Founded in 1988 by Harold Rosenbaum, The New York Virtuoso Singers (NYVS) has become a leading proponent of complex contemporary choral music in the United States—regularly exceeding its “reputation for peerless preparation, assaying all of the pieces with fortitude and an almost intimidating level of technical skill (Christian Carey, Sequenza21).” While the chorus performs music of all periods, Dr. Rosenbaum commissions, performs, records and premieres the music of today’s most enterprising and rewarded American composers. He is widely regarded as an important exponent of new music.
NYVS has proven, without exception, that there is no work too difficult or ambitious for its performers and director. The ensemble comprises an elite core of sixteen professional members, often expanded to twenty-four or more. From its early days, as an outgrowth of a chorus-in-residence created expressly for the Brooklyn Philharmonic, NYVS has grown into a cherished cultural institution with a résumé that many larger organizations would be hard pressed to match:
Appearances: In addition to several hundred regular series and special event concerts in the New York metropolitan area, NYVS has performed on radio and TV, including an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman on Millennium New Year’s Eve, and was the first-ever guest chorus at Tanglewood Music Center’s annual Festival of Contemporary Music (1993), performing there again in 2003 in the Prelude Concert preceding a performance by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. NYVS was also invited to appear at the Aspen Music Festival in 2017. It toured Denmark and Sweden in 2015, and in 2019 it was featured with The Knights as part of New York’s PROTOTYPE FESTIVAL in two performances of MILA, Great Sorcerer, an opera by Andrea Clearfield, produced by New Vision for Opera NYC.
Awards: Amongst other honors, NYVS has won the prestigious Chorus America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming four times and has been given Chorus America’s American Choral Works Performance Award. NYVS’s performance of Andrew Imbrie’s Requiem, with The Riverside Symphony under George Rothman, received a Grammy nomination in 2000 and was voted by Fanfare magazine as a Critic’s Choice, Best of Year.
Collaborations: The wide range of artists and organizations with whom NYVS has partnered includes the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, The Juilliard Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the American Symphony Orchestra, the Bard Festival Orchestra, the Mark Morris Dance Group, Bang on a Can, the Glyndebourne Opera Company and The Riverside Symphony. NYVS also participated in the 1992 memorial concert for William Schuman at The Juilliard School.
In 2009, NYVS performed the American Premiere of the choral version of David Lang’s landmark Little Match Girl Passion on the first-ever New Sounds Live from WNYC’s Greene Space. It was the inaugural webcast on Q2 Music, the new home of new music in New York, and online—a landmark itself.
Commissions and Premieres: NYVS has commissioned more than one hundred works by a diverse array of composers, including Pulitzer Prize winners William Bolcom, John Corigliano, David Del Tredici, Stephen Hartke, Jennifer Higdon, Aaron Jay Kernis, David Lang, Yehudi Wyner, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Joseph Schwantner, George Tsontakis and Steven Stucky—along with Mark Adamo, Bruce Adolphe, Richard Danielpour, David Felder, John Harbison, Fred Lerdahl, Shulamit Ran, Roberto Sierra, Augusta Read Thomas, Joan Tower, Richard Wernick and Chen Yi.
NYVS has premiered more than 550 works by such noted composers as Luciano Berio, Luigi Dallapiccola, Hans Werner Henze, Louis Andriessen, Harrison Birtwistle, Ernst Krenek, Thea Musgrave, Jonathan Harvey, Arvo Pärt and Andrew Imbrie. They have also commissioned and premiered works by emerging composers such as Emily Bear, Tengku Irfan, Anahita Abbasi, Mathew Schultheis, Gity Razaz, Miles Walter, Emily Koh, Juhi Bansal, Will Healy and Conrad Tao.
Outreach: NYVS worked for many years with The ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and the ASCAP Foundation Irving Caesar Fund to present premiere performances of fifty commissioned young composers, including Vera Ivanova, Patrick O’Malley, J.P. Redmond, Anahita Abbasi, David Biedenbender, Will Cooper, Elizabeth Kelly, Michael Lee, Alexander Liebermann, Jared Miller and Eric Nathan.
They are also beginning a new project to commission young composers, working with the Steven R. Gerber Trust.
Recordings: NYVS has a substantial catalogue of 49 commercial CDs on SONY Classical, Albany, CRI, Bridge, Koch International, Capstone, KASP, DRG, Navona Records, Nimbus Alliance, Soundbrush and Our Silent Canvas.
In 2013, Dr. Rosenbaum organized an initiative to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of The New York Virtuoso Singers while also supporting living American composers. As Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times writes, Rosenbaum “commissioned 25 composers to write 25 short works. The results are terrific, overall, with vibrant new pieces by Stephen Hartke, Chen Yi, David Del Tredici, David Lang, William Bolcom, Fred Lerdahl, and many more. They gave the premiere performances in two concerts” and subsequently released a recording of the works on Soundbrush Records of 25 x 25. In 2013, the recording was recognized as Album of the Week on WQXR radio.
The New York Virtuoso Singers recently became a participant in the Presenter Partner co-marketing and promotion initiative of
Composers Now, led by Tania Leon. Visit Composers Now website by clicking here >
To audition for the all-professional New York Virtuoso Singers, please email Harold Rosenbaum >
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