Notre Dame Vocale invited to be part of prestigious Ann Stookey Fund commissioning consortium

Los Angeles, California (February 2, 2017): The Ann Stookey Fund for New Music (“ASFNM”) today announced that it has awarded a grant in the amount of $25,000 to underwrite the commissioning of a new choral work by Gregory Spears ( The new work will be a cantata for mixed choir and obbligato chamber ensemble, approximately 30 minutes in length, and will premiere during the 2018-19 performance seasons of the four choral organizations in the consortium.
Spears attended the Eastman School of Music, earned a master’s degree at Yale, and
took his Ph.D. at Princeton. Of his recent work,The Wall Street Journal said, “Mr. Spears writes brilliantly for vocal ensembles.” The Philadelphia Inquirer said his
“Requiem” bore “a modern sense of theatrical timing that keeps your ears on edge until the last note.”
“We are delighted to work with a consortium of highly regarded, leading edge choral
organizations to identify the next generation of great choral composers and to
support efforts to bring their work to audiences,” said Joe Waz, ASFNM chair.
With this latest commission to Gregory Spears, who has been hailed for his ‘exquisite,
distinctive (compositional) voice’,the Fund is pleased to continue its unique role in expanding the choral arts in Ann’s memory.”
From Donald Nally, Conductor of The Crossing:
The opportunity to commission another substantial work through the support of the Ann Stookey Fund for New Music is extraordinary; we are so grateful for the generosity of Joe and his family in making this possible. I know that Ann would have fully embraced Greg Spears’ music – it speaks so directly to us and is crafted with such thought, contemplation, and courage.He is a true match to the mission of the Fund as well as the missions of thefour wonderful ensembles who will premiere the work in their hometowns.
From Mark Shapiro, Artistic Director of Cantori New York:
Cantori New York and I are delighted and honored to be part of this prestigious consortium—and in such distinguished company. The Ann Stookey Fund for New Music is providing significant leadership in the creation of important new work for our art form; with this project, ASFNM identifies a promising composer of a rising generation and affords him a
precious opportunity to receive multiple performances, before multiple audiences, in cities across the United States, of this major new composition.
From Robert Geary, Artistic Director of Volti:
Bravi to the Ann Stookey Fund for New Music and Joe Waz for inspiring new choral music and a substantial platform for its dissemination. Volti is happy to be part of this project and honored to be counted with The Crossing, Cantori New York, and Notre Dame Vocale as leading proponents of new choral music in the United States.
From Carmen-Helena Téllez, Director of Notre Dame Vocale:
For Notre Dame Vocale, the research and special project ensemble at the University of Notre Dame, it is a distinct honor to collaborate with The Crossing, Volti, and Cantori New York, ranked among the most distinguished choral groups in the U.S., as we join forces to commission and premiere a new work by the gifted composer Greg Spears. The Ann Stookey Fund for New Music has built a visionary American repertoire through its focused
support of collaborations between choral ensembles and composers. The exciting new consortium model will generate the necessary synergy for the dissemination of the new compositions among diverse regions and audiences in the country.
From Gregory Spears:
I am very excited and honored to write a major new work for this brilliant consortium of choirs that explores the expressive power of the choral idiom.

Vocale begins preparations for The Dante Project


Image dante and his world smallUnder the leadership  of Vocale’s director Carmen-Helena Téllez, the  International Dante Project will present a new interdisciplinary work, “JOURNEYING LA DIVINA COMMEDIA: DESERT, DISCOVERY, SONG…” next October 8 and 9,  2016, at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center of Notre Dame.  It features Notre Dame Vocale prominently as singers will perform diverse roles around Dante’s travel from Hell into Purgatory and then Paradise.

“JOURNEYING THE COMMEDIA: DESERT, DISCOVERY, SONG…” is the third of the Sacred Music Dramas at Notre Dame wit support from the Mellon Foundation, following “I Was Born For This” on the historical impact of Joan of Arc, and “Elijah or the Jewish Artist in the Western World”, featuring Metropolitan Opera baritone Nathan Gunn.

“JOURNEYING LA DIVINA COMMEDIA” counts with the stage direction of Notre Dame’s Professor of Theatre Anton Juan, who explores aspects of the human condition and social justice in his art. The work’s was co-created after a libretto by celebrated Dante scholar Robin Kirkpatrick (University of Cambridge), with further creative input by Notre Dame Dante scholar Vittorio Montemaggi.

Composer Robert Kyr (University of Oregon, Oregon Bach Festival) has been commissioned with a grant from the Ann Stookey Fund for New Music to compose an oratorio the segment of Paradiso that will close the work.