James Whitbourn: World Premiere & Fourth Naxos CD

James Whitbourn: World Premiere & Fourth Naxos CD
© Naxos 8.573715
Cor Cantiamo, conducted by Eric Johnson, will premiere the chamber version of The Seven Heavens by James Whitbourn at Boutell Memorial Concert Hall at Northern Illinois University on November 3. This 30-minute multi-movement work is a musical biography of the author C.S. Lewis, scored for chamber choir and seven instrumentalists. Cor Cantiamo commissioned this new arrangement as part of Whitbourn’s residency with the NIU School of Music. The partnership also included 'Meet the Composer' sessions, open rehearsals, workshops, and performances of Whitbourn's music. The new version of The Seven Heavens will be available for performance after November.

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Also in November, Naxos will release the new recording Carolae – Music for Christmas. This will be the fourth Whitbourn album to be released by the label; it features the Westminster Williamson Voices, conducted by James Jordan. It is a fusion of the great Christmas traditions in England and at Westminster Choir College, with the Missa Carolae at its heart. It also includes premiere recordings of Veni et Illumina, The Magi's Dream, and A Great and Mighty Wonder. The release date is November 11, 2016.

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About James Whitbourn

James Whitbourn is an internationally renowned composer recognized by The Observer as 'a truly original communicator in modern British choral music.' A graduate of Magdalen College, University of Oxford, his career in music began in the BBC, for whom he has worked as composer, conductor, producer, and presenter. His music is admired for its direct connection with performers and audiences worldwide and for its ability to 'expand the experience of classical music beyond the edges of the traditional map of classical styles' (Tom Manoff, NPR).
His largest composition is the concert-length choral work Annelies, which sets words from The Diary of Anne Frank. Other notable works include Luminosity, written for the Westminster Choir College and the ArcheDream dance ensemble, Son of God Mass for saxophone, choir, and organ, and The Seven Heavens for choir and orchestra — a portrayal of the life of C. S. Lewis in the imagery of the medieval planets.
His choral works have been performed in many prestigious venues, and have appeared on acclaimed recordings, including four all-Whitbourn discs. Of the latest of these – 'Annelies' (Naxos) – Gramophone writes, 'the greatest accomplishment here is that James Whitbourn has written some music of great beauty.' Choir and Organ added, 'Whitbourn's devastatingly beautiful and restrained treatment of the subject matter makes it all the more poignant.'
Whitbourn's commissions include music to mark several national and international events, including the broadcast of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, music for the national commemoration of 9/11 at Westminster Abbey — subsequently performed in New York on the first anniversary of the attacks, the enthronement of the Bishop of Salisbury, and the anniversary of the foundation of the Belfast Philharmonic.
He is popular on both sides of the Atlantic as choral adviser and also enjoys a profile as a conductor and producer, with three GRAMMY nominations to his name (including Best Choral Performance for 'Annelies,' 2014) among many other international awards. 
James Whitbourn is an Honorary Research Fellow of St. Stephen's House, Oxford, and a member of the Faculty of Music in the University of Oxford. Since 2001, he has held an exclusive publishing agreement with Chester Music, London.

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