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RECENT NEWS

Voices Crying in the Wilderness:
An Interview with Robert Simpson, Director of the Houston Chamber Choir

by James A. Altena
Fanfare Magazine (July / August 2013)
Click here to read the full interview


Adventurous Programing (Re-)Defined
Houston arts organizations embrace risk and reward

By Chris Johnson
Art + Culture Houston (July 2013)
Click here for more details


CONCERT REVIEWS

The Houston Chamber Choir again confirmed itself as one of the jewels of the city's cultural scene.
—Everett Evans, Houston Chronicle (December 2012)
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The singers' spot-on rhythmicity and impeccable intonation lent authority to a performance whose contour was shaped brilliantly by their conductor, Robert Simpson.
—Marguerite L. Brooks, Associate Professor of Choral Conducting, Yale University

…the choir's performance was nothing short of divine, with superhuman pitch accuracy, clear diction and angelic musical phrases that resonated and echoed endlessly in the cathedral's abyss.
—Joel Luks of CultureMap
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One could feel [the conductor's] and the singers' involvement in the passion of the music. Soloists were gorgeous—their contrasting timbres blended beautifully. I couldn't be more pleased and thrilled.
—Anne Schnoebelen, Mullen Professor Emerita of Musicology, Rice University

Robert Simpson's group sang with impeccable choral blend and musicality. His work with the Houston Chamber Choir had produced a brilliant ensemble and one capable of amazing dynamic range, clarity, and a beauty of sound.
—Marilyn Jean Keiser, Chancellor's Professor Emerita of Organ, Indiana University, Bloomington

…an elegant choir with faultless intonation.
—Bob Chilcott, composer, conductor and former member of The King's Singers

Robert Simpson's Houston Chamber Choir is an ensemble of consummate artistry and it was a joy for me to have the opportunity to make music with them.
—Joseph Flummerfelt, conductor, Musical America Conductor of the Year

Beautiful, lithe, well-honed sound…the ensemble is a formidable one that performed with dexterity, grace and excellent unanimity.
—Houston Chronicle

The Houston Chamber Choir must be one of this country's leading ensembles. They maintain the highest standards of choral discipline while producing a distinctive and beautiful sound. It was a delight to work with them.
—Peter Phillips, The Tallis Scholars

…compelling, fascinating, engrossing, profound and thoroughly entertaining…one of the best concerts of the year…
—ArtsHouston Magazine

Your concert was fabulous. Interesting program and beautifully prepared.The best on our series this year. —Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Charleston, S.C.

The singing was silken-toned, finely balanced and sensitively molded.
—The Dallas Morning News


CD REVIEWS

Psalmi ad Vesperas (1694)
The choral singing of the Houston Chamber Choir is right on pitch, with a full and expansive sound, adding considerable depth to the music…This is one recording that Baroque music lovers will need to have in their collection.
—Bertil van Boer, Fanfare Magazine

All hail to this CD, then, for bringing Colonna back to our minds and ears with these fine renditions of psalm and canticle settings from the composer's final Vespers collection of 1694.
—James A. Altena, Fannfare Magazine

This music has all the florid splendor of the high Baroque in Northern Italy, and what a delight it is the hear it! I daresay that Colonna's music will now become a staple in modern concert-audience ears and Simpson's ensemble brings it to live impeccably. The solo singing, the chorus singing, and the stylistic instrumental playing are all superb. It is like taking a trip to Italy to bathe in the sound.
—Jonathan E. Dimmock, The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians


Ravishingly Russian The Houston Chamber Choir, under the direction of Robert Simpson, has produced a sparkling new CD that showcases the little-known area of Russian secular choral music. That the secular choral music of Russia receives less attention from performers than its sacred counterpart can be explained by the fact that sacred titles outnumber the secular by a ratio of approximately 80 to 20. Yet many of the composers who are best known for their sacred choral works, e.g. Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Kalinnikov, and others, wrote lovely secular part-songs as well, as this CD demonstrates. Others, such as Arensky, Cui, Dargomyzhsky, and Taneyev, are known primarily for their secular choruses, which deserve a great deal more attention than they've received to this time. Finally, the CD taps the unexplored wealth of Soviet-era choral songs (represented by Salmanov, Falik, and Gavrilin), written during a time when sacred music was severely suppressed. The Houston Chamber Choir's achievement is formidable, reflecting a depth of exploration and an intelligent interpretation of a foreign culture's choral repertoire that clearly demonstrates a great deal of love and enthusiasm on the part of the director and his singers. The musically convincing results offer a great reward both to the performers and the listener. To choral conductors, this CD will offer a wealth of programming ideas, while to lovers of beautiful, first-rate choral singing, it will provide a most enjoyable and enduring listening experience.
—Vladimir Morosan, Musica Russica

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