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The Cecilia Chorus Of New York Presents On April 19 At Carnegie Hall - World Premiere Of Cyrus Chestnut’s Power In The Blood - Beethoven: Christ On The Mount Of Olives!

What makes Chestnut the best jazz pianist of his generation is a willingness to abandon notes and play space.
—Time Magazine
The Cecilia Chorus of New York with Maestro Cyrus Chestnut at Carnegie Hall on Friday, April 19th at 8 PM

Two Passion stories, each a gripping musical narrative:

Beethoven’s edge-of-your-seat Christ on the Mount of Olives features high-wire solos, dramatic choruses, and full orchestra. Cyrus Chestnut’s electrifying Power in the Blood is a cycle of spirituals arranged for chorus, vocal soloists and acoustic jazz trio. Performances are presented in two halves. At this historic world-premiere, Chestnut himself—whom Time magazine called “the best jazz pianist of his generation”—takes the keys in his first time headlining at Carnegie Hall.

A unique opportunity to hear two great musical spirits—Beethoven and Chestnut—side by side.

About The Cecilia Chorus of New York

Founded in 1906, The Cecilia Chorus of New York, winner of the ASCAP/Chorus America Alice Parker Award, has evolved into one of the finest avocational performing arts organizations in New York City. The 150-voice chorus has been described as “reliably venturesome” (The New Yorker, 2017) and “admirable,” (New York Times, 2017). Recent highlights have included commissions from The Brothers Balliett, Jonathan Breit, Tom Cipullo, and Raphael Fusco; collaborations with five-time Obie Award-winning actor Kathleen Chalfant, two-time Tony Award-winning actor Stephen Spinella, and opera singers Julia Bullock and Ryan Speedo Green; the New York premieres in Carnegie Hall of the Mass in D and The Prison by Dame Ethel Smyth; the world premieres of Fifty Trillion Molecular Geniuses by The Brothers Balliett and Everyone, Everywhere by Daron Hagen; the US premiere of Messe Romane by Thierry Escaich; the Carnegie Hall premiere of The Ballad of the Brown King: A Christmas Cantata by Margaret Bonds with text by Langston Hughes; and the Carnegie Hall premiere of Neither Separated, Nor Undone by Derrick Skye.

Mark Shapiro was appointed the seventh Music Director of The Cecilia Chorus of New York in 2011. Conductor Emeritus of The Prince Edward Island Symphony, Principal Conductor of Marshall Opera in New York, and Artistic Director of Cantori New York, he is one of a handful of artistic leaders in North America to have won a prestigious ASCAP Programming Award six times, achieving the unique distinction of winning such an award with three different ensembles. The New York Times has characterized his conducting as “insightful" and acknowledged its “virtuosity and assurance” and “uncommon polish.” The Star-Ledger calls his artistic leadership “erudite and far-reaching.”

About Cyrus Chestnut

Born in 1963, Cyrus Chestnut started his musical career at the age of three, playing piano at the Mount Calvary Star Baptist Church at the age of six in his hometown of Baltimore, MD. By age nine, he was studying classical music at the Peabody Preparatory Institute in Baltimore. In the fall of 1981, Cyrus began jazz education in Boston, MA at the Berklee College of Music. In 1985, he earned a degree in jazz composition and arranging. While at Berklee, Chestnut was awarded the Eubie Blake Fellowship, the Oscar Peterson, Quincy Jones, and Count Basie awards for exceptional performance standards at the college. After Berklee, Cyrus began further honing his craft as a sideman with some of the legendary and leading musicians in the business. Some of these great people include; Jon Hendricks, Michael Carvin, Donald Harrison, Terence Blanchard, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller, Regina Carter, Chick Corea, Jimmy Heath, James Moody, Joe Williams, Isaac Hayes, Kathleen Battle, Betty Carter, and Dizzy Gillespie just to name a few. His association with Betty Carter, which began in 1991 significantly affected his outlook and approach to music, confirming his already iconoclastic instincts. Carter advised him to “take chances” and play things I’ve never heard,” Chestnut says.

As Cyrus was absorbing experiences as a sideman, he was also developing as a leader, recording and playing live around the world. There’s a Brighter Day Coming was his first self-released album, followed by The Nutman Speaks (1992), The Nutman Speaks Again (1992), Another Direction (1993). The records received the prestigious Gold Disk award from Japan’s leading jazz publication, Swing Journal.

In the summer of 1993, Chestnut signed with Atlantic Records, releasing the critically acclaimed Revelation (1994), followed by The Dark Before The Dawn (1995), EarthStories (1996), Blessed Quietness (1996), and Cyrus Chestnut (which featured Anita Baker, James Carter, Joe Lovano, Ron Carter, Billy Higgins, and Lewis Nash, 1998). In 2000, Cyrus was given a great honor to pay tribute to his favorite cartoonist, Charles Schulz and first jazz influence, Vince Guaraldi in his interpretation of the classic Charlie Brown Christmas, which celebrated Mr. Schulz’s 50th year of writing the saga of Charlie Brown. Vanessa Williams, Brian McKnight, The Manhattan Transfer and the Boys Choir of Harlem were a few of the participants on this star-studded record. In 2001, he released Soul Food, featuring bassist Christian McBride, drummer Lewis Nash, and special guest soloists including James Carter, Stefon Harris, Wycliffe Gordon, and Marcus Printup. This acclaimed record was included in Down Beat’s list of the best records of 2001 and ascended to the “Top 10” on the Jazz charts. In 2005, Cyrus recorded You Are My Sunshine on the Warner Jazz label. This record was and still is a hit with jazz and gospel lovers alike. It featured Neal Smith on drums and Michael Hawkins on bass.

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