Widely regarded as one of the finest professional choral ensembles in the United States, The Antioch Chamber Ensemble is currently celebrating its 17th season of exceptional music-making. Under the leadership of founding Artistic Director Joshua Copeland, the ensemble strives to present as diverse a program as possible of the world’s greatest choral literature, both sacred and secular, and has performed works ranging from Renaissance polyphony to contemporary masterpieces with a core group of ten to twelve of the New York metropolitan area’s finest singers. In 2008, Antioch was awarded first-place honors in the highly prestigious Tolosa International Choral Competition in Spain, establishing them among the top rank of professional choirs in the world. In recent seasons, Antioch has been called “stellar,” “flawless,” “an exceptional group,” and “a spectacular example of what a classical choir should sound like” by the national press. Of the ensemble’s recent début for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the New York Times wrote: “The Antioch Chamber Ensemble performed … with clarity of tone and intonation so pure that you could hear the buzz of overtones created by some of the close harmonies. The most daring of these often color the sighs and wordless exclamations that punctuate both spiritual and secular texts, and the Antioch singers gave each its expressive register: impassioned, weak-kneed, swooning.” Other past performance highlights include concerts for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, the American Choral Directors Association Eastern National Conference and the Festival des Choeurs Laureats in France.
In recent years, Antioch has earned a glowing reputation for its pitch-perfect and expressive interpretation of modern music. In 2010, the ensemble gave the European premiere of Eric Whitacre’s “The City and the Sea,” as well as the world premiere of Bruce Adolphe’s “Of Art and Onions: Homage to Bronzino” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, commissioned by the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. The same year, the group’s second recording, The Passing of the Year (featuring the titular cycle by contemporary composer Jonathan Dove), was released by MSR Classic to universal praise from the industry press, who cited the group’s “flawless blend, excellent intonation, and enthusiastic but sensitive phrasing.” Composers Paul Mealor, Ivo Antognini, Matthew Brown and R. Douglas Helvering have all composed works specifically for Antioch. The ensemble is the recipient of a grant from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music to produce the first recording of choral works by Brown, a talented emerging composer based in Los Angeles, which was released in the fall of 2013.