Syracuse Vocal Ensemble


Previous Artistic Directors

Yunn-Shan Ma, 2016-2017
Robert Cowles, 1996-2015
G. Roberts Kolb, 1990-1996
Julie Pretzat, 1986-1990
G. Burton Harbison, 1982-1986
John Armstrong, 1980-1982
Marietta Cheng, 1978-1979
Bruce Campbell, 1976-1978
Timothy Adams, 1973-1976

Recent Guest Conductors: Julie Pretzat, Carl Johnegen, Jace Kaholokula Saplan, Peppie Calvar, Ryan Endris, Joe Downing, John Warren

Selected List of Recent Repertoire

Bach, Johann Michael Halt, was du hast; Sei, lieber Tag, willkommen
Bach, Johann Sebastian Lobet den Herrn alle Heiden, Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied
Badings, Henk Trois chansons Bretonnes
Barber, Samuel Agnus Dei
Bernstein, Leonard Chichester Psalms
Biebl, Franz Ave Maria
Borodin, Alexander Polovtsian Choruses
Brahms, Johannes Drei Quartette (op. 31)
Britten, Benjamin The Ballad of Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard, Five Flower Songs, Hymn to St. Cecilia
Byrd, William Magnificat (from The Great Service)
Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Mario Six Carols
Charpentier, Marc-Antoine Messe de minuit pour Noël
Dellaira, Michael U.S.A. Stories
Dinerstein, Norman Frogs
Duruflé, Maurice Quatre Motets
Dufay, Guillaume Ecclesiae militantis
Eespere, René Glorificatio
Frackenpohl, Arthur Three Shakespearean Songs
George, Earl Aaron Stark
Gesualdo, Carlo Responsoria: Feria sexta
Glass, Philip Three Choruses for Mixed Voices
Hassler, Hans Leo Ad Dominum cum tribularer clamavi
Handel, George Frideric Dixit Dominus
Howells, Herbert Requiem
Israel, Brian My Son John
Ives, Charles Psalm 90
Jackson, Hanley The Birds of Ogden
Jeffers, Ron Three Children's Songs
Kalmár, Lázló Senecae sententiae
Kekkonen, Reijo Filio primogenitum
Kortekangas, Olli The Way to the Woods (world premiere)
LaPoint, Crystal Four Romantic Songs
Lauridsen, Morten Madrigali: Six "Fire Songs" on Italian Renaissance Poems, Mid-Winter Songs
Locklair, Dan Tapestries
Lundvik, Hildor Nocturnes
Mamiya, Michio Composition for Chorus I
McGlynn, Michael Evocations
Mellnäs, Arne Dream
Monteverdi, Claudio Lagrime d'amante al sepolcro dell' amata; Gloria à 7
Nordqvist Gustav Jul, Jul, Strålande Jul
O'Regan, Tarik The Ecstasies Above
Pärt, Arvo The Woman With the Alabaster Box, Bogoroditse Devo
Pinkham, Daniel Company at the Creche, Nativity Madrigals
Poulenc, Francis Chansons Françaises, Litanies à la Vierge noire, Quatre motets pour le temps de Noël, Un soir de neige
Purcell, Henry Jehova, quam multi sunt hostes mei; Rejoice in the Lord Always
Rasiuk, Moshe Market Street
Rautavaara, Einojuhani Lähtö; Credo
Respighi, Ottorino Laud to the Nativity
Schickele, Peter A Consort of Christmas Carols (P.D.Q. Bach), After Spring Sunset
Schafer, R. Murray Epitaph for Moonlight
Schütz, Heinrich Vater Unser
Schubert, Franz Mirjams Siegesgesang
Sibelius, Jean Joululaulu
Surinach, Carlos Canciones del alma
Sykulski, Jacek Najswietsza Panienka
Tavener, John Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, The Lamb
Tobias, Rudolf Gleichwie der Hirsch
Tormis, Veljo Karelian Destiny (excerpts), Laevas lauldakse
Vaughan Williams, Ralph Three Elizabethan Partsongs
Whitacre, Eric Sleep
Yannay, Yehuda Le campane di Leopardi

Recent Past Concerts

Annual Jazz Concert
May 2019

SVE's annual chance to swing with great vocal jazz. Get a jump on summer and feel the beat! One performance only.

