Created in early 2013, Notre Dame Vocale is an advanced vocal ensemble intended as the performing arm of research and creative projects in sacred music composition and sacred music drama by Professor of Conducting Carmen-Helena Tellez at the University of Notre Dame. Its first performance was at the inaugural concert of the Sacred Music Festival of Quito, Ecuador, in March 2013. Notre Dame Vocale collaborates with Notre Dame’s presenter, the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center in offering virtuosic vocal and choral works by living composers. Notre Dame Vocale was also the resident ensemble for Notre Dame’s sacred music conferences in 2012 and 2014, and the designated core ensemble for the series of sacred music dramas supported the Mellon Foundation between 2013 and 2016. Vocale was the vocal ensemble for the interdisciplinary music drama, “Journeying la Divina Commedia,” with a new oratorio by Robert Kyr on a libretto by Robin Kirkpatrick based on Dante’s Divina Commedia, commissioned with support of the Ann Stookey Fund for New Music, which premiered in October 2016.
Notre Dame Vocale is integrated by graduate students in conducting and voice, and expanded by a family of alumni and guest professionals especially invited for expanded projects. Recent projects include collaborations with the McGrath Institute for Church Life and Notre Dame’s Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts; and a critically-praised performance as the early music ensemble in “Voices of Light,” the oratorio on Joan of Arc by Richard Einhorn, at the Princeton Festival, under the direction of Vocale’s conductor, Carmen-Helena Téllez. Vocale also took the chamber chorus and solo ensembles in Mendelssohn’s Elijah, with star baritone Nathan Gunn, and also premiered three commissioned works by composers Sven-David Sandstrom, Cary Boyce and Gabriela Lena Frank, alongside works by its members Justin Appel, and Caleb Wenzel, for the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.
After the premiere of “Journeying the Commedia” and its oratorio on the Paradiso by Robert Kyr, Vocale embarked on its second visit to South America in October of 2016. The CD of Robert Kyr’s Paradiso was issued by Albany Records in December of 2018. Upcoming projects include a performance of Philip Glass’ Madrigal Opera, Parts III and IV, for the visit of the composer to Notre Dame in March 2019; and immersive premiere performances of Greg Spears’ The Tower and the Garden and Jorge Muñiz’s The Beatitudes, at Indiana University South Bend in May 2019.