The Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 2020–2021 season is technically more than just its own season. Announced last week, the group is also highlighting its important contributions to the LA Phil’s ambitious upcoming season: without LAMC, that season would be just a wish list.
The LAMC concert schedule is bookended by major classical all-evening works: Music Director Grant Gershon conducts Haydn’s oratorio The Creation (Oct. 18) and Bach’s B-Minor Mass (May 8–9, 2021). And they do get around to Handel’s Messiah in December, so no surprises there. (And that’s in addition to two concerts of carols.) In January, the group branches out a bit, under the direction of Rollo Dilworth: “United We Sing” includes American composers from a variety of backgrounds, including Alice Parker, Sidney Guillaume, Mary Lou Williams, Rafael Hernández, Melissa Dunphy, and Dilworth himself.
LAMC’s newly appointed Swan Family Composer-in-Residence Reena Esmail has a piece on the following program. (She’s also in residence at Seattle Symphony next year — residing’s not a bad thing to be getting used to.) Esmail describes I Rise: Women in Song as a piece “inspired by the words of a female author who has shaped our world with her thoughts and actions. Some of the movements are sweet, subtle, and nostalgic. Others are fiery and bold. Some coalesce into their shape as they move along, and others unravel towards their ends. Each movement is a reflection on a single facet of the multifaceted experience of being a woman in this world.” Led by Assistant Conductor Jenny Wong, the March 14, 2021 concert also includes the local premiere of James MacMillan’s recent Stabat Mater setting.
On the LA Phil season, LAMC will contribute its power to John Adams’s Nixon in China (Nov. 19–22), conducted by Gustavo Dudamel; two pieces from the Christmas Oratorio by J.S. Bach, conducted by Ton Koopman (Dec. 18–20); Adams’s Girls of the Golden West (Feb. 26–28, 2021), conducted by Adams; Rachmaninoff’s The Bells (March 25–28, 2021), conducted by Dudamel; and Verdi’s Quattro Pezzi Sacri (Four sacred pieces, April 1–3, 2021), conducted by Dudamel.