Jeff Welcher, conductor

Winter Into Spring
March 2019

Works on winter and spring texts, including Poulenc's Un Soir de Neige, Debussy's Trois Chansons, choruses from Haydn's The Seasons, several Renaissance pieces, and more.

Julie Pretzat, guest conductor

A Christmas Collage
December 2018

Music of the season selected by four of SVE's singer-conductors as they each take a turn at the podium. Then join us for our best cookies at the post-concert reception.

Brian Ackles, Anne Jamison, Sandy Murphy, and CJ Oliver, conductors

Celebrating Scotland
October 2018

Music of contemporary composers James MacMillan, Sally Beamish, and Sheena Phillips will be featured, as well as poetry of Robert Burns and arrangements of well-known Scottish folk songs.

Carl Johengen, guest conductor

SVE Jazz
May 2018

Back by popular demand, SVE is at its versatile best singing great vocal jazz. Get a jump on summer and feel the beat! One performance only, conducted by our own Jeff Welcher.

Nature Beckons
March 2018

SVE welcomes Ryan Endris back as he leads the ensemble in Britten's Five Flower Songs and Argento's Walden Pond.

Ryan Endris, conductor

Winter's Compass: Music From All Directions
December 2017

Enjoy a multicultural celebration of the season with music from around the globe. In a break from tradition, we bring you SVEs best cookies at the post-concert reception.

Jace Kaholokula Saplan, conductor

Why We Sing
October 2017

Come hear the music that personally inspires four of SVE's very own as they each take a turn at the podium. Brian Ackles, Anne Jamison, Colin Keating, and Sandy Murphy, conductors

William Billings Invocation Craig Hella Johnson Gitanjali Chants Kevin Moore Prayer of St. Simeon Matthew Harris i love you much(most beautiful darling) Franz Joseph Haydn Awake the Harp from The Creation Sergei Rachmaninoff "Bogoroditse Devo No. 6" from All Night Vigil, Op. 37 Don Jamison Cabin Hill and Owen Sound Jake Runestad Let My Love Be Heard David C. Dickau If Music Be the Food of Love Plus traditional spirituals and gospel blues works.

Vocal Jazz
May 2017

A concert of vocal jazz pieces conducted by vocal jazz specialist Jeff Welcher.

From Stars to Sea
March 2017

Rihards Dubra Ave Maria and Stetit Angelus; Alberto Grau Magnificat - Gloria; Eriks Esenvalds Magnificat, Only in Sleep, and Stars; Vaclovas Augustinas Tykus Tykus; Rolf Lovland Sleepsong; plus several works based on South American traditional music.

All-You-Can-Eat Christmas Pie
December 2016

Revel in the beauty of the season as SVE sings Ariel Quintana's Three Christmas Motets and select works by Robert Shaw and Kirby Shaw, as well as a Christmas arrangement by Pentatonix. Our traditional pie reception completes the celebration!

Let There be Peace on Earth
October 2016

Faure Requiem, Bernstein Chichester Psalms, and a cappella works on the themes of peace and hope, including Clare MacLean Hope There Is and Eleanor Daley In Remembrance

SVE Sampler
October 2016

Excerpts from our upcoming season and other popular and classical choral selections.

Presented as part of Liverpool Public Library's FREE Fall Concert Series.

SVE Extra: Vocal Jazz
May 2016

Back by popular demand, SVE is at its versatile best singing great vocal jazz. Get a jump on summer and feel the beat! One performance only. Not included in season subscription. Jeff Welcher conducts.

Flora & Fauna
March 2016

Help us usher in spring with music conducted by the always-energetic Peppie Calvar. This is your chance to chase away the winter blues and make way for a new season. Featured works include Morten Lauridsen's Les Chansons des Roses, Eric Whitacre's Animal Crackers, John Corigiano's Fern Hill, and others.

Christmas Pie
December 2015

Revel in the beauty of the season as we sing stirring holiday music set to timeless texts. Our traditional pie reception completes the celebration! One performance only. Ryan Endris conducts.

