VocalEssence: In the Beginning, there was Copland

by John Birge, Minnesota Public Radio
March 10, 2010

St. Paul, Minn. — For the VocalEssence, it truly began with Aaron Copland.

When Philip Brunelle launched his new professional chorus in 1969, he went out on a limb and invited the legendary American composer to come to Minneapolis to conduct. Copland's answer surprised him, and it created a fruitful partnership that led to more concerts, and a Grammy winning recording.

Now, the VocalEssence Copland legacy continues with "Undiscovered Copland," Saturday March 13 at 8pm, at Ted Mann Auditorium. The program includes little-known works like The Second Hurricane, a rarely performed "play-opera" from 1937. More familiar fare, such as Copland's Old American Songs, is cast in a fresh new light through the addition of new choreography by James Sewell Ballet.

Philip Brunelle and James Sewell talked with Classical Minnesota Public Radio's John Birge about Aaron Copland, and how from the beginning to today, Copland's voice still speaks so clearly to so many people.


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