Center for the Arts presents a cappella vocal ensemble New York Polyphony
One of the fastest rising stars on the classical music scene, four-man a cappella group New York Polyphony, will showcase its dynamic and wide-ranging vocal style on Nov. 14, at 8 p.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Blacksburg, Va.
The quartet, which consists of Geoffrey Williams, countertenor; Steven Caldicott Wilson, tenor; Christopher Dylan Herbert, baritone; and Craig Phillips, bass; brings a uniquely modern interpretation to its varied repertoire, ranging from medieval melodies to contemporary works. In the music world, the term polyphony refers to music consisting of two or more independent voices, where each voice retains its own melody. The style’s origins are rooted in the early medieval period.
The ensemble will also lead a master class with the Virginia Tech Chamber Singers, an advanced choral group of 36 students, including 16 students from Virginia Tech’s Department of Music in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Under the direction of Dwight Bigler, assistant professor in the Department of Music and director of choral activities at Virginia Tech, the students will perform the Renaissance piece “Christe Jesu, pastor bone” by John Taverner. The workshop will also serve as preparation for the students, who will travel to the Virginia Music Educators Association’s annual conference the following day to perform for music educators from across Virginia.
New York Polyphony has an exclusive recording contract with BIS Records. The first album from this partnership, “endBeginning,” was released in the spring of 2012 and features rare works from the Franco-Flemish Renaissance, recorded in a 14th century church in Sweden. Their CD “Tudor City” spent three weeks in the top 10 of Billboard’s classical album chart and has been featured on Danish Public Radio, American Public Radio, and National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” The vocal ensemble’s debut CD “I sing the birth” — an intimate meditation on the Christmas season — was released in 2007.
Since their founding in 2006, New York Polyphony has maintained an active performance schedule, participating in major concert series and festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe, including performances at the Miller Theatre at Columbia University; Dallas Chamber Music Series; Ireland’s Ardee Baroque Festival; Denmark’s Vendsyssel Festival; Festival de Música de Morelia, Mexico; and Choral at Cadogan Hall in London. They have been featured on “Footprints to Paradise: A Medieval Christmas” for Public Radio International, “Performance Today” for American Public Media, and National Public Radio’s “In Practice.”
Tickets are $30 for general public, $24 for seniors and Virginia Tech faculty and staff, and $10 for students and youth 18 years old and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Squires Student Center and Activities Ticket Office, Monday through Friday, 12 to 5 p.m.; or by calling 540-231-5615.