Rejoice! Music for Chorus and Organ
October 2015

Rejoice is the theme as SVE sings works by Purcell, Westra, Franck, and Benjamin Britten. Thrill to the playing of Brian Glikes, the 2015 winner of the Arthur Poister Competition in Organ Playing. Joseph Downing conducts.

A Pacific Rim Tour
March 2015

Our final concert of the season features a multi-cultural choral festival from the Pacific Rim. Aboriginal as well as folk arrangements from Japan, India, Korea, Bali, Taiwan, and Australia come together with traditional Latin settings of the Ave Maria from Paert, Rachmaninoff, and Matsushita. Please come to enjoy colorful choral works from the Far East and witness SVE's multilingual mastery!

Guest Conductor: Yunn-Shan Ma, Eastman School of Music

Christmas Pie with a Latin American Flair
December 2014

Deck the Halls in 7/8 time, Joy to the World with salsa rhythms, and A Musicological Journey Through the Twelve Days of Christmas complement modern settings of timeless texts such as O Magnum Mysterium (Custer), Cantico de Isaias (Calvar), and From Light to Light (Cherwin/McDermid) on this varied program. The Latin American favorite Navidad Nuestra, festive dancers from Syracuse's La Casita, and our traditional pie reception complete the celebration!

Guest Conductor: Jose (Peppie) Calvar, Syracuse University

Psalms and Poetry
October 2014

Psalm settings from across the ages open this concert filled with poetry old and new. Featured composers include Schutz, Palestrina, Mozart, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Stanford, Knauf, Clausen, and Dello Joio. Settings of Walt Whitman poetry complete this presentation. The concert's centerpiece, Jeffrey Van's A Procession Winding Around Me: Four Civil War Poems, features Kenneth Meyer on guitar.

Guest conductor John Warren, Syracuse University

Love and Light
March 2014

This collaborative performance by SVE and and Society for New Music features Lux Aeterna, a work for chorus and chamber orchestra by Morten Lauridsen, recipient of the 2007 Medal of Arts; and Valentines and Graffiti, a work for ensemble, soloist, clarinet and piano by Earl George.

The concert features guest artists Laura Enslin, soprano; John Friedrichs, clarinet; and Ida Trebicka, piano.

A Taste of the Mosaic: A Sampler Event of the Mosaic Collective
January 2014

A performance by members of the Mosaic Collective: Dance Theater of Syracuse, Paul Robeson Performing Arts Co., Syracuse Vocal Ensemble, and Syracuse Community Choir.

Free admission.

A Family Christmas Pie
December 2013

Music for the young and young at heart!

Join SVE for light seasonal music, an appearance by the Dance Theater of Syracuse and audience participation carols, followed by our after-concert sumptuous pie reception and Family Photo Booth.

Classical Meets Bluegrass
October 2013

Concert features The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass by Carol Barnett, with Joe Davoli, fiddle; Nick Piccininni, banjo; Perry Cleveland, mandolin; John Cadley, guitar; Zachary Fleitz, bass; Maureen Henesey, vocal soloist.

Also including choral arrangements from Appalachian roots, Syracuse Country/Contra Dancers, and instrumental bluegrass classics.

SVE Extra! Jazz Benefit Concert
September 2013

An hour of choral vocal jazz and solo standards, featuring ensemble singers and pianist Jerry Exline, directed by Jeff Welcher. Free will offering to benefit Syracuse Vocal Ensemble's 40th anniversary season.

Shifting Paradigms: Choral Greats of the Modern Era
March 2013

The ensemble intends to refute the myth that modern choral music is neither likeable nor listenable! SVE will present fresh and sophisticated choral gems by living U.S. composers whose works showcase the power and beauty of new choral music. Notable composers include Abbie Betinis, Morten Lauridsen, Ben Moore, Eric Whitacre and more.

A Mystical Christmas Pie
December 2012

Our Christmas Pie concert will explore the ways that composers from the Renaissance to the present day have imbued their music with the mystical elements of the Christmas Story. Come hear wonderful choral works, join in carol singing, and enjoy our traditional pie reception following the concert.

A New Practice: Music of Monteverdi and Schutz
October 2012

Our opening concert is devoted to two influential innovators of the 17th century early Baroque. Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi departed from Renaissance polyphony to a "new practice," in which words and emotion played an increasingly important role. Following suit, Heinrich Schütz laid the cornerstone for early Baroque choral musical art in Germany. SVE will present various secular works by Monteverdi and Schütz's sublime requiem, Musikalische Exequien.

