Founded in Lakeville, Connecticut by Christine Gevert and a group of committed musicians at the end of 2003, over the course of ten years the organization has grown from an expanded music program at Trinity Church Lime Rock to what is now, an award-winning, nationally-recognized performance organization that presents concerts in the tri-state area of northwest Connecticut, western Massachusetts and New York’s mid-Hudson Valley.
Crescendo’s music programs are mainly produced by its own ensembles, The Crescendo Chorus, The Crescendo Vocal Ensemble, The Crescendo Period Instrument Orchestra and The Crescendo Andean Instrument Ensemble. Professional vocal and instrumental soloists from the east coast join the performances on a regular basis. Distinguished among them soprano Dr. Julianne Baird, an acclaimed international Early Music singer. Occasionally Crescendo also presents such renowned national and international musical ensembles and soloists as “I Fagiolini”, L’Orchestre Du Chambre Française, Peter Sykes and Paul Badura Skoda.
The Crescendo Chorus brings together in the joy of singing and learning about music about 30-40 auditioned amateurs and 12-16 professional singers. The choir performs classical choral works, both secular and religious, a capella and with orchestra. Education is an important component in our programs, realized by the style of the rehearsals, which include detailed analysis and historical background of the works, and by Pre-Concert talks, extensive program notes, lectures, school outreach programs, workshops and master classes.
Season and Venues
Crescendo’s concert and workshop season occurs mainly in the spring and fall, when there is not an overload of festivals and cultural events in the region. Among the regular locations of the concerts are churches in Litchfield County of Connecticut and Berkshire County in Massachusetts. Our ‘home’ is Trinity Church Limerock in Lakeville, CT and we regularly also perform at Saint James Place in Great Barrington, MA. For extraordinary occasions Crescendo also performs in concert halls such as Gordon Hall at Music Mountain and Elfers Hall at Hotchkiss. In 2014 Crescendo performed at Bard College in Annandale on Hudson in New York state, and in 2015 at St. Bartholomews Church in New York City.
Repertoire and Programming
Crescendo’s main repertoire is Early Music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. But its repertoire encompasses all musical eras and includes many different styles.
Multiple Choir (Antiphonal) repertoire
Among the highlights of Crescendo’s repertoire, we count several works for double choir, like Gabrieli’s and Schütz’s “Magnificats,” Vivaldi’s “Dixit,” Johann Sebastian Bach’s motets “Singet dem Herrn” and “Komm, Jesu, komm,” Johann Ludwig Bach’s “Das ist meine Freude,” Frank Martin’s “Mass for Double Choir” (1926), Juan de Araujo’s “Fuego de Amor” (three choirs and soprano solo) and Felix Mendelssohn’s “Hora est” (four choirs).
Premieres of large scale Baroque works
As Artistic Director Christine Gevert has lived, performed and traveled several continents, she has collected a large number of unusual repertoire. She has created for Crescendo performing editions of large Renaissance and Baroque works that normally are only available to scholars or as manuscripts. Our recent East Coast and U.S. premieres have included H.I.F. Biber’s Requiem á 15, Georg Philipp Telemann’s Oratorio “Kapitänsmusik” (1730), Jan Dismas Zelenka’s “Missa Votiva” (1739), Johann Ludwig Bach’s Cantata “Die mit Tränen säen,” Christoph Graupner’s Cantata “Heulet, denn des Herrn Tag ist nahe,” Willhelm Friedemann Bach’s Cantata “Wohl dem, der den Herren fürchtet” and Bartłomiej Pękiel’s “Missa La Lombardesca,” as well as other Latin American Baroque works.
Latin American Music – Contemporary Music – Commissions
The conductor’s Latin American heritage and musical connection found its first expression in the performance of “Misa Criolla” by the Argentinian composer Ariel Ramirez in 2006, and has led to concerts with rarely heard Colonial Latin American music, as well as contemporary pieces by young composers such as Javier Farias (Chile), Raimundo Penaforte (Brasil) and also her own arrangements and compositions. In 2014 Crescendo premiered in the U.S. Jaime Soto León’s “Misa Andina”- a late 20th century work that combines elements of Canto Nuevo (The New Song), Andean Folklore and sacred Western choral polyphony.
Crescendo’s first commissioned works were by two composers of the Berkshires, John Myers’ “West Lake Cycle” and Cheng-Chia Wu’s “Five Elements.” These works, performed in 2013, were part of the award winning program “New and Ancient Voices – Interpreting Nature in China and the U.S.” The national organization Chorus America recognized these concerts by presenting Crescendo in 2014 with its prestigious Alice Parker/ASCAP Award for innovative programming.
In 2006 Crescendo’s performance of Dave Brubeck’s Jazz Mass “To Hope” was acclaimed by its audience and the composer.
An innovative multimedia production of Hugo Distler’s “Totentanz” (Dance of Death) with modern dance, narration and projected animation, brought Crescendo to Europe: the film of this performance was shown as main feature at a European conference of “Art Macabre” at the Max Planck Institute in Florence, Italy in 2008.
In 2017 Crescendo premiered “Paintings in Song: Visions of Norman Rockwell” by John Myers. This multimedia work was commissioned by Crescendo, and is based on nine of Rockwell’s most iconic paintings, including the “Four Freedoms.” The work is scored for adult chorus, soloists, children’s chorus and instruments. Synchronized with the music, the animated images of the paintings are projected (images by Alice Myers and Anna Sabatini).
Cutting Edge and Fusion
Crescendo’s programming is also at the cutting edge of our times with experimental music projects like the fusion program: “Gesualdo and Jazz,” and “Making it up: The Art of Improvisation through the Ages,” an exploration of medieval, baroque, classical, romantic, jazz and fusion music on ethnic, period, conventional, folk and electronic instruments.
Crescendo is dedicated to the performance of music with cultural significance that is of high quality, is emotionally alive and personally meaningful for its audiences and musicians.
Our innovative programming and historically-informed performance practices distinguish us from many music organizations, and we are dedicated to educational outreach–to amateur and professional singers, audiences and students.