In case you missed it: Yale Repertory Chorus

April 17, 2024

On April 15 the Yale Repertory Chorus presented its spring concert, led by student conductors Mahima Kumara ‘25, Rachel Segman ‘25, and Alex Whittington ‘25. The concert opened with a cappella works and gradually added instruments, finishing with extended pieces for chorus and orchestra. Many of the selections were relatively unknown, treating an enthusiastic audience to a captivating musical survey.

The first half of the concert featured living composers, including two graduates of the Yale School of Music. Reena Esmail’s When the Violin and Yiran Zhao’s Rén Rì Sī Guī both contain elements of sorrow and comfort. Conductors Mahima Kumara and Alex Whittington elicited a full complement of emotions from the chorus. Also in this set were poignant and fluid works by Menachem Wiesenberg and Ken Burton.

For the second half of the program the conductors selected more traditional idioms of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Dieterich Buxtehude is no stranger to Yale audiences, but Chiara Margarita Cozzolani and Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville are less familiar. Cozzolani’s Magnificat, conducted by Rachel Segman, demonstrated convincingly that our Baroque canon should expand to include accomplished women composers.

Of the thirty-one members of the Repertory Chorus, twelve performed solo passages, exhibiting the depth of talent within the choir. The singers also displayed their language abilities, performing in Hebrew, English, Chinese, and Latin, the last alternating between German, Italian, and French inflections, depending on the nationality of the composer. Within the capable orchestra, violinists Albert Steinberger and Ria Honda and cellist Francis Fedora were particularly noteworthy for their sensitivity to Baroque playing styles.

— This performance was dedicated to Sarah Grube (2000–2024).


Photo: Alex Whittington ‘25 conducting (By Laurie Ongley)