Play the Tuneful Oboe: Works for Chorus and Oboe
March 2012

Cantata 22 by J.S. Bach with chamber orchestra; the premiere of Michael Dellaira's Nobody, a choral/oboe work using four interwoven texts by Emily Dickinson, featuring Anna Petersen Stearns, oboe; and other works.

Meet composer Michael Dellaira at a reception following the concert.

A Christmas Pie: Nowell, Sing We
December 2011

Music related to the English Carol tradition.

Let My People Go: Themes of Liberation
October 2011

South African arrangements, works by William Billings, Karelian Destiny by Veljo Tormis, and African American spirituals. Concert features Biboti Oikahilo African Drum and Dance Troupe and Shen Dai Wei, violinist, and more.

Funny Stuff
March 2011

Enough of all this serious choral music! SVE concludes the 2010-11 concert season with a ridiculous mix of choral hilarity. It is safe to promise that much laughter will be had on this night of utter foolishness, as SVE performs works from Mikhail Glinka to PDQ Bach, and much more. Do yourself a favor and don't miss this one!

Syracuse Symphony Stained Glass Concert: Gabriel's Oboe
January 2011

SVE once again joins the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra as part of its illustrious Stained Glass series at Most Holy Rosary Church. SVE will perform works by Antonio Vivaldi, Claudio Monteverdi, and Antonio Lotti. Guest conductor Ron Spigelman and Bob Cowles will both conduct SVE on this program, which will feature SSO oboist Anna Petersen Stearns.

Plucking the Christmas Goose...PIE: Music for Choir and Guitar
December 2010

Our second program of the season also showcases local instrumental talent as Kenneth Meyer, classical guitar, Ursula Kwasnicka, harp, and Anthony Calebrese, marimba, join the ensemble for a lovely assortment of Christmas works for chorus and guitar. The group will present traditional as well as more recently composed music for the season. As always, the Christmas Pie performance will be immediately followed by a sumptuous reception boasting a wide assortment of delicious pies.

Carl Orff's Carmina Burana
October 2010

"Experience first, then intellectualize." Composer and music educator Carl Orff may have said this in reference to his philosophy of music education, but the statement applies well to his best-known composition Carmina Burana, the emotional impact of which is deep and lasting. Beloved by audiences far and wide (and having long been cannibalized for use in TV commercials and movie trailers), this at times explosive work, a collection of medieval poems that alternate themes of love, humor, drink, and general bawdiness, is a fitting centerpiece for SVE's first concert of the 2010-11 season. The Hobart and William Smith Colleges Chorale joins SVE for this performance which will feature soprano Janet Brown, tenor Jonathan Howell, baritone Christòpheren Nomura, the piano duo Steven and Amy Heyman, and five area percussionists. This promises to be a memorable event for all!

Help support our season.

Gifts will be acknowledged in the program at the categories below. Donors at the higher levels will receive complimentary tickets.

Friend: Under $50
Donor: $50-$99
Supporter: $100-$199
    (includes 2 concert tickets)
Patron: $200-$499
    (includes 4 concert tickets)
Benefactor: $500-$999
    (includes 6 concert tickets)
Philanthropist: $1,000+
    (includes 6 concert tickets)


"The music filled the space with incredible blend and rich, warm harmonies ... It was a truly stunning reading of these lesser performed gems."
Love and Light concert, March 2014
Abel Searor, Syracuse Post Standard
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"SVE gave a remarkable performance and the mundane concerns of life were transcended ... the audience held its collective breath, hesitating, unwilling to disturb the intensity of the experience."
The Rakhmaninov Vespers, 2010
Linda Loomis, Syracuse Post Standard
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"I have been a heartfelt fan of Syracuse Vocal Ensemble for many years. Every single concert by this fabulous group of singers has been musically engaging and often deeply moving ... I keep coming back to hear great music superbly sung."
Kevin Moore, pianist

"[SVE's concert] was, simply put, the finest choral performance I have ever heard in person."
Crystal LaPoint, composer

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