Hartford Chorale’s Encore (Hartford Courant)

…The chorale toured China in 2001 and has been invited back to sing in three musical events associated with the 2008 Olympic Cultural Festival — two in Beijing and one in Qingdao. The chorale is one of only two U.S. choirs invited by the Cultural Ministry of China; the other is the New York Choral Society, which is sending 72 singers to perform with Hartford’s group.

“China was awarded the Olympics while the chorale was there,” said Christiana. “We thought they were just being polite, saying, ‘We should invite you back.’ It’s really an honor to be going back.”

The two East Coast choirs will perform jointly on June 23 during the opening ceremonies of the festival. They will be led by Richard Coffey, music director of the Hartford Chorale, and John Daly Goodwin, music director of the New York Choral Society. The 15-minute repertoire includes a movement from the Yellow River Cantata (in Chinese), the simple folk song Da Hai (“The Sea,” also in Chinese) and the title song from “The Sound of Music.”

The group of 132 singers will then perform Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and the Asian premiere of Philip Glass’ “Itaipu” in the Beijing Concert Hall, conducted by renowned conductor Yong Yan Hu, a graduate of Yale University and the Juilliard School of Music.

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