elementary school days) has loved to sing for as long as I can remember. She’s been an active member of The Greenwich Village Singers for many years and on June 28th she will take part in a very exciting and unusual concert. She tells me that it has been decades since there was a New York performance of Lukas Foss’s major cantata, “The Prairie.”

On Thursday, June 28, we will present a revival performance of this significant American work at the Rose Theatre, which is part of Lincoln Center (but located in the Time Warner Center building at Columbus Circle). We will be performing it in the presence of the composer in honor of his 85th birthday. We and the Choral Society of the Hamptons will make up a chorus of over 100 voices, and under the baton of Mark Mangini, we will be accompanied by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, four professional soloists of outstanding talent, and solo concert flautist Carol Wincenc. In its thirty-one year history, The Greenwich Village Singers has never before undertaken a project of this significance and scope.

She also said the piece reminds her a bit of Gershwin, with some Copeland-esque sounds, “but it is not at all derivative–in fact, it’s wholly original and just a very cool piece of music. Very difficult not to like, even for those of you who do not ordinarily listen to choral music.”

To read more about this event — An American Awakening: The Rediscovery of a Choral Masterpiece — visit The Prairie Project website. The text, which was adapted by the composer from Carl Sandburg’s “The Prairie,” is posted there, along with the composer’s commentary a seen in the program from the 1944 premiere and information about the performers. You can order tickets online and for those of you in the press, there’s a link to the media contact as well. [Note: A second performance will take place on Saturday, July 7 at the Channing Sculpture Garden in Bridgehampton.]

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