In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
With a mandate to inspire and lead in the choral art form through excellence in performance and through the creation, exploration and celebration of women's repertoire, Vancouver's renowned Elektra Women's Choir has taken a leadership role in the international classical women's choir movement.
The choir is known for its adventurous programming, seeking out music written specifically for women and frequently commissioning new works. Its appearances include performances at the distinguished National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association (February 2003 and March 1997), including memorable New York performances at Carnegie Hall, Riverside Church, and Avery Fisher Hall. Elektra was honoured to represent Canada at the Fourth World Symposium on Choral Music in Sydney, Australia (August 1996).
Recent engagements include organising and performing in Welcome the World: A Choral Gala, as part of the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad, hosting Tapestry International festival of women's choirs in 2009, which featured choirs from Japan, the United States, and BC, and, in 2007, being an invited guest of Festival 500: Sharing the Voices in St. Johns, Newfoundland, where they gave seven performances.
In 2010 the choir once again took first place in the "Equal Voices - Women" category of the National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs. Prior to 2009, the choir was awarded first prize for women's choirs in four consecutive rounds of the biennial CBC National Choral Competition, as well as several major prizes for contemporary music performance.
Ongoing outreach programs are a priority for Elektra: Mira Youth Mentorship (annually), Composer Reading Sessions (every 2 years), Conductor Mentorship Program (every 2 to 3 years), and a Women's Singing workshop (every 2 years) ensure that Elektra's music and activities are accessible to all. Each Christmas Elektra welcomes a local children's choir to sing alongside Elektra and in their own solo spotlight. Elektra participates enthusiastically in shared projects with other arts organizations such as the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, MusicFest Vancouver, and Chor Leoni Men's Choir.
The choir has become a valued resource for conductors the world over looking to program the best of Canadian repertoire for treble voices. Elektra has commissioned nearly 60 compositions and arrangements in its 23-year history. On its website, Elektra houses a permanent Canadian resource called " 30 Top Picks" (created with the assistance of the Vancouver Foundation). This resource has become invaluable to conductors from around the world. Ongoing updates and the development of a new international section are planned for the near future.
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Review: Pure Elektra marks the Silver Anniversary of Elektra Women's Choir with a collection of highlights from several recent seasons of Elektra programming. All but four of the composers and arrangers are alive and well today, most of them Canadians, and all are worthy of being appreciated far and wide. This recording has two intended audiences: one of listeners who are attracted to exhilarating and moving sounds of fine choral music, and another of choral conductors who are looking to discover new repertoire for their own ensembles. Close your eyes, open your ears, and take a deep breath of Pure Elektra!
Songlist: Da Pacem, Ave Regina Coelorum , Lauda Sion, In the Gardens of Shushan, Cedit, Hyems, Magnificat, Early Spring, I Am Not Yours, Joy, Changed Forever, Un Canadien errant, The Garden of Dreams, Solitude, Le ruisseau, what i want, One Voice
Review: Diane Loomer, C.M. and Morna Edmundson, Artistic Director, co-founded the Elektra Women's Choir in 1987, giving it a mandate to lead and inspire in the choral art form through the creation, exploration and celebration of women's repertoire. Adding to a long tradition of honors and awards, Elektra once again won first place in the women's voices category of the 2010 NNational Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs. The choir's many recordings are best sellers in the Singers.com catalog, and are in demand all over the world-the choir is also proud to offer ongoing programs that train and encourage young singers, conductors and composers. They have commissioned and premiered over 60 new works, many of which have become standards of women's choral literature. 'Chez Nous' (French for 'Our House') is a gorgeous Christmas collection of 20 songs, featuring such favorites as Michael Praetorius' 'Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming,' Edward Henderson's lovely 'Star Song,' Benjamin Britten's wonderful 12-song 'A Ceremony of Carols,' Jeffrey Enns' 'Da Pacem,' Robert Buckley's 'December,' and 'Night of Silence' by Daniel Kantor. All of these songs are lightly accompanied by piano, but the focus is on the sweet, angelic leads, harmonies and rounds by the perfectly trained and led voices of Elektra. Simply beautiful!
Songlist: Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming, Star Song, Joys Seven, Procession - A Ceremony of Carols, Wolcum Yole! - A Ceremony of Carols, There is no Rose - A Ceremony of Carols, That yonge child - A Ceremony of Carols, Balulalow - A Ceremony of Carols, As dew in Aprillle - A Ceremony of Carols, This little Babe - A Ceremony of Carols, Interlude - A Ceremony of Carols, In Freezing Winter Night - A Ceremony of Carols, Spring Carol - A Ceremony of Carols, Adam lay i-bounden - A Ceremony of Carols, Recession - A Ceremony of Carols, Da Pacem, Yorkshire Wassail , December, Three in White: a suite of songs about snow, Night of Silence
How Far Is It To Bethlehem?
