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Counterpoint Presents An Evening of Latin American Music

KEENE, NH, 1/24/03 - Led by legendary music director Robert DeCormier, the 11-member a cappella singing ensemble Counterpoint will present an evening of Latin American choral music at Keene State Colleges Redfern Arts Center on Brickyard Pond, Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. The performance, entitled Luminarias de Coro, will feature choral music from the 16th through the 20th centuries. Among the composers whose works will be heard are Mexicos Carlos Chavez, Brazilian composer Hector Villa-Lobos with Bachianas Brasileiros No. 9, and Argentinean Astor Piazzola with his Verano Porteno, a tango arranged for unaccompanied voices.

In addition to the concert, DeCormier will lead a lecture/demonstration that same Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall. It is free and open to the public, with a free study guide to be given to the attendees. Those planning to attend the lecture/demonstration who do not have Keene State parking permits are requested to park in the Colleges visitors lot on Wyman Way, a short walk from the Arts Center.

Tickets for the evening concert are available through the Arts Centers box office, 603-358-2168, or may be ordered on the web at Tickets are $14 for the general public, $12 for seniors and KSC faculty and staff, $7 for youth 17 and younger, and $5 for KSC students with ID.

De Cormiers conducting engagements have taken him from Broadway and opera to the Berkshire Choral Institute, the Zimriya World Assembly of Choirs in Israel, and numerous concert tours nationally and internationally with the Robert De Cormier Singers.

A graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, he was the acclaimed music director of the New York Choral Society for 17 years. Under his leadership the group became renowned for its high standard of excellence in choral singing and unique variety of programming. Conducting credits include a performance of the Verdi Requiem in 1990 and the Berlioz Requiem at St. Pauls Cathedral in New York City in 1992. During the 1995-96 season he conducted the operas Brundibar and The Emperor of Atlantis in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts and at Merkin Concert Hall in New York.

He spent many years as conductor and arranger for Harry Belafonte and has been music director for the popular folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary for the past 20 years. He has written several works ranging from choral to ballet to Broadway scores. His cantata The Jolly Beggars, based on the poetry of Robert Burns, premiered in New York to critical acclaim. His ballet score Rainbow Round My Shoulder is in the active repertoire of the Alvin Alley Dance Theater. His choral works Legacy, Four Sonnets to Orpheus, Shout for Joy, and Under a Greenwood Tree were premiered at Carnegie Hall by the New York Choral Society.

De Cormier has also arranged extensively, from African-American spirituals to American and international folk songs. Among his many recordings are three Christmas albums on the Arabesque label with the De Cormier Singers, on Vox Turnabout with the New York Choral Society, and with Jessye Norman for Philips. De Cormiers settings of Robert Burnss poetry was released by Arabesque in May 1998. His television credits include a three-part series of Choral Folk Songs for the BBC and an Emmy-award-winning special with Harry Belafonte.

More recently, for Thames TV, he conducted Christmastide with Jessye Norman and for PBS, with Peter, Paul and Mary - A Holiday Concert, Peter, Paul and Mommy Too. Mr. De Cormier was the choral director for a combined concert, PBS television special and recording starring Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle, conducted by James Levine. He was also choral director for the PBS Special Christmas at Carnegie with Kathleen Battle and Frederica Von Stade, conducted by Andre Previn.

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