About CONCORA/Connecticut Choral Artists, Inc.
CONCORA’s mission, “to perpetuate and perform with excellence choral music of the highest quality for the broadest possible audience,” represents a commitment to the Connecticut community, a commitment to artistic excellence, masterful performances, and educational enrichment – enhancing the lives of generations.
Since its founding in 1974 by its Conductor and Artistic Director, Richard Coffey, CONCORA has held a unique place in the arts community as Connecticut’s premier professional choir, and has built an extraordinary reputation for artistic excellence throughout New England. CONCORA is the recipient of the 2003 Governor’s Arts Award, in recognition of remarkable artistic achievement and contributions to the arts in Connecticut.
The ensemble’s versatility is demonstrated in its wide range of repertoire from the great choral masterpieces to newly commissioned compositions, including arrangements of folk music, spirituals and popular music. The roster of singers yields performing groups appropriate to the repertoire, and these ensembles can vary in size from four to forty or more voices. Choral music has the power to cross cultural boundaries and to move hearts, and CONCORA’s mission to reach a broad and diverse audience extends not only to the choral aficionado, but also to those who may be touched by the beauty of the choral art for the first time.
CONCORA is meeting the challenge of developing present and future audiences through its educational and participatory programming, which reaches people of all ages. CONCORA’s educational outreach consists of two highly successful programs. For children, the CONCORA-to-Go quartet presents an interactive, multicultural program, “Around the World in Music,” performed in area elementary schools and public libraries. The summer Festival offers adult singers from the community and select high school and college singers an opportunity to join with CONCORA in rehearsing and performing great choral works. Festival repertoire has included choral arrangements of Robert Shaw and Alice Parker, Brahms’ Requiem, Part II of Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in collaboration with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, works for double choir, a program of sacred music in Hartford’s Cathedral of St. Joseph, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana performed with two pianos and percussion ensemble, Bach’s Cantata 4 (Christ lag in Todesbanden), Schubert’s Mass in G, and works of Maurice Duruflé. CONCORA extends special invitations to other choruses, especially children’s, high school and college choruses, as a regular part of its concert programming, and sponsors concerts by exceptional visiting choirs that enrich the cultural life of the region.
The ensemble has appeared often with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and enjoys an ongoing collaboration, annually performing the works of J.S. Bach. CONCORA has also performed on many occasions with Orchestra New England, and with them recorded The Six Motets of J.S. Bach in 2000. CONCORA served as the resident chorus of the esteemed Bard Festival with the American Symphony Orchestra, Leon Botstein, Director. The chorus has performed in concert with Chanticleer, the Gregg Smith Singers, John Rutter’s Cambridge Singers, and Bobby McFerrin.
CONCORA made its New York debut at Trinity Church, Wall Street in 1998 with A 75th Birthday Tribute to Ned Rorem, who called CONCORA “the finest chorus in America.” CONCORA’s recording of Rorem’s choral works received national acclaim in The Choral Journal. CONCORA has performed widely in New England, including national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists. In addition, there have been frequent appearances at the Wadsworth Atheneum and the New Britain Museum of American Art, First Night Hartford, and Aetna First Thursdays sponsored by the Greater Hartford Arts Council.
CONCORA has produced nine compact discs: “Made in USA,” “A Sacred Sampler,” “Christmas with CONCORA,” “Christmas in Our Time,” “A Retro Christmas with CONCORA,” “Sing, My Soul,” featuring the choral works of Ned Rorem, “The Six Motets of J.S. Bach,” “The Men of CONCORA,” and “Songs and Stories of Liberation.” All current recordings are available for purchase from the CONCORA office, at each concert, and on the web at www.CONCORA.org.