Review: Founded in 1987, and co-directed by Diane Loomer, C.M. and Morna Edmundson, the 57-strong, Vancouver, BC-based Elektra is now regarded as a leader in the classical women's choir movement worldwide. Seeking out music written specifically for women and frequently commissioning new works, the singers are selected by audition--and share an enthusiasm for challenging repertoire. 'Child of Grace,' a Christmas CD, is the group's 5th, and contains 21 songs, some with light accompaniment, piano and drums. This is a stunningly lovely collection of beautiful, little-known carols and Christmas songs, like Eleanor Daley's 'What Sweeter Music' and 'I Sing of a Maiden,' and Knut Nystedt's 'Mary's Song.' There's a joyous group of 8 songs by Derick Holman called 'Sir Christemas.' Songs we've heard many times like 'I Saw Three Ships,' 'How Far Is It to Bethlehem' and Malcolm Edwards' 'Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day' are the exceptions. Each song is a gem!
Songlist: Adam Lay Ybounden, O My Dear Heat, Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day, What Sweeter Music, Carol for the Animals, I Sing of a Maiden, Mary's Song, How Far is it to Bethlehem?, In the Bleak Midwinter , Sir Christemas:, -Proface, welcome!, -Sir Christemas, -The Wassail, -Omnes gentes plaudite, -Here comes holly, -Ivy, chief of trees, -Nay, ivy, nay, -Now have good day!, The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy, The Huron Carol, I Saw Three Ships, I Sing of a Maiden
Review: This much-acclaimed women's classical choir from Vancouver, British Columbia, performs a diverse, frequently modern, repertoire drawn from many cultures world over. The ethereal 'Hosanna,' combines a concise traditional text with a repetitive theme and mixed meter; 'The Snow,' by the Romantic English composer Edward Elgar, is accompanied by two violins and piano, a delicately melodic, tonally-centered work in sonata form. 'The Seeds Of Love,' begins with a jazzy, engaging piano intro, alternating with a cappella choir, gradually becoming homophonic in texture; a 'jazz/classical' fusion that is undeniably moving. Several Finnish composers, an Estonian, and Canadian composer Stephen Hatfield's interpretation of seven South African freedom songs, 'African Celebration,' round out this eclectic and adventurous recording.
Songlist: Laudate Dominum, Missa Brevis, Kyria, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei , Nigra Sum, Hosanna, The Snow, The Seeds of Love, In Praise of Music, First Section , Second Section, Third Section, Vesy Vasyy Lumen Alle, "Suite" de Lorca, Cancion de jinete, El Grito, La luna Asoma, Malaguena, Karjan Kotiinkutsu, African Celebration
Let Me Fish Off Cape St. Mary's
Review: Elektra's Garden is a collection of secular music from many parts of the world, including Spain, France, England, the United States and Canada. The music, much of it recently written, evocatively explores the human experiences of nature and love. Canadian composers Allan Bevan, Eleanor Daley, Allison Girvan, Diane Loomer, and Stephen Smith offer works ranging from new compositions to lyrical texts to exceptional folk song arrangements. The disc also includes two major suites: the delicate and deservedly famous Five Hebrew Folk Songs by Eric Whitacre and Stories of the Wind from Spain's Alejandro Yague, which was written for Elektra.
Songlist: Scarborough Fair, Temuna, Kala Kalla, Larov, Eyze Sheleg!, Rakut, To Morning, Let Me Fish Off Cape St. Mary's, Kaipaava, El Viento Venia Rojo, Viento Estancado, La Brisa, Que Doncella se Casa con el Viento , Harp of Wild, Les Angelus, The Lake Isle of Innisfree, V'la l'bon Vent, Love Went a-Riding, Here's to Song
Review: Founded in 1987, The 33-strong pride of Vancouver, British Columbia, this much-acclaimed women's classical choir, known for its adventurous programming, seeks out and commissions music written specifically for women. 'From The Heart' brings us 15 pieces from Elektra's touring repertoire. Eight of the selections are from Canada, most of them well-known folk songs, opening with David MacIntyre's electrifying 'Ave Maria,' which has captivated audiences since 1994. Fine works by European, and, in particular, British composers, and the 'Missa Brevis' by American composer Ron Jeffers round out a marvelous recording. All words and translations are there on the very nice liner notes.
Songlist: Ave Maria, Wie Lieblich Sind Deine Wohnungen, Missa Brevis In Tempore Violentiae, Kyrie, Gloria, Flos regalis, Linden Lea, Two Eastern Pictures, Spring, Summer, The Lass OF Richmond Hill, Follow Me Down To Carlow, Reel A Bouche, Away From The Roll Of The Sea, She's Like The Swallow, Wood River, The Log Driver's Waltz, Heaven Bound Train, J'entends Le Moulin
Review: Conductor, composer, organist and music teacher Josef Gabriel Rheinberger wrote many compositions for mixed, female and male voice ensembles. The majority of his secular part songs were written for male-voice choir while his sacred pieces featured female voices. In addition to the three masses, Rheinberger wrote twenty smaller pieces for two to four part female-voice choir. On this volume of Rheinberger's sacred music, the Elektra Women's Choir with soprano Lorraine Reinhardt sings many of his two and three part hymns and the Mass in E-flat for three part choir and organ.
