Conspirare

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Conspirare
Origin Austin, Texas
Genres Choral
Years active 1991 (1991)–present
Labels Harmonia Mundi
Website conspirare.org
Members Craig Hella Johnson

Conspirare is a choral ensemble based out of Austin, Texas. They were formed in 1991 by conductor and musical director Craig Hella Johnson as New Texas Festival but did not begin to regularly perform until 1999. They have released four albums and one DVD and have been nominated for five Grammy Awards.

History[edit]

Conspirare, originally New Texas Festival, was formed in 1991 as a week-long series of vocal performances every summer in Austin, Texas.[1][2] They did not begin having a fuller schedule of concerts until 1999.[3] They regularly play music festivals in the area including specials for Christmas[4][5][6][7] and in celebration of the music of Bach.[8] They have also played such renowned venues as Carnegie Hall[9] and Lincoln Center.[2] Their music was featured in the 2006 documentary The Mystery of Love.[10]

Recordings[edit]

Through the Green Fuse[edit]

Their first release was 2004's Through the Green Fuse on Clarion Records. It was recorded in early August 2004 over two days at the Skywalker Ranch. Robert Faires of The Austin Chronicle described the album's qualities as "sensitivity to text, purity of vocal tone, and, of course, those long, lush harmonies, with voices melding seamlessly into sounds that are achingly lovely". Tracks include "Deep River" and "Sleep".[11]

Requiem[edit]

Requiem, their second offering, was also on Clarion in 2006 and re-released on Harmonia Mundi Records in 2009. It was recorded at the Troy Music Hall, Troy, New York.[12] The album has a "somber theme of death and loss", with Requiem Masses by Herbert Howells and Ildebrando Pizzetti and a memorial for tsunami victims by Eliza Gilkyson.[12] The album received two Grammy nominations for Best Engineered Album, Classical and Best Choral Performance.[13] In 2010, it received an Edison Award, the Dutch equivalent on a Grammy.[14]

Threshold of Night[edit]

Tarik O'Regan: Threshold of Night is Conspirare's third release. It is a collection of compositions by Tarik O'Regan. The chorus is accompanied by the Company of Strings. It was released by Harmonia Mundi Records in 2008.[15] The album was recorded in October 2007, and like Requiem, at the Troy Music Hall.[16] The tracks are based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe,[15] Pablo Neruda,[17] Kathleen Raine[16] and Emily Dickinson.[18] The album debuted at number ten on the Billboard Top Classical Album chart[19] and received two Grammy nominations for Best Classical Album and Best Choral Performance.[20]

A Company of Voices[edit]

Their fourth recording, A Company of Voices - Conspirare in Concert, was released in 2009 by Harmonia Mundi Records on both CD and DVD. It was recorded live at the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin in October 2008. The show was recorded by the local PBS station, KLRU. It received a Grammy nomination for Best Classical Crossover Album.[21]


Sudden Light: Christmas at the Carillon[edit]

In 2010 Craig Hella Johnson invited Patrice Pike to join with Conspirare on a live recording with the Company of Voices, featuring Pike on three solo songs: a cover of Annie Lennox's "Why", plus original compositions "Volcanoes" and "The Calling".

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hylton, Hilary; Rossie, Cam (2006). Insiders' Guide to Austin. Globe Pequot. p. 254. ISBN 978-0-7627-4041-3. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "About Us". Conspirare. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  3. ^ Cummings, Robert. "Biography: Conspirare". Allmusic. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  4. ^ Pino, Barry (10 December 2004). "Christmas Choraling". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  5. ^ Brandon, April (7 November 2008). "Christmas at the Carillon". The Victoria Advocate. p. M5. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  6. ^ Brandon, April (26 November 2009). "A Crossroads Christmas: 12 events to get you in the spirit". The Victoria Advocate. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  7. ^ "Various holiday events scheduled In Victoria". The Victoria Advocate. 23 November 2006. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  8. ^ Mygrants, Joy (29 May 2003). "Ensemble will help open this year's Bach Festival". The Victoria Advocate. p. 1. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  9. ^ "'Opera is Love' -- a night of passion at Kodak Hall". MPNnow.com. 12 November 2009. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  10. ^ Lee, Felicia R. (9 December 2006). "The Countless Varieties Of a Single Emotion: Love". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  11. ^ Faires, Robert (21 January 2005). "Through the Green Fuse". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Manheim, James. "Review: Requiem". Allmusic. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  13. ^ "Conspirare selects new leader, eyes Grammys". Austin Business Journal. 31 January 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  14. ^ Faires, Robert (4 June 2010). "If it's June, this must be our Edison". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  15. ^ a b Eddins, Stephen. "Review: Tarik O'Regan: Threshold of Night". Allmusic. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  16. ^ a b Faires, Robert (28 December 2007). "Culture Flash!". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  17. ^ Venutolo, Anthony (1 December 2008). "'Tis the season for choral music". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  18. ^ Harlow, John (8 February 2009). "Pirates producer finds berth for British composer". The Times. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  19. ^ "Top Classical Albums". Billboard. 27 September 2008. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  20. ^ "The 51st Annual Grammy Awards". Grammy Award. Grammy Awards. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  21. ^ "Conspirare receives fifth Grammy nomination". The Victoria Advocate. 3 December 2009. Retrieved 2 February 2011.