Songlist: Drei lateinische Hymnen op. 96:, Ave vivens hostia, Regina coeli, Adoramus te, Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen op. 35, Missa in Es op. 155:, -Jyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei , Sechs zweistimmige Hymnen op. 118:, Salve Regina, Memorare, Quam admirabile, Inclina Domine, Ave maris stella, Puer natus in Bethlehem
Review: Since 1987 the Elektra Women's Choir has been an international ambassador for the Canadian choral legacy. Under the guidance of co-conductors Morna Edmundson and Diane Loomer, they are regarded as a leader, worldwide, of seeking out and performing music written specifically for women's choir, in addition to commissioning new works. You will be treated to a playlist which includes the works of six Canadian contemporary composers of great reknown. The technically demanding quality of this performance is breath-taking. You will never forget Malcolm Forsyth's composition 'Northern Journey.' From traditional to contemporary sounds of women's voices this is a virtuoso recording.
Songlist: Ave Maria Stella, Lullaby, Northern Journey, Salem, 1692, Hear My Prayer, When You Are Old, Four Mystical Songs, Ave Maria, Northern Lights, Miss Brevis, Celebremust
Review: Elektra Women's Choir unveils an eloquent collection of sacred works for treble voices. The repertoire encompasses contemporary settings by composers from Hungary, Canada, the United States, and Spain. The collection includes Gyorgy Orban's 'Mass No. 6', psalm settings by the late Srul Irving Glick, Eleanor Daley's assured 'Os Justi', the haunting lullaby 'Durme, Durme' arranged by Alice Parker; the glorious 'Set Me as a Seal' by Richard Nance, Eva Ugalde's dramatic 'Miserere' and Gwyneth Walker's 'I Thank You God'. This moving collection highlights the very essence of Elektra - complete with transcendent harmonies, thrilling melodies, and the full spectrum of the vocal palette.
Songlist: Mass No. 6, Psalm 92 , Psalm 47, Psalm 23, Os Justi , Durme, Durme, Set Me As A Seal , Miserere , I Thank You God
Review: British Columbia's much-acclaimed Elektra Women's Choir is known for seeking out challenging music for women, and 'Skylark' is certainly no exception. It celebrates a wealth of outstanding choral repertoire for women from four areas of the world, Continental Europe, Canada, Britain and the Baltic Sea. The 13 selections are rich and varied, drawing its inspiration from nature, the church and folk traditions. For example we hear 'O Vivens Fons' by Medieval abbess Hildegard von Bingen, Canadian composer Richard Kidd's 'Wind Song,' Gustav Holst's 'Ave Maria' and Veljo Tormis' magical arrangement of the Estonian folk song 'Lauliku Lapsepoli.' Beautiful liner notes with the words and translations.
Songlist: O Vivens Fons, Laudi Alla Vergine Maria, Total Pulchra Es, Wind Song, Salve Regina, Snowforms, Follow Me to Carlow, Ave Maria, He Hath Entered the Heaven, Jaakobin Pojat, Lauliku Lapsepoli, On Suuri Sun Rantas Autius, Mina Olen Harman Kankaanpaasta
Review: 'Log Drivers' Waltz' is a showstopper of a piece! This work is a piece of classic Canadiana, is funny and exciting, and includes a coloratura soprano solo. 'Lullaby' wonderfully crafted work uses lullaby words from many different cultures of Canada including First Nations languages, French and English. It is atmospheric and evocative, soothing the listener with overlapping textures and sounds. 'O Canada' - A four part a cappella setting of Canada's national anthem with both French and English versions included.
Songlist: Log Drivers' Waltz, Lullaby, O Canada
Review: 'Adam Lay Ybounden' was written originally for a small church choir, this piece takes the ancient text and sets it with a mystical angularity, but maintaining a beautiful sense of line. Includes a small soprano solo. Written for Elektra Women's Choir, this piece is now heard around the world. Using only the words 'Ave Maria' this rhythmic and visionary work is suitable for women's or very advanced children's choir. 'Missa Brevis' is a short mass setting for unaccompanied women's or treble choir consists of Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei. Although not technically demanding, the work requires sensitivity of phrasing and detailed attention to text and word stress. The heartfelt simplicity of expression underlines the inherent reverence and beauty of this liturgical text. Performance note: Missa Brevis can also be sung by a mixed chorus with tenors doubling sopranos and basses doubling altos. 'Salve Regina' is one of the Catholic Church's four Marian antiphons, is set for unaccompanied women's choir and solo flute or solo soprano. With thick, luscious harmonies, this is a challenging piece of music, at times requiring 8-part divisi. The work requires a good sense of flow, attention to word stress and a convincing understanding of the piece's structure.
Songlist: Adam Lay Ybounden, Ave Maria, Missa Brevis, Salve Regina